Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not for the prim, proper, or prudish - Ghanaian insults to make you hot around the ears.



When Ghanaians want to insult you lightly, they call you a fool or liken you to an animal:


Aboa (animal),
Kwasea (depending on where the stress is placed, this could mean anything from fool to imbecile),
Kwaseampani (fool),
Oguan (sheep),
Prɛko (pig),
Nantwiee (cow),
dɔlu (stupid) or dɔlu dɔlu (doubly stupid),
wo nnim nyansa (you have no sense)

Or talk about a body part
wo aso sɛ adanko aso (your ears like that of a rabbit),
ogugɔ tɔmo kyina gugɔ (poor attempt at Ga. But this supposed to mean :your nose like that of a cow),
oda tsakaa (ugly mouth....in Ga)
w'enim tantan (ugly face)


When we want the insult to go you square (pain you), we attack your parents :

Wo maame (your mother),
wo maame twɛ (your mother's vagina),
your moda ( your mother)
your fada (your father)
onya e sɔɔmi (your mother's vagina...in Ga)


Or your private parts

Kɔte bɔtɔ (uncircumcised man)


Or we say something about where you come from or who you are:

Kuraseni (villager),
opanyin gyengyan (useless old person),
tuutuu baa (prostitute),
alele (prostitute),
bush boy or bush girl (uncultured person)


And if we really want to declare(slang for insult) you, but have nothing specific to attack, we say something like

Wo yɛ John (you're dull)
focking boy ( i have no idea what this even means. but it's bad bad stuff)


Do you know any damaging Ghanaian insults? How to really diss someone Ghana style? What's your favorite? Mine is :w'aprɔw a ma nsaaman fi fi ne hwen mu puei puei (
he is so rotten, he has maggots coming out of his nose). I owe this one to my grandma. ha! Have I left anything out?

46 comments:

  1. Newest member of your flock of followers.
    ok...not so bad attempts at the Ga versions! nice try.

    well..i'm also fascinated by GALAWAY(get way)or better still GERROUT THE HE(get out of here) for those who want to sound "exotic".

    i'm quite surprised that you forgot GO WAY YOU.
    cheers Esi!...heard from Eddy yet?..about the vid interviews!

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  2. My goodness, that's some good stuff.............. You should see me here. I'm on the floor.......... LMAOOOOOOOOOO

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  4. nice post esi. i hear aboa and kwasea often but i am sure others slip by me. i had it in my head to blog about ghanaian insults, but i don't yet have a command of a ghanaian language. but what occurred to me is that ghanaian insults strike as very mild as compared to, say, american ones. but this is obviously cultural. i recall a friend i visited in gambia had a four year old child who would occasionally utter the words "mother fucker". it sounded very harsh to my ears but to my gambian friends it had no cultural relevance. kzs

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  5. hahahaha@ focking boy, its not really an insult i use it even when my parents are around, its like a boys boys insult if you will call it that. your moda cracked me up soo much! lolzzzzzzzzzzz

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  6. gyimi-gyimi
    gbili gbili
    gbemi adwoa!
    baa ye nfɛflɛ
    to ji bo?
    breddey fool/bleddey fool
    sorsket
    wo tw'asidi
    wo ni tw'asidi
    awala wo twɛ'm aye?
    buulu [barstardized eng. bull]
    bɛɛma kotobonku
    duri manga
    dan duri manga
    suliya manga
    onyɛ fiton kpɔ
    avu
    koklo
    avu-koklo
    aba gao!
    ewo dada kolo gbagyaa
    w'ano pakyaa sɛ ebin a y'atie mu
    wo yɛ kwasea bebree
    wo trumu bin kankai
    aden, wo ni si fridge mu?
    wawa!
    your face like monkey shadow
    your face like botoss
    the cheek of it
    dont be silly
    me ne w'anum
    na niama
    me nye nu mo
    w'abo dam?!

    yo momma's so fat, it takes a train ride, 2 buses and a 5 minute walk to get to her good side. [ok maybe not this one]

    PS: I might have got some of the ewe and housa ones wrong but those that know will get it.

