Examples of bumbaclot
Examples of bumbaclot
Where does bumbaclot come from?
The word bumbaclot is a form of the Jamaican English bumboclaat, a term for a sanitary napkin or bathroom wipes recorded since 1956. Bombo (or bumba) likely comes from West African words like the Fante bumbo, referring to the vulva but likely similar to the English bum, or “butt.” Clot (or claat) is cloth, in keeping with Jamaican English, which often drops a TH sound for a hard T (e.g., fit instead of fifth).
Together, then, bumboclaat is literally the cloth for the nether regions—either a menstrual cloth (rather than disposable pads) or a cloth for wiping your butt (in the days before widespread toilet paper). Bumbaclot has become a common rendering of the term in the Jamaican diaspora, such as in South London.
The use of bumbaclot as an insult is said to come from members of the Rasta religion in Jamaica. Based on the Old Testament of the Bible, some Rastafarians believe that sleeping with menstruating woman is sinful. The taboo nature of menstruation carried over into Jamaican popular culture, it goes, in the form of bumbaclot as a general term of abuse. Bloodclaat (“blood cloth”) and ras clot (“butt cloth”) are variants.
By the mid-1970s, bumbaclot was beingused by Jamaicans living in New York City to mean “bullshit.” Early examples of bumbaclot to mean “fucking” or “motherfucker” surfaced in the 1980s. It never entirely went mainstream, but it became briefly part of American gangland slang in the late 1980–90s to mean “motherfucker.”
Today, like many four-letter words (think fuck), bumbaclot can be a noun (what a bumbaclot), modifier (this bumbaclot store), verb (don’t you bumbaclot me), or exclamation (Bumbaclot! I fucked up my hand). When used with a possessive adjective (my bumbaclot), it means roughly “I’m fucked,” as in you’r probably a target of violence. Bumbaclot can also refer to your partner cheating on you. The term bumbaclot rude boy taken together basically means a Rasta wanker.
Who uses bumbaclot?
Bumbaclot is one of the most common expletives in Jamaica and among speakers of Jamaican slang, especially in Canada and the United States.
Within American hip-hop culture, the word bumbaclot has been occasionally picked up along the insult lines of “douche.” It’s also been taken as slang for a Jamaican in general, which is obviously problematic.
As you might imagine, bumbaclot is controversial—and not just when it’s used as a stand-in for all Jamaicans. For starters, it’s so rude that some claim you can be arrested in Jamaica just for using it as an insult or swear word.
But, besides its insulting nature, many feminists object to the way that that bumbaclot turns a natural part of the reproductive system—menstruation—into a sexist taboo.
When bumbaclot is used by white people, the results can be incredibly cringeworthy. A prime example comes from disgraced former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who drunkenly slurred bumbaclot during a painful impression of a Jamaican at a takeaway restaurant in his city in 2014.