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The Coxford Singlish Dictionary

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Search for keyword:
...or View the Pow-Ka-Leow Index
(76 entries out of 817)

B.G.R.
Acronym for “Boy Girl Relationship”.

BAK CHEW TAK STAMP  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
Classic Singlish hybrid of Hokkien and English. Literally translates as "eyes have been pasted over with a stamp", meaning to be blind.
"How can you step right onto that big pile of kao sai (dog shit)? You bak chew tak stamp, is it?"

BAKERO  (Contributed by UMC-Nazzster)
(Bah-kay-row)
A Singapore corruption of the Japanese swear word "baka yarou", which loosely means "stupid neanderthal". Often erroneously thought to mean "bastard".
"Wah lau, the principal is a damn bakero, man!"

BALIK
(bah-le’h)
Malay for “to return home”.
“5 o’clock and you balik-ing orreddy ah?”
See also: Tsao  

BALIK KAMPONG  (Contributed by Terry How)
Literally, Malay for "return to the village". Used in the sense of "fuck off" or "get lost", or most accurately, "go back where you came from." Chants of "balik kampong" can usually be heard at the National Stadium by Singaporean fans trying to scare the visiting soccer team. But we ALL know who's really going to "balik kampong" in the end.
"Aiyah, why you go and listen to him? Just tell him to balik kampong, lah!"

BALU
A Hokkien term, but derived from the Malay word "baru", meaning "recently".
"This handphone balu bueh eh and oreddy koyak." (I bought this handphone only recently and it's already broken."

BANG
Onomatopoeic term denoting exasperation or frustration. Similar to "Pek Chek".
"I expected to win the lottery, instead I kena fine. Damn bang, man."
See also: Bang Balls  Lum Pah Pah Lan  Pek Chek  

BANG BALLS
Essentially the Anglicized version of the Hokkien phrase "Lum Pah Pah Lan".
"Wah lan! When I heard I kena saman that time, I damn bang balls, drop on floor, bounce three times!"
See also: Bang  Lum Pah Pah Lan  

BANGALI
See Mungalee  Bhai  

BANGLA  (Contributed by Andrew Yong)
Racist abbreviation of "Bangladashi."
"Those two Bangla very hardworking, day in day out never stop working one."

BARANG BARANG  (Contributed by Jonathan Ng)
Colloquial Malay for "chattels", or "personal property or belongings".
Sergeant:" OK, soldiers. We are moving off to Peng San Hill in 10 minutes time. Have you all got your barang-barang ready?"

BASKET
(bahs-kate)
Nothing to do with woven receptacles. A term of uncertain origin, but the general consensus is that it was once a euphemism for "bastard". Nowadays, it is an exclamation denoting frustration.
"Basket! Five minute only, oreddy kena saman! No coupon!"

BAYI
See Bhai  

BECAUSE THE SKY IS SO HIGH, THE BIRD SHIT IN YOUR EYE  (Contributed by Edwin)
This phrase is essentially an annoyed retort to being asked "why", and conveys the meaning that the questioner ought to mind his or her own business. Popular in the mid-70's, its usage began to decline in the early 80's and is rarely heard these days.
Sally: " Eh, Jasmine, how come I never see you with Roger anymore?"
Jasmine: " We oreddy break up, lah!"
Sally: " Why?"
Jasmine: " Because the sky is so high, the bird shit in your eye!"


BEDEK/ACTION BEDEK/BEDEK KACANG  (Contributed by Lixing)
(bay-deh')
A Malay word meaning "to aim at", it is used to describe someone who is acting dishonestly or disingenuously, or who is full of hot air, or who pretends to be capable but is in reality a failure. Can also be used as a verb in the sense of "to bluff" or "mislead". Tagging on "action" or "kacang" (peanuts) is merely for emphasis.
1. "Oi, you make sure you can really do it, ah! Don't anyhow bedek me, okay!"
2. “I saw you pontang school today, you don’t come and bedek kacang with me, okay?” (I saw you playing truant today,
don’t you act innocent with me!)
3. ""Wah! That S-League player really want to score, sia! But open goal still can fall down! So action bedek one, man!"
See also: Act Blur; Buat Bodoh; Wayang


BEH TAH HAN
(bay tah hahn)
A hybrid Hokkien-Malay term meaning, "I can't stand it" or "I can't deal with it". (Hokkien for cannot is "beh" and "tahan" in Malay is "endure".)
1. "Why must he speak with that accent? Damn beh tahan!"
2. "Aiyah, sometimes I really beh tahan him!"


