Crucian: A Quick Lesson
The following is a quick lesson in Crucian . First, you should keep in mind that Crucian cannot be written
since it's a dialect. If Crucian is written it must be done so phonetically. Because of this my spelling of a
given word is as good as the next person. Second, forget all the grammatical rules of English. Thank God
for small favors!! Third, feel free to use double negatives in a sentence. An example, “I don’t want any”
becomes “I don’t want none” or "I don't want eny".
Most words that end in –er are pronounced as –ah, so “water” becomes “watah”. Words like “where”
and “what” become “weh” and “wat”. And don’t sweat about pronouncing the words that begin with – th.
“The book” becomes “de book”. “Over there” becomes “ovah deh”. “Them” becomes “dem”. And then
some words actually become homonyms, like “ant” and “aunt” both pronounced “ant”, “thought” and
“taught” become “taht”. From the context of the sentence, the listener(s) would know which one you
mean. “I taht yo wah gon go” means, “I thought you were going”, while “She taht me to read” means
“She taught me to read”. And then there are a lot of words borrowed from the various colonists.
“Bateau”, a French word that means boat, became “bahto”.
I add the "h" to some words to give emphasis to the "a". Crucian tends to put emphasis on the "a",
sort of an accent. "Bahto" becomes "baato". And many words with "o" are pronounced as if an "a",
so"pot" becomes "pat", "knot" becomes "nat", etc.
Many names also change. Peter becomes Peetah, George becomes Jahj, Charles becomes Chahls,
Herman becomes Homan, Wanda becomes Wahndah, etc.
Now the word "their" can be tricky. You would automatically think it's "dear" and that's close. "Their
house caught on fire", would be "Day house ketch fire".
In the old days, E was used to refer to he / she / it / his / hers / him. The context of the statement will tell
you who or what was being addressed. "Bill kom by fo e bike." "Bill came by for his bike.") "De laydi
down de street se e gon go away to NY." ("The lady down the street said she was going to NY.") In later
years the "h" and "sh" were added to the "e". It continued to be pronounced as "e", though.
"E look good an yo." ("It looks good on you.") Here you may see "e" or he / she / it / etc.
Some of the words with "W" in English were pronounced as "V" due to the Danish influence. "Vit" was
"with" and "ven" was "when". "Vord" meant "word". Over time the dialect began to use the "w" sound.
I suppose the American influence changed the "w" sound from "v" to "w".
Puerto Ricans use “ñapa” to refer to something free, a sample. As kids, we asked for a “nahpa” from
store owners or individuals who sold candies, which meant the same thing. I have seen the word
written as neppe, nepe and/or nyapa. The African “Kumba ya” (or something close to that) became
“Coom ya or "Com ya” in Crucian. In English we say, “I don’t want any” but in Crucian it’s
“Ah no wahn nun” or “No wahn nun”.
Most Puerto Ricans had the upper hand when it came to conversing. We could speak in English (which
was taught in the schools), Spanish (which we learned mostly at home), and Crucian. We were able to
switch from one to the next in a matter of seconds. Sometimes a simple sentence was part Crucian,
part Spanish and part English! We also spoke a dialect of Spanish, which visiting relatives from
Puerto Rico could not understand. We Crucianized Spanish, a sort of SpanCrucian.
Keep in mind that each generation changes the dialect a little. Each generation makes the dialect seem
more and more like English (American). Also, because of the influence of residents that came from other
islands, new words have been added or pronunciation of words have been changed. I suppose eventually
the dialect will disappear. If this happens, it will be an unfortunate situation. The island will lose it’s
Also many Crucians are said to be "yankin" when they speak. And what is "yankin"?
Speaking like a states sider or giving the words an American accent.
Examples of what is taking place:
Before - "Foreday ah gon go to de mahket" ("In the early morning, I will go to the market.")
Now - "In de mahning a gon go to de marhket." or "In de mahning a going to de market."
Before - "Da mash an go is nice." ("The automatic car is nice.")
Now - "De car nice." "Yo wheels nice." ("The car is nice.") Most cars are now automatic.
Before - "Bring mi the goose a gah a shut to press."
