Irie - the meaning of: 
"Irie", is the ultimate positive, powerful, pleasing, all encompassing quality.

“happy “
“pleasant “

I feel that these descriptions are a common misconception. Yes, “Irie” is used and is synonymous with hello, all right, good, fine, I’m alright etc. However, on deeper examination the findings indicate that it’s origins are far more spiritual.
Irie is a Jamaican noun meaning good, excellent, great and good quality. Thus a number of companies and traders in Jamaica use Irie in their names.
The language of Jamaica is English however, Jamaica Talk is a synthesis of several historical influences e.g. Old English and nautical terms, Spanish, Irish dialect, African and American slang. Jamaican language is a hybrid. It is important to note that there are variations to the language, depending on the region of the Island, in correlation to which Tribe in West Africa the people came from and the respective areas they settled during slavery and after. Jamaicans claim that their language and use of it is very dynamic. Slang’s are created perpetually, fortifying their expressiveness. Lots of emphasis is placed on the sound/vibration (I’ll come back to vibration later) of the word. Rastafarian “I-dren” (brethren) have their own language and one word that you will hear frequently is “irie”.
Rastafari (notice the i at the end) is an indigenous religion that emerged during the 1930s as a grass roots answer to social conditions and the irrelevance of white-oriented denominations. Rastafari has been used as a cover by criminals, and as a publicity gimmick by pop musicians, but in its pristine form it is a valid faith that emphasizes the indwelling God Spirit in every person. Rastafaris developed their own version of the Jamaican dialect in which “I” is a frequent pre-fix. (For example “I and I” or “I-man” meaning I or myself and “I-dren” meaning children or brethren)

But now it starts to get interesting and here is the where I believe irie really comes from:

“I and I” simultaneously means (1) you and I (2) the Great Spirit. Use as you would ‘I’.

“Ites” means the heights of I and I.

“Irie” is an adjective form of Ites, meaning the same thing.

“Yes I” is a Rasta term, meaning positive vibration.
For Rastafarians, the most powerful and significant letter is “I” which can also be used as a word and a number. “I” is so important that Rastafarians use it each time they refer to themselves by saying "I and I," this is done to include the presence and divinity of the Almighty with themselves each time they speak. Also by saying "I and I" when talking about themselves, Rastas are indicating that they belong to the world and are not separated from it. "I and I" is additionally used when referring to fellow Rastas; this is due to the same reasoning against separating themselves but, in this case from fellow Rastas. The use of "I and I" is not only limited to Rastas but, when a Rastafarian meets a stranger, he/she does away with the superficial greetings common to polite society and instead tests the "vibration" of the person. If the vibration is positive, it does not matter if one is a member of the movement or not; he or she will immediately be addressed in conversation as "I and I." They believe the words of Jah (Yahweh) are "I and I" while, Satan would say "you and me." His Imperial Majesty, Halle Selassie I, even has "I" as part of his title.
Rastas also believe in the concept of "One Love" meaning, everyone should have the same love for everything-, yourself, spouse, co-workers, children, nature. etc. This concept and belief ties in very closely with the concept of "I and I" because it once again stresses the evil of separation.
An "I" also makes any word become more spiritual and sacred and "irie" is a great example of this. "Irie", is the ultimate positive

One definition of irie has three parts which all greatly represent the positive factor or the "I"; (I) powerful and pleasing, (2) excellent, highest, and (3) the state of great feeling. Also, in Rasta talk "all is irie" means nothing could be better and "irie heights" or "Ites," are equivalent to the Christian belief of heaven or, to a strongly uplifting spiritual feeling. Additionally, "I" used in combination with other words glorifies them and by substituting "I" for a syllable Rastas create their own meanings such as; changing "power" to "I owner," "thunder" to "I-under," and "total" to "I-tal."
A lot of Rasta words are meant to bare the chronological weight of their sounds, which has caused parts of many traditionally "Standard" English words and phrases to be changed. Rastas don't say "I and I will come back soon,” but would say "I and I will come forward soon." This is because "back" and "return" are negative, non-progressive words. If you mean "backward," and say "forward" you will be understood. "Understood" is another word that has been changed in this way. Rastas say that understanding means comprehension, which is a positive, uplifting experience; therefore it is only logical to say "overstood." One last example of this change because of "wordsound" is the word “oppression." Rastas and Jamaicans have been oppressed for years and it is a very negative thing but, the word oppression has the sound up in it, which signifies something positive, therefore it makes much more sense to say "downpression" when referring to this very negative thing.
In a way Rasta talk is a religious language and it can be related to Jamaican Patois because it is Jamaican dialect used on a philosophical level. Rastas don't have "conversations" but they consider any lengthy talking among each other "reasoning." They feel to share their experiences fully they use their thoughts and expressive capacities collectively in a group setting. They don't speak from one person to another using Babylon's "selective concepts" which they feel are linear, unnatural, and unproductive. Babylon is a term used quite often by Rastas to represent "the system". According to the Rasta/Patois Dictionary, some examples of Babylon can be (1) the corrupt establishment, the "Church and State" (2) the police, a policeman.
Therefore my conclusion is that

"Irie", is the ultimate positive

“Powerful, pleasing, all encompassing quality”

I hope this covers what you were asking me for. If you have any questions give me a call.

Kind regards,


Rachael Russell M IDM, Dip DM


email: or Call: +44 (0)1432 341456

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