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The Coxford Singlish Dictionary

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(82 entries out of 817)

C.K.L.P.S./CHUI KONG LUM PAR SONG  (Contributed by Melvin Wong)
Hokkien phrase which translates literally as, " mouth talk, testicles shiok". Used to describe someone who mouths off only to please himself with no benefit to anyone else. Analogous to calling someone a wanker or a "N.A.T.O." (No Action, Talk Only).
"Aiyah, you listen to the Principal for what? He whole day C.K.L.P.S. only."
See also: N.A.T.O.  

C.M.I.  (Contributed by Samuel Tan)
An acronym standing for "Cannot Make It", it's an exclamation denoting resignation and despair.
"Aiyah, almost 5am oreddy and still haven't finish studying for the exam. C.M.I. liao, lah!"
See also: Cannot Make It  Buay Sai  

CAB  (Contributed by Daniel Hong)
Not a taxi, but the acronym for "Chao Ah Beng".
"Eh, don't go to Sparks lah. That place full of cabs one!"

Malay for 'flee' or 'escape', often used where the context of flight is urgent or unexpected.
1. "If the teacher comes, we all cabut, OK?"
2. "I tried to find him, but he cabutted already"

CAN (1)
Monosyllabic answer denoting one’s ability to fulfil a requested task.”No problem.”
Beng: “Eh, Seng, lend me your car, leh.”
Seng: “Can.”

CAN (2)
An adjective used to praise one for one's abilities.
1. "Wah, you got so many A-stars! You damn can, hor?" 2. "Of course he'll solve the problem. He very can one!"

An exclamation of simultaneous despair and horror.
1. "Wah lau, this new "A" level syllabus damn can die one!"
2. "How's work?" "Can die, man."

CAN OR NOT?  (Contributed by Terry How)
A question on whether something is permissable. This is the Anglicized version of the Hokkien phrase "Eh sai bo?"
1. "Today after school follow me go downtown, can or not?"
2. "Eh, borrow me $5 today, tomorrow I return you, can or not?"

See also: Eh Sai/Eh Sai Bo  

CANNOT MAKE IT  (Contributed by Aaron Loh)
To try, but fall far short of any acceptable standard. Applicable to both people and objects.
1. "One beer only concuss already! His drinking skill damn cannot make it, man!"
2. "His new car two weeks old only, oreddy spoil three times. I told him already, Proton Saga: cannot make it."

See also: C.M.I.  Buay Sai  

Cantonese for "movie extra", it is also used to describe people as idle hangers-on or layabouts. It is suspected that the term was derived from somewhere else. Can also be used as a verb, as in "to care-lair-fair".
"Eh, next week my company is holding a product launch for TV. If got time, come and care-lair-fair, lah."

Used to describe someone or something as funny or silly.
"Aiyah, he's never serious; always damn cartoon one."

The literal translation of the Hokkien phrase "Lia'h Boh Kiew". Means to completely not understand.
1. "Wah, that movie was so cheem, I totally catch no ball, man!"
2. "His accent is so powderful, I completely catch no ball."

See also: Liak Boh Kiew  

Hokkien term which translates as "disturbing people until they die". It is used to admonish noisy people.
"I'm trying to study! Can you karaoke somewhere else? Cha si nang!"

The correct pronunciation of "challenge".
"Next week, I challen' you go Macritchie and run."

A Hokkien word meaning "pitifully disastrous", it is usually uttered with a sad shake of one's head.
1. "His girlfriend ran off with his grandfather? Aiyah, damn cham one."
2. "Why you so cham, every day kena sai from your teacher one?"

To negotiate or come to an agreement in order to get out of a spot of trouble.
"Officer, no need to fine me leh. Cham siong, can or not?"

CHAMPION  (Contributed by MC)
A term describing the unbelievable actions of a person. Usually used in a derogatory manner.
Ah Beng : "Wah lau! You never hear! Ah Seng is in hospital! His finger kena bitten off by his hamster!"
Ah Meng: "Serious ah? He damn champion, man!"

The quintessential Ah Beng or Ah Lian.
"Wah lau eh, your handphone so colourful, is damn chao ah beng, man."
See also: Ah Beng  Ah Lian  

Literally, Hokkien for "smelly feet". A bad loser or cheat.
"Don't go and play mah-jong with him. He damn chao kah one."

CHAO KENG  (Contributed by J Tai)
To act or pretend in order to impress others or escape being given extra duties or responsibilities.
1. "Don't chao keng lah, we know you very good, leow."
2. "No need to chao keng anymore... the other guy oreddy kena arrow."

Literally, Hokkien for "smelly-type". Used to denote a cheat or devious person.
"Don't go and buy from him. He damn chao kuan one."