Now - "Bring mi de iron a gah a shut to press." ("Bring me the iron, I have a shirt to press.")
As a young boy, I once went into the Poor Yard (now Aldershville Multi-Purpose Center) (a photo of
the building and sign can be found on page St. Croix 25) on Strand Street and talked to a few of the
residents. They discussed the dialect with me and explained that words we were using at the time of
my conversation with them were not the original words. Too bad I did not take notes! It appears the
dialect has been evolving for a while.
Keep in mind that most of the English speaking islands in the Caribbean speak their own Caribbean
English (dialect). St. Thomas speaks differently than St. Croix using other words and their
pronunciation of certain words differ. For example, Crucians say "ya" or "here" for here but the
Thomians say "heh". Jamaica's dialect can be very difficult to understand if you are not from the island.
Finally, the word for the dialect was known as Cruzan but pronounced Cru-shan. (Keep in mind the
island was once named Santa Cruz, thus Cruzan). Some where in the evolution of the dialect it
became Crucian, but still pronounced Cru-shan. A Crucian is also a native of the island. Cruzan now
refers to the rum made on the island.
Following is a quick reference to words that I remember using as I grew up on St. Croix.
The list is NOT all inclusive!
Did you know there is a Crucian Carp? No relations to St. Croix, though. Click here.
A / Ah – I. Only recently did Crucians start using I. A statement like "I am going to the store"
would be said as "A going to da store". (Note: Below, I may interchange A / Ah and I from time
Ah We – Us.
Ah Yo – You, plural. "Ah yo betah horyup." ("You better hurry.") Usually when someone is
referred to as "Ah yo" their response is "Ah yo is a house full." Meaning that it refers to more
than one person not just the person being spoken to. Close to Y'all in English.
Allawee – All of us.
Anti-mahn – Homosexual.
Babanco – Enlarged testicles. Also bamacoo.
Back-back – To go backwards, reverse. Also can be used to refer to a man who has sex with
another man. "Ah tell he to back back the car." ("I told him to reverse the car.") "Yo see he?
E like to back-back." (You see him? He likes to have sex with men.")
Bahn – Born. "A bahn ya." ("I was born here.") Was used a lot to separate those born on
St Croix, or the US Virgin Islands, and those that came from other islands.
Bahna – Ass, buttocks. Also Bamsie or bumsie.
Bahto – Boat, from the French "bateau".
Batam – Bottom/buttocks.
Bax – To box. To hit with a closed fist.
Bayside – The beach, seaside.
Beal – Automobile (the pronunciation of the last part of the word, -bile, sounds like beal), car.
Belly hut – Stomach ache. "Ah gah belly hut." ("I have a stomach ache.")
Ben – Bend, turn. "Ben on (pan) da nex cahnah." ("Turn at the next corner.")
Benye – Fried dough made from flour and banana.
Big foot – Someone with big foot/feet due possibly to a disease like Elephantiatis.
Big seed – Also big tone. Enlarged testicles.
Blak – To ignore, block.
Bostick – Walking stick or cane.
Brok – Broken, semen. "Da lamp fall ahn brok." ("The lamp fell and broke."). "She geh he so
hat he brok an iself." ("She got him so aroused that he ejaculated on himself.")
Bukra – White man.
Buck – To take a green fruit and set it aside to ripen. Fruit can be wrapped in towels and kept in
a closet or drawer, kept in a oven, placed in a bag, etc. Different methods were used to ripen the
fruit. Some people said the fruit was sweeter when "bocked". Also known as "buck ripe".
Bull Bud – Weapon made from a specially prepared bull penis.
Bun – To become tired, exhausted. "Ah geh bun from walking to town" ("I got tired walking
to town.") Also to get caught doing something wrong. "Ah geh bun by de woman as me check
she out." ("I was caught by the woman staring at her.") If used with "tires", it means to make
tires screech and make skid marks.
Bus – To do something. Also bust and burst. "Bus a cuff" is to hit someone on the head
(bust someone a blow on the head), "bus a lime" is to relax (chill in America), "bus aff" is
telling the person to leave quickly. "Bus a piss" would be to urinate. "Bus yo ass" would be
to fall and hurt oneself. "E bus a lie" would translate to "He lied". "De chile bus de baloon"
translates to "the child burst the balloon".
