This list of "Afrikanerisms" (referred to as "funakalo"[by whom?] – not to be confused with the created language (lingua franca) Fanagalo which was used in the mines of South Africa to ensure workers from various language backgrounds could communicate) comprises slang words and phrases influenced by Afrikaans and other African languages. Typical users include people with Afrikaans as their first language but who speak English as a second language; and people living in areas where the population speaks both English and Afrikaans. Many of these terms also occur widely amongst South African Coloureds. These terms do not occur in formal South African English. Fanakalo also refers to when people of non Zulu origin attempt to speak Zulu without the proper pronunciation and throat sounds. Fanakalo in Zulu literally means "same as this" – (fana – same, ka – as, lo – this).
ag man – oh man; ag as the Afrikaans equivalent to "oh" (pronounced \ach\ like German ACHtung), man pronounced as in English.
antie – an older female authority figure. [Derived from the English "aunt".]
anties – breasts, as in "check die lekker anties op daai girl!"
aweh/awe (pronounced \AAAH-WHERE\ --> not rolling the "R") – said in excitement, as in: Aweh; my boss said I can go home early today.. The word has many meanings or uses: "hello", "goodbye", "yes". Also associated with prison use. (Greeting) "Aweh, my bru" (Hello my friend). Compare: howzit, yooit, hoesit, yo.
baas – boss
babelaas / babbelas – hangover (of Zulu origin)
bakgat – cool; expression of appreciation for something very well accomplished
bakkie – a utility truck, pick-up truck, now a mainstream word in South African English. Can also refer to a small container.
bakvissie – a giggly teenage girl (from bakvis, a fish too small to be kept and thrown back into the water).
bale – (TV) used to signify annoyance (pronounced barlee)
befok – really good, exciting, cool; as in "The rock-show was befok." [Do not confuse with gefok.] Can also mean "crazy" in a very strong sense, as in "Are you befok?" — derogatory(err:definitely not a polite enquiry). "Ek het daai ou befok" – meaning I cheated that guy in a transaction. Profanity – the base 'fok' meaning to have sex (similar to "fuck").
bek – derogatory term for mouth (Afrikaans: an animal's mouth); hou jou bek – "shut up, shut your trap" (literally" "hold your [animal's] mouth"). This translates well into British English as "Shut your gob."
bergie – from berg, mountain, originally referring to vagrants who sheltered in the forests of Table Mountain; now a mainstream word for a particular subculture of vagrants, or homeless persons, especially in Cape Town. When used as slang refers to anyone down-and-out
bill – used to ask for the cheque; as in: "Can I have the bill, please?", identical to British English
biltong – dried meat, similar to jerky (a mainstream word)
blerrie/bladdy hell – damn
bliksem – strike, hit, punch; also used as an expression of surprise/emphasis (rude). It derives from the Dutch word for "lightning", and often occurs in conjunction with donner. Used as a curse in Afrikaans: Jou bliksem! (You bastard!) Used to curse that Bliksemse Taxi.
bioscope, bio – cinema, movie theatre (now[update] dated), originally an international English word that became defunct elsewhere, it has survived longer in South Africa as a result of the influence of the Afrikaans cognate bioskoop. Also related to the Dutch word "bioscoop", which still[update] means "cinema" in Netherlands usage.
blou – being sad as in the English language feeling blue
bloutrein – literally "blue train", referring to methylated spirits, sometimes used for drinking (filtered through a loaf of white bread). Also refers to the Blue Train (two words), a luxury train that travels from Pretoria to Cape Town.
boer – literally "farmer" in Afrikaans. English-speaking people use the word to indicate an Afrikaans farmer, especially in a derogatory way, like "country bumpkin", "boorish"; but Afrikaners use it with much pride, indicating a person with a deep love of the soil of Africa, a provider of food. boere (the plural form) can also refer to the police. "Boer" does not only rever to an Afrikaans farmer, but also to a proudly Afrikaans person, wether he farms for a living or not.
boerewors – spicy sausage (Afrikaans) farmer-sausage, used as a mainstream word in South African English
boet – male friend (from boetie, informal form of broer meaning brother, see also bru and bra below); compare American English: "dude"
bokkie – (diminutive of bok, literally meaning "little buck" or "doe") a popular term of endearment, comparable to "sweetheart", "honey", etc.
boom – Literal translation is "tree" but is commonly used to refer to marijuana
bosberaad – strategy meeting held outdoors, for example in a game reserve
bossies, or bosbefok – crazy, whacko, mad. Also a term for one who has shell shock. Refers to the time of the South African Border War where soldiers spent time in the bush ("bos/bosse") and would return home suffering battle flash-backs (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
brak – mongrel dog, can also refer to brackish water.
broekie – panties or ladies underwear. From Afrikaans: broek, meaning "trousers". Common usage: "Don't get your broekies in a knot" = "Calm down".
bro - Tyrone's way of saying he loves a man (variation of: Bromance)
broekie lace – ornate ironwork found on Victorian buildings (lit. 'pantie lace'), the tie that you find on board shorts
braai – a barbecue, to barbecue (from braaivleis grilled meat), used as a mainstream word in South African English
cheekyprawn – a term of foul abuse
cherry – "meddie", see tjerrie
china/chine – a friend; as in the greeting howzit my china (likely origin: Cockney rhyming slang "China plate" (meaning "my mate"); from early British immigrants.
chan – a derogatory term for an overweight, metrosexual South African. (likely origin: derived from the slang term china/chine). Also used as a variation to bru and bra.
chommie/chomma – a friend (compare English "chum"); also refers to the perineum area between vagina and anus. Also spelled tjommie
choty goty – beautiful girl
chrisco – a party/disco where Christian music mainly features. A combination of the words 'Christian' and 'Disco'
Chwee chweereekeys– getting high
cuiter – somebody one has a strong dislike for. It has a similar meaning to the word cunt in the English language e.g. daai cuiter pronk toe nog so lekker toe donner ek hom
cullis – young girl who is extremely lead.
