Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Word of the Day: Oyibo


Learnt a new word today! Oyibo (Oyinbo). Apparently it means "white man/european man" (and also woman) in Yoruba, the nigerian language. Not sure if it's a good word, but I guess it's good to know if I ever go to Nigeria (which I by the way allways wanted) :D

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOOOOOL! i'm nigerian, born, raised and live in london and get called 'oyinbo' on a regular basis by my mum no less!!

Black is Beautiful said...

LOL :)

Anonymous said...

'oyinbo' is literally translated as 'peeled banana' which i suppose is used in reference to white people's skin. it is not meant to be derogatory.

Sandra77 said...

My best friend is married to a Nigerian man, and he says there is nothing derogatory about the word "oyibo" or "oyinbo". It's just there way of identifying someone European or white. He also says it's just sometimes used to define someone who's perceived as "foreign".

Dalí said...

As a Yoruba woman myself, I can completely agree with the first statement, lol...we do like saying "oyinbo" on a regular basis.

But note that oyinbo to some Yorubas can refer to anyone outside of the black race. I've heard Yorubas call Indian people oyinbos before.

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting how the nigerian word (oyibo) is sort of similar to the ghanian word "obronee", meaning white person

Chi said...

I'm a Nigerian-American woman who brought her oyibo/onyocha fiancé back home last year. Needless to say, he learned the terms pretty quickly lol! No offense taken...

Anonymous said...

Oyinbo simply means a foreigner..not necessarily a White person.
Nigerian-Lebanese people are called Nigerian Oyinbos as they have always been in Nigeria since 1899.

starvenomore said...

My friends and I (we a mixed bunch, Nigerian, Haitian, Guyanese). We often refer to white people as oyinbo. We definitely don't mean it as an insult, we just use it as a replacement for white people.

Fi'ola'kemi said...

"'oyinbo' is literally translated as 'peeled banana' which i suppose is used in reference to white people's skin. it is not meant to be derogatory."

Hmm. Are you sure about this? I am Nigerian, Yoruba, to be exact, and all the sources I have ever come across indicate that the precise meaning of the word is unknown.

"Oyinbo" does not have an inherently derogatory connotation. The derogatory word used for outsiders (used virtually exclusively for black Americans)is "Akata." "Oyinbo" just connotes 'foreigner' in the sense of someone who is not part of our culture, which is why it can be used even for Nigerians who are perceived as having lost Nigerian culture.

Fi'ola'kemi said...

Oh and Andreas, I hope you do come to Nigeria. It is beautiful and hospitable, and you have a look that a lot of Nigerian women would like. :)

Judith said...

lol. oyinbo definitely has some slight negative connotation (very slight!). the term is so widely used in nigeria that the sting wears off. it's basically the same feel as calling someone a foreigner but not as forceful or negative as calling one an infidel or outsider. don't worry too much if you're called that.

i just found your blog today and love it!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, you have no idea ow many times my mom has used that word hahahaha!
However, when she uses it, it's more to describe a person that's very different from her people. Someone's who's is strange and who's culture isn't as "proper" (lack of a better term)

Anonymous said...

oh my... i almost fell off my chair in shock reading this. Andreas wow, you've really gone deep deep into some African things which is so surprising b'cos i was just scoping the site as just another american inter-racial, dating sort of thing but its more than that...and no, Oyinbo is not a derogatory term, infact its a positive term. In Nigeria, it means a foreigner or a very very fair complexioned person. We even call some of our own Oyinbo. Nigerians tend to treat Oyinbo very well too since we see foreigers as new and interesting :)