    Enjoy! And I hope you read the disclaimer. Any complaints will get you an e-slap and a five-finger-with-thumb-raised salute

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  7. @imperfect black: mild you say? look at the list above. you obviously havent pissed off the right people

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  8. @Nii, biiiig welcome to the blog. Come hang with us often. Yes, how could i forget "go wey you!"
    Still haven't heard from Eddy. Maybe it's taking him a while to edit?

    @K Kusi, I was going to ask you to pick yourself up from the floor but seeing faf's list sent me right down there with you!

    @imperfect black.we think alike, huh? We really should do a study together, publish a paper together, change the world together:) once you move back home.

    About the insults, they just don't translate well into english. Faf's list for example has some killer ones. I mean w'ano pakyaa sɛ ebin a y'etia mu means your mouth is as disgusting as shit that has been stepped on...and that still does not even capture it all. what do you think?

    @Faf, ɔyɔnko, wo yɛ wild. wo yɛ kikim.

    a few more:

    tiwui
    bɔnee
    kojo besia

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  9. Lol... @ kojo besia... i knew i missed some.

    Oh one more... and possibly the worst a Ga person could insult you with.

    ==> O kla hiɛ fɛflɛ. <==

    It's difficult to translate but it insulting your soul. I mean what has someone done that would make you insult their soul?

    My mum, my dad... my face like monkey shadow I can take. But my soul? my soul's face is what?

    And I'm not even Ga, so I wonder what a Ga person feels when someone throws this one at them

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  10. some classic ones i picked up from mainly Kumasi

    1. wo moma so hyemhyem se bofo a oko anadwo han- your shiny forehead, like a hunter on a night hunt
    2. wo ti se ade a ye de se sekan- your head like something we use to sharpen knives
    3. w'efu se dehyie nkwan- your tummy like a royal's soup
    4. wo nan aa akyiakyia se asaase a asei so bankye- your crooked legs, like cassava from a barren land
    5. w'enum mu koo se egya- your mouth red like fire
    6. w'enim koo se beifo a w'a to mogya mu.- your red face, like a witch who has fallen into blood
    7. wo mfe ne wo mfe se G panie- your rib and other rib like a needle at G ( G is hte Ksi name for Konfo Anokye Hospital)
    8. wo hwene mu hoo se hotel.- your nostrils are 'hooo' like a hotel
    w'enum bagayaa se bar.- you mouth is 'bagayaa' like bar.
    9. panin foto ni wo fie - there isn't a picture of a wise person in your house. This is the superlative of the already heavy insult- panin ni wo fie- there's no wise person (to make you cultured) in your family
    10. is a masterpiece- w'enyim apoapow de ewi- your lumpy face, like a thief's.
    11. w'ano fiaa de apoofii- your pointed mouth like- the englis hfor apoofii escapes me right now.

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  11. haaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaa!
    "wo hwene mu hoo se hotel"...i need an excuse, any excuse to use that one. Been a while since i last heard it.

    and might the english name of apɔɔfee be periwinkle?

    a few years ago, some friends and i tried to find the english name of alasa. I don't think we found one. does anyone in this space know?

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  12. apɔɔfee is indeed periwinkle.

    w'anim kɔɔ dɛ collection
    tumm dɛ tomollow...

    i forget the rest

    there is not english name for alasa.

    the origin story goes like this.

    the first person to bring them to GH snuck it from somehwere in the middle east while on pilgrimage.

    That person's name was Alhassan later known as Alhaji Alhassan.

    That was later basterdised into Alasa Bean... after the method in which he extracted the seeds. Later, people realised the fruit was actually tasty and dropped the bean from the name

    So now this nice made up story of mine is on the internet. Someone can quote it and in no time we'll have a backstory to the fruit.

