For Locs (Dreadlocks)

My unpopular opinion on the Debate Dreadlocks Vs Locs

Dreadlocks vs locs: what’s the difference? The question of locs vs dreadlocks is one that many people seem to be asking these days.

Personally, I think it’s the new age of social media that sprouts this question. In this brief article, we will dive in and discuss if there is a difference between dreadlocks vs locs or is it just a matter of referencing the same hairstyle.

Before we continue, let me express that this article is an opinion piece. While I will try to provide facts wherever necessary, the bulk of this information will be my opinion.

Dreadlocks vs locs

Dreadlocks vs Locs

In my opinion, there is no difference between saying dreadlocks vs locs. However, I can see why others may see a difference and, as such, take offense to the term dreadlocks. If you are on social media, you may have seen this debate happening before, and I even saw a t-shirt that says there is nothing ‘dreadful’ about my hair.

So that brings the question, what does dread mean?

The meaning of ‘dread’ in the Caribbean

Well, from my Caribbean (Jamaican and Antiguan ) perspective, dread means a lot of different things. We use the term in many different ways.

For instance, if I see a male friend who does not have locs, I may greet him by saying ‘Wa gawn dread”. Now he doesn’t have dreads, so dread, in this case, is simply a slag greeting.

In another instance, someone may ask me how my day has been going, or they may do something shocking, and I may respond, “boii it dread”. In this case, dread is my way of relaying an emotion of either excitement or perhaps hardship.. it really depends on the context that I use it in.

Another way dread is used in the Caribbean is to refer to a person with dreadlocks. For instance, my grandfather’s nickname is dread. He has had locs for as long as I can remember, and for him, his locs meant a lot! We did not call him dread to mock him, we called him dread out of respect, and he loved, appreciated, and welcomed his nickname. Even to this day (may his soul rest in power), we still refer to him as dread.

And there we have it, the meaning of dread in the Caribbean.

The meaning of Dread via google search

When one searches the team dread on google, the results are as follows:

anticipate with great apprehension or fear. “Jane was dreading the party”
Similar: fear, be afraid of, worry about, be anxious etc

google search


1.great fear or apprehension.”the thought of returning to New Jersey filled her with dread”
Similar:fear, fearfulness, apprehension,

2.INFORMALa person with dreadlocks.

google search


greatly feared; dreadful. “he was stricken with the dread disease and died”

google search

Based on the google definition, I can more than understand why in the debate of dreadlocks v locs, someone may wear a shirt that says, “there is nothing dreadful about my hair, and I don’t blame them! However, if you are of Caribbean heritage, the google definition means little to nothing to you because you know what the term represents in your culture.

And to be quite frank, in my Antiguan heritage, locs is the term used when mocking someone’s loc’d hair. I have heard countless people call others”shitty locs.” they never use dreads. Because of the respect that Rastafarians get.

Saying this to say, dreadlocks indicated stature, while locs was the common term. Dreadlocks sometimes suggested a religious way of wearing the hairstyle, while locs referenced a hairstyle done just for the style and not the significance.

Another perspective on Dreadlocks vs Locs

I asked my husband the question, do you say ‘dreadlocks or locs.’ His response was, “I say dreads.” When I prompted him as to why he said that saying locs is feminine. He says dreads because it has a masculine tone, and the word locs seem to be used chiefly by women.

Have you ever noticed that? I have not, but I am curious as to your take?

Summing it up

Saying this to say, the term you choose to refer to your hair is up to you. And people should respect your preference. So in the debate of locs v deadlocks, I say refer to my hair with respect or don’t refer to it at all. If I want you to say locs, but you say dreads, I would politely tell you that I refer to them as locs, so please do the same.

Personally, though, I say locs, dreads, dreadlocks interchangeable. I mean no disrespect to anyone and have no problem using the terminology that an individual prefers.

What about you? What is your take on saying dreadlocks vs locs? Let me know in the comments.

Shanice DK is a Freelance Writer within the beauty and wellness niche. She enjoys spending time in nature, writing, and crafting handmade items. You can catch up with Shanice on her business website - Or on Instagram @faithnturtles.

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