BEH/BUAY
(bay/bway)
A prefix meaning “not”. Either pronunciation is acceptable.
“He damn beh pai say one.” (He’s not ashamed.)

BELAKANG MARI  (Contributed by James Chong)
Literally, Malay for "going by the rear". Used to describe situations where an alternative (often covert) approach is employed when the obvious has failed.
"Wah, that guy super saht man! Cannot get in first time, then belakang mari second time can orreddy!" ("Wow, he's cool! He couldn't get in the first time, but by acting sneaky the second time, he managed to do it!")

BENG
Contraction of “Ah Beng”.
“Why you dress so beng one?”
See also: Ah Beng  

BENGKOK
(beng-kohk)
Malay for 'bent' or 'crooked'.
"Adey! Your shirt a little bengkok leh. Latest style or what?"
See also: Senget  

BERAK  (Contributed by Andrew Yong)
(bay-rah')
Malay for "to shit". (The Malay word for faeces is "tahi".)
"Eh, you all wait awhile for me, hor, I need to berak."

BHAI SI MI SEK
“Bhai What Colour?” A racist game played by churlish Chinese people. It involves pinching your companion whenever you spot a Sikh gentleman, and not letting go till your companion shouts out the colour of his turban.
See also: Bhai  

BHAI/BAI
(bah-yee)
Racist way of addressing a Sikh gentleman. The term “bhai” in Punjabi is innocuous and means “brother”. But this has since taken on racist connotations in Singapore.

BIN CHOW CHOW
Hokkien phrase literally meaning, "smelly face". Used to describe someone with a grumpy look and sour disposition.
"I do'wan to talk to him, lah. He always so bin chow chow one."

BISING
(bee-seng)
Malay for "noisy".
"Alamak, every Saturday night, my upstairs neighbour throws a karaoke party. Damn bising, sia!"

BLANCO
To apply white correction fluid over an error. "Blanco" is actually the trademark name of a long-established whitening liquid.
"No need to get me a new form. I'll just blanco over the old names."

BLANJAH
Derived from the Malay word "belanja", meaning "expenditure". In Singlish, it means to give someone a treat or to pay for someone else.
"If I get promotion, I sure blanjah you all lunch."

BLARDER
Ah Beng pronunciation of “Brother”. Contrary to popular belief, does not mean “bladder”.
“Ah Beng is my blood blarder. We both have the same tattoos.”

BLUR
Used to describe someone as rather inept or in a world of his own. May also be used to describe the feeling of being dazed. A common usage is "Blur like sotong".
1. “Such a simple thing also cannot do. You damn blur!”
2. “Wah lao, I do maths, do until blur, man.”

See also: Concuss  

BLUR LIKE FUCK
The rude version of “blur like sotong”.
See also: Blur  

BLUR LIKE SOTONG
See Sotong  

BLUR TOAD
A common variant of “Sotong”. Of uncertain origin.
See also: Sotong  

BOBO/BOBO KING/BOBO SHOOTER  (Contributed by imayoda and Daniel Hong)
Used to describe a soldier who frequently misses his shooting target. Derived possibly from a military term frequently used at the shooting range, W/O W/O (wipe-out) for no hits at all.
1. "Eh, it's that bobo shooter again, always cross lane one."
2. "Recruit Beng is super bobo king one. Last time at the range, he accidentally shot his OC."


BODOH
Malay for “stupid” or “fool”.
“Salim is such a bodoh. When he lit his cigarette, he set his eyebrows on fire.”

BOH
When placed before any word, it turns it into the negative. The Hokkien equivalent of "not" or "un".  Thus, "Boh Chup" is the negative of "Chup", and "Boh Chee" means not to have any "Chee".

BOH BAH TI
Hakka for Mm Tzai Si
See also: Mm Tzai Si  

BOH BEH CHOW  (Contributed by Kevin)
Hokkien term which literally translates as "no horse running". It is used to describe something or someone which/who is so exceptionally good that there's no competition.
"Wah lau eh, that chio bu really boh beh chow man! Si peh tok kong ah!"

BOH CHEE  (Contributed by AA)
Hokkien for "no balls".
"Eh, like dat also don'ch dare try. He damn bo chee, lah."
See also: Boh Lum Par Chee  

BOH CHIAK PNG  (Contributed by Henry Tan)
Literally, Hokkien for "have not eaten rice".  Used to describe someone as physically weak.
"Wah lau, like that also cannot carry! You boh chiak png, ah?"