Bush – Area with overgrown grass or bush. "Yo see de rat in de bush?" (Did you see the rat
in the grass?")
Caca eye – Crossed eye. I remember it being more like "cak eye". Also referred to as cast eye.
Cahk – To lift up one's rear end.
Cahk (cork) up – Constipated. "De coco plum dem cahk me up."
("The coco plums constipated me.")
Cahn meal pap – A sweet and tasty porridge-like dish made from corn meal.
Calabash – Pumpkin. Can also refer to Gobi.
Canawar – A trap made to catch birds. The wood used was Tan Tan and the trap had a
pyramid-like shape. Rice or other item was placed in the trap to lure birds. Trap would stand
on a piece of stick that was cut in the middle where string was placed. With food at the back of
the elevated trap, the birds would walk in, hit the string causing the stick to split in half and the
trap would fall. There was enough room so as not to hurt the bird.
(Did we change it from "carawan"?)
Cane piece – Sugarcane field.
Chahly/bud/wood/pilly – Male sex organ. (Plus all the American terms.)
Chap / Chop – Laceration, especially when produced by a rock, stone or any other hard item.
"De man tro a rock, hit he an e head an e geh chap." ("The man through a rock, hit him on the
head and he received a laceration.")
To cut. "A chap down deh tree." ("I cut down the tree.")
Chat down - To Enamour.
Cheese and bread – Give me a break. Used when one is frustrated and nothing seems to
be going his/her way. Can be used before or after an expression. "Wah yo want fram me?
Cheese and bread, leave me alone." (What do you want from me? Just leave me alone.")
Also used as term to denote surprise. "Cheese and bread dat is one lang line." ("Wow, that is
one long line.")
Chincheree or chinchery – Gray kingbird.
Chiren – Children.
Chook – To stick/prick or get stuck/pricked. "Ah gon chook you if you badah me." ("I will stick
you if you bother me.") "De mahn chook me with a nail." ("The man stuck me with a nail.")
Choops – Crucians tend to suck their teeth when they are not happy with something or are in
disagreement. They emphasize their irritation by sucking their teeth. In a conversation if the
person(s) are not happy with something, they will suck their teeth. Let's say, you are talking
politics. The person does not like the politician in question. Before stating that he/she does not
like the politician, he/shewill "choops" then make a statement. "Wah you tink about Barny?"
Choops. "He no good." (What do you think about Barny?" Teeth will be sucked then, "He is
no good.") "You well pretty." "Choops. You jokin wih me?" Laughter may follow. ("You are
pretty." Sucking of the teeth, then"Are you teasing me?" Laughter may follow.)
Chupid/shupid – Stupid.
Coal pat – A pot with a small opening in the bottom that was used to cook. Hot coals were
placed in the opening which would cook the ingredients in the pot placed on top.
Coco – A bump on the head due to some kind of traumatic incident. "A fall, geh hit an de head
now a gah a coco." (I fell, hit my head now I have a bump.)
Coco beh – A term used to refer to people with leprosy. It is said they were isolated from the
rest of the population, in the area that is today WAPA (electrical company).
Coco plum – Fruit we found mostly on the beach. Outside of fruit is pinkish, inside white.
The nut is edible. The plant Chrysobalanus Icaco. At the airport the fruit is a dark color.
Cocos bag – Burlap bag. I remember seeing the women take thin strips of left over material
and weaving them between the knit of the burlap bag to make rugs. They were very colorful.
Comb – Unable to score in a game, adventure or in sex. “He geh comb in de basketball game.”
(“He did not score in the basketball game.”) “We went picking mango boh geh comb.”
(“We went to pick mangoes but found none.”) “E sweet tahk she but e geh comb and went
home alone.” ("He sweet talked her but did not score and thus went home alone.”)
Congo – Eel.
Coocoo / KooKoo – Feces.
Coop – To watch closely, to observe closely. At one time referred to the game hide & seek.
