Tag Archives: folk saying

Wap konn Jój

-Haitian Creole saying

-direct English translation: “You will know George.”

-Dom’s colloquial translation: “Basically means you gonna find out or you’ll know soon – origins are debated”

My friend, Dom, is from Atlanta, GA; however, both of his parents were born in Haiti. He is fluent in Haitian Creole, and quite passionate about his heritage, culture, and driving upliftment of Haiti and its inhabitants.

According to Dom, “Wap konn Joj” directly translates to “You will know George.” However, he likens it to the more commonly Black American saying, “Fuck around and find out.” Growing up, he would hear it from his parents at times when he was perhaps doing something or going down a path that would end negatively, perhaps at the hands of the speaker. In this way, it can be somewhat of a threat or warning to stop doing something before the speaker (or someone/something else) intervenes/consequences arrive.

The number of translations and informational videos about the saying and how it’s used in Haiti give me the impression that it is pretty widely known on the island and among members of the diaspora. Additionally, popular Haitian-American rapper Mach-Hommy has a 2022 album titled Wap Konn Jój, further implying my former statement. 

According to Dom and the Founder and Director of the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York, Wynnie Lamour, origins of the phrase are debated; however, “the most common is that it’s attributed to Hurricane Georges that passed through Haiti in September 1998, causing great damage…Still, others claim that it was a popular saying warning schoolchildren to behave, or they will know Jòj, another word for the rigwaz, or whip. Most likely, it is a Biblical reference to St. George, who is known for bringing the mad back to their senses.”

Regardless of the story behind the mysterious “George,” the meaning of this saying seems to be made clear to most Haitians from an early age. 

Pa fe bouche mwen long

-Haitian Creole saying

-direct English translation: “Don’t make my mouth long”

-Dom’s colloquial translation: “Don’t piss me off, basically”

My friend, Dom, is from Atlanta, GA; however, both of his parents were born in Haiti. He is fluent in Haitian Creole, and quite passionate about his heritage, culture, and driving upliftment of Haiti and its inhabitants.

According to Dom, “Pa fe bouche mwen long” directly translates to “Don’t make my mouth long,” however, it essentially means “Don’t piss me off.” He heard it from his parents and other adults in his community if he or others were bothering or angering them. 
Most of the online media defining this saying provide only colloquial translations. However, as I suspected when Dom first told it to me, according to Learn Haitian Creole, somewhere between the direct and colloquial is the translation, “Don’t make me talk too much.” When Dom’s mom would tell him not to make her mouth long, she was really instructing him not to get her worked up to the point of having to lecture or yell at him.

The Earth is round

NM told me a phrase his mother would say when someone takes a wrong turn in the car. He described his mother a “casual, very laid back, person.”

I forget the actual phrase, but basically it’s like “The Earth is round, we’ll get there eventually”


This saying could be a response to contemporary American culture. In the United States, there much respect given towards working people. Leisure and relaxation are often viewed as laziness, which can lead to people becoming upset when unnecessary time is taken to complete a task. In contrast to this, NM’s mother takes a more laid-back approach, choosing to accept the extra time taken in stride and stay content with the way things happen.

“If the good Lord say’ the same”

1. Text (dite)

“If the good lord say’ the same”

2. Context

My informant grew up in the south hearing this phrase and picked it up along the way. When asked “are you going to the game?” his father replied, “I’ll be there if the good lord say’ the same.” He explained how this means “if I’m still alive and well” and am not yet with the Lord, then the answer is yes. Another way of simply saying yes, so long as I’m still alive. He chuckled when enlightening me about this piece as it is often said in a joking manner. As he, grew up in a Baptist Christian household, this saying is representative of the belief in God and that our life and death are both up to the Lord’s will. He explained how his familial beliefs growing up centered around Christianity and how ultimately things in our lives are out of our control and in God’s hands.

3. Analysis/YOUR interpretation

When I first heard this saying, I wasn’t sure what it was referring to. After the context behind the saying, it made a lot more sense as there is a strong relation between the people in those communities carrying and passing this piece of folklore on and their shared religious nature. Growing up in the south myself, it’s no surprise that old sayings emerge out of a shared religious belief. The majority of people that I know from the south as well, all share a religious belief of some kind. This saying, however, puts a (dark) humorous spin on a conversation insinuating that you may or may not die before you see that person again, and that regardless, it is out of your control. So if  “the good Lord” says so, meaning if the good Lord hasn’t taken you (i.e. you’re still alive), then all is well. This seems to stem a lot from Christian beliefs popular in the south and the idea that God is an overarching being that may or may not decide life, death, the afterlife, etc. The way that this phrase is stated also gives an inclination toward southern slang and a slight accent that many southern colloquialisms have. According to Von Sydow, these dites are often sayings for personal narratives that typically involve a supernatural being of some sort. In this case, that being is God and the dite gives a narrative to answer the question that could’ve otherwise been answered with a simple “yes”.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles


K is a freshman at USC studying American Studies & Ethnicity (African American Studies). He plays video games with his family.


If I’m playing a game, and I’m losing, and I understand why that’s happening, I go ‘well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ I think it was like my brother. And my sister. I can’t remember exactly which one, but we were playing a game together. I think it was on Nintendo, so I think it was Smash. And I lost to my siblings, like several times, because I’m not very good at that game. They’re like masters. And I’m just like, ‘well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ Because like, I had basically no chance to win from then to there. But most of the time they’ll be kicking my ass. Like every which way.


There are lots of variations on this saying, such as “such is life,” or “it is what it is.” Essentially, this particular saying seems to represent another way to express how it all breaks down — how everything happens. To people who use it, it seems to denote an acceptance of an unpleasant reality, in which nothing can be changed about how what’s happened has happened, or how the cookie has crumbled. The idea that it is specifically a cookie crumbling, however, rather than a cake or any other sweet, denotes a focus on a sweet that easily drops crumbs. Cookies often take the form of a more brittle baked good, and that means if it is broken, it drops a lot more pieces and crumbs of itself. When a cookie crumbles, one would not know how it does, just that it does and they lose a piece of the sweet baked good. This is, interestingly, the other side of a snack eaten commonly together, while used the same way. Cookies and milk are often eaten together, and there is a saying that goes “There is no use crying over spilt milk.” The same meaning is derived from both — reality has already occurred, and there is no use dwelling on it.