Photo: trinidad+tobago film festival

1. Yuh fadder is a glassmaker or wha?

This is what you say when someone blocks your view when you’re watching TV or an important cricket match.

2. Better belly buss than good food waste.

Trinis love to eat so much that they prefer to stuff themselves than throw out perfectly edible food.

3. Yuh cyah play mas if yuh fraid powder.

During Carnival, masqueraders dressed as sailors throw baby powder on spectators and other unsuspecting people in the band. This saying means not to get involved in something controversial if you can’t handle criticism.

4. Crapaud smoke yuh pipe.

When Kermit’s uncle smokes your pipe, you know you’re in big trouble.

5. All skin teeth eh laugh.

When someone smiles at you, it doesn’t mean that that person is your friend or someone you can trust.

6. Cockroach have no right in fowl party.

What happens if a cockroach enters a fowl coop? It gets eaten. In the same way, a person shouldn’t go where they are not wanted, especially if they’re not of a particular social class.

7. Every bread have a cheese.

Even the ugliest or most unattractive person is bound to find a soul mate.

8. Dog doh make cat.

Children will behave just like their parents.

9. Higher monkey climb, the more he show he ass.

The higher some people climb up the social ladder, the more ridiculous their behavior becomes.

10. Any time is Trinidad time.

Commonly used as an excuse by Trinis who are late to a party or to the office.

11. Monkey know which tree to climb.

People know exactly who to manipulate and who to take advantage of.

12. I wasn’t invited to the wedding so doh invite me to the funeral.

A bitter remark used by someone who feels slighted. They weren’t invited during the good times so don’t expect them to come to your rescue during the bad times.

13. Playing dead to ketch corbeau alive.

In Trinidad and Tobago, a vulture is called a corbeau. If you pretend to be dead for a corbeau, it’s like pretending to be ignorant to catch someone in the act. It can also be used to refer to a person who pretends to be someone they are not.

14. Take in front before in front take yuh.

To quickly ‘fess up when you do something wrong to avoid worse consequences.

15. Yuh cyah make love on hungry belly.

Love doesn’t put food on the table. Before getting into a serious relationship or marriage, both partners should have money in the bank.

16. What sweet in goat mouth sour in he bam bam.

Eating something that tastes great but then gives you a bad case of diarrhea is like doing something bad that feels good and facing the dire consequences afterwards.

17. When yuh neighbor house on fire, wet yours.

Don’t think that what happened to someone else will not happen to you. Take precautions and learn from other people’s mistakes.

18. When de mark buss.

People say this when secrets are exposed and become public knowledge.

19. To boil down like bhaji.

Bhaji is a type of spinach found in Trinidad and Tobago that shrinks considerably when it’s cooked so the saying means to cool down abruptly after being explosively angry.

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