Cow itch – A vine that grows wild that has stinging hairs on the pods.
Crapo – Bull frog, from the French "crapeau".
Cribishi – Fresh water shrimps. These would be found in streams created after heavy rains.
Crompo – Afraid of water, afraid of getting wet (rain), reluctant to bathe. There was even a
Calypso about a Crompo Boy!
Crucian – Native of St. Croix. Pronounced as Crushan. At one time it was Cruzan but
pronounced Crushan. I suppose to distinguish rum from dialect, the change came about.
Cual/Qual – To quarrel, argue.
Cum – Come. "Cum ya." ("Come here.")
Cumpado / Cumado – Godfather, godmother. From Spanish Compadre / Comadre (Puerto
Ricans may say Compai or Comai). A child's godparents to the parents.
Cuno Muno – A fool, an idiot, someone stupid. "E alwes actin like a cuno muno."
("He's always acting like a fool.")
Current – Word used instead of electricity. Can also use "power".
"Current gahn." "We gah no power." ("There is no electricity.")
Cush – Money. "Yo ha ene cush an yo?" (Do you have any money with you?")
Dag dedo – Your dog is dead, literal translation. When something happens, this phrase is used.
Examples: "Ah went drivin an de car stap. E dog dedo." ("I went for a drive and the car stopped.
The car is no good." "De ketch de thief now e de in jail. E dag dedo." ("The thief was caught
and now he's in jail. His thieving days are over.")
Dare/Dear - Expensive. "Y deh food so dare in dis store?" ("Why is the food so expensive in this
De – The, there. “De buay sick.” (“The boy is sick.”) “Over de.” (“Over there.”)
Dress to kill – Dressed elegantly, fashionable, dressed to the 9's. Also see Sharp.
Dundersla – A round sweet candy with peanuts. A peanut brittle.
Dung Guts – Someone with a big hanging belly.
E – He, it, she, his, hers, him. "E gahn to town." ("He went to town.") "Dis e bike."
("This is his bike.") "E belang to she." ("It belongs to her.")
Fahward – (Forward). Beyond rude. Disrespectful. Can also be used as Fresh and Fahward to
emphasize how rude the person is. Also see Fresh.
Fayvah - (Favor). To look like someone or something plus the English definition.
"E fayvah e fahdah." ("He looks like his father.")
"Dat mahn fayvah a rabbit." ("That man looks like a rabbit.")
Feg – A segment, a slice. Someone seeing another eating a tangerine would say, "Please gimme
a feg no?" ("Please give me a segment [or piece].")
Fig – Banana. Also used to refer to the fig fruit.
Fillipine – Finding a fillipine was a thrill! The word was used mainly to refer to genips that had
two (twin) seeds. The fillipine genip would be bigger than the others in the bunch.
Fish trap – A trap used to catch fish, etc. The traps when I was growing up on the island
were made of wire (chicken coop wire, I think it was called) over sticks. Was it tan-tan sticks
that were used? It was easy for the fish to get in but hard to get out!
Flap – Flop. "De pahtee was a flap!" ("The party was a flop!")
Flim – Film.
Flit – Spray to kill insects. In the early days it was a pump rather than a spray. The “flit” truck
drove around the area releasing a whitish cloud in the air to kill mosquitoes. Would you believe
we ran behind the truck as it sprayed? (West Nile disease from mosquitoes brought a similar
spraying to NYC. People are told to close windows, turn off air conditioners and stay indoors
during the spraying!)
Florry – One of the stages in the growth of a tamarind just before it matures and ripens.
Fo Troo – Right, true. To add emphasis to it, roll your eyes.
Foreday – Early morning, dawn, sunrise.
Foop – To have sex.
Frahg – Frog.
Frak / Frok – A dress.
Frayco - Snow cone.
Fresh – Rude. See Fahward.
Frig – Bother, mess with. "If he frig wih me, a gohn nock he don!" (If he messes with me, I will
hit him.") "Leave de gahy alone, doan frig wih he." ("Leave the guy alone, don't bother him."
Full – A fruit that can be picked but not quite ripe.
Full-up – Pregnant.
