Word of the Week

Pick up this fascinating book of phrases, created by Kevin Goring. - Photo: Stephen Clarke

Not only do Caymanians have a distinct dialect, with accents varying from district to district, but they also have many unique words, pronunciations and phrases.

A handy guide to shed light on these colloquialisms is ‘The Cayman Islands Dictionary’ and ‘Caymanian Expressions’ by Kevin Goring.

May Cow (mey kow) Noun — 1. A folklore created by early farmers on the island of Cayman Brac to keep children away from the mango trees. 2. A ghost story similar to the ‘Rolling Calf’, and derived from lower Caribbean bedtime stories. 3. An old wives’ fable featuring a mythical cow-like creature with fiery red eyes. 4. A ghost story created to scare children to sleep. 5. A form of ‘duppy’ (spirit), which is also referred to as ‘Willgo’, ‘Old Willie Go’, ‘Rolling Calf’ and ‘Roaring Calf’. E.g. “Loyce Ann say when she wah small, if you had tell her May Cow wah comin’, she wah in dah bed n’ out like ah light before you could cunk ta tree.”

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now