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No Woman No Cry

The meaning of “No Woman No Cry” is now controversial in Japan. “No Woman No Cry” is a title of a song written by Bob Marley, a famous Jamaican Reggae artist. I’ve thought that the meaning is “There is no woman who does not cry”. However, someone says the meaning is “Women! Do not cry !”. I’d like to know the explanation by English native speakers. Thank you.

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it means:
No woman, don't cry

women in the trench town ghetto had a hard life, this is a song of comfort and tribute to the people of that community

here's the meaning of it according to

"No Woman No Cry," a deeply personal reminiscence of Bob's impoverished life in Trench Town. The songwriting credit was given to V. Ford, more commonly known among his brethren as Tartar. Had it not been for Tartar's kitchen, Bob would literally have starved on occasion. And there really was a "Georgie" who would keep the fire light as the boys played until the early hours of the morning.

Rita Marley (wife) autobiography is named:
No woman no cry: my life with bob marley

princess-r June 23, 2004, 3:49am

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There is nothing hackneyed about the Jamaican dialect of English (is it possible for a language or dialect to be hackneyed? I can't imagine what that would mean), and it is no more "distorted" than any American dialect, for there is no "true" English for either of them to be distorted from. Jamaican English is simply its own version of the English language.

Jun-Dai June 24, 2004, 7:54pm

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Hmmm... I had always thought that he was saying that without a woman you'll have no tears, or, in other words women = pain and suffering...

But then maybe i should re-listen to the song.

-- MDT

MDT June 17, 2004, 4:06pm

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Here are the full lyrics:

Judging from the context, I'd say the phrase means something like "No, woman, don't cry." But I agree with speedwell that it's a regional usage that may not be clear to a speaker of US or UK English.

Adam Rice June 17, 2004, 1:06pm

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First off, Jamacians speak such a hackneyed, distorted version of english, that the bulk of americans cannot even understand what they're saying.

Second, I'd guess that from "Little darling, don't shed no tears/No woman no cry". is that he's telling a woman not to cry.

bubba June 23, 2004, 12:51pm

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princess-r was correct. It is evident by reading, or paying attention to the lyrics, that he is telling the women not to cry.
"no woman, no cry
No woman, no cry
Oh, my little darlin'
please don't shed no tears
No woman, no cry, yeah"

alex June 30, 2004, 6:54am

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It means that if you don't have a woman, or you're not involved with people emotionally, you won't cry. Its a song about love, of course.

Xian June 19, 2004, 10:19pm

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The lyrics of the song make it absolutely clear that the idea in Bob Marley’s mind is that "No, woman; no cry" is an imperative:

<i>In this great future, you can't forget your past;
So dry your tears, I say.

No, woman, no cry;
No, woman, no cry.
here, little darlin’,
don’t shed no tears:
No, woman; no cry.</i>

brian.wren.ctr May 18, 2009, 7:36am

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David Wells | Jul-2-04 3:01AM

Bob meant "please don't cry, we're moving forward." That's it. To the Japanese: get a culture!

That's an amazingly ignorant comment. Japanese people have long standing traditions that you couldn't understand. Maybe their traditions aren't as blatant as drinking beer till you lose your job, like most "white men" traditions go Mr. "Wells". (kinda sucks when people make ignorant comments, doesn't it?)

The fact that a japanese person, from japan is communicating to you in english to learn about a third party culture, has been overlooked in this situation. You may think you know your own culture so well, but that kind of ethnocentric thinking leads to inbred ways of life that turn even good people into an ignorant mess.

Do like the smart ones do. Learn from everyone, take the best and make it your own. Don't forget where you came from and know where you're going and go even if you don't have clue. Life was not meant to be lived in comfort zones.

Alex Kim August 14, 2007, 7:10am

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Bob meant "please don't cry, we're moving forward." That's it. To the Japanese: get a culture!

David Wells July 1, 2004, 11:01pm

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I have o agree with (most) everyone. It means "No, woman..Don't cry" Not: Don't cry if you don't have a woman. Also, the correct term is "pidgeon" English, or "Patois" not Hackney. Hackney is the dialect used for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" That is a far cry from the dialect used in Jamaica. And yes, they are both real Engilsh dialects. It's pretty silly to say that there is no "real" English to derive a dialect from. "Real" English is the Queen's Engilsh of course! What the hell else would it be? (BTW; I'm American)

elenas=1 August 2, 2004, 1:19am

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Princess R's explanation above is the correct one. You need to read the lyrics, and understand his life. Imagine that he is talking to a woman who is crying, and he is saying no woman, you don't have to cry... One Love

Princess R is Right July 11, 2007, 5:50pm

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This is typically a sentence proving the importance of punctuation..

