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Like, unnah know way dis is?

The BBC website is currently running an article on the words that the English language owes to India.  Well, this inevitably caused me to think about the words that have been incorporated into the language here, many of which are probably unique to Cayman.

Having only been here 18 months or so, I’m not overly familiar with the collection of words used by native Caymanians but, fortunately, The Cayman Islands Dictionary was published in 2011 by Caymanian Kevin M. Goring, who began compiling words while away at college, thinking of home.

“Dey say it ‘bout time Cayman had uwah own Dictionary cuz uwah chillrin’ needa know way we come from so dey kin know way dey goin’.”

So if you find the locals speaking a language that you don’t quite understand, don’t fear!  Here are a few of the ‘words you should know’ from the Camanology Facebook page:

Cayman Time (kay-mahn tyme)

Noun – 1. at least 10mins. to 1hr. past the reasonable time for any meeting or function to begin. 2. expected delays. 3. a common excuse for being late. 4. an alibi for tardiness Eg. “Any reggae show ya go to in Cayman dey always be startin’ on Cayman time so I jess go layda den wah da flya say.”

Chroo (ch’roo)

Adjective – 1. true. 2. in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact; not false; a true story. 3. sincere; not deceitful. 4. legitimate or rightful. Eg. “If it chroo wah you say, I gah string up Angie Lee if I ketch her with Rodney again.”

Qweh-heh (kweh-heh)

Adjective – 1. nothing at all. 2. having no knowledge of anything. 3. lacking proper understanding or knowledge. 4. completely oblivious. Eg. “Look yah right? Tracey Ann always try ta show me up in uwah staff meetin’s but she doon’ know qweh-heh ‘bug Accountin’ n’ I almost gah my CPA.”

Tee-Tee (tee-tee)

Noun – From West Bay; 1. a close personal friend, usually female. 2. reference to someone without using their real name. Eg. “Awww… how ya doin’ tee-tee? I nah seen you in so long.”

Make sure you visit the Caymanology Facebook page for more words and general information on Caymanology, the study, preservation and promotion of all things Caymanian:

I’m off to buy myself a copy of The Cayman Islands Dictionary right now…


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