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Words That Nigerians Use Daily But Do Not Exist In The Dictionary


Here is a list of words that do not exist in the English Dictionary which Nigerians use on a daily basis without realizing that those words do not exist and even those that exist are not exactly what they think it means.

  1. Installmentally: This “word” is a favourite of many Nigerians, but, it does not exist. You can’t find it any reputable dictionary. The correct thing to say when “installmentally” comes to mind is instalments or by instalments.
  2. Plumpy: Nigerians use “plumpy” when they want to say that someone is chubby or slightly fat. The correct expression is plump.
  3. Disvirgin: This particular “word” is used severally on a daily basis, especially by Nigerian men when they intend saying that a woman has lost her virginity. The correct word to use, is deflower, because “disvirgin” is not a word.
  4. Crosscarpeting: This is commonly used among Nigerian politicians and political analysts alike. They use it when they want to say a politician has dumped his political party for a rival party. The right terms to use when describing this scenario are party switching, defection and crossing the floor and not “cross-carpeting” or “crosscarpeting.”
  5. Go-Slow: The word go-slow exists, but not in the way Nigerians use it. A “go-slow,” in Nigerian context, is a situation where road traffic is sluggish due to vehicle queues. However, go-slow in English language actually means, an industrial tactic used by employees to intentionally reduce activity, productivity and efficiency in order to press home their demands.When this happens, you say work in the office, factory or organization is at a go-slow. The correct terms to use when road traffic is very sluggish due to vehicle queues are traffic jam, traffic congestion, gridlock and hold-up, not “go-slow.”
  6. Cunny: “Cunny” is not found in authoritative dictionaries, but it can be found in some slang dictionaries. Over there, it is a slang used to refer to a woman’s v**ina. The correct term to use is cunning (which described someone that is being deceitful or crafty) and not “cunny.”
  7. Opportuned: There is nothing like “opportuned” in the English language, but that has not stopped its blatant use by Nigerians, including journalists and writers. The correct word is opportune. It is an adjective and it has no past tense. Opportune means appropriate or well-timed.
  8. Alright: “Alright” is a misspelling of the term all right. All right is used when you want to say that something is adequate, acceptable, agreeable or suitable. To hardcore English language linguists, “alright” is not a word. However, its usage is increasingly becoming acceptable. Most linguists disagree with the gradual acceptance of “alright” as a word by the public and even the media, while those in the minority are “alright” with it.
  9. Wake-Keeping: “Wake-keeping” exists only in the imagination of a few English speakers. There is nothing like “wake-keeping.” The correct word is wake and not even “wake-keep.” Both “wake-keeping” and “wake-keep” are ungrammatical.
  10. Screentouch: This bad grammatical expression gained currency in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries with the influx of made-in-China stylus pen touchscreen not-so-smart phones in the mid 2000s. It was a novelty then; many in Nigeria had not seen it – or even thought such advanced technology was possible. So, they looked for a name to call it and “screentouch” came to mind, after all you just touch the screen and it starts working. The correct thing to say is touchscreen and not “screentouch.”