"no, woman, no cry" means "don't cry woman", BUT "no woman, no cry" means that if there were no woman, people wouldn't cry.. a very different outcome.. and finally without any comma: "no woman no cry", well this leads to the other interpretation evoked in ur post: there is no woman who does not cry..

kleinjo May 15, 2009, 1:29am

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No, woman, no cry.
A rendering of this title in Jamaican patois would be "No, woman, nuh cry". The "nuh", which makes a shorter vowel sound for "no", is the equal to the contraction "don't".

So the title would become "No, woman, don't cry".
And (I think) Marley said these words to help the women in the Trenchtown ghetto to keep looking at the future and do not cry for what has passed.
(referring to the words "Everything's gonna be all right!")

little_jasmin_07 July 1, 2007, 1:37pm

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Princess R is right. The woman gave you all a quote from which clearly explains the songs yet some people still want to continue with their own opinion. If you want to understand someone's music or song you need to understand them and especially with this , what Bob was going for his whole life. Bob was an excellent social commentator and spokesman for the struggle of the people, here in this song he speaks of Trench Town(so named because it was built over a ditch that drained the sewage of old Kingston) in Jamaica, a very impoverished area and out of that struggle and poverty comes this song.
What people need to understand about dialects especially in the caribbean is that you can't try to understand words said as if they were a regular english sentence because it would make no sense. E.g De man had clothes like bush doesnt mean his clothes look like bush but that "The man had alot of clothes. So you see regular english words used but having meaning to a group of people and absolutely none to others. I hope this helps increase your appreciation for our differences in language and that it peaks your curiosity to find out more. It has been said that english is one of the hardest languages to learn since it hardly follows any rules like the other languages and dialects like Caribbean ones make it a little more difficult especially when they are composite of mixture between languages like Spanish/French and English.

BTW I am a Bajan or Barbadian from BARBADOS an island in the Caribbean not too far from Jamaica. BARBADOS is also Rihanna's home country. You should visit sometime Sumi.

JayRoc July 14, 2007, 9:33am

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I always thought it meant that he had 'no woman' but he wasn't going to cry about it anymore. I'll listen to it again and think about it.

db girl June 17, 2004, 9:14am

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If you actually listen to the song he is saying "No Woman, don't cry." Jamacian accents are hard to understand if you are not from Jamaica. The Japanese just need to chill out because this song means he doesn't want to see a woman cry because there is no reason for it. In his wife's book "No Woman, No Cry" she explains what he means in the prolouge:

"I had put his head in my arm, and I was singing "God Will Take Care of You." But then I started to cry and said, "Bob, please don't leave me." And he looked up and said, "Leave you, go where? [What are you crying for? Forget crying, Rita!] Just keep singing. Sing! Sing!"

dlebrown May 19, 2009, 12:29pm

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I too always thought of it in the sense MDT mentioned below. Once I was asking a guy if he had a girlfriend and he sang: " No woman, no cry!"
However Speedwell is right, you gotta ask a native Jamaican. Just don't kill the buzz!

P.S. I just saw this today: "Big up all yardman philosophers!" See? Having a look at some Ragga lyrics will help you give up being curious on Jamanglish!

goossun June 18, 2004, 2:47pm

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I'm Jamaican. It means "No. Woman, don't cry." As in please don't cry.

jamaykanqueen89 March 29, 2007, 2:17pm

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Alexa Kim... much love to ya, thanks for standing up to ignorant assholes.
JayRoc- your quote is wonderful and well thought out, as well as accurate.
And Princess... I appreciate all the accurate and informational pieces on your part as well...well done!
Rastafari forever- Thank you as well, your information was also very accurate!!

All these people know their Bob Marley music, or at least did some research. I am a Bob Marley fan, along with many other reggae artists for 15 years now, lived in the Carribean, and study the rastafarian culture. Bob Marley was not telling a woman not to cry, and he was DEFINITELY not saying that Women = pain and suffering and without them you will not cry...come on! As Rastafari forever said, believe what you want, I know what is true and this song is beautiful and full of meaning. It's political... and tells a story of Jamaica and the hardships the people suffered but they had to be strong. Do some research... you'll find out for yourself.

Rasta Gial November 24, 2007, 1:53pm

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The song tells the story of him in his early years. Trenchtown is a government housing project in Jamaica. As you may know, Bob grew up in one of these developments as a child. Firelight refers to this. At night, in the center of the development, a huge fire was lit every night for a number of reasons. One was to keep warm since the buildings had no heating and to cook the community food such as "cornmeal porridge." He is speaking to someone and telling that person, a girl, to look to the future and not to cry because of the circumstances. It is also said that Bob predicted his illness which he would get later in life when he says "My feet is my only carriage, so i'll have to push on through." Bob got cancer which started in his big right toe years later. He refuse surgery because he wasn't sure how it would effects his dancing on stage. So he would have to push on through. He is saying in his apsents not to cry. It should also be mentioned that at the end of the performance, he would always cry which means the song was personal to him.

william.beechko September 23, 2007, 5:03pm

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that was lovely randy, you truly are a poet

Dimitri February 27, 2008, 9:41pm

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Let's call that second no ", don't".

