Archive for June, 2018


Creole Word of the Week: Zenglendo

Zenglendo has its etymological roots in the word zenglen, creole for sharp pieces of glass. In the 1840’s, it was the name given to the secret police force that served under Faustin Soulouque. The “Zenglens” later on became a model for François Duvalier’s Tonton Makouts. After Jean-Claude Duvalier went into exile, zenglendo referred to criminals recruited from groups ranging from the marginal social strata found in working-class districts to police officers, usually acting at night in civilian clothes with official weapons. Some of the violence was assumed to be purely criminal, without political motivation. However, it was widely believed that they operated under the cover, or with the express tacit consent of the police. Today the word is used to refer to criminals, gangsters, thugs, burglars, and the like.

More about zenglendo from our online dictionary.

With over 20,000 entries, this is the largest English <> Haitian Creole dictionary available online. It will help you find the Creole translations in context of English words along with examples of use. This dictionary continues to grow and improve as well. Click here!

Creole Word of the Week: Lavalas

Since Jean-Claude Duvalier’s flight from Haiti in 1986, struggle played out openly and with brutal repression of the Haitian masses. Five different regimes attempted to govern the country. Political chaos ensued. Finally, in 1990, Haiti had its first democratic election after 29 years of dictatorship. One of the most popular candidates was Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a priest who campaigned as a champion for the poor. During the campaign, Aristide asked Haitians to form a “lavalas” to block his opponent, Roger Lafontant, a powerful “tonton makout” who represented Duvalierism.

Lavalas is translated as avalanche. It is a description of violent torrents and sometimes very destructive flood coming from strong and long showers. Lafontant was eventually excluded from the elections on legal grounds and Aristide was overwhelmingly elected President in Haiti’s first democratic election. Since then, Lavalas has been used for any organization or political party associated with Aristide.

More about lavalas from our online dictionary.

With over 20,000 entries, this is the largest English <> Haitian Creole dictionary available online. It will help you find the Creole translations in context of English words along with examples of use. This dictionary continues to grow and improve as well. Click here!

Creole Word of the Week: Boukan

When Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492, the first humans he encountered were the Taino, an Arawak people who were the principal inhabitants of what are now Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. They spoke Taino.

Although the language is now extinct, many Taino words have become a part of the local languages of the Caribbean and in the modern English language of today such as barbeque, canoe, and hurricane. Also, the name of Haiti comes from the indigenous Taino language which was the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean “land of high mountains.” Boukan, which translates into bonfire, is another word that we inherited from the Taino language.

More about boukan from our online dictionary

With over 20,000 entries, this is the largest English <> Haitian Creole dictionary available online. It will help you find the Creole translations in context of English words along with examples of use. This dictionary continues to grow and improve as well. Click here!

Creole Word of the Week: Potomitan

The term potomitan, or central pillar, is often used to refer to women in Haiti because of their hard work and important role in society.   This term is originated from the Vodou religion. It is the column, or pillar, that stands in the middle of the sacred temple.  Like a woman who is considered as the main support for every family, the potomitan is one of the most important elements in every Vodou ceremony. Everything revolves around it.

More about potomitan from our online dictionary

With over 20,000 entries, this is the largest English <> Haitian Creole dictionary available online. It will help you find the Creole translations in context of English words along with examples of use. This dictionary continues to grow and improve as well. Click here!

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