10 Common Words Nigerians Use Everyday That Don’t Actually Exist

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Many people speak English as their first language. It is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.
Some of the words and phrase we Nigerians use often cannot be found in the dictionary. Some are words you picked up from others and they have become quite a norm.

It is not only the uneducated folks that are guilty of using these wrong words as the very educated Nigerians also use the English language inappropriately.

Below are words Nigerians use that doesn’t exist in the English dictionary

1. Go-slow

When Nigerians say go-slow, they mean congested traffic, which is wrong. The meaning of go-slow in the English dictionary is, a form of industrial action in which work or progress is deliberately delayed or slowed down.

2. Disvirgin

This word is used on a daily basis by many Nigerians when they intend to say a woman has lost her virginity. There is no word like disvirgin. The correct word to use is deflower. Disvirgin simply does not exist.

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3. Trafigate


Nigerians use the word to describe a situation where a driver indicates to other drivers that he/she wants to take a turn. It is used so often, that it has started to sound like proper English.

4. Flashing

Every Nigerian knows “flashing” to mean when someone calls your mobile phone and cuts off before you answer. The word ‘flash’ is so common among Nigerians and its used at least once daily by many. Flash has different meanings but none has anything to do with a phone call. The word doesn’t exist in that sense in English.

5. Installmentally

Don’t be tempted to use the word ‘installmentally’. Though it sounds correct, it isn’t. There is no such word in the English dictionary as it only exists only in the Nigerian edition of English language. The correct thing to say is ‘in installments’.
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6. Opportuned

What exists in English dictionaries is ‘opportune,’ without ‘d’ at the end. Opportune means ‘timely’ or ‘well-time, especially convenient or appropriate for a particular action or event. Opportuned is only common in Nigerian English.

7. Cunny:

This is a word which Nigerians use to describe someone that is being deceitful or crafty. The right word is cunning not cunny.

8. Next tomorrow

Most Nigerians generally use “next tomorrow” but there is not such word as next tomorrow. Instead you should say, “a day after tomorrow”.

9. Packer

Nigerians probably got the word from pack. The right word is dustpan. Since dustpan packs dirt, Nigerians like to call it packer.

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10. Pepperish

It is common to hear Nigerians describe a meal that has too much pepper in it as pepperish. The proper word should be ‘peppery’. No native English speaker uses the word pepperish” to describe the burning sensation we feel from eating pepper.
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But the English language is a finicky one and it’s ever changing. Words are updated and definitions change. New words are added every year and some are retired. Very few people will ever master the entire language and the rest of us will just have to do the best we can!

So these words might end up in there one day. However, at the moment they’re mostly used by Nigerians only and are considered wrong.

Have you used any of these words before?

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