If you have any sort of street credibility or are even a bit familiar with the streets of Nigerian Twitter, chances are your sentences are peppered with Nigerian slangs

But do you know the meaning of some of them? Are you saying them right? That’s what we’re about to find out.


You might think to “trabaye” means to “shayo or enjoy your life”. It kinda does, but it mostly means to “misbehave or get intoxicated as a result of taking hard drugs”. It got popularised by Portable’s hit, Zazuu.

charles okocha in royal garb appears to be snorting cocaine from a couch with a palace worker

Gbemi de be

Translated into English, it says, “Take me there”, but it has a similar meaning to “trabaye” — to get high on drugs — so you might not want to repeat it in front of your Nigerian mother.

red eyed man illustration with a purple shirt

Let him cook

Don’t lie. You probably saw this on Twitter and concluded it means to drag someone. It does, but an important difference is, the dragger is the person “cooking” (usually with insults or mocking words) the “draggee”. You can also say the draggee is being “cooked”.

Zack Orji sitting on a white plastic furniture with small tiger generators photoshopped on the table and around him


This one is still new with the Gen Z community, so if you see it, don’t get confused. It’s culled from “charisma” and refers to one’s skill in charming a potential romantic partner.

man driving wearing a hat an suit with  text below reading "it's not my fault that when I laid my eyes on you I fell helplessly in love, please give me a chance."

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Emi lokan

This one became popular because of Tinubu, and now, most people just use it to refer to him. It’s not his nickname, though. Translated into English, it means “It’s my turn”, so feel free to use it when you want to fight for your right. Preferably not on social media sha, because someone will no-doubt “cook” you.

Ahmed Bola Tinubu on a podium with both hands raised

[Insert name] snapped

According to people who invented English, to snap means to get angry, so I don’t blame you if you think that too. But according to the rules of slang, it means you did a great job or you “killed” an outfit. Similar to: “You ate and left no crumbs”.

lady wearing black beret and black top with caption reading: "look at her skin, look at her figure, wow."

Ajé (Pronounced Ahh-Jay)

This is typically used in “Ajé, you dey motivate me”, and for the longest time, I wondered why. For context, “Ajé” is Yoruba for “money/wealth”, but in this slang, it means “Honestly” or “I swear”. It came from how Yorubas use the word to swear and prove their honesty.

face of african man looking at camera mischeaviously

Pepper don set

I can’t be the only one who thought this slang meant something like: “the gossip is ready”. Apparently, it means “money is here in abundance”, and it’s time to party.

obi cubana holding bundles of naira notes to his ear with his tongue out

Bonus: Trenches

You should already know this, but “trenches” is a slang term for the ghetto or tough situations. You could say you came from the trenches if you came from a poor background.

patience ozokwor crying with caption reading: "cries in abject poverty"

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