9 English Words that mean something different in Belize!

Ever wanted to bridge the language gap between you and the locals? Here are 9 common Belizean Words that mean something different in English:

Have you ever walked in on a conversation, the type that doesn’t pause when you arrive, and find that you can almost understand what they’re saying. It’s not the accent, nor is it that the words are unfamiliar, but the context of it all is lost upon you. Chances are that if you’ve been to Belize then it’s happened once or twice, so for those of you who always wondered what that Belizean guy jested at the other, heres 9 common words that mean something different in Belize:

“Tea”

belize-language-differences-tea

What it means everywhere else: A popular beverage, usually served hot.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: A drink that is the cure for everything.

Example sentence: “Yuh sick? Drink some tea man.” (So its technically the same thing, but revered here) English: “You’re sick? Have some tea.”

“Ting”

belizean-language-differences-thing-ting-word-use

What it means everywhere else: A sharp, ringing sound.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: An unknown object that you’ve momentarily forgotten the name of, usually used by an elder in a command.

Example sentence: “Pass mi di ting from ova soh!” (You’re expected to understand exactly what “ting” they’re referring to and where it is.) English: “Hand me that thing from over there”

“Tree”

belizean-language-differences-three-tree-word-use

What it means everywhere else: A plant with a single stem, which grows from the ground and has many, many leaves.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: The number three.

Example sentence: “Bring tree.” (Not to be confused with bringing an entire tree.) English: “Bring three”

“Teef”

belizean-language-differences-teeth-teef-word-use

What it means everywhere else: A way of pronouncing the word “teeth” if you have a lisp.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: A thief.

Example sentence: “how yuh suh teef!” (A rhetorical question which under no circumstances should be answered!) English: “Why are you such a theif?”

“Lick”

belize-words-meaning-chaa-creek-6-2016

What it means everywhere else: The act of passing your tongue over something in order to taste, moisten, or clean it.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: Abrupt physical contact, a smack – the consequence for being “too rude”, “too lie”, or generally behaving bad.

Example sentence: “Yuh want a lick or wat?”  or “He tek wa licking!” (Also, in the even worse pluralized context, “Come here, I wa lick up yuh.”) English: “Do you want me to hit you?” or “He took a beating”

“Yeh”

belize-words-meaning-chaa-creek-3-2016

What it means everywhere else: An informal pronunciation of an affirmative response.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: A word you must never use in answer to your mother calling you. Used as an indicator of your Belizean presence!

Example sentence: “Who you think name ‘Yeh’?” (Expect this answer from your mother or grandmother if you answer them in that way, means “Who’s name do you think “yeah” is?”

“Big woman/man”

belizean_language_differences_english_kriol_thumb

What it means everywhere else: An adult human who is notably large.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: Refers to someone who has grown up, matured, or in cases when someone only thinks they have.

Example sentence: “Yuh da big man now!” or “Oh, so yuh tun big woman pan mi?” (The latter is particularly scary coming from a parent)

“Soon”

belize-words-meaning-chaa-creek-5-2016

What it means to everyone else: In a relatively short amount of time.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: Could be now, could be tonight, could be next week.

Example sentence: “Where yuh de?” “Ah soon reach!” (Don’t hold your breath ’cause this could literally mean anything)

“Yard”

belize-words-meaning-chaa-creek-4-2016

What it means everywhere else: A unit of measurement.

What it means if you were raised in Belize: Your entire home, not just the lawn.

Example sentence: “Ah gwein by yuh yaaad latah!” (in English: “I’m going to your house later”)


Are there any other words you’ve heard that almost didn’t make any sense? Comment below! we’d love to hear 😀

If you like our content, be sure to subscribe for weekly updates!

JOIN THE COMMUNITY!
Enjoyed this article? Join over 1,700 readers and get the best Belize travel content, tips, and deals delivered to your inbox each week. Enter your name and email below.
100% privacy. Your information will never be shared.

You may also like:

1 thought on “9 English Words that mean something different in Belize!

  1. In Belize, the term “tea” commonly refers to supper and, occasionally, breakfast (whether or not tea-drinking is actually involved).

    “Ah nuh hungry, I jus drink tea” translates loosely to, “I am not hungry, I just had supper.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.