Join this love story where we journey through 12 love-related words and phrases in Papiamento; Aruba’s mother language, and the island’s second official language.
Now let’s get started!
1. Vitamina pa Wowo
Vitamina pa wowo – Translated as ‘eye candy‘. Usually used when commenting on an attractive person, or group of people. The direct translation in English is ‘vitamin for the eye’. Thus, you would definitely refer to your crush as ‘vitamina pa wowo’. My daily dose of ‘vitamina pa wowo’ is my bf seen in the pic (the wine’s always welcome too – you know, hehe).
Basilamento – This word translates to ‘flirtation‘. When someone is ‘basilando’ someone else, that means that they are trying to hit on them. *enter googly eyes, and wink face, emojis*
Brasa – Translated as ‘hug‘. Who doesn’t love a warm hug from a longtime friend, loving family member, or significant other? Personally, I think hugs make the world go round… Research states that hugs can improve your mood. Either way it’s always a good idea to share a hug with a loved one!
Carisia – Translated as ‘caress‘. A gentle caress on your forehead? How about fingers through your hair? A soft touch to your skin? A good ‘carisia’ on your head by a lover can make all your worries drift away.
Sunchi – This word translates to ‘kiss‘. When referring to the act of kissing in Papiamento, you’d say ‘sunchimento’.
6. Ranca Lenga
Ranca Lenga – Usually used when a couple is making out. The direct translation of this is ‘pulling tongues’, but the meaning of it is ‘to French kiss‘. This is definitely a more vulgar way of speaking. You’re probably not gonna hear an Aruban grandma saying this phrase in a friendly, approving manner.
Melemele – This can be translated as ‘being touchy feely‘. Usually used when a couple is being very affectionate with one another. Hugging and caressing each other, seemingly stuck to each other with invisible glue, you know those couples that are very openly affectionate, they usually get the ‘melemele’ comment from others.
Dushi – This is such a dynamic Papiamento word. In Aruba, ‘dushi‘ is used to describe food as ‘sweet‘ or ‘yummy‘ tasting, or to indicate that a sensation is good (think of pleasant smells or nice music), but it is also used as a term of endearment for your lover, translated as ‘sweetheart‘ or ‘sweety‘. Dushi is also used when commenting on an attractive person. When you say someone is dushi it is comparable to saying someone is ‘hot‘.
Stimacion – Translated as ‘love‘. This is the noun version of love in Papiamento. If you want to tell someone ‘I love you‘, then you would say ‘mi ta stima abo‘. Often times locals shorten this by saying ‘mi stimabo‘, or simply, ‘stimabo‘.
10. Corta Orea
Corta Orea – Usually used when referring to a person cheating on their partner. The direct translation of this is ‘to cut an ear’, but the meaning of it is ‘to cheat on someone‘. If someone ‘ta cortando bo orea‘ (‘is cutting your ear’), unfortunately, then that means that they are cheating on you. Just remember that your friends are always there for you! *wink wink*
11. Yambo Bieu
Yambo Bieu – Used as ‘ex‘. ‘Yambo‘ means gumbo, and ‘bieu‘ means old, so yeah, put those two words together and you have ‘old gumbo‘, a term that is used to label an ex lover of yours. Usually used by older family members to playfully tease younger ones.
12. Haci Bon Bek
Haci Bon Bek – Used when referring to a couple getting back together. ‘Haci bon bek‘, which directly translates to ‘do good again‘, is more common than not, used by people commenting on other people’s relationships, when a couple gets back together. ‘Nan a haci bon bek‘ = ‘They got back together‘.
Hope you had a fun ride on this love roller coaster of Papiamento words!
*P.S. ‘Amor’, just as in Spanish, is also used to say ‘love’ in Papiamento
*Feature photo by L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chop House