Bobisfat June 30, 2004, 6:41am

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we rastas are common sense people.everyone always want the truth to be on their side ,but God fearing people knows that the only real truth is Gods truth.Bob is simply giving people hope (especially woman whom he viewed as the mother of creation).he is also telling us that his not gonna be with us much longer,and that our energy should not be wasted on tears but rather to help create a worldwide situation where everyone can live in ONE harmony.

JAH LIVE children

duncan November 19, 2009, 11:09pm

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I think it means that after having a hysterectomy, you may be happier, as you no longer have any fear of getting pregnant. That's "No womb and no cry". Still think there's no such thing as an incorrect interpretation, Mike?

anon September 28, 2009, 7:14am

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What you need, sumi, is an explanation by a native Jamaican speaker. While the language is English, it is sort of not English. It's been changed so much that most of the grammar rules of standard English no longer apply. Since I speak only standard English, I'm not able to explain the meaning for you (though with a little research I could probably find out).

speedwell2 June 17, 2004, 11:26am

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I don't think Jamaican, US or UK English is relevant in this case, I'm convinced the song is not about a woman in the sense of having or not having one. The lyrics are clear, the song is about hardship in Trenchtown, Bob is reminiscing about his life in the area. The fact that he composed the song and put Vincent Ford's name so he could have a reliable source of income (from royalties) to run the soup kitchen is telling.

He says "in this great future you can't forget your past", which to me means he is giving us a glimpse on his'. I think the woman is Trenchtown itself, and/or women of the area who cried over not being able to provide for their children, "Woman, little sister, dont shed no tears", he can't refer to his woman as little sister, little darling.

The song is about his love for Trenchtown, not love for a woman. After all he had a string of women, I don't think he would cry over not having one. He married Rita at 21 and died at 36. I don't think the man knew how it felt to not have a woman, he was too involved in his music and too busy making 13 children with different women to cry over one.

"My feet is my only carriage,
So Ive got to push on through"

He had to work and move on / out of Trenchtown,

"But while Im gone, I mean:
Everythings gonna be all right!"

Bob is gone, leaving Trenchtown to benefit from this well preserved, great and timeless song. I hope the proceeds from royalties are put to good use to wipe the tears of Trenchtown, this was Bob's wish. He has given his greatest to his birthplace.

Its a sad but comforting song. Bob Live...!

Cheers from South Africa

yzlucky11 December 24, 2008, 10:09pm

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According to someone who has a recording of his Santa Cruz concert — he intros this song as: No Woman, Don't Cry.

princess-r June 24, 2004, 11:13am

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Hello Sumi,
Well, if you take a look at this listen to this:

You can listen to the music here:

When they say the following:
"With me Baby"

The correct English would be "With my baby"
But as it's how people would speak in Jamaica.

Now back to the original question:

If you look at the way when people say
"No man!" Or "No way man!" The adding of man
at the end of sentences originates from Jamaica - I think - I might be wrong or I might be correct. OK man?

A pun there! Couldn't resist!
So to a woman - "No woman, no cry" - This can be translated to be the following:

"No lady, please don't cry"
I think it's a fair translation...Would anyone else disagree or agree?

Sumi, I'm not Japanese nor am I Jamaican. I have Jamaican friends, and I was started to listen to Jamaican music when I was young.

See you around!

rouninurashima July 4, 2004, 3:28pm

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"No Woman No Cry"---- simply it means about, "f you don’t have a woman you will not cry" or "don’t cry woman" , "if you have a woman or don’t have, there is nothing to cry for" or many other meanings of such effect.
But to me , if we think the depth inside it, why not we think----
"If there was no woman, there wouldn't be and baby arriving the world and the very announcement of an infant is nothing but a cry"
Thx to all.

ami_seemanto September 28, 2009, 3:36am

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Thank you Guys, you gave me light.

No woman, please don't cry, it's gonna be alright. Everything's gonna be alright.

jomeramante March 31, 2009, 5:30pm

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there are two meanings for this song theres the jamican 1 and the english 1

the jamican meaning :
"No Woman,No Cry" is a reference to Englands prior control of Jamaica. "Woman" is a reference to the Queen of England. They used to protest in Trench Town all night long against England. A purely political song.

the english version:
is taken from one of bobs friends that was dying in hospital the mans wife was cry by his bed side and the dying man held her face in her hand and said.."no woman! cry!.." bob was toucjed by this and wrote the song in memory of his friend.

make up your own mind which one who want to believe...i no which one i believe but either way its a beautiful song that holds alot of meaning for alot of people ....but it definatly aint about a man with no legs lol

rastafari forever,forever rasta!

rastafari forever September 28, 2007, 11:04am

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No women no cry, its actually no women nuh cry. in jamaica nuh means don't. So its No, women, don't cry.