(chup ch'eng)
Hokkien for "mixed kind", a derogatory term to refer to people with mixed racial origins, e.g. Eurasians.
See also: Geragok  Serani  

(chup sar tee-um)
Literally, "thirteen o'clock". A Hokkien expression, this describes something as half-baked or incompetent.
"Wah lau eh, what kind of chap sar tiam company is this? Even fax machine also don't have!"
See also: Half Past Six  Kucing Kurap  

Hokkien for "woman" or "female".

Hokkien for "Wooden Head". Derogatory term for someone, in the sense of an idiot. Can be either an adjective or noun.
"How many times must I explain! Why you so char tau one?"
See also: Gorblok  

CHEAT MY MONEY  (Contributed by Daniel Hong)
To be tricked into something. Often used when there is no overt fraud, such as in feeling bad at having entered into an imprudent bargain.
"Wah lau, the kway teow costs $25 a plate? Hotel or no hotel, this is damn cheat my money one!"

Local epithet for cheaters, usually used by children.
"Ah Beng copy my homework! He's such a cheaterbug!"

(chee bai)
One of the rudest terms in Singlish. Essentially, "vagina", though not confined to clinical gynecological circumstances. The English equivalent would be "cunt".

The even ruder version of "Pok".
See also: Pok  

A dirty old man.
"Wah lau, look at that uncle, whole day sit by the public pool looking at char-bor. What a chee ko pek."
See also: Hum Sup Loh  Lau Ter Khor  

CHEEBILISED  (Contributed by Daniel)
A sarcastic and crude way of saying "civilised". Obviously a fusion of chee bye and civilised. Mainly used as a creative way to say that someone is civilised whilenot exactly meaning it or not wanting to be polite. Also used on people who aren't very civilised but are just dying to get bitched.
1. "Wah! Everytime see you wear clothes until kana sai. Today wear until so cheebilised for what?
2. "Everytime come out all the 4-letter word, you very cheebilised, you know!"

Hokkien term meaning something is profound or deep or intellectual.
"You study philosophy? Wah lao, damn cheem, man!"

A hybrid English-Hokkien word meaning that something is written in an intellectual or bombastic fashion, such that it is completely incomprehensible.
"Eh, when you write essay that time, can cut down on the cheeminology or not?"
See also: Cheem  

A pejorative term used to describe a 'mainlander', a Chinese national, a minor 'foreign talent' with the implied attributes of opportunism, rudeness and boorishness. Possibly originally derived from Peranakan (see Cheena Gherk, following), it is now popularly used to label a new generation of Chinese emigrants who have arrived in Singapore to seek their fortunes.

A pejorative term used by Peranakans to suggest something is low class. Probably from "China". "Cheena Beng" is an Ah Beng who is also "suah koo". Nowadays, "obiang" is the preferred epithet.
See also: Obiang  

CHEENAPIANG/CHEENAPOK  (Contributed by Crab)
A derogatory term used by Singaporeans who are more well-versed and comfortable in English to describe (insult) those who are more well versed in Chinese and who cannot speak English properly.
1. “Wah lau! He's super cheenapiang, man. Hear the way he speaks English!”
2. “Ah Lians and Ah Bengs are all cheenapoks!”

See also: Cheena  Cheena Gherk  

Hokkien for "government job". In the old days, it was always an honour and privilege to work for the civil service. So Chinese parents would always tell theirchildren to go and "chuay cheng hu kang" (find a job with the government).

CHEOH  (Contributed by Jimmy Yu)
An informal invitation to some activity.
"Wah lao! You all yesterlay go Zouk nair cheoh me one."

Not to be confused with the surgically-enhanced American singer, this is just a short and snappy way to address one's teacher.
"Eskew me, Cher, can I go toilet?"

CHI TEH BIN  (Contributed by Bubba)
(chee tay bin)
Literally translates from Hokkien as "a piece of face". Describes someone who displays a sour face, suggesting he is arrogant or spoiling for a fight.
"Wah lau, I do'wan to work with Ah Beng ah. He everyday also damn chi teh bin."

(tjia laht)
Hokkien adjective literally meaning "to eat strength". Means that a task is onerous and consumes one's energy. Can sometimes be used to denote being in trouble.
1. "Wah, doing my income tax is damn chia lat." (Filing my income tax return is very taxing.)
2. "You forgot to file your income tax for 3 years? Wah lao eh, you damn chia lat liao." (You forgot to file your income tax returns for 3 years? Boy, you're in trouble!)

(chia'h bway leow)
Hokkien phrase meaning "cannot finish eating". It means to have come into great, unending fortune.
"Wah, your father got appointed Minister. Lai dat, you chiak buay liao, lah!"

CHIAK CHOW  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h chao)
Hokkien phrase literally translated as "eating grass". It is used to describe impoverishment, and thus doing without.
"I spent all my money at the casino, so now I have to chia'h chow till payday."

