Nigerian culture is very popular across the world. From viral TikTok videos, to music and Nollywood movies, Nigerian slangs are everywhere. If you are planning to visit or already live here, it might be important to learn these street slangs, what they mean and how to use them properly in Nigeria.
Nigerian street slangs are particularly popular amongst young people, most of whom learnt them from movies, and the internet. Some slangs can be so viral that they just become a natural part of the Nigerian Pidgin language.
Most slangs are popularly used in text conversations with stickers and memes or GIFs giving them more context and meaning. Others are used as part of viral comedy skits on the internet.
Here are some of the most popular Nigerian street slangs from the year ended 2022.
Dem neva see me coming
Viral music sensation, Asake gave us this line of lyric in his song Bandana featuring Fireboy.
‘Dem neva see me coming’ roughly translates to “they will never see me coming”. The saying was made even popular by Asake’s facial expression in the video while singing the now viral slang.
Shey you dey whine me ni?
This saying has been around in Nigerian pidgin English for a while now but went viral in 2022 when gospel singer, Austin De Bull used it as a line in his viral music of the same title.
The saying with the song rhythm is used as the punchline in many social media comedy skits.
“Shey you dey whine me niiii” roughly means “are you kidding me?”
This saying was made popular by social media influencers when flaunting their success.
It is a sarcastic way of encouraging others to hustle instead of playing.
This Yoruba slang means “it is my turn”.
The saying came from the Presidential candidate for the ruling All Progressive Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he went on a rant before his party’s primary elections in June. It became one of the many gaffes of the presidential aspirant who is regularly mocked by the youths on social media.
This slang was made popular by skit maker, Sabinus in one of his skits.
In the viral comedy skit, he asked to use his ATM card with a POS operator as collateral to enable him borrow money as he was expecting sometin hooge.
Now it has become a popular slang for anyone expecting money in the future.
This slang came from a song in which dancer, Pocolee was featured by HotKid.
Sope Otilo is a Yoruba slang that roughly translates to “say its gone”.
Dem don dey carry me go wia I no know
This slang first came from a viral video where a policewoman was trying to stop a cabbie. The cabbie refused to stop but instead attempted to zoom off with the policewoman inside his car. Desperate and scared, the policewoman screamed “help me, help me Dem don dey carry me go wia I no know”.
As e dey pain dem
This is a politics inspired slang that came during a speech by Rivers State Govnor Nyesom to mock his political enemies.
“As e dey pain dem e dey sweet us” was turned into a viral song by popular musician, Timaya to describe a situation where people are jealous of your success.
“E don cast, last-last, na everybodi go chop…” is perhaps the most recognizable lyric from Burnaboy’s 2022 smash hit, Last Last.
Breakfast here doesn’t mean the food eaten in the mornings, rather it means the heartbreak that comes from when a relationship ends badly.
Burna Boy made the slang global in the first single of his ‘Love Damini’ album in the song Last-last.
Most people believe the reason behind the song was to diss his longtime ex, Stefflon Don.
God abeg oo
Controversial act, Habeeb Okikiola popularly known as Portable gave us this line in one of his viral short videos on social media.
The slang is used as a prayer point against Nigeria’s harsh economic realities.