Lauri November 16, 2011, 12:40pm

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As a Jamaican and a former student of Linguistics, I can guarantee that his lyrics does not mean "if you do not have a woman, do not cry," and that this excerpt from the song over which we are debating is not a pidgin, a dialect, hackney or whatever else that was said here. Jamaican Creole is a language in development, and like English and other "bona fide" languages if given the opportunity to develop naturally, will become a full fledged language. As for the lyrics being debated, it translates in English as no woman should experience sorrow, pain. My personal interpretation of the song is that it was an ode to the strength and character of women. In my opinion, he might have written this song to his wife Rita because he knew that he would die soon and he wanted her to be strong and carry on. However as others have said, he might have been alludding to other issues on a wider spectrum

mellee June 2, 2008, 3:13pm

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What is wrong with most of you people? Most of you can't even spell in English let alone understand other dialects and languages! Why do you come on-line and make ignorant comments. The majority of you haven't a clue what your talking about.

And thank you to those select few who actually did their homework. I commend you for raising the intelligence level of this discussion. While you can interpret any lyric in whatever way it has meaning for yourself personally (the beauty of art), I believe that Marley had a very specific meaning. It is true that "Nuh" means "don't." The original version of the song was titled, "No Woman, Nuh Cry," meaning "No woman, don't cry." He is leaving and trying to comfort a woman that the slum they live in shouldn't get her down. Educate yourselves just a little and this becomes blatantly obvious.

Go back to school.

deathlives April 2, 2010, 9:54am

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HAHA why would Bob Marley be talking about not having a woman? He had MANY woman, and stayed married to Rita through it all. I think this song is to the people he stayed with in Trenchtown, like "Georgie". I assume Rita is the woman he's addressing. This song is about pushing through despite struggle and finding tha strength in your hope for the future. Bob says that "everythings gonna be alright" because tha struggle you are goin through right now will soon become the past you can't forget in your bright future. Idk about other supposed meaning where people are saying that the queen is the woman & its a song about protests. They used to sing in the yard in Trenchtown, I didn't know anything about protest. Bob & Rita were shot because of politics but I don't think this song is political.

shaundreama March 11, 2009, 12:58pm

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No Woman No Cry is a reference to Englands prior control of Jamaica. "Woman" is a reference to the Queen of England. They used to protest in Trench Town all night long against England. A purely political song.

Akira June 13, 2016, 8:17am

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Yes Zu is correct the song is about bob marley's reflection upon life in trench town but it also speak to women telling them to be strong because things will get better.

Now for the person that criticized jamaican creole as being hackneyed, let me educate you a little.
I must first say I am jamaican. If you go through history you would have understood how different languages came about the jamaican creole may not have been standardized as yet however it is a language.
P.S. if you did not know what you now refer to as standard english is a mixture of german, dutch, and other languages; and it was once also in the state that jamaican creole is now in.

XObridgett June 24, 2010, 7:52pm

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If the phrase meant "if you don't have a woman you won't cry", then the next line -- "No, little sister, don't shed no tears" -- would make no sense at all. "No, woman, don't cry" must be the correct interpretation.

MP May 17, 2008, 3:04pm

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Oh my God people, In native english, such as jamaican english, we use 'nuh' for don't.
It is that simple. The reason for this stems from the days of slavery where the slaves had a language of there own, but were forced to communicate in english with their masters. What then happened was a mixture of various african dialects and english which gave birth to patois. A broken down form of an already broken english.

azadb February 2, 2010, 3:50pm

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The title and main refrain, "No Woman, No Cry", in Jamaican patois would be "No, woman, nuh cry". The "nuh", which makes a shorter vowel sound for "no", is the equivalent of the contraction "don't".[5] wiki

This is telling his women not to cry everything is gonna be alright its a song of comfort kind of like don't worry be happy he explains how him and his lover once shared time for he state my feet are my only carriage so i gotta keep pushing though meaning he has to go but no women dont cry (My feet is my only carriage,
So I've got to push on through.
But while I'm gone, I mean:
Everything's gonna be all right!) so every verse list a certain struggle but his respond is no women dont cry

gorgeous313 March 10, 2010, 9:27am

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I believe he could be making reference to the Queen or its code for NO VICTIM NO CRIME referring to trespass, loitering (government yard in trench town) or even smoking joints (Georgie would make the fire light).
He is trying to tell the common man about common law and the inherent rights of every living human being.

Jason P October 28, 2014, 5:08pm

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Elena: It's spelled "pidgin." And a "hackney" is a taxicab.

I think you are thinking of "Cockney," which is traditionally thought of as the dialect spoken by those born within the sound of Bow bells. It was the dialect spoken by the character Eliza from "My Fair Lady," before she learned to speak like a woman of the upper class.

speedwell2 August 2, 2004, 4:38am

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It means, if the woman is gone, there will be no tears. It is a reference to the queen and her rule of Jamaica at the time. It's a political song.

