Tokunbo, Okada, Danfo and 26 other Nigerian words added to the new Oxford English Dictionary update


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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Common Nigerian words like “Tokunbo”, “Okada”, “Danfo” and 26 others are now officially part of the 2020 Oxford English Dictionary.

One of the most exciting reports this week is the official addition of some common Nigerian words like “Okada”, “Tokunbo”, “Danfo” to the latest Oxford English Dictionary update for January 2020. These words have become part of the Nigerian culture especially in the transportation industry but mostly viewed as informal in the past. Now, about 29 of them have successfully been added as formal words that can be found in the latest Oxford English Dictionary.


Nigerian slangs like Tokunbo, Danfo, and Okada, commonly used in the transport industry are now present in the Oxford English dictionary

>>> Thinking of buying a tokunbo or used car? Check out usual mistakes to avoid:  8 common mistakes when buying used cars

Danica Salazar, a World English Editor for the Oxford English Dictionary stated in a blog post available on the OED website that some of these newly added words are coinages while others are borrowed words. An excerpt of the blog post reads thus;

“The majority of these new additions are either borrowings from Nigerian languages, or unique Nigerian coinages that have only begun to be used in English in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s,”

In case you are wondering how the meaning of these words was explained in the latest OED update, see them below;

okada, n.: “In Nigeria: a motorcycle which passengers can use as a taxi service.”

danfo, n.: “A yellow minibus that carries passengers for a fare as part of an informal transport system in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Also as a…”

tokunbo, adj.: “Denoting an imported second-hand product, esp. a car.

The next OED update will be released in March 2020 as only 4 updates are usually released every year.

We do hope that some other common words like Keke NAPEP, Marwa, Korope, Soole, and the likes will eventually make it to the OED soon.

>>> To see other transport-related fun articles on Naijauto, check the -> Auto fun section.

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Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

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Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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