dagga – most commonly used word for marijuana.
dikbek – grumpy, in a huff (literally: "thick mouth" (pout), with an image of puffed-out cheeks like a bullfrog)
dinges – thingamabob, a wotzit or a whatchamacallit
doos – literally the Afrikaans translation for " box " Depending on context, the slang / derogatory version can mean " prat, twat, idiot, dumb cunt "
domkop – idiot (lit. Dumbhead), same as German "Dummkopf"
donner – to beat up. Used together with "bliksem". Derived from "donder" (thunder, related to Thor). Amounts to an ancient curse. Like "Nick i'm going to donner you"
dof – stupid or slow to understand.
dop – alcohol, to drink alcohol, to fail. For example: "Come and drink a dop (a drink) with me" or "I'm gonna dop that test." Originally refers to a tot (measure).
dorpie – small town
doss, dossing – Sleep or nap.
Droëwors – (Afrikaans) 'dry sausage', similar to biltong
dronkie – drunkard
druk – to embrace or squeeze, hug (noun) "Gee my 'n drukkie," "Give me a hug." (not necessary sexually)
eina! – ouch! used as a mainstream word in South African English.
ek sê – I say!
entjie – Cigarette. For example, "Awe ou. Steek 'n ent!"
flaterwater – correction fluid (e.g.: Tipp-Ex, Wite-Out) [comes from flater (mistake) and water (water)]
flou – an unfunny (weak) joke (from the Afrikaans word for weak), can also refer to weak coffee or tea or weak alkoholic drink. A person that is weak. (Die man is te flou "The man is too weak").
fok – Afrikaans for "fuck", can be used in most ways it is used in English. Fokken = fucking, gefok = fucked.
gatvol – fed up, had enough. (Afrikaans – asshole-full).
gees – Literal translation it means spirit, for something to have spirit. ( daai bra het nou groot gees gevang)
gesuip – very drunk, intoxicated, plastered. Original Afrikaans meaning for an animal drinking (water) – of course.
goffel – Ugly girl/woman. For example,"What a G!". Also a degrading term for a person of coloured origin.
gomgat – bumpkin, redneck. (in the US sense, not to be confused with rooinek, the literal translation of redneck.)
goof, ghoef – swim, take a dip
gooi – throw, chuck or to "tune" (see below) someone.
goose – also chick, cherry : a young woman or girlfriend (used mainly during the 50s, now dated) also famous line by South African comedian Barry Hilton
houding – character or style
"heita" – heita, meaning "hello" or "hi". It was from this that telecommunications company Telkom got the name 8.ta for their mobile addition
hoesit, hoezit, howzit – derived from "How is it going? – contracted to how's it?_In English SA context, howzit is more a greeting of "hello" rather than "how are you?", similar to SA black slang's "eta" or "ola"
in sy moer – badly damaged, destroyed (rude, often considered profanity due to 'moer' to beat up)
ja – yeah (literally "yes" in Afrikaans)
jux/juks/jags – Meaning "horny". For example, "Jinne meisie, jy maak my nou sommer lekker jags."
ja-nee – Literal translation : Yes No. Example : Dis warm vandag. (It's hot today) : Ja-Nee. Agreement, but not enthusiastically so.
jislaaik! – expression of surprise, can be positive or negative. Often used when you get a fright, but equally often during particularly exciting parts of a rugby game.
jo – an expression of surprise e.g., "Jo, that was rude" "Jo, you gave me a fright!" pron. yo as in New York)
jol – to have fun, to party, can also refer to a disco or party, to commit adultery or even dating or courting
kak – Literal translation : shit. crap, rubbish, nonsense (vulgar), of very wide usage. Also used as a way of further expressing one's feeling in language, for example, instead of "that girl is pretty" one can say emphatically "that girl is kak pretty!"
katkop – half a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with chips (i.e. French fries, not crisps) (Literal translation from Afrikaans = cat head or cat's head). In South Africa French fries refers to thinly cut fried potato chips, whereas slap tjips (lit. limp chips) refers to the thicker British-style chip. Crispy potato chips are known as potato crisps.
khaki – [from the colour worn by British troops] derogatory term for an English person
kêrels – police (original Afrikaans meaning: guys, chaps). "The kêrels are coming, watch out!" (Dated). More commonly referring to boyfriend or literal translation : Guy or young man.
kiff, kif, kief – (adjective) wicked, cool, neat, great, wonderful. The word derives from the Arabic word 'kif' meaning pleasure or marijuana. This may also be related to the Afrikaans word for poison: gif. Coastal pot-smokers used the term to refer to Durban Poison: "Gifs" [locally-grown marijuana]. The word evolved into kiff, an adjective or exclamation meaning "cool", amongst English-speaking people on the east coast.
klankie – unpleasant smell. Also said as just "Klank". Pronounced as in "Clunk"
klap – to smack. (From Afrikaans). "He got klapped in the bar". Like a "bitch-slap".
koffie-moffie – a camp male waiter or air steward. See "moffie".
kont – same as 'Cunt' in English (profanity)
krimpie – old person
kwaai – cool, excellent (Afrikaans: "angry". Compare the US slang word phat.)
lag – to laugh. For example: They lag at the joke.
laaitie, lighty – a younger person, esp. a younger male such as a younger brother or son
lank – lots/a lot
laanie, larny – (n) boss, used in a deferent tone. (adj) fancy
las – 1. an act that is undesirable to commit, a burden. 2. To tell someone or suggest to stop doing an act. (origin. something that is slowing you or an object down e.g. 'n Las in die pad. (An object as in a stone in the road.)
lus – cigarette. "Give us a lus china". See also; smaak
lekker – nice, good, great (lit. tasty) Like "tik, tik is lekker"
loskind – a really slutty girl, usually wears revealing clothes and is easy to get with (For example: "Sarah is 'n fokken loskind!")
loskop – air head, literally a "lost head" refers to someone whose head is in the clouds, clumsy, forgetful.