Charlotte J Safrit February 16, 2017, 3:05am

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geez.... you people almost sound funny. we dont speak "hackneyed" or whatever else you called it..... we have a dialect called Patois (pronounced PAT-WAH)
as for the Bob Marley song....

a woman that is depressed about alot of things.... no woman, no cry

there's a chorus in the song that goes
Everything's gonna be all right!
Everything's gonna be all right!
Everything's gonna be all right!
Everything's gonna be all right! etc

so all he is saying that all she is worrying,
she must not cry because everything will be ok

JAMAICAN! February 5, 2009, 9:57am

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Different songs mean different things to different people. Sometimes what you get from a song can depend on what you are going through at the time, then you listen to it again and it could mean something completely different. It depends on the person, their background and what they are going through and have been through.

I believe that "No Woman No Cry" means "No Woman, Dont Cry". But I do believe the Woman is a symbol for a struggle (and I am NOT saying that without a woman there is no reason to cry). To me he speaks of hard times in Trenchtown, where he grew up and lived. I think he was giving the people hope that the struggle they were facing would eventually be over so they wouldnt have to continue to suffer or "cry".

"My feet is my only carriage, So Ive got to push on through." I dont think he was forecasting his death. I think he was referring to life and how your determination is the only thing that you have that when things look impossible, will get you from one point to another. So despite what you are going through you have to keep pushing through circumstances to make it to a better place. My feet is my only carriage means my determination is all I have to take me to the next level. But when you finally do decide to go forward and push through, its like leaving a comfort zone, so you are literally gone from a place in your life. But know that when you do leave your comfort zone, everything is going to be alright. The future is great, so you look to the future for hope that things will get better, but dont forget your past, which was the struggle that made you who you are.

It is no doubt that the song is about a struggle. But like I said if you have never struggled growing up, then you probably will think it refers to a woman and him telling her not to cry. But for me, it represents hope that despite your struggle you can make it. And when you do make it, help the people make it also, which would explain "Then we would cook cornmeal porridge, Of which Ill share with you". His friend owned a soup kitchen that helped keep alot of people alive back then, so this reference could be a tribute to his friend, but a reference to helping people, even when what you have isnt much.

Smith December 6, 2008, 7:38pm

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Its amazing how this particular song is being debated about. This song has got nothing to do with a woman or crying, if you check out the legend album, there is songs that already songs to cover that topic. By 'woman' bob is talking about any any suffering community in third world countries all over the world. More specifically, I think Robert is referring to Africa, the motherland....Everything is realy gonna be alright!!!!!!!

romaaddicted February 25, 2008, 1:55am

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I'm sure that it means, "Don't cry, woman." The initial "no" in "No Woman No Cry" is not a denial but for emphasis. Also, remember that Marley is using the Jamaican dialect of english. The title should be read, "Woman No Cry."

bahb May 18, 2009, 7:25am

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OMG, how could you people be Bob Marley fans and not understand his lyrics? He was a messenger of Jah who used his music to spread Jah's message. If you can't understand what he's saying then you completely missed the point of the message and the message itself. In the context of the song, "no woman no cry" means "No woman don't cry." Bob and his wife Rita came from very humble beginnings, they experienced extreme poverty together as a young couple. So in the song Bob is comforting and reassuring his wife that she have no need to cry because he remembers the hardship that they went through in their life and will therefore never forsake her. Bob also discribed some of the experiences that they went through in their past with lines like "I remember when we use to sit in the government yard in Trenchtown." Trenchtown is where Bob met his wife and where they began their life's journey together. Please people, do yourselves a favor, when you listen to Bob Marley's music, don't just listen to the harmony actually listen to the lyrics they all have strong messages in them. Jah Bless.

kookooyoo November 26, 2010, 5:51pm

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for me the song of bob marley "no woman, no cry" in my own point of view it means it doesn't matter if you have a woman or don't have, there is nothing to cry for. It in short no woman, don't cry!

aidanaguanta September 4, 2009, 7:28am

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If you have ever been to Jamaica, you would know that Jamaicans sing all the time. They could be asking for a bowl of cereal and they would sing it to you. Maybe the soup kitchen dude did write it. Maybe he was cutting some sugar cane for the soup and created a song. Next time you visit Jamaica be sure to leave the resort and actually talk to the locals, they are amazing people. We look at the shack they live in and feel pity. Talk to the kids on the way to school in thier uniforms, they are happy. A westerner would cry about what they do not have, but these people are thankfull for everything. We want to turn the entire world into a first world country, but no one asked the ?third? worlders if this is what they want. Perhaps people want to be left alone and respected for who they are not petry-dished into what we think they should be.
One Love People

wolfesburg February 20, 2009, 6:52am

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All confusion would be eliminated if the song's original line was kept: "No, Woman, Nuh Cry" or, in plain English, "No, Woman, Don't Cry".

As mentioned above, the song is about getting through struggling times; and he's probably talking to his wife, as "the government yard in Trenchtown" refers to the Jamaican housing projects where he lived in the 50s.