BOH CHUP
Nonchalant; relaxed; phlegmatic. Can be used as both adjective and verb.
1. “He’s very boh chup about his work.”
2. “Aiyah, boh chup him, lor.”


BOH ENG
Hokkien term literally meaning "not free". Used to convey how busy you are.
"Go East Coast to swim? Boh eng lah!"
See also: Mana Ooh Eng?  Chia'h Sior Eng  

BOH HER HAE MAH HO
A Hokkien proverb which translates as "If there are no fish, prawns are just as good." It is unclear if this is a statement said in resigned acceptance of one's second choices, or if it is a cheerfully pragmatic way of dealing with situations where you do not get what you originally intended. Perhaps both.
"You couldn't get tickets to the Anita Mui concert, so you bought us seats for the Bukit Pantat Community Centre Angklong Orchestra Performance? I guess boh her hae mah ho."

BOH HEW/DON'T HEW  (Contributed by Henry Tan)
Hokkien for "don't give a damn".  It's not entirely clear what "hew" translates to on its own, but it's invariably used in the negative.
1. "Aiyah, this small-small thing, just boh hew, can oreddy."
2. "It's not worth fighting him over this sort of thing.  Don't hew him, better."

See also: Boh Chup  

BOH LANG AI/BOH NANG AI
Hokkien for "nobody wants", meaning "useless".
"This sort of free gift, boh lang ai, one lah."

BOH LIAO  (Contributed by AA)
Hokkien for "nothing better to do". Dangerously idle. In Mandarin, it's "wuliao".
"What for he go and do that sort of thing? Must be damn bo liao."

BOH LUI  (Contributed by Yong Kuan)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning "no money". Commonly heard from students, NSmen, and people aspiring to Murchidis Bendzes.
'Eh, tonight cannot treat you all to karaoke. I boh lui liao!'

BOH LUM PAR CHEE  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
Hokkien for "no testicles/balls/guts", it is used to admonish someone for being a coward.
"You don't dare print this Lexicon entry, you boh lum par chee."
See also: Boh Chee  

BOH PIAN
Hokkien for "Can't do anything about it" or "No choice."
"Must pay cover charge. This one boh pian one."

BOH SAY  (Contributed by AA)
Hokkien phrase meaning "doesn't have the look".
That kind also can be occifer ah? Damn boh say, leh!"
See also: Ooh Say  

BOH TAH BOH LUM PAR  (Contributed by Woogie)
Literally, Hokkien for "If it's not dry, you've got no balls." A dare given to someone to drink up something unpleasant.
"You say you can tahan spicy food?  Then drink that whole bowl of laksa, lah! Boh tah, boh lum par!"

BOH TAI JI
Hokkien for "Nothing's the matter" or "nothing's wrong".
"Here everything boh tai ji, why you itchy backside come and listurb?"

BOH TAK CHEK
Hokkien for "no schooling".
"You ah, boh tak chek one, how can get cheng hu kang?"

BOH TAU BOH BUAY
Hokkien term which literally translates as, "no head no tail", meaning "incomprehensible".
"Wah lau eh, that movie was damn boh tau bo buay."

BOH TSENG HU
A Hokkien term literally meaning, “to lack governance”. Means lawlessness or chaotic.
“Wah, boss go on leave, this whole place boh tseng hu orreddy.” (With the boss on leave, the office is without control.)

BOH TUA BOH SUAY  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning "no big, no small". Used to admonish someone for not knowing his place. Famously used by PM Goh Chok Tong in a National Day Rally speech.
"You talk like that to your father? Si noong kia! Damn boh tua boh suay!"

BOLEH  (Contributed by AA)
Malay for "can" or "possible".
"You do my way, sure boleh one."

BORAK
Malay, to bluff or to talk idly
"Dun borak me man, you oni pay two dollar for this!"
See also: Talk Cock  

BORROW
For some reason, “to lend”.
“Eh, can borrow me your book?”

BOSS
Nothing to do with one's superiors, this is a deliberately sloppy pronunciation of "balls". Used at the end of sentences for emphasis. Interestingly, it does not add any obscene overtones to the sentence or subject.
1. "Did you see the shirt Ah Beng was wearing? Can go blind, boss."
2. "I just read that book by the opposition politician. Fierce, boss."


BOTAK/BOTAK HEAD  (Contributed by SinnerLee)
Malay for bald. "Botak head" is used to describe a bald person, a skinhead or even someone with a short crew-cut.
"Which one is Mr. Tan? He's that botak head sitting over there."