CHIAK HONG  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h hong)
A Hokkien phrase which literally translates as "eating wind". It means to go on a holiday.
"Last week, I went chia'h hong with Auntie Gorblok to Hong Kong with Ken Brothers Reliant Air Travel."

(chia'h kahn-tahng)
Literally: "eating potatoes". A pejorative expression used to describe an Asian who speaks with a Western accent.
"He go Cambridge come back only chia kantang."

CHIAK KUAY-KUAY  (Contributed by Lee Wee Chong)
(chia'h koo-eh loo-eh)
Literally translated from Hokkien as "to eat over and over", this phrase is used to describe achieving a crushing victory, and is often said with a mixture of confidence and arrogance.
Beng: "Wah lao, today's maths paper si beh difficult, leh."
Seng: "Ai tzai lah, I got study, chia'h kuay kuay one"

See also: Sure Can One  

CHIAK LANG  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h lahng)
Hokkien phrase literally translated as "eating people". It is used to describe someone as exploitative.
"I always work overtime, but never get overtime pay. My company is damn chia'h lang, man!"

CHIAK LEOW BEE  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h leow bee)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning to "eat rice till it's finished". It describes something as useless or a big waste.
"You spend so much money on tuition and still always fail your exam? You damn chia'h leow bee!"

CHIAK LUI  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h lui)
Hokkien phrase literally translated as "eating money". It is used to describe someone as a con man or cheat.
"You borrow money from that Ah Long, must be careful. Wait he chia'h lui then you know."

(chia'h pah boh sai pahng)
Hokkien expression which literally translates as "Finished eating, no shit to excrete". A phrase used to denote that someone is frivolous and has too much timeon one's hands.
"Why must you always come and disturb me? Chia'h pah boh sai pang!"

CHIAK PAH PAK KA CHNG  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
(chia'h pah puck kah chng)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning "eat till full, hit backside". It means to be able to enjoy without paying.
"Eh, you think this your grandfather restaurant, can chia'h pah pak ka chng, is it?"

(chia'h syaw eng)
Hokkien expression meaning, "too free". More exasperated version of "Mana Ooh Eng".
"Play golf on a weekday?! Chia'h sior eng ah?!"
See also: Chiak Pah Boh Sai Pang  

(chia'h tsoo'ah)
Hokkien term literally meaning, "to eat snake". Means to goof off or skive.
"Just because you're outstation doesn't mean you can chia'h tsua, okay?"

CHIAM SEE TONG  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
With all due respect to opposition MP Mr. Chiam See Tong, this phrase is actually Hokkien for "bear for the moment" (which ironically may be of some comfort to Mr. Chiam).
"Wah lao, this job is damn hojjiber, but got no choice. Must chiam see tong first until can find better job."

Quintessential Singaporean sound effect for an explosion.
1. "Then ah, the bomb essploded... CHIBABOOM!"
2. "Wah lau, wha'ppen to your hair? Terbaboom like that."

Of indeterminate origin, this mean spirited term is used to describe an overweight and unattractive girl.
"Did you see Ah Beng last night? He got drunk and went to pok this super chickabong."

(Si Peh Eng Kia)
In traditional English, the term "chicken feed" refers to an amount of money that is so small that it is not worth having, e.g. "I'm earning chicken feed compared tomost lawyers." In Singlish, its use has been expanded to include tasks that are ridiculously easy to accomplish. It is also commonly mispronounced "chickenfeet". It is also very often abbreviated to just "chicken".
1. Ah Beng: Eh, how? Maths test hard or not?
Ah Seng: Aiyah, chicken feet, lah!
2. Ah Lian: Wah! Ah Beng sio hoon can make ring ring! (When Ah Beng smokes, he can exhale in smoke rings!) Ah Seng: Aiyah, damn chicken one, lah!
Ah Lian: You can, meh?

((tchi’k a’h))
A Hokkien term which has two uses: the first is an exclamation like “what a pity!” and the second is a verb that means to build bad karma, i.e. to do something that will return and haunt you.
1. “He so smart, become scholar, then go and kill himself. Aiyoh, damn chik ak!”
(He’s so such a smart fellow that he became a scholar. However, he killed himself. What a pity!)
2. “Mr. Tan whole day treat his employee like sai like that. He damn chik ak, one.”
(Mr. Tan always treats his employees in a crappy manner. This will come back and haunt him in the future.)

(chili pah-dee)
Chili padi is a small but powerful chili pepper. A euphemism for a petite, sexy woman.