Mersknn February 15, 2010, 9:49pm

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wow there's a ton of speculation about the actual could mean many different things depending on the listener however the intended meaning I believe came from a personal experience (the inspiration), but the meaning is more general to women suffering in trench town and in a religious and political sense more about the state of affairs in general in relation to rastafari beliefs. " In this great future we can't forget our past" is not so literal to the woman, but more general speaking to a living history that is part of Rastafari and speaks to people not living their history which is prophetic, but getting caught up in other concepts of a great future like heaven which Rastafari belief is found here on Earth. "this great future" is not necessarily a good thing unless you interpret it to be attached to the rastafari concept of "everliving" and immortality rather than heaven. If you look deeper into Rastafarian beliefs it makes more sense!

I and I July 5, 2011, 6:30am

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It's a purely political song about the subjugation of Jamaica by the British. "Woman" is "Queen".

Barry Raynes September 28, 2016, 1:46am

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i am a jamaican girl origionally from st. katherine jamaica, a peris near kingston and i just wanted to put that in jamaica, bob marley is a musical genius and his music is pure and wonderful. listen to his lyrics and i guarentee you will realize what he is talking about..1 luv as we say

kgizmo1 March 9, 2008, 10:17am

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Bubba - Jamaicans speak hackneyed English, what about Americans?

Speedwell - The English themselves do not speak your Queen's English, they speak distorted English and do not apply the grammer, thanks to globalisation, cellphone text and email language the coloniser and slave master's pride is throttled, the scrapping of the pound will be the last straw, the British Empire is finally buried and the English are pining for it. These people have rubbished Africa for her minerals and they, and Americans are financing wars on the continent. Britain needs South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe (yes Zimbabwe, the English know how rich Zimbabwe is), Kenya and Tanzania, in that order, more than we need them. After all you have nothing except empty pride, very little education, potato and coal. Your days on this continent are numbered, your first world status which you earned at the expense of our continent will diminish as soon as Africans start to trade more amongst themselves. That is going to happen.

Your arms dealing queen is paying visits to third world countries to open doors for British arms manufacturers, leaving a trail of civil wars, how do you explain that. Britain needs to make wars to survive. The son of Margaret Thatcher and Simon Mann (a British citizen) were charged for plotting a coup in Equitorial Guinea, the days of the English on this continent are numbered. Mann is doing 34 years and dying in jail in E. Guinea, good for him. What is Britain doing about their citizens who are plotting civil wars in poor countries around the world.

Cheers to Jamaica from South Africa.

Zu December 24, 2008, 10:38pm

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what db girl said.

He's saying that if you don't have a woman, you shouldn't cry about it.

P Ray June 23, 2004, 9:54am

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the lyrics obviously mean : without a woman you don't suffer, you don't cry. and that woman should be the queen of england

me November 13, 2008, 9:39pm

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i got a snake, man!!

bob August 13, 2006, 12:53pm

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No,no,no. What are you all talking about. Any true Bob Marley fan would know that "No Woman,No Cry" is a reference to Englands prior control of Jamaica. "Woman" is a reference to the Queen of England. They used to protest in Trench Town all night long against England. A purely political song. Peter Tosh was also very influential in this fight.

mkiyabru March 18, 2008, 8:24am

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Man! This song is like a hymn. I seems to communicate a deep spiritual message that however I'm feeling it seems to just make me think of God!

Adam Rees August 10, 2007, 8:38am

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I think someone already said this, but it's a political and song of strength for his people, and in particular the women living in the impoverished conditions in the trench towns of Jamaica. To give them strength and to literally tell them not to cry. I've also heard that the "Woman" referred to in "No Woman, no cry" may also be a reference to the queen of England and a protest to Englands control of Jamaica.

What I know for sure is this is one of the greatest songs ever written.

Alex Kim August 14, 2007, 7:23am

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reading your post was kinda funny..ü "no woman, nuh cry" nuh=don't.
but its not about just women, the song is about government also, during that time they where slaves and remember who colonized them?:) yes that country has a queen:) thats the woman:)

joex08 October 31, 2009, 6:01am

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Get a clue! No Woman, No Cry is patwah for no woman don't
cry, he's telling her not to shed a tear...the lyrics speak for
itself. For all those "other" Americans who can understand
"partridge in a pear tree", Bob Marley is the same difference.
He was a poet, a Jamaican Poet, but a notable one-
nevertheless. Some people even feel that he was a
prophet, sort of like John Lennon.

a_liststar June 10, 2008, 4:27am

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Its 'grammar' mate... as for the rest of your misguided politics... give it a rest

Canuck January 1, 2009, 11:58am

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People do you even read the lyrics or do you only hear the 'no woman no cry' phrase in the song?
he also sings 'hey little sister, don't shed no tears' so it's obvious that he's telling some woman not to cry
He didn't mean that women are pain in the butt and there would be no tears if not for women.
I hope somebody shares my oppinion

