Cajun Dictionary

During the first couple of months of knowing each other, CajunGuy and I had a language barrier.

But not in the way you think. We both spoke English (and French!) but his dialect and accent were (and still are) very thick. He was raised in the heart of Cajun Country in Louisiana and talking on the phone presented a problem. That is, until I caught on to what he was trying to say and started to become accustomed to his accent. (And I'm sure he had a rough time with my accent, too! :-) )

So, to those of you in the thick of learning Cajun Country lingo: I present to you the Unofficial Cajun Dictionary, complete with usage examples, lest you be caught like I was, wondering what "Are you getting down?" means.

This page is a work in progress. I'll add things as I come across them. 


After reading this, tell me if y'all love the country as much as I do! :-)

"Mais Yeah": (pronounced "may-yeah"): "Of course!" Used when a situation calls for more than just a simple "yes". As in, "Were you angry?", "Mais yeah I was angry! I wanted to pass him a hot one!".

Icebox: Refrigerator. As in, "The milk is in the icebox."

Get-On Ramp: The entrance ramp to an interstate/highway. As in, "You may want to speed up. Traffic on the interstate is crazy and the get-on ramp is short."

Get-Off Ramp: The exit to an interstate/highway. As in, "Our exit is coming up. Take the next get-off ramp."

Coolie: Large-ish ditch. Smaller than a bayou, larger than a ditch. Similar to a canal. As in, "That cooyon (see definition below) just lost control of his truck and it went straight into the coolie! It's gonna be hard to get that thing out!"

"Are You Getting Down?": "Are you getting out of the car or are you staying in the car?" Typically used when a quick trip to the store/post office/bank/etc. is made and someone wants to know if they should leave the car running for you or not.
Yeah, I know it's not a good idea to leave the car parked with the engine running but it's hot in Louisiana during Summer (and Spring, Fall and Winter, too!). Don't judge!

"Taton?": (pronounced "tah-tohn"): Cajun French for "Ya Heard?" As in, "You had better do that or else. Ya heard?"
Not to be confused with "Teton", which is...well, I won't tell you what it is. Just promise me you won't say it in place of "Taton" because folks will really be laughing...at you! 

Both: (please note the special pronunciation: "bow-tuh", sounds like "boat"): An adjective, meaning "one and the other". As in, "Please get me both bags."

"Ca va?": (pronounced "sa-vah"): "How are you?" The shortened version of "Comment ca-va?" as used by the French. 

The Camp: A hunting and/or fishing establishment, usually set up as a base camp for men to rest/relax/fart/scratch themselves, owned or leased by a person or group of people for the sole purpose of getting up before dawn and freezing your nads off to go hunting/fishing. Doesn't necessarily refer to one specific camp, but rather is a catch-all term used to describe any camp someone owns or leases. As in, "I went to the camp this weekend."

Academy Sports and Outdoors: Camo-packed Mothership to CajunGuy and every other warm-blooded man in Cajun Country. As CajunGuy so lovingly put it as we were registering for wedding gifts at Target, "If Academy had a wedding registry we certainly wouldn't be in Target right now!" He doesn't realize how funny he is!

"Passing A Good Time": Refers to any number of events (weddings, parties, etc.) in which you get together with family and/or friends and have a really good time. Rubber boots optional.

Soda Pop/Pop: Usually, but not limited to, a carbonated beverage in a can. As in, "Can you get me a can of pop from the icebox?" Synonyms: Soda, Cold Drink, Soft Drink.

Parran: (pronounced "pah-ran"): Cajun word for "Godfather".

Thick: (pronounced "tick"): Not thin. As in, "A thick fog" or "a thick accent".

"Comme ca": (pronounced "come sah"): "Do it like this" or "like this" in Cajun French. 
Used when showing someone how to do something. "And you hold the fishing pole in one hand comme ca."

Golf Cart: Yes, I included it here for a reason. If you have never been to our neck of the woods, you would think of a golf cart as something golfers use to get around a golf course. 
But, in Cajun Country a golf cart is used to get to your neighbor's house or to another family member's house (and most often in Cajun Country, your neighbor is your family member).
Now if only I could convince the family to have an Annual Golf Cart Race....

Four-Wheeler: Much like a Golf Cart (see above), a four-wheeler is almost always used as a mode of transportation. Most often used to go short distances. May also be used during hunting season, fishing season...any season really!
If you're around Cajun Country on a Friday evening you may notice that four-wheelers are also a good way to pass a good time. So is getting a pop from the icebox at your Parran's house but that's another story for another day...

"Pass You One": We're not talking about a drink here, folks. If someone in Cajun Country tells you they're going to "pass you one", please run (unless of course you deserve it, then please stick around). The phrase "pass you one" means to hit someone...hard.
Variation: "Pass you a hot one". You know this will hurt, right?!?

Cooyon: (pronounced "coo-yon"): Idiot, moron, imbecile, jerk, dummy. You get the picture. 

Lagniappe: (pronounced "lan-yap" or "lahn-yap", depending on where you are in Cajun Country): A little something extra. As in, "The four-wheeler was a great deal. The fact that it came with an extra set of tires is just lagniappe."

Boudais: (pronounced "boo-day"): To pout. As in, "She went to boudais in the corner because she didn't get her way."

"In the road": To be in the way. (Whether on an actual road or not is irrelevant.) As in, "Come on, I'm trying to walk down the hall and all of your stuff is in the road."   
Yes, I was confused the first time I heard it, too.

Pas Tout La: (pronounced "pah-too-lah") Someone who isn't all there. A few ants short of a picnic, if you will. 


Tete Dure: (pronounced "tet-dur") A hard-head. Stubborn. "What a tete dure. He never wants to listen to anyone."

2 comments:

  1. Haha it's funny that half of that is the same with Acadians in Massachusetts. Three hundred-ish years apart and the cousins still talk the same ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do love their culture!
      If only you could have seen the zydeco dancing that happened at our wedding! :-)

      Delete

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