Fungi – Boiled cornmeal, usually rolled into a ball and served with kallaloo. Also served with
stewed or boiled fish.
Gahlin – Egret but also used to refer to a very skinny person.
Gahlavanting – Out and about with no real agenda in mind.
Gahn Bush – To leave, to disappear. "Mi book gahn bush." ("My book has disappeared.")
Garot/Garrot – Officially stands for the stick used to guide bulls but on St. Croix it was used to
refer to immigrants from the other Caribbean Islands. The immigrants hated the word.
Gobi – Calabash, gourd. Many Gobi trees grew in the area in Frederiksted called Pan Bush.
Gongolo – A millipede, regardless of type. We had red ones, striped, black, etc.
Goose – Iron, goose, and the original seaplane. The iron was made from cast iron and had a
hole (in the front) to supply the coals with oxygen thus keep them from dying too quickly.
The shape of the ironed looked like a bird.
Guahn / Gwan – Go, could be a contraction from go on. “Guahn bout yo bisnes.” (“Go about
your business.)” "Go, leave me alone" becomes "Guahn, leh me alone".
Gundy/Gondy – claw, cheliped (crusher claw). Found on Maine lobster, hermit crab,
land/sea crabs, etc. Claw used to pick up food, crush food, etc.
Hat pepah – A sassy female, a hot pepper.
Highti mighti – High and mighty. Someone that thinks (s)he is better than others; snobbish.
Hog Plum – A yellow plum found throughout St. Croix. Tree is Spondias mombin.
Hole ahn - Hold on
Holeh, Jahj – Holeh is the Crucian pronunciation for Jorge while Jahj is that for George.
Huff – To embarrass someone based on response or action. “Ah ask she how old she be and
she huff me.” (“I asked her how old she is and she embarrassed me.”)
Hux – To break a coconut apart using ones hands. The coconut would be hit a few times on
the ground then the fibers would be pulled apart until one got to the nut.
Inkberry Tree - Crucian Christmas Tree.
Click on link below for an interesting story about the Inkberry tree.
Jackspana – Wasp.
Jam pak - Crowded.
Jaw Bone – A candy. Also jaw.
Jeez an bred – Jeez, Damn, darn, "you have to be kidding", etc. Can be used as exclamation,
to express disgust or disbelief, etc. John, "A tek yo las soda." And Tony replied, "Jeez an
bred, yo coont leave me haf a de battle?" (John, "I took your last soda." And Tony said, "Damn,
couldn't you leave me half of the bottle?) Jim said, "A buy one ticket fo de show tonight."
John said, "Jeez an bred, yo coont leh me know so a co go with yo?" (Jim said, "I bought one
ticket for tonight's show." John said, "Jeez, couldn't you let me know so I could go with you?")
Joog – To poke, prod, prick. "Ah wah using a needle an geh joog." ("I was using a needle and
got pricked."); "If you don leave me alone ah gon joog you." ("If you don't leave me alone, I will
poke you.") "We gah a go, joog e so e can wake up!" ("We have to leave, poke him so he can
Jumbie/jumbee – Spirit, ghost, zombie. (However, Moko Jumbie, the performers in stilts we
see in parades, and other festivities, are said to have acted as the spiritual seers and protectors
of African villages. It was believed that the height of a Moko Jumbie allowed him to see evil before
it arrived and thus warn others.)
Jumbee (jumbie) umbrella – Wild mushrooms.
Kalaloo – A specialty on St. Croix. A soup made from greens (especially Papalulu) with pork,
fish, conch and crab. Served with fungi. (When a situation has become very confusing and
complex, it would be referred to as a kalaloo. "After the mother died, the family affair was nothing
but a kalaloo.") Seen the word spelled as Kallaloo and Callaloo.
Katipol – a sling shot made from a Y shaped piece of branch from the cedar tree plus rubber
from a tube (to give the sling shot elasticity) and a piece of leather to hold the rock or other
projectile. The pieces of rubber was usually placed into a slot in each side of the leather and
then the ends of the rubber were tied together with string.