NHUNKA44 May 4, 2010, 11:49am

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It uses a Jamaican slang term, phonetically it would be:

no woman nuh cry

the 'nuh' is used in the Jamaican dialect meaning 'don't', it confused me that someone as peaceful as Bob Marley wrote lyrics that seemed a bit sexist and macho and how much girls sang along to the song, so yeah, I looked it up.

jamesceclark June 14, 2010, 1:35pm

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The lyrics of the song mean if you have a woman you will cry...if you don't have a woman you will not cry...No woman no cry...

jimwarrior August 12, 2009, 10:44am

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well a lot of people think it means if you have or if there were no women , you dont have to shed tears. but then why would the next sentence be , oh little sister , Dont shead no tear , thats gotto be about a woman, i going for no woman , dont cry :)

serge January 24, 2008, 7:33am

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ye... No nowan no cry....
i'm the fan of marley, and i've been thinking of this lyric for ten years. but like sumi, i've not known it yet...

one day in the night, i tried to hear it well to know what the true meaning of the song is.. Not better than before, i got the zero result... then i got the insight... Why i must spend a lot of my energy just to know the true meaning of this liryc.... this liryc's like poets,isn't it?????? So, you can use your own interpretation to translate the song is... don't u????????? I think it hangs on your own creatifity... Ok???

nice to give u comment... if u want, give me back a comment....

nazro_nbe July 2, 2008, 6:57pm

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it makes more sense if you shake your head and look down while you say it

Jon January 29, 2008, 7:36am

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When I see:

"no woman..." meaning "no, woman..." meaning you're saying no to a woman and actually calling her "woman" like some sort of title or nickname

and compare it to:

"no woman..." meaning "you don't have a woman..."

it reminds me of a comedy country song from long ago called "My Girl Bill". The entire song sounds like it's about a girl named Bill, but then at the very end, the last line is "...she's MY girl, BILL", and it's clear that the singer is telling this to his male friend, Bill, not singing ABOUT a girl named Bill. The entire song can be understood either way, which, I guess, is what makes it funny.

Anonymous January 29, 2008, 10:02am

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He definitely means woman, don't cry

mmdoco1 January 31, 2008, 10:06pm

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Wow, no one knows..the woman he's singing about is the queen of england.."no woman, no cry". No queen=no cry/pain. it's a very political song, and not about females crying, otherwise we wouldn't start a thread on what it means >.>

daniel_spahiu2001 November 18, 2010, 6:34pm

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My family is Jamaican it definately means no woman nuh (don't) cry, because the song is about nostalgia about lost loved ones, and there is even a lyric in the song that says dry your tears...
but when i was really little i thought it meant that too until my dad explained it lol

shearlp October 8, 2008, 11:27am

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yes it means, don't cry. Jah Bless!

k September 12, 2007, 10:35pm

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The meaning of the song is simple.

"No womman, please don't (no) cry"

It's a song about after he's gone he doesnt wasnt people esspecially women to cry over him because as it say it the song "everything is gonna be alright"

That's my personal belief of the song. Your's my differ.

Swan July 17, 2008, 12:27pm

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He means he has his penis in a womens dirty mouth (Trenchtown) and she is crying. He tells her stop crying and let him cum in her mouth and swollow cause it will taste like cornmeal parridge. He goes on to say he doesn't have a car (carraige) and his feet are infected so he uses a wheelchair to get around. People won't help him get around but want his money so he observes those hypocrites. Georges is real a porn actress that he befriended and taught him all he knew about singing. As she taught him she would light a fire so he could stay warm as they practiced late into the night.
That is the true version just any True Rausta Mon!

Jumbulia October 11, 2008, 9:06pm

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I want it to mean, if you don't have a woman, you don't need to cry about it. And I'm going even further with: no man, no cry! So there!!!

Lollyelizabetg June 26, 2010, 4:58pm

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Louis de Broglie October 14, 2008, 3:30am

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I agree with Mathew:
"he definetly means; woman, dont cry."

i think its all about what the song means to you. this is what it means to me. it could in fact be the political points stated, but its not what i think of when i hear it.
But it most definetly does NOT mean " if you dont have a woman you wont cry."

Laurrrra! May 22, 2008, 11:07am

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think of it this way, a woman is in deep pain, and crying, bob was telling her, no woman, or dont woman or stop woman , nuh cry, meaning dont cry.. NO WOMAN NO CRY.. judging from the context of the song, shes singing this to a woman not for a man to dont cry without a woman..

sandeflores13 January 22, 2011, 4:18am

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Kerri-Anne....I think we all agree with you when you say he was a musical genius. He has touched so many of us with his music.