Another derogatory term for someone who is very 'cheena'. Usually used with the suffix 'Chinaman'. There is probably a shade of difference between 'ching-chong' and 'cheena', but it is subtle. 'Ching-chongness' tends to be comical, whereas 'cheena' leans more on the sleazy.
1. You don'ch know meh? His father very ching-chong Chinaman one, always wearing pajamas at home.
See also: Cheena  Cheenapiang  Cheena Gherk  

A somewhat impolite way of describing a woman as pretty.
"Checkout that chick, man. Damn chio!"
See also: Chio Bu  

(chee-oh boo)
A pretty woman. A somewhat rude term.
"Far East Plaza got a lot of chio bu."
See also: Chio  

Hokkien phrase meaning "to laugh until one falls down".
"Last night's ‘Phua Chu Kang', I chio kao peng."

CHIONG  (Contributed by Terry How)
Hokkien for "to rush forward". Is used to denote creating havoc and/or having fun.
"Eh, today after work, go where and chiong?"

A Hokkien phrase meaning "useless and idle". Literally: "does no penis".
"You go and hire him for what? He damn cho boh lan one."

Derived from the Malay word "cucuk", which means "to prick" or "to poke". It is used in the sense of "disturb", "bother", "rib", or "make fun of". Like the equivalent Hokkien phrase "ji seow", it can also mean to masturbate or be a prick-tease, despite the probably innocuous source-word.
"That guy damn joker one, always come and chochok me."
See also: Ji Seow  

CHOON BOH?  (Contributed by Roger Ng)
Hokkien phrase meaning "are you accurate or not?" Used to express sceptism at a claim.
"That goondu actually pok that chio bu? Choon boh?" ("That loser actually managed to woo that pretty girl? Are you sure?")

CHOP CHOP KALI POK  (Contributed by Wendy Tan)
Denotes being in a hurry. "Kali pok" is the correct Singlish pronunciation of "curry puff".
"Eh, quick leh, late oreddy. Chop chop kali pok, can?!"

To reserve or hold something for somebody. Sometimes used in games to denote having attained a ‘safe' position.
"If we're not at the theatre by 8, can you chope some seats for us?"

CHOR/CHOR LOR  (Contributed by AA)
Hokkien for "rough" or "crude", sometimes even "hard" and "demanding".
1. "Piang eh, my rugby training this week is damn chor, man."
2. "Have you heard how Ah Lian swears? Damn chor lor, man!"

Literally, "looking for death". Courting disaster.
"Oy! Mai chuay si, lah!" (Hey, don't court disaster)
See also: Ai Si  

CHUI KANA KAH, KAH KANA LUM PAR  (Contributed by Bernard Lee)
Literally, Hokkien for "mouth like legs, legs like testicles". Used to describe someone who is extremely clumsy.
"Ah Beng chui kana kah, kah kana lum par, still can join the bomb disposal unit!"

Hybrid term which describes either someone revealing himself to be the swine he really is, or someone showing another his bad attitude. "Chut" in Hokkien means, "to come out".
"I never thought Johnny would treat his mother like that. Chut pattern oreddy."

COCK  (Contributed by MC)
Despite seemingly obscene connotations, the use of "cock is actually fairly benign. It has become the de facto Singlish way to describe something as being nonsensical or sub-standard; the local equivalent of "rubbish" or "junk". Sometimes used as the short form of "cockanaden".
1. "Don't listen to him, he's only talking cock."
2. "Wah lau, you go and buy this cock thing for what?"
3. "Why you so cock, go and invest in that dot-com?" 

See also: Cockanaden  Kotek  

COCKANADEN  (Contributed by imayoda)
Used to describe someone who is very blur.
Ah-Jon: "Eh, where to find the Lim Peh Ka Li Kong Column ah?"
Ah-Boy: " Under ' Columns' lah, you Cockanaden!"

An adjective used to describe the feeling of having experienced a concussion. Similar to "blur".
"I studied the whole night until concuss."
See also: Blur  

Used as an adjective, to convey emphasis.
"Look at her, she confirm virgin one."

CONFIRM AND GUARANTEE  (Contributed by J Tai)
A phrase that lends added emphasis.
"That guy damn hypocrite man.. got cute girl at the AGM, he confirm and guarantee dare not oppose her and stand up for his opinions."
See also: Confirm  

Variations of Confirm and Guarantee.
"Oi, you returning that VCD or not?"
"Aiyah, of course lah! Confirm plus guarantee times 2, with 3-year warranty!"

See also: Confirm and Guarantee  

The proper and correct Singlish pronunciation of 'correct'; illustrates how Singlish can combine two related words, creating a new word with improved potency. Often used as a response when the truth is glaringly obvious.

From the Malay term "curi", meaning 'steal'.
"I already chope that seat, don'ch churi OK?"

CURI AYAM  (Contributed by Mike Soo)
A Malay phrase which literally means "stealing chicken", it is an expression meaning to do something surreptitiously. Exactly what the surreptitious action isdepends on the doer, but it's often illicit.
1. "My wife is out of town! Now I can curi ayam!"
2. "Once my boss leaves the office then I can curi ayam and talk cock with you, okay?"

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