Local words you didn’t know their English exist

When it comes to my experience about grammatical errors, I have seen shame a little. And I just wish some moments would be erased from my memory. But, no matter the level of shame I did see, I never gave up the eagerness to have better apprehension of sound spoken English.

Even though I grew up in the midst of limiters as far as having a grasp of the English language is concerned, I didn’t allow myself of being mentally caged. It was much of struggle for me to learn and kept learning. And for the fact that there was no obvious reasons then – to them – that I would be professor of the English language, I just wouldn’t be settled in their complacency: I just wanted to stand out – and be outstanding!

To be factual, it was much of struggle day in day out. Inspite of that, I just did not want to wrap myself in the idea of being a local champion. Never! To help myself, I wouldn’t use any English word I didn’t know its meaning; the Oxford dictionary being my bosom friend then. All my rigorous activities then are now paying off.

I must admit that I am still learning anyway. Someday, I will know much more than I know now.


It’s alarming how people take speaking simple and correct English these days. And much of heartbreak is it for me to see secondary school students who cannot make a complete sentence. What are their excuses? Teachers that are not capable, right? No, because everybody is the architect of their own problems!

I will not just forgive myself easily if I ever said – like many people would say – the English language is not my mother tongue.

Part of the outcome of my humble moments is what I am sharing with you here.

Warning: never give up the fight to betterment! Never settle for less when you can thrust more power to get more and more.

You want the best, you can get it at the cost of its price payment.

Below are the words you never knew their English existed…


Have you heard the word Fontanelle before? And what does it mean?

Fontanelle (or Fontanel) is the space between the bones of a baby’s SKULL, which makes a soft area on the top of the baby’s head. The Yorubas call it àwùjè. You know that part of a new-born baby’s head where the mother would apply a ball of cotton wool dipped in oil? I mean the spot that breathes on a baby’s head at birth and hardened up later. Do you understand now? Thank you.


If a baby possets, milk (breast milk) comes back up from its stomach and out through its mouth.

When a baby sucks from the mother’s breast and sometime later, the breast milk comes out of its mouth, the baby is said to have “posseted”.

Posset sounds like “Por-sit”.

Did you know? When referring to a baby, you don’t use the gender (whether male or female), you use “it” instead.

An example is:

Question: where is the baby?

Answer: it is sleeping.

Goes down the wrong pipe

Whenever you are having a meal and suddenly, out of nowhere, you get a twinge down your throat: probably a portion of the food gets into a part of your throat which leaves you with painful feelings. This occurrence is termed “It goes down the wrong pipe.”

So when you are eating and you experience that, all you need to say – that’s if you will be able to talk anyway – is “It went down the wrong pipe.

To learn more about “How food goes down the wrong pipe,” read this post

Country Cousin

Definition: a person from the country who does not know much about life in the city and who dresses or behaves in a way that shows this.

The “Yorubas” call them “ara oko”

In Lagos such are called “Omo oko.


Definition: the substance that sometimes form in the corners of your eyes after you have been sleeping.

That whitish substance in form of a pus that you see in the corners of your eyes when you wake up sometimes is called Sleep. Yes, sleep!


Definition: A piece of clothing or other item that has been passed on from another person.

Those clothes, shoes or other materials your brother gave to are hand-me-down materials.

E.g. I don’t use Hand-me-downs.

Pins and needles

A sharp tingling sensation from lack of blood circulation.

It usually comes when you’ve sat so long on a particular spot and you were uncomfortable.

Yorubas call it “Pajapaja.”

It’s different from Muscle spasm or Cramp. You call this one Muscle pull too.

Finger food

Definition: Pieces of food that you can easily eat with your fingers.

Eba, fufu, pounded yam and the like, are finger foods.

Cheat Sheet

You know that small paper you hide on your body while writing exams, and if you’re caught you are sent out of the hall in good schools? That’s Cheat sheet.

You call it microchips and the Yorubas call it “eegun” or “orijo.” It’s Cheat sheet in English.


Wring something (out): To twist and squeeze clothes, etc. to get the water out of them.

Example: If you want the cloth to dry quickly, you’ll have to wring it out thoroughly.

Past tense is wrung.

Example: I sure wrung the cloth after washing.


Stoke something up: to add fuel to a fire, etc.

When you readjust the wood for a fire or you add more woods, what you have done is you have stoked up the fire.

E.g. Michael, go and stoke up the fire.


A dish of CORN (MAIZE) and BEANS cooked together.

When you cook corn (maize) and beans together, you make a dish of succotash.


  1. A piece of meat or fish that has no bones in it
  2. To remove the bones from a piece of fish or meat; to cut fish or meat into fillets

E.g. Would you help me fillet the fish?


To break something, especially fish or other food into small thin pieces.

E.g. Fillet the fish and get it flaked.

Dribble, Drool, Slobber or Slaver

Definition: to let saliva drivel from the mouth.

Whenever you wake up and you see a design made with saliva from the corner of your mouth towards any part of your face, you have just dribbled!

E.g. Mango still dribbles at his age!;

“The baby dribbled”

Parsons nose or pope’s nose

Definition: the piece of flesh at the tail end of a cooked bird, usually chicken.

You can “Google-search” the image of  a parson’s nose for clarity.


To travel by asking for free rides in other people’s cars, by standing at the side of the road and trying to get passing cars to stop.

I hitchhiked to the school yesterday.
I will have to hitchhike today as I don’t have enough money.
Dudu is the best hitchhiker I know.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment, and I will do my best possible to respond.


  1. Chai!!! Oyinbo Dey O~ Country Cousin, Fillet N Flake. Great Job Oo, More Power To Ur Elbows. Dont Wanna Say Much So As Not To Tabon. Lol

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