Quelbe African Lady Dancing

Word of the Week: Quelbe

  • Quelbe, quelba, quilbay 1 (n): A kind of African dance possibly of Congo origin, comprising songs, drumming and dances performed by women.
    • As late as 1940 on the hills in Charlotteville at nights one could hear the music of Congo women playing what villagers called Congo-drum (marli doun-doun) and tambour-bamboo…and dancing quelbe reputed to be a very wild erocitc dance for females only.
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Bobol

Word of the Week: Bobol

  • Bobol, bubol, boboll, bubbbul (n): Graft; corruption; fraud; embezzlement. (Origin: South Central Zoombo Kikongo lu-bubulucorruption’; Kikongo bubulabecome corrupt; go rancid’). Kikongo either of two similar Bantu languages spoken in Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), and adjacent areas.
    • I wonder if it’s bobol, What they doing with taxpayers’ money at all. (Atilla “Treasury Scandal” 1937)
    • Yeh, ah hear e have ah big house wit’ swimmin’ pool an’ e have 4 big cars…” “So wot business he in?” “Bobol!” (Sweetbread, Express 1 October 1980:23)
Rachifee: Man sweeping the word truth with a broom under a red rug

Word of the Week: Rachifee

  • Rachifee, ratcheefi, ratchifi, rachify (n): Somethings done in a makeshift, careless, or slightly devious way; or as a result of cheating, corruptions, or trickery. (Possibly French rafistolé ‘mended; patched up; English retrofit ‘force something to fit; use something not originally designed for the task’
    • The amount of ‘bobboll‘ and rachifee going one with we money in that project.
    • Excuse me, but when you speak of ‘culture’ in our society, you mean culture as including rachifee ?” (Alleyne -Forte 1994:99
Trinidad and Tobago flag

Word of the Week: Tringlish

  • Tringlish (n):  A humorous name for the local vernacular, considered as a variety or dialect of English, or as an English-related creole language.
    • Yuh see, we in dis country does talk a t’ing we call “Tringlish” – Is a kinda secon‘ language to true, true English and to beside we does talk it fas’, fas’ and put een plenty ah we own local words like: obzokee, mamaguy, mehrazmee, tootoolbay, tobiaxee an’ t’ing. (Elcock 1997)
Appetizers on a plate.

Work of the Week: Jhorts.

  • Jorts, jhorts, draughts  (n):  Food, especially snacks or refreshments.
    • If you see, endless jorts.
    • Right in front of his place, he has the big lawn tennis court where prospective clients or investors could talk it over…cuffing down their liquor and small jorts.

Click here now for other Trini expressions and leave us a comment below of phrases you have heard.


Source: Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer

Featured Image by Kelly Jean on Unsplash