maaifoedie – motherfucker, as in " Jou maaifoedie "
maat – friend (OED), also your partner (wife, girlfriend)
moffie – male homosexual (derogatory). Can be compared to "fairy".
moer-toe – stuffed up or destroyed (my car is moer-toe)
mompie – retard. ("Liesl, you are such a mompie!")
morne – boring, sterile, unexciting. ("This is more morne than watching Saracens play!")
mos – Afrikaans, implies that what has been said is well known or self-evident (a formal part of grammar, the closest English equivalent would be "duh!"). "Ek drink mos tee." ("I drink tea, duh!"). Used at the end of a sentence, as in "...Jy weet mos." ("...You know then.")
naartjie (Afrikaans) – tangerine, mandarin, satsuma – any pealable orange-coloured citrus fruit with neat segments; used as a mainstream word in South African English, and a dietary staple. Often thrown at T.V. when frustrated with referee decisions.
N.A.A.F.I. – (pronounced NAAFI) acronym for: "No Ambition and Fuck-all Interest"; (originated from the (still existing) British military "Navy, Army and Air Force Institute") referring to a lazy person. Used extensively during the days of National Service.
nè? – do you know what I mean/agree?, oh really?, is it not so?. From the French "n'es pas" meaning "Isn't it?". e.g. "Jy hou van tee, nè?" ("You like tea, not so?") (informal). The South African English equivalent is "hey", for example "Eish, its cold hey?".
nogal – of all things. Term expressing a measure of surprise
nooit – never, no way, unbelievable!
oom – an older man of authority, commonly in reference to an older Afrikaans man (Afrikaans for uncle)
ou (plural ouens) man, guy, bloke (also oke) (literally "old")
ouballie – old man, dad; as in: "shaft me, ouballie" "My ouballie (father, dad) will be home soon".
ousie – Term used to refer to a maid, usually a black female; Also used by black females to call/refer to each other
pap – traditional maize porridge similar to grits; can also mean "deflated".
paraat – disciplined. Somebody who is paraat, generally has "houding"i.e style / character
plaas – lit. : farm. Also, when someone falls down : Plaas gekoop.
platteland – rural area, country (as in living in the country, as opposed to living in the city)
piel – derogatory term for a male genitalia ("cock" or "dick")
poes – derogatory term for a female genitalia ("pussy" or "cunt")
pommie, pom – derogatory term for an English person (borrowed from Australia)
rooinek – ("red neck") Afrikaner derogatory term for English person or English-speaking South African. Derived in 19th century due to native British not being used to the hot African sun and getting sunburnt, especially on the neck. Almost the exact opposite to the American usage of "redneck".
sat – tired, dead – "Ek is siek en sat van sy nonsens" I'm sick and tired of his nonsense", see 'vrek' below (pronounced as sut in English)
sies, "sis" – expression of disgust, disappointment, annoyance, as in: Ag, sies, man.
scrompie – slang for "hobo" or bergie. (Liesl told her 7-year-old son, Karl, to walk away from the scrompie walking towards them.)
skaapie – someone who might be referred to as a "pussy"
skeef – skewed, gay, as in: hy het 'n bietjie skeef voorgekom (he seemed a bit gay)
skief – to glare at someone (root: Afrikaans 'skeef', skew)
skop, skiet en boom klim – literally "kicking, shooting and climbing trees". A colloquial description of an action film, usually of the lighter, more humorous kind. (Think Jackie Chan.)
skop, skiet en donner – literally "kicking, shooting and beating people up". A colloquial description of an action movie of the more violent kind. (Think Jean-Claude Van Damme.)
skelm – (pronounced: Skellem) crook or trouble-maker, mistress, secret lover, on the sly
skinner, skinder – gossip
skop – kick
skort – watch out, be careful or something is wrong here.
skraal – very hungry. (Durban region, from Afrikaans for "thin" or "emaciated".)
skrik – fright
skyf – cigarette, a puff, and also less commonly marijuana or dagga.
slap gat – English translation "lazy arse", also can refer to something badly put together, "Hey het dit slap gat gemaak" (he put it together haphazardly)
slap tjips – (pronounced as "slup chips") similar to thick-cut British chips; usually soft, oily and soaked in vinegar, usually bought in a brown paper bag. Slap is Afrikaans for "limp". French fries refers to thinly cut chips. Crispy potato chips are referred to as 'crisps'.
smaak – to like another person or thing
smaak stukkend – to like very much or to love to pieces (literal meaning of stukkend). "I smaak you stukkend" = "I love you madly".
smeerlaken – Afrikaans lit. "spread" + "sheet" i.e. an Excel or Lotus worksheet
sneeudier – old person
soek – to look for trouble with someone/to antagonise/to stir up trouble = "you soeking with me?" – Afrikaans: "to seek or look for".
sommer – for no particular reason, just because
sosatie – a kebab on a skewer, used as mainstream word in South African English.
soutpiel/soutie – derogatory term for English person, literally salty penis. Someone with one foot in England, the other in South Africa and their penis hanging in the Atlantic Ocean
steek – stab, poke (with knife). "He/she steeked her/him" = "He/she poked her/him". Also see "naai" = Nick steeked me stukkend.
stukkie, stekkie – a woman (from the Afrikaans meaning "a piece") – mostly used when referring to a woman that you have/have casual encounters with, girlfriend
stoep – porch, verandah, like American English stoop, but pronounced with a shorter vowel
stompie – a cigarette butt, a short person or impolite term to refer to the remaining arm/leg/finger after an amputation.
stukkend – (Afrikaans) broken, a lot. Also commonly used when someone is hungover. For example, "I am so stukkend".
swak – broke. Original Afrikaans: weak. "I'm swak, ek sê". Also used to suggest that someone's behaviour was harsh (with varying degrees of seriousness, depending on tone and context), for example: "It's swak that I failed the test"
tekkies – sneakers. (The Anglicised pronunciation tackies has become mainstream in South African English.\.)
