Display screen shot 2017 07 22 at 11.43.47 am
Jul 27 2017
by Jasmine Jones

15 Terms You'll Probably Hear on Your HBCU's Campus

By Jasmine Jones - Jul 27 2017

You never know how much African American Vernacular English, AAVE, you don't know until you're added to the GroupMe for the incoming freshmen. There's so much cultural dialect, sometimes it's hard to keep up. Regional variations can make it difficult to understand what someone is trying to say. 

With the help of HBCU students around the country and other Fresh U HBCU writers, I've compiled a list of common words and phrases that you may hear on campus. This list will help keep you from looking like DJ Akademiks when you're trying to converse with your classmates. 

1. Darty

noun | dar•ty | \ˈdär-tē\

day + party

Example: Xavierites attended an all-white darty during homecoming week.

2. WTW

What's the wave or What's the word

Example: "Bro what's the word tonight?"

3. Telly

noun | telly | \ˈte-lē\

Hotel party

Example: "The party promoters stay on my timeline about that telly coming up!"

4. Jeffing

verb | jef•fing | \ˈjef-fiŋ\

acting fake or spitting game

Example: "I love jeffing with people." or "Don't be trying to jeff with me now"

5. Joce

verb | \ˈjȯs\

The act of entertaining someone whether it be friendly or flirty

Example: "That boy jocing bad huh?"

6. "I'm About to Slide"

on the way to the function

Example: "Yeah bro, I'm about to slide, see you in a few."

7. "You green bruh"

state of disbelief when someone does something that shocks you


8. Yea

\ˈyeə, ˈyaə\

popular phrase in New Orleans; best to use context clues because "yea" can mean anything

Example: "My lil yea" or "I'm yea with the yea"

9. "You Buddy"

lame, friendly; negative connotation

Example: "You too buddy bruh." 

10. Slug

noun | \ˈsləg\

one dollar

Example: "Yo bruh lemme hold a slug"

11. "Mad ____"

adverb | \ˈmad\

popular in New York; extremely or very

Example: That car is mad nice.

12. Jawn

noun | \ˈjȯn, ˈjän\

popular in Philly; can be used to mean anything but used most as a replacement for a thing

Example: "You heard that new jawn by Hov?" or "You saw them shoes? Them jawns is nice"

13. Slaw

adjective | \ˈslȯ\

describing something that is trash or terrible

Example: "Ay man, y'alls president is slaw."

14. Ju

interjection | \ˈjü\

a way of getting someone's attention

Example: "Alright ju" or "What's up ju"

15. Jagging

verb | jag•ging | \ˈja-giŋ\


Example: You jagging right now.

Being from Alabama and growing up in a majority white neighborhood, I didn't hear African American Vernacular English until I moved to Louisiana (I kid you not). It took me a while, but I was able to catch on quickly. AAVE varies from region and region and sometimes words can have different meanings in different areas. If all else fails, it's best to use context clues. Just like American Sign Language, you can never know too much AAVE! Use this short yet efficient list to start learning more AAVE outside of the normal words/phrases you hear and use daily to expand your vocabulary.

Lead Image Credit: Zachary Nelson via Unsplash

Want to write for Fresh U? Join now
Want more Fresh U? Like us on Facebook!
Jasmine Jones - Xavier University of Louisiana

Jasmine is a biology pre-med major at Xavier University of Louisiana. She enjoys the outdoors, music, photography, and traveling. You can follow her on Twitter: @jnjones_

Most Popular