Glossary of Trini terms

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                                                       ~Page is still under construction please be sure to check back for updates~

I’ve decided to include a page dedicated to words or phrases commonly used in parlance of Trinidad & Tobago and some other parts of the Caribbean.  Many of the foods that are mentioned in my posts will also be found here as I attempt to explain what they are and what they consist of.  Where possible I shall try to find the origins of such words/phrases.

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Tawah
Syn. for baking stone. A heavy, flat iron cooking utensil most commonly used to make roti or bake.

Coconut Bake
Bakes are a variety of bread here in Trinidad- such that they replace or can replace bread. There are many variations within the ‘bake family’ including ‘fry’ bake (fried bakes), coconut bake and roast bake. Essentially all of the bakes are made from a bread-like dough and then cooked either by baking, frying or roasting. Coconut bake as you may have guessed includes grated coconut and is a traditional local food here in Trinidad.  It, like any other bread, can be eaten with almost anything that bread can be.  It is quite a bit ‘heavier’ than bread and is best eaten hot with melted butter, cheese, sausages or salt fish and steaming hot cup of cocoa.

Lime
Ok, this one is interesting.  We use this word as a verb but also a noun-aside from being a citrus fruit.  To lime (vb) refers to ‘getting together, hanging out’ (eg. I’m going to lime with my friends at Bacco pizzeria Italiana tonight). A lime(n) refers to a gathering, a social get together (eg. Tonight there is going to be a lime at Dream Ultra lounge and bar, come meet us there). You can also say- we are liming tonight at… or let’s lime tonight.  Apparently it originated from the British who used to have limes (as in the fruit) with them when they gathered together socially.  They would use the limes to ward off flies when they were together- hence the birth of the term ‘liming‘.

fru-fru
Describes fancy, unnecessary things/adornments.  For example, ‘that lady loves a lot of fru-fru, always wearing feathers on her hats or big gold chains, even when she’s just liming outside!’

Kill the Freshness
In Trinidad and Tobago and perhaps throughout the Caribbean we are quite concerned about our foods- meat in particular- being ‘fresh‘.  This really refers to the smell and taste of blood on the meat.  We try to remove this odor and taste by first preparing our meats by washing them in lime/lemon juice/ vinegar/alcohol or a mixture of flour and water; this is called ‘killing the freshness‘.  This can be likened to the term ‘gamey’ as used when referring to other types of meats like wild meat/game- agouti, deer, boar etc.

Ground Provisions
Describes root vegetables such as yams, cassava, eddoes, sweet potatoes, dasheen, tania, potato and beets.

Cassava
Same as yuca- a root vegetable

Bandit
Synonym for thief or burglar

Sancoche
Pr. sancoach- this is the term used to describe Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional soup made of yellow split peas, ground provisions, meat and dumplings.

Stew
In the Trinibagonian version stew is made by browning(caramelizing) sugar is oil. Seasoned meat/fish/some legumes are then added to the browned sugar and cooked.  The resulting taste is sweet and delicious.  Popular dishes done by this method include Pelau, Pigeon Peas, Chicken/Beef/Pork/Shrimp and Potatoes(usually with meat)

Laters/Later
This is a word that you would hear pretty often in Trinidad, Tobago and the rest of Caribbean- at least the places I’ve visited.  It’s our version of ‘see ya’ or ‘salut/ciao/bye’. It’s used between friends and implies informality.  You wouldn’t say “ok, well laters nah” to your boss!!

Nah
This is a good one.  It’s used universally on a day to day, minute by minute basis here in T&T. It’s usually ends a sentence like “Let’s go to the beach nah?” I guess it’s similar to how Canadians use eh? The tricky thing about nah though is that it’s also used to replace ‘no’.  For example- “let’s go to the beach nah?” “nah ah cyah go today nah” (wow, that just either got really funny or really confusing!)

 

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