tiet – English equivalent Boob or Breast (from 'teat')
tet – breast or boob
toppie, ou toppie – father – see ouballie
trek – to move or pull. (The word has become international with the meaning of "making a pioneering journey"; the slang usage more closely resembles the standard Afrikaans meaning.)
tuinbooi – Term used to refer to a gardener, usually a black gardener
TVP (tiener velprobleem) – Acne problems
vaalie – mildly derogatory term used by people on the coast for a tourist from inland (Root: Old Transvaal province)
vellies – veldskoens, traditional Afrikaans outdoors shoes made from hide
verkramp – politically conservative or pessimistic, the opposite of verlig, or enlightened
voertsek, voetsek – get lost, buzz off, go away, run, scram, stuff off, bugger off (it can be considered rude, depending on the context) – usually used when referring to an animal. From the Dutch "vort, zeg ik" - used with animals, meaning "Go away!" or "Get moving"
vrek – Afrikaans meaning for an animal dying.
vrot – bad, rotten, putrid, sometimes drunk
vrotbek – someone who swears a lot or is swearing a lot at the moment.
vry – to make out or courting (equivalent to American "necking", British "snogging" or Australian "pashing")
Vrystaat vineyard – Shifting spanner
woes – wild, untidy, unkempt or irreverent. A general term pertaining to either a person, behaviour or situation
wys - multiple meanings - to insult(see tune) or to say e.g. "Yoh, John wys me after I told him to shut up!"
yoh – an expression of surprise e.g., "Yoh, that was rude" "Yoh, you gave me a fright!", (Police-chief talking about the poor physique of his policemen) "They should look at our men and say "yoh!".
zef – from Ford Zephyr car, cheap to tune-up; cool, rough guy; common person; kitsch.
zol – a homemade cigarette rolled with old newspaper or rizlas (likely marijuana-filled) joint (equivalent to American "doobie")
zamalek – Black Label Lager, locally brewed under licence (derived from the Egyptian football team of the same name because of the team colors) A very popular local beer because of the high alcohol content
Words from Khoi San languages
aitsa – is usually used when exclaiming agreement like you would when saying "sweet!", "nice!", "lekker!", and "got it!" .
buchu - name applied to a range of medicinal plants.
dagga – marijuana (has become a mainstream word in South African English)(from Khoe daxa-b for Leonotis plant)
eina - exclamation of pain, as in ouch (from Khoekhoe exclamation of pain or surprise)
gogga – bug (from Khoe xo-xo, creeping things, here the g is pronounced like ch in Scottish loch)
kaross - garment made of animal skin (from Khoe meaning skin blanket)
Words from Xhosa, Zulu and the other Nguni Languages
The following lists slang borrowings from the NguniBantu languages (which include Zulu and Xhosa). They typically occur in use in South Africa's townships, but some have become increasingly popular amongst white youth. Unless otherwise noted these words do not occur in formal South African English.
chana – my mate (from Zulu, 'my nephew); umshana
tjaila"–(pronounced: chai-la) time to go home
cocopan – small tip truck on rails used in mines (from Nguni nqukumbana, Scotch cart)
donga – ditch of the type found in South African topography. (From Zulu, "wall"; this has become a mainstream word for such a feature.)
eish! – an interjection expressing resignation
fundi – expert (from Nguni 'umfundisi' meaning teacher or preacher) – used in mainstream South African English
wena – Zulu meaning "you". Commonly used in a sentence "Haw wena!"
Words from SeSotho and SeTswana Languages
lekgotla or kgotla – planning session, or strategy (used mostly in official government papers, but even in papers written in English) (from Sesotho (le)kgotla – courtyard)
Words from Portuguese
a luta continua! – a rallying cry used during the anti-Apartheid struggle (and during Mozambique’s war for independence). [Port. for "the struggle continues".]
brinjal – eggplant, aubergine [from port. "beringela"; also used in Indian English.]
caldo verde – traditional recipe of Portuguese sausage (Port. "chouriço") and kale nestled in a thick potato soup.
Cape of Good Hope – a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula. [from Port. "Cabo da Boa Esperança" – named by a Portuguese king.]
catembe – a drink made by mixing red wine and coca-cola.
chouriço – traditional sausage made with pork, fat, wine, paprika and salt. It is then stuffed into tripe (natural or artificial) and slowly dried over smoke. Similar to Spanish chorizo.
dom pedro – drink made by mixing ice cream with whisky.
espetada – a typical Portuguese dish made usually of large chunks of beef rubbed in garlic and salt, skewered onto a bay leaf stick.
kraal – enclosure for livestock. [from Afrik. via Port. "curral".]
jerepigo – a usually red heavy dessert wine. [from Port. "geropiga".]
mielies or mealies – maize. [from Port. "milho".]
mielie meal – In sub-Saharan Africa, a relatively coarse flour (much coarser than cornflour or cornstarch) made from maize (mielies or mealies; from Portuguese "milho".)
padece – derogatory word for Afrikaners used by South African-Portuguese.
padrão – a large stone cross inscribed with the coat of arms of Portugal that was placed as part of a land claim by numerous Portuguese maritime explorers in South Africa and elsewhere.
peri-peri – chili pepper. [from Port. "piri-piri".]
pikinini – a child [from Port. "pequenino".]
porra – slang for a Portuguese person or language, usually derogatory but sometimes used affectionately depending on context.
porraland – slang and affectionate term for Portugal used by South African-Portuguese.
portuguese roll – a light Portuguese bread roll with a crisp crust sprinkled with flour and popular amongst South Africans.
prego roll – steak sandwich made with piri-piri (chili) sauce and served on a Portuguese roll. [from Port. "prego".]
trinchado – a popular spicy meat dish of Angolan and Mozambican origin.
vai – literally go in Portuguese, but often combined with other languages, for "let's go" as in, "let's vai", or with Sotho, "a re vai." Especially common in Johannesburg. Mostly pronounced and written as "waai" (as in "let's waai"), referring to the Afrikaans word 'waai' which means 'blow (like the wind)', probably an adaption of the Portuguese word vai (go).
viva! – long live! [interj. from Port. "Viva". Local use influenced from Mozambican usage during struggle for independence.]