Kenep – Genip, ginep, guinip. Melicoccus bijugatus is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry
family. Photos can be seen by clicking here.
Killy-Killy – An American Kestrel falcon. Also called Sparrow Hawk. Falco sparverius.
Lala – Talking nonsense.
Lasinja – A local candy. If I remember correctly, it was made from mint and was twisted and
was about 6 inches long.
Latta – A skin ailment that causes blotches on face, neck or body.
Lickrish – Greedy (also see Raybin).
Licks – To beat, spank. "De chile do somting bad an geh licks." ("The child did something
wrong and got a beating.") "De man dem geh licks in deh basketball game." ("The men got
beaten in the basketball game.")
Lil Bit - Small amount. At times you may hear it said as "Lin bit". "Yo want food? Ye boh gimme
lil bit." (Do you want food? Yes, but give me a small amount.""
Mahga – Extremely skinny to the point of being sick.
Mahmah / Mama – An Hispanic female. See "Pahpah" for more information.
Mampi – Sandfly.
Mangy – Mange. Used mostly to refer to dogs that are infested / infected.
Manteka – Could have come from "man taker" and sounds like Spanish "manteca" (lard).
Prostitute, loose woman. Individual that likes sex. A gay man can also be a manteka!
Masah / Massa – The boss, white man. Also used by children when saying goodbye.
One child would hit the other and say "Masah" then run. The child that avoided being
touched became the "master".
Mash – To step on plus all the other definitions. "E mash me toe." ("He stepped on my toe.")
"Mash de gas mahn, we need go fastah." ("Step on the gas [accelerator] man, we need to
Mash and go – An automatic car. You turn on the car, step (mash) on the gas and it goes.
Mash up – Ruin, wreck. "She geh in a accident and mash up she car." (She got in an accident
and wrecked her car.")
Maubi / Mabi – A drink made from a bark. It is made with sugar and the bark and/or fruit of
certain species in the Colubrina genus including Colubrina elliptica (also called behuco indio)
and Colubrina arborescens, a small tree native to the northern Caribbean and south Florida.
Recipes usually include other spices as well. It's a taste one must acquire. For a recipe I
found online, please click here.
Mek – Make.
Membah – Remember, member. “Yo membah we do dat yestadeh?” (“Do you remember that
we did that yesterday?”) “E a membah ah de Senet.” (“He is a member of the Senate.”)
Mehson – My son but can be used when talking to a man, woman and/or child.
It's used to make a point, like using "boy" or "man". "Mehson e rain hard las night."
("Boy did it rain hard last night.") "Mehson de mehleh geh e in hat watah." ("Man the melee
got her in trouble.")
Mehleh – Gossip, melee.
Moko – A Fool, an idiot. (Moco in Spanish means mucus, buggers, snot.)
Mouth run watah – The thought of a particular item, like sour tamarind, is said to cause
the mouth to "run water" (salivate). "Watchin dem taman mek me mouth run water."
("Looking at those tamarinds are making me salivate.")
Nebah – Never.
Nen / Nennie – Godmother.
Nice Nasty - Finicky, picky, fussy. If such a person is in a place not well kept, he may not enter
or eat in the location. He would be said to be nice nasty.
No ras - To give emphasis, very. "E can lie no ras." ("He lies a lot.")
"E ugly no ras." ("He's very ugly.") "E cheep no ras." ("He's very cheap.")
Nosah - No, No Sir.
Nosey – Inquisitive beyond the norm.
Nox/nocks – Sex act or penalty after a game of marbles. "Ah wanna nox yo." ("I would like to
have sex with you.") After a game of marbles, the loser(s) had to place his/her fist on the ground
and the winner would hit his/her knuckles a predetermined number of times with a marble.
Nyapa – To taste, to sample. Also "napa". Could have come from the Spanish word "ñapa".
[Also see "Yam" below.]
Obiah – Obeah, witchcraft.
Oh me gawd – Oh my God.
Pahpah / Papa – An Hispanic male. "Pahpah dem" refers to a group of Hispanics. "Papa" is
dad in Spanish. Was used as a term of endearment for decades but later it was used in a
Pam Pam – To spank. "Yo gon geh pam pam fo breaking de vase." ("You are going to be
spanked for breaking the vase.")