BUAT BODOH
(bua’h bodo’)
In Malay, literally, "to play dumb". To feign ignorance.
See also: Act Blur  

BUAY GAM
(bway gahm)
A Hokkien term describing something as inconsistent, or being an imperfect match.
“Why did I break up with Ah Lian? Aiyah, she and I just buay gam lor.”

BUAY HIAO BAI  (Contributed by J Tai)
Literally, not to know what ugliness is. Not embarrassed easily.
"His voice cannot make it still go and sing so much, damn buay hiao bai."

BUAY KAN  (Contributed by half-cocked)
Hokkien for, literally, unable to fuck. An especially crude term used  to describe an utterly incompetent person. Applies only to extreme cases.
"Wah lau eh, this fella so buay kan, if we put him in charge, sure  cock-up one."

BUAY KANTANG  (Contributed by ketchup)
Literally meaning "to sell potatoes", this phrase means that there is more than meets the eye in a given situation. it is a hybrid of the Hokkien phrase "buay kan tan", meaning 'not easy' and the Malay word 'kentang', for potato.
"Don't anyhow rush. This sort of thing, ah, buay kantang one."

BUAY KIA NANG TU LAN  (Contributed by Jonathan Ng)
Hokkien phrase which means to do things unabashedly, or unashamed of doing things others might disapprove of.
"Wah lau, this sort of voice also can cut album. Damn buay kia nang tu lan!"
See also: Buay Pai Seh  

BUAY KUM GUAN
Hokkien for "unwilling" or "reluctant".
"Aiyah, ask him to help you damn no use, lah. He sure damn buay kum guan, one."

BUAY PAI SEH  (Contributed by Ch'ng Tuan Wee)
Also "thick-skinned". Literally translated as "not shy". Means not ashamed/embarassed by one's own actions, usually connotes insensitivity.
"Wa lao, you everyday let her buy you drink, buay pai seh one ah?"
See also: Pai Seh  

BUAY SAI  (Contributed by K. Ang)
Hokkien for ‘cannot’ or ‘incapable’. Can be used in many forms.
1. “You want Ah Beng to help you with your maths? Buay sai! (“Impossible!” or “You can’t!”)
2. “You want Ah Beng to help you with your maths? He damn buay sai one!” (“He’s incapable!”)
3. “Ah Beng buay sai help you with your maths.” (Ah Beng cannot help you with your maths.”)

See also: Cannot Make It  

BUAY SONG
Hokkien for “not satisfied”. Usually used in a vaguely belligerent tone.
1. “You stare at me for what? Buay song ah?”
2. “Ah Beng is supposed to be my good friend, yet he treat me like this. Now I damn buay song him.”


BUAY SWEE/STEADY  (Contributed by Willy Ng)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning, "not beautiful" or "unsteady", it is used to denote a person's action as biased or unfair.
" Wah lah eh! Langgar still can pass driving test. Damm buay swee/steady man!"

BUAY TZAI
Hokkien for “not calm”. Used to describe someone as nervous and unsteady.
“Do this sort of thing is very easy. Why you so buay tzai one?”

BUAY TZE TONG  (Contributed by Andrew Yong)
Hokkien phrase referring to an inconsiderate person who lacks initiative.  Literally, "does not know how to move by oneself."
"He see the girl got so many things to carry then still dunno how to go and help. Damn buay tze tong, leh!"

BUAYA
Malay for “crocodile”. Means “lothario” or wolf, i.e. sleazy pick-up artist. May also be used as a verb.
1. “Johnny’s after Jane, even though he’s supposed to be with Jenny. What a chao buaya.”
2. “Look at Johnny buaya-ing Jane.”


BUNG KAH TIO LUM PAR
Literally meaning "mosquito biting the testicles", it is a term used to describe a painful dilemma, where all options carry dire consequences. Similar in spirit to the English "Hobson's Choice", meaning no real choice at all. Believed to have originated in rural China, by farmers who had to relieve themselves in mosquito-infested fields.
"I don'ch whack him, he sure damn ya-ya one. I whack him, he sure report me to police. Wah lan eh, this is damn bung kah tio lum par!"
See also: Lum Pah  

BUSOK
(boo-soh')
Malay for "smelly" or "rotten". Used to accuse someone of being a cheat or playing dirty.
"I don't friend you, you play mah-jong very busok one"
See also: Chao Kuan  Chao Kah  Mungsat  

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