Original South African English coinages
as well – means "me too" when pronounced with over-emphasis on the "as"
boykie or boytjie – meaning a young white male who is cool in the high-school stereotype kind of way. Sporty and tanned, uses a lot of slang. From English "boy" and the Afrikaans "-tjie" meaning little.
baff – Fart
bonehead – derogatory term used for Afrikaner, dumb, idiot
bra – male friend (shortening of brother, see also bru above)
canyon crab – see bonehead
chase – leave, go; analogous to "blow" or "duck", as in "Bru, let's chase."; "This place is doff; I'm gonna chase, boet."
cherps or chips – "Watch out" or "Move out the way", as in "Chips chips everyone, here comes the teacher!" (distinct from the food or snack). Also often used when something gets thrown, or to ask someone to step out the way. Compare "heads up!".
chop – idiot
chot – a very offensive term for a sexually active female
clutchplate – see bonehead
connection – a friend, mate, chommie
cozzie – a swimsuit, short for swimming costume
diss - to intentionally disregard somebody else.. That oke is totally dissing me
doff – stupid. "Are you doff?"
dop – Drink or to drink, primarily when talking about alcohol, from the Afrikaans "dop" (shell, referring to a small glass for alcohol).
give rocks – to be indifferent. For example: I give rocks about your concerns! (I couldn't care about your concerns!) Can also be abbreviated to "Give rocks.", and the negative version "I don't give rocks" means exactly the same thing.
giyn – a homosexual male
graze – a term used in reference to food. "I'm starving, let's go get some graze."
higher grade – a bit too complicated (from the South African matric division of exams into standard grade and higher grade. The system of dividing subjects into higher and standard grade has become non-existent as of 2008.)
hundreds – good, fine. (As in 100 percent; for example: John: "Hey bru, howzit going?" Dominic: "I'm hundreds boet.")
jukka – a lazy person or a loser
just now, sometime in the near future or the near past, not necessarily immediately. Expresses an intention to act soon, but not necessarily immediately, or expresses something that happened in the near past. Probably from the Afikaans netnou with the same meaning.
now now – an immediate but not literal declaration of impending action, may be past or future tense. From the Afrikaans expression "nou nou".
Dutchman – derogatory term for a white Afrikaner.
isit – (pronounced: \izit\) the words "is" and "it" put together. Short term for "Is that so?" (For example: John: "Bra, I just found out I have a million dollars!" Charles: "Isit?"; or: John: "Bru, you would not believe how amazing it felt to footskate in front of all those people." Charles: "Isit?") Also, it can mean "really?"
lift – elevator
location – a Bantu township
naai – derogatory for having sex with a girl ("Last night she gave me a lekker naai"), British English 'fuck', or from the Afrikaans "naai" (to sew)
speak goat – derogatory term for speaking Afrikaans
soapie – a soap opera
swak – see "swat"
swat – carrying out an action resulting in an undesirable or negative outcome; "when you chaffed my cherrie the other day, it was swat oke. Totally swat"; "Moderating a list of slang words is impossible and totally swat oke"; "Changing this word to swak would be totally swat oke".
Skommel(draadtrek) – to masturbate, from Afrikaans
tickey – Thruppence or 3 pennies, e.g. "You could get a tickey for returning a coke bottle and three tickeys would buy you an eskimo pie". Dated, tickey-box is more recently used.
tune – to give someone lip ("Are you tuning me?")
voertsêk – impolite way to say "go away", commonly used with animals or as derogatory term. (from Dutch voort seg ik via Afrikaans)
The following slang words used in South African originated in other parts of the Commonwealth of Nations and subsequently came to South Africa.
buck – the main unit of currency: in South Africa the rand
china – friend, mate (from Cockney rhyming slangchina [plate] = "mate"), alternatively, as above coming from the Bantu word umshana
chow – to eat
coaster – a state of affairs that surpasses cool
Kaffir – 1790, from Arabic "kāfir" كَافِر, literally "one who does not admit the blessings of God", from kafara كَفَرَ "to cover up, conceal, deny". Non Believer. In a purely religious sense would refer to an atheist not believing in any creator or creative-force, but in Ottoman times it came to refer almost exclusively to "Christians". Used as a term of disdain referring to Dutch Colonists in Indonesia/Malaysia. Carried to the Cape of Good Hope by Dutch colonists who consequently used it to refer contemptously to the native population. Early English missionaries adopted it as an equivalent of "heathen" to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1792), from which use it came generally to mean "South African black" regardless of ethnicity, and became a term of abuse at least as early as 1934. [racial slur for] a black person (Usage now[update] actionable on account of historical ties to Apartheid and incitement to racial hatred.)
pom, pommie – a Prisoner of Mother England Brit (used also in Australian and New Zealand English)
shab short for shebeen. In common usage.
shebeen – illegal drinking-establishment (from Irishsibín), synonymous with speakeasy. In South Africa it refers in particular to unlicensed bars in the townships, and has become a mainstream word. During the apartheid era laws prohibited non-whites from consuming any alcohol except traditional sorghum beer, and taverns selling 'hard-tack' became the centre of social activity.
bolt/one out – used extensively in KZN. Means "by yourself" or "only one".
chop – "stupid"or "pathetic" – "don't be such a chop (idiot).
chup – "tattoo" – "cool chup exse"
chow – "eat". or food.
chuck – "leave". Equivalent of American "to bounce". Examples: "Come bru lets chuck" or "sorry can't go to the braai i gotta chuck." If you are funny you might say, "boet, I have to make like Norris and Chuck."
crown/kroon – "money"; can also refer to virginity.
dobbel – "gamble"
duidelik – direct from Afrikaans, meaning "clear"; used to express clarity on something or excitement about something.