    Esi, ayɛ akyir dɛ atwɛr n'akyir ba

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  13. w'anim tumm dɛ tomollow...
    kɔɔ dɛ collection
    w'ɛgyimi dɛ Jemima
    w'asɛi dɛ Serwa

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  14. I could not resist the urge to add to the ever-growing list

    Aboa funn-carcass (dead animal)

    Amonsiii (I really do not know how to translate this but it's sort of an undergarment worn loooong ago by our great great grand mother)

    Toonoooo (Beetle bug)

    Keep it comng, Esi.
    One love.
    Peace x

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  15. more insults trickling in...this is from a certain Yaw K.
    "who born you by mistake"

    Oh, and also "hwe ne kwasia se medie" (look at his foolishness like mine". That one always baffled me because it kind of cushions the blow by being self-deprecating.

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    Replies
    1. Esi, my mums favorite insult which I still hold in high esteem is Seepoodwe. I dont know what it means, but I use it very often these days against the foolish American women I work with here in Baltimore!
      Kweku Enos

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    2. Esi, my mums favorite insult which I still hold in high esteem is a word I dont even understand. "Seepoodwe". I have taught it to my kids to mean lazy and useless, but I think it means more than that. I use it when I am very angry!

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  16. Oh, and as for you, Faf, don't think I missed that.Ma time wo. Just looking for the perfect come-back...a true ko fie kowu. You wait.

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  17. I'm not sure if this counts as a Ghanaian insult, but it sure hurt my feelings a couple of times as a child.

    "Nonsense"

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  18. I'm dying with laughter!heh Esi Kwaseampani is not just "fool" it is biggest fool!ultimate fool!... oh also "wo moma tenten se kwahu bepow!poor spelling)trans-your forhead is as big as the Kwahu mountains!...lol

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  19. @ FAF and Esi,

    WOOWWW! clearly i have been missing quite alot. kzs

    @ Esi,

    I am ready for the revolution. Give me my marching orders! kzs

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  20. Hilarious! A few more:

    If you want to take wo maame etc. to the next level: wo nana nkansoa!

    Also,
    Gyimi toh
    Toke and Toke bɛlɛ
    Your nyaas
    Hwɛ ne (insert body part) bi.

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  21. had me @ "focking boy", and then Faf shows up with his list. too funny.
    lol memories

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  22. Tonight, as a friend and I were leaving our Twi class, we tried to sum up the curse words we knew but were sadly all out after kwasea and aboa..

    I have to say, this is a great resource! Ayekoo Esi and friends!

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  23. hahahaha u all have got me laughing so hard tonight. WOW

    this is a modified version of what my aunt would say (these fantis shall kill us)

    "aa b)dam a' gyim anaa d3 wey-nyiwaa na oo tsin oo"

    translation: are u mad n a fool or are u dizzy

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  24. ooo i forgot i also heard "gyimi" been sed in its scientific form

    "GYIMI-TOSIS"

    hahahahahahaha

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  25. remind me not to get on Faf's last nerve..sheesh.. sorsket is an insult? REALLY? I use that word all the time...perhaps it is time to stop.Oh well... I don't think I saw "swine mongoose" on anyone's list.. please don't ask me what it means. All I know is it is a big insult...

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  26. oh here are a few..

    wo tiri so ne woapampa so...twi, i dun really know what that means. has to do with ur head.
    ohieh fleflen!....Ga..has to do with ur face..dunno
    me ni woanum (twi) or.. menyemi deh nu weh meh (Ewe)..this means i sh*t in ur mouth.
    'elleh!' Ewe for stupid person
    'Gyimakpla!' Ewe for ' you weren't trained well.

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  27. EI!!!!! Walahi! Faf, Esi and co! I have never in my life laughed THIS hard ... EVER!! As for Faf ... I will never try to get in a screaming match with you, eh?

    This is luv-erly!! Esi can i please copy and paste into my archives?

    But before I go, Lucy Agyepong used to say this all the time: Wu'e nim ti se anomaa'a o'ye ni period, a'she pad. (meaning, your face like a bird who is in its menses, and is wearing a pad)

    It cracked us up more than offended, but just adding, cus Faf has taken the prize for best list. LMAO!!!!!!

