Gen­e­sis of Bajan Nicknames

Let’s end the week with a laugh .… Bajan laff

Bajan Nick­names

Gen­e­sis of Bajan Nicknames

The con­cept of nick­names first orig­i­nated in Bar­ba­dos dur­ing the slav­ery era. Dur­ing this era, slaves tended to use their native lan­guage to com­mu­ni­cate in ways that the planter class could not under­stand. Because of this, the plan­toc­racy decided to rename the slaves, due to a lack of under­stand­ing of their lan­guage. In some ways this prac­tice was used to demor­alise the slaves but today, nick­names tend to be a tone of affec­tion when they are given, and are very humor­ous in the way that they are applied, even when some­times the name may seem demean­ing. Nick­names in Bar­ba­dos are usu­ally given in child­hood. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t under­stand a person’s nick­name because some nick­names tend to be quite con­fus­ing and tend not to make a lot of sense. Nick­names are given some­times based on an occu­pa­tion, or as a result of a par­tic­u­lar inci­dent. How­ever, in recent times, nick­names tend to be given based on the looks of a person.

Pop­u­lar Nick­names and their Meanings

· Cow foot – some­one with unusu­ally large feet.

· Buf­falo – some­one who is over­weight from a very young age.

· Boy blue – given to some­one with a very dark com­plex­ion, so dark it was described as being. “black til it blue”.

· Chi­nee man – given to per­sons with slanted eyes.

· Jack – given to some­one who is “jack of all trades, mas­ter of none”.

· De ham­mer – given to carpenters.

· Hawk – a guy who would see a girl and quickly make a move.

· Hunter – a guy always look­ing for female company.

· Daddy and Mums – terms used to address elderly folk. Com­monly seen with con­duc­tors. address­ing elderly per­sons on vans.

· Short man – for short men.

· Tall man – for tall men.

· Red man – to address men who are “light brown” in complexion.

· Fat man – for chubby or fat men.

· Ras – used to address per­sons who are Rastafarians.

· “B” – to address a friend/​confidant.

This list is by no means exhaus­tive, as some nick­names are less com­mon and just applied based on some­thing from a person’s child­hood as pre­vi­ously men­tioned. How­ever, the giv­ing of nick­names is a key part of Bar­ba­dian cul­ture, specif­i­cally that of the forefathers.

© Arti­cle of Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
© Photo from drink​fromthedeep​.com

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