eksê – from Afrikaans, translated it means "I say". Used in greeting i.e. "Whakind eksê" or in general speech.
gaam – dodgy/gangster i.e. That person is gaam. (He is a gangster.)That place is gaam. (it is dodgy.)
gam – derogatory term for Coloured Coloured people in South Africa. Derived from "Gham" or "Ham" referring to Ham in the Old Testament. It is a reference to the children of Noah's son Ham who were illegitimate and cursed into slavery by God.
gammie – diminutive of 'Gam', derogatory term for coloured people in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town.
gatsby – large chip roll with meat and lekker sauces (Cape Town)
gully – "area" or "corner" (KZN)
hard up – "in love"
Hosh – "Hello"; also used before combat. Example in combat: Hosh, jy raak wys ("Hello, show me what you made of"). This gang-related word occurs inside as well as outside of prison: use at own discretion.
jags – "horny". The first form occurs in Cape Town; the second predominates on the east coast of South Africa. May also mean "crazy" or "mad". Examples: Person A: I want to get robbed Person B: Are you jags? or Person A: Ek wil my werk verloor Person B: Is jy jags?.
lekker/lukka – "nice" [from Afrikaans]. The first form occurs more commonly; the second predominates in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
meet up – Used in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region, a term usually used when saying "goodbye". For example: Lukka meet up ekse.
miff – "gross", "disgusting". "That's completely miff!" "Oh my god it was so miff"
min – to be completely disinterested in something. For example "so min for that jol" or "when you're min you win"
mineral – pronounced 'min ral'; used by Indians as well. "Fizzy drink" such as Coke, Fanta, Sprite, etc. (KZN)
"motjie" – wife/woman
naai – "sex" (Western Cape) Also used as a noun "Jou ou naai" (literally "You screw") and used in the plural: "naaie" (literally more than one "screw"), meaning an undesirable person rather than the sexual act. Definitely not polite language.
oweh – pronounced \ow where\, a way of saying "oh yes" or expressing delight.
posie/pozzie – "home". Afrikaans-speakers tend to use the first for; English-speakers the second.
press – "sex", as in: "I want to press my young one tonight" (KZN)
shot – "good" or "correct" or "thanks" (depending on context). Example for the meaning "good" – Person A: What is 3+3? Person B: six Person A: shot. Example for the meaning "thanks": – Person: A I have bought you a sweet Person B: Shot.
sunno – Initially an insult, but now[update] used amongst friends as a greeting, as in: Whakind son
Stukkie – "girl" or possibly "girlfriend"
Tannie – "aunt", used by Afrikaans-speakers
tops – "excellent", "the best"
Toppie – "old man", used by Afrikaans-speakers
Whakind – a greeting, usually used amongst guys only, and frowned upon when used in greeting women. This word can also express an enquiry about something, especially when used outside the Kwa-Zulu Natal region.
What say/What you say/Wat sê jy – alternative for Whakind in the greeting-sense. English-speakers use the first and second forms; Afrikaans-speakers the third.
Young one – Refer to "Stekkie"
onetime – of course, without delay; often used as a positive reply to a question
operate – lets perform or to have sex
ou – a boy/man/guy, homo sapiens
Charr Ou/Charou/charo – Charr is from charring from the sun like charcoal(burnt wood) derogatory word for a dark Indian person
Bruin Ou – a Coloured person - mixed race
Wit(pronounced as vit) Ou – a White person
Correct Ou – a good guy
Gorra Ou – a White person (insulting usage)
Darkie ou/ darky ou - an African/black person
Pekkie Ou – a Black African person (derogatory; from the Zulu word for "cook")
Slum Ou – a Muslim person (derived from the words Islam/Muslim)
Exploding Ou – a Muslim person (insulting usage)
boss – a salute to an unfamiliar person, or person in authority (usually to a male), as in 'you know what it is boss'.
bra – a way of addressing a friend, as in 'Howzit my bra'. 'bra' derived from 'brother'
bung – (from Afrikaans 'bang' — to be scared) to be afraid of someone.
crown – money
condai – bus conductor.
graft – meaning work... "hey kazzie, im grafting at coconut grove, lakkaz ekse"
kêrel – police man
hit a luck – expression, to have met with good fortune. as in, 'hey my bru hit a luck, eee got graft at the Casino'. Also often noted in the form hit such a luck.
choon – to tell someone something.
clips – Money, 1 clip = R100
laanie – From the Afrikaans word meaning "fancy", but used by Indian people to mean "smart guy" ("Smart" as in "well-to-do") or, more frequently, "boss". Compare larnie.
lakkaz – meaning lekker from the Afrikaans language.
late – A euphemism for dead/deceased; as in 'My daddy is 2 years late'. (Unconnected with the idea of tardiness.)
lets waai' – lets go; (waai pronounced as vuy same like buy) (From Afrikaans, "kom ons waai") Used mostly by Durban Indians.
maader – excellent, very good (used especially by Durban Indians)
min-rill – from the English word "mineral", meaning mineral water; taken to mean any fizzy drink in a bottle, normally Coke, Fanta, etc.
plot – pursue romantically, courting
poke – stab
pozzy – house or home; place where one lives or hangs out.
pehrer – a fight. (Often heard as "Who's gunning a pehrer?" meaning "Who's looking for a fight?")
slaan – wear (as in clothes)
Vrou – my wife, as in 'Ek sê, I must first ask my Vrou'; from the Afrikaans word for 'wife"/"woman".
vying-going, as in we vying to the soccer
speech – an argument
stekie – girl/girlfriend
swaai – to dance. (For example: "Lets vaai (go) swaai.")
swak – bad
what kind – Greeting, similar to Howzit
what what – mostly used in arguments, meaning "this and that". Often heard as what you say what what
spiet – to fight
slow boat – Splif/Joint – Normally related to marajuana
Para/Pareh – to fight/argument
pulling moves – related to doing some sort of crime or fraud
100's / Hundreds – Relating to being ok, for example: "I am hundreds today after last nights jol"
bust up – Big party involving lots of drugs and booze.
pull in – literally means to invite Example: "Pull in to my pozzy tonight, gona have a bust up"
benou – (pronounce BER-NOW) – marijuana or dagga. Commonly used by Indians in Gauteng. "no benou there?"-do you have any dagga?
koex – drink ("what you koexing?" – what are you drinking?)
sharp – goodbye, ("shap im out" – goodbye I'm leaving)
aspriss (pron. arse-priss) – to intentionally do something ("I closed the door on him aspriss")
ghushesh – bmw 325is
arrawise – greeting, derived from the English word 'otherwise' ("arrawise bra watse?")
