Doesn’t matter in what country you find yourself, hearing any of these very South African words will definitely bring about some response. Some will bring a smile to your face while others will have you in stitches. Like with everything else in life, there will  be a few that will make you cringe!

A
Ag shame!
To express anything from sympathy to sarcasm. “Ag Shame, she didn’t deserve that”. “You are too tired to shop? Ag shame man, you really have it tough” or “My friend’s husband really made an effort with Valentine’s day. Ag Shame man, how cute is that!”
Aikona!
No way, Ican’t believe it!
Amped
Fired up, excited. Ready for action.

B
Babelaas
The sensitive/fragile state you find yourself in after a night of too much drinking.
“I’ve got a hectic babbie (babelaas) today – don’t know what I was thinking last night!”
Bakgat
Right on. When you agree with something it’s bakgat, you like the idea. “Let’s have a regmaker (another drink) to sort out this babelaas, Piet”. Answer: “Bakgat”.
Bakkie
The SA version of a truck. A very guy-thing in South Africa, all the “manne” drive bakkies. If it’s a 4×4, all the better.
Ballies
Parents. Your Folks.
Barnie
A barnie is a fight between two (or more) guys (or girls). This fruitless exercise will mostly take place at a pub or bar. Sometime before the babelaas kicks in.
Bergies
Hobo’s (people living on the street). Not street children, though. Bergies are more “mature” (in age and consumption).
Biltong
Dried (raw) meat
Biscuit
Sweet thing. “Thanks so much for double checking my figures, you’re a real biscuit!”
Bling
Anything shiny. “Check out the bling on that car.” (probably some serious mags and eye-blinding extras).
Bobotie
A traditional Afrikaans recipe. Minced meat, raisins, yellow rice.
Boerewors
South African sausage, usually eaten at a braai or at breakfast.
Boet
Short for boetie which means brother in Afrikaans. “Hey Frikkie, won’t you get me
another beer from the fridge, thanks Boet!”
Bos / Bossies
When you go berserk, you go bos / bossies. “Jinne, you should’ve seen that woman at the Kurt Darren concert – she went bossies , she ran up to the poor oke and threw herself at his feet, the bouncers had to drag her away!”
Boykie
Something the “manne” would say when they approve of another guy doing, well, whatever it is that guys do: “Did you see Sarel sink that black ball! What a boykie!
Braai
A barbeque (social event). We do it all the time – during the week or weekends and we braai anything.
Bru
A brother (not necessarily family). Hey bru, howzit hangin’?
Bunny Chow
A hollowed-out half loaf of bread filled with curry. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a bunny.

C
Crash
Sleep. “I’m spent, if I don’t crash soon I’m not going to make the party”.
Circle
Traffic circle aka roundabouts.
Cool
Lekker. I like. Bakgat. Kiff.

D
Dinges

Watch-a-ma-call-it. Thing-a-ma-bob. “Hey Kobus, just pass me the dinges so I can fix this pipe.”
Dodge
Someone that is dodgy or dodge is not to be trusted. “Chips, that guy on the corner looks dodge. Hide your bling”.
Dof
Not very bright. It is mostly used to describe someone being stupid in the moment:  “Zuma, who?” Answer: “Nooit, bru, if you don’t know who Jacob Zuma is you’re seriously dof”.
Dop
Alcoholic beverage. Booze. “Let’s have one more dop before we hit the road”.
Doss
Sleep. Crash. “I’m going to catch a doss before we go”.
Duck
To “make a duck” is to leave a place. “Hey dude, Sam is on her way, I’m going to make a duck before she finds me here”.
Dutchman
Boer. Boertjie. Afrikaans person. AKA Bonehead.

E
Eina!
Expression of pain. Ouch!
Eish
This is so South African it’s not even funny. It’s a Zulu expression used in response to surprise, disbelief, shock. “Eish, it’s hot today” or “Can you believe she took that wall out on her way down the driveway! ..Eish.”

F
Folks
Parents. Ballies. “I’d like to go but will have to check with my folks, they’re under the bizarre impression that I’m grounded”.
Fully
Absolutely. “Did you see that move Jaco pulled when that dude klapped him?” Answer: “Fully, bru”.

