Carnival Tabanca

Trini Phrase: Tabanca

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Tabanca, tabanka, tabankca, tobanca (n) (Grenada, Guyana, Trinidad): A painful feeling of unrequited love, from loving someone who does not love in return, especially someone who was once a lover or spouse. (No reliable derivation has been found for this word, though some possibilities have been proposed, e.g. (Kikongo tabaka ‘sell out or buy up completely’).

  • It’s the same behaviour, Horn like fire, I can’t take it no longer, You know I nearly dead with Tabanca. (Sparrow “A Sailor Man” 1957, in Rodman 1971:217)
  • Very infatuated; passionately in love. She got you tabanka boy!

In Trinidad, tabanca is used to highlight weakness or infatuation with anything in particular. You could have ah curry tabanca, carnival tabanca, the love of anything curry and the deep depression one feels after the Trinidad Carnival season is over.

Source: Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage by Richard Allsopp

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