South African Portuguese slang
maburro - slang for a white Afrikaans person, usually derogatory but sometimes used affectionately depending on context.
padese - slang for a white Afrikaans person, usually derogatory but sometimes used affectionately depending on context.
bozy - slang for a black person, usually derogatory but sometimes used affectionately depending on context.
suss - slang for "look", "check", "see" ("Did you suss out it out?" - "Did you check it out?"
sanwisha - not really slang, just mispronounced 'sandwich' ("Can I have one Toshta Cheese Sanwisha?")
eh pa - a cry of exclamation. ("hey man!")
pawpsh - slang for the mispronunciation of papaya or pawpaw (South Africa has a history of Portuguese people being in the Fruit and Veg retail industry)
porra - slang for a Portuguese person or the Portuguese language ("Those 2 porra okes were talking porra so I couldn't make out what they were gaaning aan about")
piso - Portuguese word for penis but often used as a derogatory term for another person. ("Hey man, don't be such a piso, don't you know how to pour a catemba?")
bife - Portuguese word for Beef but often refers to a man's penis. ("Maria reckons she wants some of my bife!")
shappies - Chappies Gum sold in most stores in South Africa, often used as currency ("Ah 'avent got shange, take shappies")
South African Greek slang
skollie – a gangster, to steal (from Greek skolios "crooked", widely used in Cape Town, originally applied by Greek convenience-store owners to street-youths who shoplifted)
Many of these terms occur in the Cape Town and Durban areas, and few in Indian areas in Gauteng. Some words are shared with Coloured slang, such as pozzie (in Durban) and let's waai.
an' all – (from 'and all'; like the English 'et cetera, et cetera').
aks – mispronounced ask...
boarded-off – declared medically unfit to work, and in receipt of a disability pension, As in: 'My daddy was so lucky to have been BOARDED OFF by the corporation'
bring and come – an expression normally denoting some type of unspecified invitation to come and perform a particular task at a given location, i.e. 'I told dat TV repair balie to Bring and Come and fix da TV'
bunny chow – type of food, made with a loaf of bread filled with a curry stew.
cake – idiot
cameway – to go with someone, like come with me. Used in Durban.
Charo – a person of Indian origin. From the word "curry" (or tea).
coat – meaning "quote", mis-pronounced, with a completely inaudible KW sound. as in Hey, can you give me a coat to fix my car?
cover – an insurance policy; as in: Hey laanie, can you organise me a cover for my grannie?
eeuww man! – an informal way of greeting. The South African Indian equivalent of "Hey dude!"
filim. – mispronounced film
guzzie – friend (from the Zulu guz'lam)
Jaaver – an Afrikaner person
kassam – serious, not joking. From Islamic meaning "oath".
mooing – to flirt. From the Afrikaans word mooi meaning "nice"/"pretty".
nana – grandfather
ou – person
Raven Ou – a Black African or, sometimes, Tamil person. From the Hindu deity Raven, reputedly dark-skinned. (Insulting usage.)
Roti Ou / Bread Ou Hindi person
Wit Ou – a White person
paining – having pain
pano – money, from the Tamil word for "money". Commonly used by all South African Indian linguistic groups as a euphemism for money
patla, flouie – usually refers to poor (unfunny) jokes. Patla can also refer to any kind of damp squib. Patla Patla often refers obliquely to having sex; imitating the sound of two bodies meeting.
potter-marie – means a dumbass (Hindu language roots)
right – an affirmation, mostly used while giving traffic directions, as in "Go straight, Right. Turn Left, Right."
sheila – an ugly woman
slaat – action like hit. For example: Don't choon me what what an' all, I slaat you one time laanie.
this thing/"dis ting" – watchamacallit
toppie – an older male authority-figure. Often used by Indians but also by working-class whites. From an Indian word for "hat".
tannie – female version of toppie, from the Afrikaans word for "Aunty".
tum-blahh – from the English word "tumbler", meaning a heavy glass. As in: 'hey boy, run and get a Tum-blah for the larnie to have some Min-rill'
South African Jewish slang
chattis, khateis (plural chatteisim, khateisim. Yiddish: "a sinner"): approximately equivalent to "white trash". The word refers particularly to poor, white, Afrikaans-speaking communities with endemic social problems. Sometimes used as an ethnic slur against Afrikaners in general. From Talmudic phrase Eyn bor yerey khet – a bor – (uncouth ignoramus) is not afraid of sin. The bor-Boer assonance gives a case for quibble: if not afraid of sin must be therefore a sinner.
kugel: an overly groomed, materialistic woman (from the Yiddish word for a plain pudding garnished as a delicacy). Older-generation Jews coined this usage as a derogatory label for Jewish women who aspired to become part of the privileged English-speaking white community. Current[update] usage, often humorously intended, applies the word to any nouveau riche women in South African society who appear overly groomed and materialistic. Bagel and bagel-boy occur as labels for the male counterpart of the kugel. (Compare the American-English term Jewish-American princess which has subtly differing connotations.)