Mac McIntire April 20, 2008, 10:34am

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sumarai September 29, 2009, 9:15pm

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I was reading somewhere i cant remember.
but Bob Marley and the Wailers original recording of this song is from a live gig in London. and it was apparently originally titled "no woman nuh cry" and anyone who knows better correct me if im wronge. but i believe 'nuh' translates from native jamaican to 'do not' or dont. so if im not mistaken the song would be "No woman, do not cry" which i believe to be a line of comfort for the woman. the song is about the trenchtown living.

ejlev May 18, 2010, 4:22am

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Woman meant World. As in the sum of folks.
It has nothing to do with a woman. As in a unit.
Since everyone comes from one. It zeroes down to woman.
Now that is a take I have had for 15yrs.
Interestingly vast variations on the significance.

alphabets99 July 27, 2008, 6:47pm

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i hope sumi has got the answer. although i'm an indian, still i'd like to post. considering dear bob's other songs, his genre and his (assumed) thoughts he has most obviousy sung for the women. he has identified with them, their sufferings and have supported and consoled them by telling them not to cry.
please refrain from misunderstanding him

sanchari October 20, 2008, 9:15pm

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jumbulia. your thought is indeed dirty and filthy!!
this quite reveals how nasty a person you are!!!!

i condemn people like you!!!

sanchari October 20, 2008, 9:17pm

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oh no!! Jumbulia! You've been condemned!!!!!

Louis de Broglie October 21, 2008, 10:51am

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It means "No, Woman, Don't Cry".

Consider the original lyrics:

"No woman no cry, no woman no cry
Little darling, don't she'd no tears, no woman no cry"

rosemary-fleur September 7, 2010, 10:58pm

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This song can be seen in many ways....I'm positive that it did not mean if you have no one you will not cry. Listening to the lyrics will give you that much. I agree with Rasta Gial, it's about the struggles of Jamaica. He says "in this bright future you can not froget the past" which i think he i s saying that Jamaica will have a good future but it's past will always shape it. Also anyone who keeps sayin ghtat it's about having no one, will make you not cry should see
I fyou truly love bob marley and his music you will do research berfore opening your mouth.
I understand you have your opinions but that's not what sumi was asking she wanted a reliable answer, with some researhable background.

Sumi go to and see for yourslef.
I have a friend that is fighting with me now, he says bob marley's music is pointless, I lost total respect to him as a singer.....he doesn't have to like the music but the message of untiting the world threw music and other thingks bob marley stood for should make him want to at least understand the words....lets se if i can change his mind!!! ;-)

joey August 4, 2008, 3:01pm

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Originally no, woman, nuh cry. And "nuh" in Jamaican English means "don't".

No, woman, don't cry. Everything will be all right. I'll be back, things will get better, don't cry. I love you.

I think this is what he meant. It's beautiful and like all his songs, it comes out of his experience, carrying his energy and if we listen, we cannot help but be moved by it.

makyina December 10, 2009, 3:40pm

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No woman, no cry means if you don't have a woman you won't suffer all the problems a relationship brings. For some reason men think women are complicated! :) So if you don't have a woman, maybe you are coasting along feeling ok, but maybe you miss some of the great highs, too. But that's just my opinion. There is a great visualization of this here:

Lada February 5, 2009, 4:38pm

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Hah Hah, it's only a punctuation marks question!
Please keep it simple. The answer is:
No, woman, no cry
No cry woman, please not to cry.
That's all.

jessewu.wt9 April 17, 2010, 6:23pm

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the song is about a jamaican who has no legs and because of that he can't relate sexually with women. nevertheless he's a happy man. no woman....but he don't cries

hpcm September 24, 2007, 6:26am

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"No woman No cry" contrary to social belief is about telling a woman that she shouldn't cry. The idea that we have about a man not crying if he doesn't have a woman,or the famous one "if a man doesn't have a woman he doesn't have reason to cry,because he doesn't have a woman to cause him pain(emotionally) or to stress him out".
Many people taught that's what it meant. But really and truly its only saying that women shouldn't cry because of hardships.
And also the woman in the song specifically:In the song the man is a travelling minstrel telling his woman he will come back for her.
"So dry your eyes I say, and while I'm gone
everything is going to be alright
everything is going to be alright now
no woman no cry, no woman no cry".

Genesis441 February 27, 2017, 11:56am

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Georgie was a good friend of Marley's that was killed during the Kingston riots. He is singing to the man's wife or sister...

Marley fan December 4, 2007, 2:15pm

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Seems if one writes out the lyrics it becomes obvious.

I love this song :).

tom December 4, 2007, 3:55pm

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it means 'no woman! dont cry!' in jamaican patois or creole..... pls dnt get confused the 2nd 'NO' stands for 'dont'

Summer N. October 3, 2012, 5:44am

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Anyone who takes 5 minutes to read the lyrics would understand that the meaning is "No, woman, don't cry." Whether the "woman" relates to his lady, women in general, or the queen is open for debate, but it's painfully obvious that the song has NOTHING to do with the notion that if you don't have a woman, you'll have nothing to cry about.

If only Bob Marley had put a comma before the direct address in the title, nobody would be confused ...

AMR February 9, 2009, 4:44am

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Yes     No