G
Gatvol
Afrikaans: Fed up. I’ve had it. “I’m gatvol of having him on my case the whole time”.
Going ballistic
Losing it. Being out of control. To go “bos”.  “I just kissed this girl, dude, it’s not like we were actually doing it, you know but Kathy saw me before I could make a duck and she went ballistic”.
Goof
Swimming. “Bring your cozzy (swimming costume) with and we’ll go for a goof”
Graft
One’s place of work. “Where do you graft”?
Grief
Talking nonsense. “It wasn’t my fault, there I was minding my own business having a dop in peace when this oke just walked up to me and started giving me grief”.
Gwai
Cigarette (Zulu).

H
Half jack
Half a bottle of spirits (booze).
Hana-hana
Yak yak. It can basically mean anything: “What’s all the hana-hana’ing about? or
“ Don’t hana-hana me (look for trouble, back chat), you’ll get klapped”.
Hectic
To express/describe anything radical.  “I’ve heard there is some kind of issue with the water in South Africa… imagine not having drinking water!” Answer: “Hectic, bru”.
Hose
To laugh hysterically. “You should’ve seen that chick (girl) on Idols trying to pull off an R&B song , I was hosing myself”.
Hottie
Someone of the opposite sex: “That new guy from Accounts is such a hottie”.
Howzit
A combination of “hell, how are you” and “what’s up?”  Try not to answer: “I’m fine thank you, yourself?”

I
Isit?
Is it? Example: “I was sitting next to Amanda and you know what, you wouldn’t frikkin believe it, she was like all over that guy next to her while Johan was right there, as in next to her.” Answer: “Isit?” (Really?) Or in a more cheeky way: “I suggest you have an attitude adjustment real soon or we’re going to have a problem.” Answer:  “ Isit?” (You reckon? Whatcha gonna do?)

J
Jislaaik
Afrikaans: Gee whizz. Wow.
Jinne
Afrikaans: Goodness. “Jinne, but you are full of it today”.
Jol
Good time. Party. “I was having such a jol (good time) at that jol (party)”.
Just now
Not right now, but in a little while: “Chill bru, I know what I said –  I’ll be there just now. I’m almost finished with the Prison Break series, two more to go, I’ll see you just now, ok.”

K

Kak
Rubbish. Shit. Problems. Nonsense. “My goodness that salesman was talking kak” or “I would never buy that dress, it’s so kak”
Keffie

Café. The good ol’ cafe, now replaced by the shops you’ll find at filling stations. Some used to pronounce it “kêffie”.
Kiff / Kief
If something is nice. Lekker. “That was such a kiff wave, bru”.
Klippies and Coke
Brandy and Coke.
Koeksisters
Traditional Afrikaans dessert: A sticky, twisted, syrup-coated “doughnut”.  Delicious.

L
Laaitie
Boy or son. From a father: “That’s my laaitie tuning the referee grief, what a boykie!” or “hey, laaitie, where’s your ou toppie?”
Lame
Weak. “That was such a lame excuse to use, you suck, man”.
Lank
A lot. Very. Plenty.  “I’m lank excited about the festival bru”.
Larney
Fancy. Snob. “We went to a larney party the other night – the first time ever that my dop was poured in real crystal, bru! Even the poodle had a larney crystal bowl, true as bob!” (I kid you not).”
Lekker
This Afrikaans word is used by everyone, everywhere to describe anything nice / pleasant.  “I’ve got such a lekker job.”

M
Manne
Alpha males or important people. “I went to this business presentation and yislaaik I was nervous, all the main manne were there with their egos.”
Mampara
A fool. “Stop being such a mampara, I’m being serious.” Or “He is so corrupt, he deserves the Mampara of the Year award.”
Melktert
Traditional South African dessert. Creamy milk filling in crust with cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Mission
Can be used in two ways. “I know he’s on the rebound, I saw him at the club the other night and could see he was on a mission” or “This admin work is such a mission (schlep).”
Mozzie
Mosquito

N
Naff

Wuss. Wimp. “Stop being such a naff and grow some backbone for a change.”
Nooit
Afrikaans: Never, no way! “Did you hear we won the world cup bid”? “Nooit, bru, are you serious?”
Now now
A nice way of saying that it can happen at any time, no pressure. Almost the same as “just now”, the only difference is that “now now” is even more flexible. Don’t you just love South African time? It will get done eventually. And we’re all ok with it.

O
Oke
Guy. Bloke. “That  oke’s checking out my mother!”

