Dey Play, Idan, No Evidence, Other Popular Nigerian Slangs In 2023

As a country, Nigerians probably wouldn’t allow a day to pass without coining and adding a unique word or phrase into their diction. Year after year, Nigerians continue to create new slangs to ‘catch cruise’ (joke around), banter, and communicate effectively. But only a few of those unique words made it to the country’s pop culture.

As usual, 2023 met expectations in terms of new slang. Tribune Online presents some of the year’s most popular slangs and their meanings:

1. Dey Play

This standout slang is a subtle way of telling someone to stop deceiving themselves and be more realistic. For example, if someone says, “I will have A’s in all my 10 courses this semester,” his friend’s response could be “Dey play”. This indirectly suggests the person should be more realistic about his potential grades.

2. Idan

This slang became so popular that even President Bola Ahmed Tinubu once used it. “Idan,” a Yorùbá word which literally translates to “magic”, gained major prominence in 2023. It describes someone extraordinary, unique, special, influential, and powerful. For example, “My friend is Idan; he scored 5 goals in one match yesterday.”

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3. No Evidence

Burna Boy is a master at creating popular slang. Last year, he blessed us with “Breakfast,” meaning heartbreak. In 2023, he added “You go explain tire because no evidence.” This slang signifies that people might not believe in your hard work and effort without positive results (evidence) to support your claims.

4. Must be ment

This phrase is used when someone is out of touch with reality or behaves/thinks in a highly irrational way. For instance, during a discussion between two friends, one of them says, “My boyfriend beats me every day because he loves me.” Her friend’s response could be, “Must be ment,” questioning the speaker’s logic.

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5. Let the poor breathe

This slang became a national hit after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu used it in a speech. It’s an appeal to the government, influential people, and marketers to consider the poor masses in their decision-making. For example, “A bag of rice is now 50,000; the government should let the poor breathe and not suffocate them.”

6. On Colos

Colos is another name for Colorado, a synthetic drug mixture containing many drugs, including cannabis. ‘On Colos’ questions someone’s state of mind or suggests they are acting under the influence of a substance. For example, “You want to spend 5 million in a nightclub; are you sure you are okay or are you on Colos?”

7. Pressure ti wa

This is yet another slang that sprang up in 2023. It became popular after it was used by an Abeokuta-based man while expressing his dissatisfaction at the state of economic hardship during the height of the Naira scarcity earlier this year. “Pressure ti wa,” a mix of Yoruba and English languages, literally translates to “There is pressure.” The slang is used to express the intensity of a situation. For example, “Guy, pressure ti wa, the exam is starting tomorrow, and I’m yet to read anything.”

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8. Go to court

The slang was first popularised by Nigerian politicians following the 2023 general election, after which it was adopted by most Nigerians. ‘Go to court’ is sarcastic advice for someone to seek redress in the court of law in case they are not satisfied with a certain result or ‘political’ development. For instance, “Go to court if you are not pleased with the result of the match.”


A Professional blogger and Entertainer. An extremely calm-headed guy.... Maybe naughty. lol

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