10 Phrases I Love That I Learned From Black People

10 Phrases I Love That I Learned From Black People

As a dude with a degree in Psychology, people interest me, and black people are no exception.


1. Omma do dis

Translation: "I'm going to do this"

I don't really find myself saying, "I am going to do this",  too often, but because it's so fun to physically say aloud "omma do dis", it's tempting.

(singing "Rock me, Omma do dis" to the tune of, "Rock me Amadaeus" optional)

2. Word and Word?

Translation: Really and Really? Or can just mean, "cool" or "ok".

This "word" isn't particularly important, but it's said often, mostly after a declarative sentence. As in,

Rodney: I'll meet you at 8:30?

Jamal: Word


Rodney: Rihanna just called and asked me on a date.

Jamal: Oh word???

In my experience, "word" is a great way to spice up an otherwise-lame-o sentence like,

Rodney: So I guess my mom has been watching a lot of Perry Mason re-runs lately.

Jamal: Oh word???


3. Twerking

Admittedly, I'm a lot more amused by watching twerking, than I am by the word, "twerking". But I did learn the word from black people, so I guess it counts as a reason to show some twerking.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth only three words. Which I will explain in #4


4. Ohh maaa Gaaaa

Translation: Oh my God

Black people say, "Oh my God" in a much more amusing way than white people do, and I've found that women are much more likely to say this than men. And when they do, it's awesome.


5. "Fa ril" and "Fa ril dough"

translation: For real and For real, though.

These are a lot like "word" and pretty self explanatory. It's just a more fun way to say, "Oh, no kidding?"


6. You wrong fa dat

translation: You are wrong for that

It was a slow week at my last job if one of the Southside ladies I worked with didn't tell me, "Oh you wrong fa dat", at least twice. It's a great phrase and kinda reminds me of

7. Hayell Naww

Translation: Hell no

A lifelong southsider helped me with my blaccent on this one. I was used to pronouncing it more like "Hay-ell naw", but she told me she goes with more of a "heeee-ill naw".  So pick one of those two pronunciations and try it out.

8. Bogus

Translation: Bogus

Bogus is an underutilized word in modern America and it seems like the black community does a better job keeping it alive than other groups I've spent time with and I want to commend them for that. I'm also told that it's common for black people to add an "h" to the end of  "bogus" in an attempt to shush their counterpart's bogus notions, though I have yet heard it on my own.


9. Girrrrrlllll

Translation:  Girrrrrllllll

This is a great multi-use word. It can mean, "You better be careful",  "You go girl",  "You are really something else", ore most frequently, all of the above.


10. Lay her Down and Smack em Yack Em

translation: Makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise

As far as I can tell, not a lot of black use that phrase but they will always get the reference when you use it.


Protip:  "sheeeeit",  translates into, "golly".



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  • The twerking video? I'm just going to tell you . . . my mother-in-law wore those same pants to the theater yesterday. Oh, and I have the pink & red ones I wear as pajamas. We must all shop at the same store.

  • In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    Hayell ye-uh!! Women of all ages need good twerkin' pants!

  • In reply to TRSlyder:

    I'm going to ask her to do that move on Christmas.

  • In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    Since she'd be the tweker, that would make you the Christmas twerkee!

  • These have all been featured on Ice Cube CDs. If you wanted to give someone language tapes on this topic, you'd give them some Cube albums

  • Ha ha!! Also:
    1.Turnt up
    2. Slapped
    3. Bout that life
    4. Out South
    5. Popping Molly's
    6. Yessuh

    Check out the Twitter account for ghetto translations.

  • In reply to Evan Moore:

    Evan, I first heard #5 from some white music industry people a few years ago. I do like #1, which reminds me of one I learned from the Wire that I love: Got got.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Haha, 20 years from now Cube CD's will be curriculum.

  • As you mature, you will realize that all people who have the same color of skin are not alike. When you say "black people" that includes over 17 million people in the USA. Only a tiny portion of black people walk around saying "Omma do dis" and other idiotic phrases. This kind of slang represents the street culture of people who certainly do not represent intelligent, well spoken educated black people who are leaders, entrepreneurs, policeman, professors, doctors, lawyers, and presidents. If you want black friends, stop choosing them from street people who will probably turn on you at the drop of a hat. Choose ordinary people with good character who have not made themselves into a comic character. Get away from TV. Many of those people create outrageous crazy slang-talking personalities for ratings and money!.
    Think of the craziest most outrageous person in your family. Now suppose people judged your family by that person. Suppose most people thought that all of you were just like him or her? Wouldn't that make you upset and frustrated, especially if you were educated? I know you don't mean any harm, but it is another kind of racial profiling, stereotyping. Maybe you should say "Things street people say."

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