Pan / Pon – On. Pond. “Weh pa yo de? I de pan de roof.” ("Where are you? I am on the roof.”)
Also cooking utensil and steel drum. "St. Patrick's school is by Pan Bush." ("St. Patrick's school
is by Pond [Pan] Bush.")
Papalulu or Papalolo (Corchoros siliquosus) – The leaves of this plant were used to make
kalalloo. Due to the over development of St. Croix, the plant is hard to find and may even be
close to extinction or extinct. Spinach is used as a substitute for papalulu.
Parass – A fool. "Yo a perfec parass." ("You are a fool.")
Pat - Pot, pat. "Ah mek a pat a soup." ("I made a pot of soup.") "A geh a pat on me back fo deh
good wok a don." (I got a pat on the back for the good work I did.")
Payasin – I suppose this is from the Spanish payaso (clown) and means kidding around,
acting the fool, etc.
Pear – Avocado but also refers to the fruit.
Pepe / Peps – Godfather.
Pinchy Nanny – Also "Antinany". Dragonfly.
Plat – Braid.
Poj – Purge, quarantine. Many animals that roamed freely and were known to eat anything and
everything in sight (land crabs, ducks, chicken, etc.), were kept in pens for a week or two before
they were slaughtered. They were fed natural foods so their system would get rid of all the junk
eaten up to that point. It was a way to clean the animal's system before being eaten.
Popi show – A performance on the verge of ridiculousness, making a fool of oneself.
Press – To iron. "A gah a shut to press." ("I have a shirt that needs ironing.")
Pum-pum/pokey/connie/tun tun – Female sex organ. (Plus all the American terms.)
Quaht / cuaht – The quarter (25 cents).
Ras – Ass; also used to refer to someone as foolish / stupid. "Yo a ras hole o wah?"
("Are you stupid or what?" or "Are you an ass hole or what?")
Raven (pronounced more like Raybin) – Greedy (also see Lickrish).
Renk – Bad smell. "Dis food smell renk." ("The food smells bad.")
Rubahs – Sneakers. Sneakers soles were made from rubber! Also condom.
Scrawnee – Thin, bony person.
Scunt – Cunt
Sea Egg – Sea urchin.
Shap – Shop, store.
Sharp (shahp) – Dressed elegantly. Dressed to a T. Also see Dress to Kill.
Shek-Shek / Mother-n-law's tongue / woman's tongue – The tibet tree, Albizia lebbeck.
When the wind moves the dry pods the seeds in the pod rattle. May also be called shak-shak.
Shut, shirt – Child born to a man other than husband; husband will be made to believe
child is his.
Sin-Sin – The Yellow Breast or Banaquit. The sparrow that has a greenish color with a black
head (the Grassquit) is a also called Sinbird,.
Skylarking – Playing around, kidding around.
Snat – Nasal secretions, snot.
States / States sider / Continental – The 48 states / someone from the 48 states / someone
from the continental US. Strangely enough, Alaska and Hawaii were not included. We referred
to those two states as Alaska and Hawaii.
Stay de – Skepticism. When there is doubt in what is being said; when one should do more.
Jane said, "Mi teeth hut." Juliana responded, "Yo stay de, if it wa mi, a would go geh mi teeth
check." (Literal translation: Jane, "My teeth hurt." Juliana replied, "You can continue to feel the
pain. If I were you, I'd go get my teeth examined.") Juan said, "A don't know wah to do bout
dese WAPA (company that supplies electricity to St. Croix residents) bills." James said, "You stay
de, if me was yo a would go talk to sombady in WAPA." (Literal translation: Juan, "I don't know
what I am going to do about these WAPA bills." James responded, "You can worry about / suffer
with the bills but if I were you, I would go talk with someone at WAPA.")
Stingah nettle – Stinging nettle.
Swatsy – Flabby but in a seductive kind of way, mostly used to describe women.
Tail part – Rear end, behind (reference to coccyx).
