‘Wi Leff’ – Jamaican Terms to Express Heartbreak

’Wi deh’

This is how it starts. You’ve met the (latest) love of your life, and you’re past casual and like, and are very seriously together. If you’re in Jamaica, your friends will ask:  “Unnu deh?” (are you together?) and your response will be, “Yes, wi deh” (yes, we are together).

Then it happens: heartbreak. The bliss turns into something else. For some people, it comes in a flash – suddenly and all at once. For others, it happens gradually – in almost painful, snail’s-pace increments. Then you start to dread the questions, and the explanations that must follow.

‘Wi leff’

This is the most common term a broken-up couple will use. It usually implies a degree of mutuality to the decision to no longer be together. ‘Wi leff’ literally translates to ‘we left’ (as if both persons exited a room, or departed from an event or location). What it means, though, is that they are no longer a couple.

‘Mi leff har’ or ‘Mi leff him’

This admission is from the dissatisfied party in the relationship. It literally translates to ‘I left her’ or ‘I left him’. It means something went wrong, he or she became unhappy, and made the bold decision to step away from the relationship altogether.

‘Him leff mi’ or ‘She leff mi’

This admission is usually far more tragic than the first, because it means that the decision to break up was not mutual. It means one party became dissatisfied for whatever reason, and chose to discontinue the relationship, and the person admitting “him leff mi” (he left me) or “she leff me” (she left me) was not the one to initiate the break-up, and probably didn’t agree to it at all. This is the person who is probably suffering more from heartbreak.

‘Mi heart splinter’ or ‘Mi heart mash up’

‘Mi heart splinter’ literally means ‘my heart is in splinters’. ‘Mi heart mash up’ means ‘my heart is broken (mashed) up’. Both terms indicate the chagrin and intense pain being experienced by the suffering party. Think about it: for a person’s heart to splinter, it must first be very fragile glass, and it must, secondly, be broken into thousands of tiny pieces. And for a heart to be ‘mashed’ up, it must be repeatedly (and perhaps mercilessly) pummelled and trampled. It means the person is in serious, serious pain.

‘Wi mek up back’

Sometimes this happens. The once separated couple decides to get back together, to work through their differences and to forgive each other’s shortcomings. ‘We mek up back’ means ‘we made up’ (literally ‘we made back up’), and is a statement that will probably be accompanied by a smile, especially if it is coming from the party who previously had to admit ‘she leff mi’. 🙂