Local Lingo

Not only do Caymanians have a distinct dialect, with accents even varying from district to district, but they also have many unique words and phrases.

Caymanian Expressions by Kevin M GoringA handy guide to shed light on these colloquialisms is “Caymanian Expressions” by Kevin Goring. It’s a companion book to his previous work, “The Cayman Islands Dictionary.”

“Caymanian Expressions” features a collection of local sayings and everyday utterings that are used in the Cayman Islands. The book is now recommended reading for those applying for permanent residency.

The book is divided into classic sayings and contemporary expressions, and there is also a short glossary of common Caymanian colloquial words to use as a reference.

Here are some samples of local lingo.

“Unna cum nah” – Come with me, all of you. Let’s go.
“Who you fuh?” – Who are your parents?
The book is now recommended reading for those applying for permanent residency.“Trouble don’t blow shell” – Bad things happen without warning.
“Yoh mout big boy” – You talk too much.
“Looky yah” – Check this out.
“Cow know where fence is weak” – A bully knows who to pick on.
“Greedy choke puppy” – Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
“Horse dead and cow fat” – When one person loses, another gains.
“Unna ketchin’ gapseed again?” Are you all gossiping again?
“Time longer than rope” – Nothing is forever. Only time is.

“Caymanian Expressions” is available at Books & Books in Camana Bay and Amazon.

who dat is? A George Town native, Kevin Goring is acting deputy director/branch manager of the George Town Public Library Service. Kevin began compiling local phrases and sayings out of curiosity, and interest in his own culture. The project eventually snowballed into publishing his research, with the aim of helping to preserve Cayman’s cultural and linguistic heritage.