Tek – Take in all forms (past, present and future). "Ah tek e book." ("I took his book." )
"Ah gon tek a ride to de contry." ("I will take a ride to the countryside.") "Yo wan tek one?"
(Would you like to take one?") "E se tek one so ah tek one." (It said take one so I took one.")
Strangely enough, it can also mean " to have". "She like to tek man." ("She likes having sex
with men.") In this sentence the literal translation would be "She likes taking men."
Tie Tongue – Unpleasant taste in mouth. Could be from bitter/sour fruit like green tamarind.
The sour/bitter taste "ties" the tongue!
Tomp – Thump, to hit with fist.
Touch the Post – A game we played. There were two teams, usually with the same number
of participants in each group. One group would hide, the other group would search for the
members of the opposing team, touching them as they were found. We'd flip a coin to see which
team hid first. The team that was doing the searching would have one or two individuals guarding
the post, a light post or other object. These post guards had to see to it that no one of the
opposing team touched the post before being tagged. If all members of the opposing team were
found and tagged, the team guarding the post would go to hide. If one member of the opposing
team touched the post then they would be allowed to hide again. The team that was able to get
through the goalies and touch the post most often won. (Does this make sense?) Some times the
game would end abruptly when all members of the opposing team could not be found. Once,
while they were searching for me, I climbed to our back terrace, showered and went to bed.
When they realized I could not be found, the game ended.
The next day, I told them what I had done.
Trus – On credit. The person giving the credit was confident the other person would keep
his/her word and pay in due time, so "trust" existed between those involved. In other words, the
person giving the credit "trusted" the other person. "Trust me a pound a sugah no?" ("Can you
sell me a pound of sugar on credit?") Most businesses kept a notebook listing the date, name of
person (s), item(s) bought, and cost. When bill paid, they usually ran a line through the item.
Vex – Upset, angry. Also wex.
Wah – What. "Wah yo want?" ("What do you want?") Could also mean why.
"Wah mek yo cahnt come wih mi?" (Why can't you come with me?)
Wahbin – Prostitute.
Wah fah – What for.
Weh pah – Where.
Whitey Pehe (or Spanish peje) – White man, or someone with skin tone close to white.
(Peje in Spanish is fish.)
Woop – Spank. Can also mean to beat. "A ko woop yo in a game a basketball."
("I can beat you in a game of basketball.")
Wife – Sex. “He like wife.” (“He likes sex.”)
Wine / Whine / Wyne – Move ones hips in a seductive way, gyrate.
Wiss – Vine.
Wok – Work. "Weh yo dad be?" "E at wok." (Where is your dad?" "He is at work.")
Wok up – Move seductively against another person or just to the beat of a tune.
Ya – Here. “Cum ya.” (“Come here.”)
Yam / Yet / Nyam – Eat. "A yet peas an rice. Wah yo ah yet? " ("I ate peas and rice.
What did you eat? ") The pronunciation of "Nyam" is like the "ñ" (eñe) in Spanish or similar
to the "n" in the word onion. [ Update, 1/8/2012 - It is said the vegetable Yam comes from Africa.
The Wolof word is "nyam" meaning "to sample" or "taste". In other African languages
it means "to eat" or "to chew". Other African words for Yam are "njam", "nyami" or "djambi",
meaning "to eat". Did the Spanish borrow "ñapa" and "ñame" from the Africans?
Also see "Nyapa" above.]
Yampi – The crusty mucous secretion that forms in the corners of the eyes.
Some call it "sleep".
Yankin – Speaking with a stateside accent. Reference to Yankee or Yank, a reference to folks
in northern part of USA. "E gahn to States for a month an e cum back yankin like e no know
Crucian." (He went to the States for a month and comes back speaking like a states sider as if
he does not know Crucian.")
Yessah – Yes, Yes Sir.
Yoh – You, your.
|A Quick Lesson in Crucian
|Written by Jorge L. Rodríguez © Cru-Riqueño Productions, 2006
|Written by Jorge L. Rodríguez © Cru-Riqueño Productions, 2006
|Turn music off if it becomes distracting while reading!
|"Beautiful Inkberry Tree: A Christmas Story for Young Virgin Islanders"