1. Animal rights: (n) Error 404. Please check again in the next 50 years.

2. Businessman: (n) A generally meaningless word often used by criminals in describing themselves to their in-laws.

3. CEO: (n) The chief executive officer of a company, any company, including the company of body organs (of which everyone is master). Often used by jobless persons on social media to impress other jobless individuals.

4. Certificate: (n) A document that proves an individual has successfully completed an academic programme or otherwise shows he’s smart enough not to bother. See: Kemi Adeosun (The Village People’s Encyclopaedia, p. 155).

5. Checkpoint: (n) A special form of toll gate manned by law enforcement officers, situated close to an assembly of potholes, and where receipts, if provided at all, are simply random numbers whispered to drivers.

6. Danfo: (n) A unique combination of metal scraps that miraculously moves and is used as a means of road transportation in Nigeria.

7. Empower: (v) The act of showing people that, really, their lives and destinies are in their own hands and there’s little anyone, including the government, can do for them.

8. Female genitalia: (n) The kingdom of heaven on earth the entrance of which is many a man’s life purpose.

9. Honourable: (n) A title of respect used to refer to a highly dishonourable person, usually a lawmaker, from whom something is needed. Usage is often accompanied by a raise of both hands and a broad grin displaying a wide set of abused teeth.

10. Horn: (n) An instrument often used by drivers and motorcyclists to vent their frustration, pronounce superiority on the road, say hello to fellow drivers, or simply sing along to music blaring from their radio.

11. iPhone: (n) An expensive smartphone model that is often presumed, especially policemen, to be used by cyber fraudsters and their girlfriends.

12. Litter: (n) A kind of waste material that is used to adorn the streets; sometimes used as a sacrifice to appease the gods of transportation for safe delivery.

13. Makeup: (n) The art of modifying your face to look like the Joker but which has the weird effect of making you feel like Batman.

14. Masters degree: (n) A university certificate generally sought by those too afraid to become masters of their own fate and too impatient to be employed by those who are.

15. Policeman: (n) A thief who smiles at you and wears a uniform.

16. Pothole: (n) Leopard spots found on local roads and are often part of the original engineering designs. Sometimes more appropriately referred to as drumholes (or, in rarer cases, tankholes).

17. Prayer: (n) The solution to every problem imaginable, including bad roads, bad leadership, and a lack of preparedness for examinations. If it doesn’t work, experts suggest that the soul must be troubled or that the dose is doubled.

18. Prophet: (n) A person who credits his predictions to God but has no abilities anymore special than his fellow man.

19. Prostitute: (n) Used to refer to any woman who stands up for herself or doesn’t submit to the authority and excesses of a male person.

20. Seat belt: (n) A long piece of fabric used by vehicle drivers and passengers to fasten themselves to the seats, but is able to prevent injury from road accidents only when officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps are closeby. It is of no use at all other times.

21. Spokesperson: (n) One who sacrifices his reputation and hard work to customise the truth on behalf of another. Sometimes, his job requires trying as hard as possible to avoid speaking at all.

22. Stress: (n) A basic requirement for service delivery in public institutions. All graduates from government-owned tertiary institutions are certified in learning, character, and capacity to endure stress. Studies have also shown that “stressen”, a strong stress-inducing element, is one of the predominant elements in the Nigerian atmosphere.

23. Twitter: (n) A social media website where people follow complete strangers hoping to be followed by other strangers in order to have influence over a crowd of people they’ve never met.


Click here to check out other entries in the Village People’s Dictionary. This is all the clarity you need to understand English words from, I am sure you would agree, the very unusual Nigerian context.