P
Padkos
Afrikaans and means “food for the road”. It usually means sarmies (sandwiches), perhaps even a boerie roll (boerewors roll), chips, cooldrinks and if you’re lucky a piece of biltong or droe wors. If your mother or gran packs your padkos it will be more like blue, hard-boiled eggs, chicken pieces or meatballs and home-made juice or Oros. But you will definitely have some serviettes, maybe even a wet dish cloth to wipe your hands. Lucky you.
Pap
Traditional South African starchy dish. More an African and Afrikaans thing. Also called Phuthu. Often served with sous (gravy / chakalaka).
Pavement
Side walk.
Phuthu
Pap
Potjie / Potjiekos
Almost like a stew made outside on a fire using a 3-legged cast iron pot.
Pozzy
House / Home. “Come and watch the rugby at my pozzy”

R
Regmaker

Afrikaans for “to fix”. A regmaker is an alcoholic drink (it will mostly follow a night of heavy drinking, it’s supposed to fix one’s babelaas but will often lead to another drinking session).
Robots
Traffic lights.
Rooibos
Herbal tea.

S
Saffa
A South African (referred to as a “Saffa” in other countries)
Samoosa
Indian snack in the form of a triangle pastry with tasty fillings (deep fried in oil). Not for wussies / naffies as most of them are quite hot.
Sarmie
Sandwich
Scaly
Dodgy. Not to be trusted. “That guy with the backpack looks scaly, let’s make a duck”.
Schlep
Mission. Hard work. “I’ve got the music but coming up with the lyrics is such a schlep”.
Skebenga
Zulu for ganster or crook. “Watch out bru, that guy checking out your wheels looks like a real skebenga”.
Skedonk
Old car that barely makes it up hills.
Skeem
To think. “I skeem we should let these guys join us, what do you skeem?
Skinner

Gossip. “What’s the latest skinner?”
Skottel
Mobile gas barbecue. “Ag we will just whip up something for breakfast on the Skottel Braai.”
Slap chips
Almost like fries but not. It’s like fries but just bigger and not crispy, rather “slap” (limp). To be eaten with loads of salt, vinegar and tomato sauce.
Slapgat
Afrikaans for not having any backbone. Wuss. Wimp.
Slip slops
Sandals (or slops) with a strap between the big toe and the one next to it.
Smaak
Afrikaans and means “to taste” but it’s not used in that context. “That Susan is so hot, I’ve smaaked (liked) her from the first time I checked her”.
Snotklap
“If you try that again, I’ll give you a snotklap (slap).”
Sorry
Not used in an apologetic way. Context: Excuse me? Or when you want to pass someone but they are standing in your way, you go “sorry”. Or something like this: Person 1: “Do you know that scientific method refers to bodies of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.” Answer: “Sorry?” (say again?)
Sosatie
Kebab.
Squeeza
Domestic help. “Hey Squeeza, howz about some coffee?”
Squeeze
Girlfriend. Stukkie.
Staunch
Big, strong. “That guy with the blank expression on his face, he’s lank staunch, hey. You don’t want to tune him grief.”
Stoked
Happy. “Pieter eventually asked me to be his Valentine, I’m so stoked I can just cry!”
Struesbob
Really. It’s true. As in as true as Bob. “I saw it on the telly, man, Vernon Koekemoer survived that hectic crocodile attack and by the time they found the crocodile it was, like, severely traumatised, bru, struesbob”.
Stukkie
Sexist term for woman or man. “We’re having another braai, bring your stukkie so we can meet her”.
Swak
Bad. Not on. “I can’t believe you’re not voting, dude. Swak. I skeem you guys that don’t vote are all slapgat”

T
Takkies

Trainers. Sneakers. Can also mean tyres: “Nooit, my ou, you should get yourself some decent takkies, these things look like marie biscuits”.
Tune
To provoke or tell. “Don’t tune (tell) me what-what, my ou, I’ll get up here and give you a snotklap.”

V
Van der Merwe

Like Paddy in Ireland, Van or Van der Merwe is the South African.  We all know a Van der Merwe joke.
Vernon Koekemoer
Our very own (Sylvester Stallone look-alike) version of David Hasselhoff and Chuck Norris.
Voertsek (pronounced foot-sak)
Go away, bugger off, voertsek!
Vrot
Rotton (anthing that’s off) or to describe someone that’s totally wasted (that had too much to drink).  “I was still having a dop and the next moment I found myself dossing on the floor..eish I was vrot, hey”.

W
Wasted

See “vrot”
What what
Yak-yak. Whatever. “I tell you, she was still gaaning aan (carrying on), tuning me what-what in that high pitched voice when I stood up and left the joint”.
Wuss
Wimp. Naff.

Y
Yebo
It means “yes” in Zulu but can also be used as a “hello” greeting.

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