Peruvian / Peruvnik: a low-class, unmannered and unsophisticated person regardless of wealth, usually Jewish. The etymology is unclear.  (Theories: (a) Yiddish corruption of Parvenu; (b) derives from an acronym for "Polish and Russian Union", supposedly a Jewish club founded in Kimberley in 1870s, according to Bradford's Dictionary of South African English. ) The more assimilated and established Jews from Germany and England looked down on this group, and their descendants remain stigmatised.
shiksa: as in other Jewish communities, this means "non-Jewish girl". Traditionally "slave-girl", from the Yiddish version of the Hebrew word for "dirty, unclean, loathsome" In South Africa, however, it has the additional meaning of a "female domestic worker".
bint : from the Lebanese word for "girl"; used in reference to women in general (as in "check out that hot bint over there.")
drib : from the Lebanese word for "hit" (as in "hey ghey ... if you don't stop talking gara, I may have to drib you!")
gara : from the Lebanese word for "faeces" or "dung"; refers to something that is crap (as in "that guy is talking gara!")
ghey : literally translated from the Lebanese word for "brother"; in colloquial South African refers to "a tinted-windows, lots-of-jewellery" kinda guy (pronounced like "gay" but with a /x/, like a guttural "g" or the "ch" in Scottish loch)
stiffle : so what: "if you don't like it stiffle!"
uhbed : from the Arabic word for "slave" (Arabic: عبد) – a black person
6 no 9 – "same difference". Like "potato, potatoe".
99 (nine nine)' – "for real".
ayoba – Expression of excitement
bokgata or Bo 4 – "the police"
cake/ikuku – Vagina
choc – R20 note
chommie – More likely to be used by young girls than guys, the word refers to a friend. A music artist goes by this name.
clipper' – R100 note
doing a bafana – demanding more smeka (money) for being mediocre
doing a benni – [Origin: the saying comes from the formerly much-lauded Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy's "uncharitable habit of turning his back on his country" following many instances of failing to turn up to play for South Africa's national football squad.] Meaning "showing disloyalty / being irresponsible".
eish – [compare Bantu usage above] (pronounced like /aysh/ but also, less often, as /ish/) – Used to express everything ranging from frustration to surprise to disapproval, but also just everyday acknowledgement of things you can't change like "Eish, the traffic is bad today". Heard frequently each and every day! Also used to indicate displeasure. For example: 'At the time I was the only black guy and I used to ask myself "Eish , what am I doing here?"'
fong kong – cheap and fake products that one can buy from vendors on the streets. .
Tiger (from the word Jacket) – R10 note
juish (pronounced /Joowish/) – refers to nice and flashy clothes that someone has on.
kwaito – popular genre of music, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house-music beats.
moegoe – a fool, idiot or simpleton. For example: "moegoe of the week"
pulling a jabu pule – performing a disappearing act. For example: "Are you pulling a Jabu Pule on me?" (Are you performing a disappearing act on me?); or: "I will never pull a Jabu Pule on you" (I will never disappear or go awol).
roogie – R50 note
Ova – To talk
skoon – Kaal voël steek (without a condom). Generally unprotected sex
starter pack – (Origins: Terminology first used by mobile-phone companies but quickly adapted by car thieves and car hijackers.) Refers to entry-level cars , especially vehicle-makes occurring commonly on the road and therefore less easy to spot as stolen. Thieves can "chop up" the parts at an illegal "chop shop" and used them for repairs on more expensive vehicles.
umlungu – white South African or the Boss (Bass) of the company; isiXhosa word for the white foam that is left on the beach sand, once a wave has retreated back into the sea. (foam is for unprofitable use).
vinegar – [Origin: Port Elizabeth] Denoting insecurity; especially used of people who behave nastily to others because of their own complexes. "He's full of vinegar" – meaning he's got so many chips on his shoulder.
yebo – a Zulu word which means "yes".
Z3 – refers to HIV and AIDS, because of its speed. This is a reference to the BMW Z3.
Coconut – Referring to an African black person who is dualistic in their nature. Black on the outside and White on the inside. (derogatory term used amongst city dwelling Black South Africans).
Slang developed in the 1970s to allow the speakers to converse in public without drawing attention – usually referring to girls' names often with the first letter in common with the intended meaning:
abigail – abortion
ada – backside
agatha – a gossip
aida – AIDS
amanda – amazing
annie – anus
barbara – straight man
belinda – blind
bella – to hit or slap "I will bella you if you don't stop staring at that beulah."
beulah – beautiful, usually referring to a good looking guy
cilla (from Priscilla) – cigarette
betty bangles – policeman
carol – cry
chlora – coloured person
connie – condom
cora – common
dora – a drink; drunk
elsie geselsie – chatterbox
erica – erection
esterjie – ecstasy
ethol - old person
frieda – sexually frustrated
fuella – furious
gail – chat
gayle – the name for this slang
gonda – a vagina
grazelda - extremely ugly
harriet – hairy man
hilda – ugly (or horrible), usually referring to a not-so good looking guy
Jinne man, just put on your tekkies and your costume, don't be dof! We're going to walk to the beach and then go for a goof, if you want to come with you better wikkel china. Ag nee, I stepped on a shongololo, I just bought new tekkies the other day! You know what, lets just forget about the beach and have braai instead, all we need is some meat, mealiepap, some cool drinks, may be a brinjal and some other veggies. And if someone can bring some biscuits for a banofi pie that would be great. Hey bru, it's lekker day today for a jol ek sê! I'm warning you my dad won't tolerate any gesuipery, he'll klap you stukkend! Is it? Ja, he's kwaai! He was tuning me just now from his bakkie my bokkie is a soutie and a rooinek. Eish! Well at least he's duidelik.
^Wicomb, Zoe (1998). Derek Attridge, Rosemary Jane Jolly, ed. Writing South Africa: literature, apartheid, and democracy 1970-1995. Cambridge University Press. p. 100. ISBN9780521597685.
^Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its moods by Michael Wex p.88 ISBN 0-312-30741-7
^Compare "Semitic roots" in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
^"Benni and the boot". The Sowetan. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-07-12. "Only 31.55% of the SMS poll respondents said McCarthy should not be booted out for doing the Benni, his uncharitable habit of turning his back on his country."