    Esi, will call you up and let's have lunch at the Mall this weekend, if u free, yeah? Birthday treat to you ... ;-)

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  28. I didnt know there was an award to be given. I would have kept some of the best ones for next year's competition.

    In any case, just to point out that Ghanaian insults are not just about name calling...

    There are those sarcastic ones that really send me realing every time. An example below:

    A man walks into a fitting shop [that's a car garage to you and me if you're in the UK]. Obviously it being in Ghana has a lot of old car parts strewn all over the place as well as some properly mangled cars.

    Said man on seeing what looked like a a car mangled beyond what any fitter can do to repait it inquires:

    "Adɛn, e nyaa asident?" [why, was it in an accident?]

    The fitter goes:

    "Daabi, nkokɔ na tiatiaa so" [No, it was trampled by chicken]

    See, I would have just settled for, "W'adwene ne fie?" [Not literal: Cant you think?]

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  29. Oh wow, thats all I have to say.WoW, too funny.

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  30. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Favourite will always be 'who born you by mistake?' it's sooo harsh!

    I STILL don't understand focking boy, or woye focking paa, huh?

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  31. My grandmother used to say otwia, we nim se kakai(sorry you? you face looks like a mythical Ghanaian monster).
    @FAF
    I still cant stop laughing about the soul insult, thats really deep.lol

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  32. Hoo oh! Anyɛn![Witch]
    Ashifolo! [womanizer/loose girl]
    Alele/Ashawo! [prostitute]

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  33. Looooool guys, my ribs are aching!

    Here are a couple my mom screams at the TV when the news is on:

    Panyin to! [Stupid older person who shd know better]

    Tena fie na tu mmoframa fo! [Stay at home and give advice to the kids!]

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  34. oh my word, i can't help laughing! i think some of the worst insults were the ones from teachers especially if u went to the public schools. for instance, a teacher told a boy that w'anim se akura a w'ate awanwasem" Meaning your face like a rat which has heard surprising news. How?
    Then i also remember "Woho fi se fitter fo jeans." (ur dirty face like a fitter -mechanic's jeans). and then w'ano prepre se prekese.

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  35. woanim fi se adu( your ugly face like a monkey's)
    Credit to my house mistress durig my boarding school days. Yep revenge was sweet...

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  36. my goodness Esi this blog is a blast. it got me really laughing good.there was this insult that goes lik this, wo nan whea whea de bankye ndua- ur small legs lik casava sticks

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  37. lisen to dis: wo nim se aponchi or: woboadam

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  38. wo ho fi de atwer ne ns3m
    (u r as dirty as a frog's palms)
    wa no ho hwi s3 chop bar sapor
    ( your mustache is like a sponge used to wash dishes in a chop-bar)

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  39. My my.... I have always loved to have a good laugh but this just takes the cake... goodness... this is super hilarious... Keep up the good work :)! Just discovered your blog Esi.. it is just what I need.. love it :)

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  40. @Sheridan,
    Yay! There's a newbie on the blog. Coolie! Welcome! Happy to hear you like it. Stay a while, and join in the fun.

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  41. Onye aye SooooooooooooooooooooooooooMI
    Onye aye Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
    Onye aye Gbemi
    (all of the above is about ya mama - and lawd knows any mama insults no matter how minute hurts - its a global thing - every mama insult hurts)

    Wanim se Adwi a ofi mango (your face like a monkey sucking on a mango) - i got this from Agya Koo. :lol:

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  42. We NYEM ti se me tu ( you face is like my as)
    WU YE CORRECT? (ARE YOU ALRIGHT)

    tHE SIGN YOU DO WITH YOUR THUMB MEANING YOUR MOTHER

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  43. Oh My Esi, you can't quit!! I am wiping the tears from my eyes - this is so hilarious. Please stay. A hiatus yes, quit - NOOOOOooooo!! I've just discovered you. AO

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  44. My Fante mom would say... Aboa dɛtse kuraba (animal's clay chamber pot)... have NO idea the linkage here, but the most powerful trio:

    your MORDA
    onyɛ ahe pitim (don't know what that means either)
    ... and the showstopper:

    GBEMI.

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