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The Coxford Singlish Dictionary

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(41 entries out of 817)

HA NI AH PA, LUM PAH HOR LI KAR  (Contributed by AA)
Vulgar Hokkien phrase used when responding to a stupid person saying "Ha?" It literally means, "Ha your father, suck my balls". Sometimes abbreviated to "ha ki lum pah".

HA?  (Contributed by Terry How)
Super contraction of "Could you please repeat that again?" The equivalent of "What?"
Ah Lien: "Eh Beng, my period two months didn't come oreddy, maybe got"
Ah Beng: "Ha? Talk after football game can or not?"

Malay for "finished" or "end".
1. "Alamak, masuk two goals already! Habis lah!"
2. "If the boss see you tuang like that, you sure habis, man!"

HALF PAST SIX  (Contributed by 12 O'Cock)
Describing something or someone as being half-baked or incompetent, the term is actually a sexual reference to the angle of the dangle of the male organ. Half past six is weak, but quarter past three or 9:45 is very strong!.
"Wah piang eh, why your company so half past six one, this sort of easy thing also can cock-up."
See also: Chap Sar Tiam  Kucing Kurap  

HAN NA!  (Contributed by Lee Wee Chong)
(hahn- nah)
Local exclamation meaning "Enough already!", often said in exasperation.
Beng: "You know hor.. your shirt berry ugly leh..."
Seng: "HAN NA!!!"

See also: Ya Lah!  

HAN TSE  (Contributed by AA)
(hun tss)
Hokkien for "sweet potato". Often used to scold idiots. How this came to be used on dumb people is unclear, but it's believed that as morons often utter, "Orh", and "orh" sounds like Hokkien for "yam", replying with a different tuber is seen as witty. Who says Hokkien is an unsophisticated language?
Beng: "...and that's how babies are born. Understand, not?"
Seng: "Orh!"Beng: "'Orh' your head, lah! Han tse!"

A Malay word meaning to beat or hit.
"Don't go and disturb him while he so busy. He sure hantam you one."

Arrogant, cocky or smug. Can be used as a verb.
1. "That asshole is si peh hao lian."
2. "Just because your letter got publish in the 'Forum' page, no need to hao lian around here, okay!"
3. "Hao lian meh?" (What's there to be arrogant about?)

Complete euphoria.
"You going to ORD in six days? Like that, must be happy like bird!"

In Singlish, this term is generally never used to denote 'impoverishment' or 'in great need of money'. Instead, it is used in the sense of 'desperate', and describes someone who is desperately in need of something, e.g. the opposite sex.
1. "Ah Beng, why you so hard up - go and pak tor that girl so argly one?"
2. "Ah Seng, everybody knows you sah-kar'ing the boss because you si beh hard up for promotion."

Used to describe a wild child, or someone who's promiscuous.
"Ah Lien is damn havoc one."

HAWK ONE OR KOH ONE?  (Contributed by Edwin)
Phrase used by soya bean drink sellers to inquire if you wish your drink to be hot or cold.

This phrase refers to a state of confusion and disorder throughout an organisation or place. It is of course an army term and quite close in meaning to the American 'SNAFU' (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up). The theory is that it is a unique Singapore fusion of 2 terms, the American term HAYWIRING, which derives from the way an old fashioned hay- baling machine would jam if a bit of wire was accidentally fed in with the hay, and the English term 'SHOP' which is not related to retail space, but refers to the main workspace in a factory, the' shop floor'.
"Why you all like that? Small problem and you're haywiring all over the shop!"

HEAN TOH  (Contributed by Kanna Kuay Kio)
(hee-un toe)
Hokkien for "flip the table". Originated from clashes between secret society members. Preludes to these fights always consisted of someone flipping over a table. Used frequently as a challenge to a fight or cheerful bantering between friends.
"Eh, you stare what? Buay song izzit? Wan' to hean toh, ah?"

An expression either used to describe someone as nonchalant or cavalier, or to exhort someone to ignore something.
1. "This sort of serious thing, how can you be so heck care?"
2. "Ah Beng bothering you again? Aiyah, heck care him, lah!"

An adjective used to describe a Chinese-educated person. It originated in the Army where the term Chinese- "educated" rapidly evolved through successive mispronunciation from "educated"... "edicated".... "edicotted".... "edicopter"..., eventually settling on "helicopter"! Often pronounced "helicotter" for added emphasis.
"My platoon is full of helicopter one."

A Hokkien word meaning "lucky" or "fortunate". Usually said after having escaped a tight spot, or avoided a near miss.
1. "As soon as you left, the boss came out to arrow people. You damn heng one."
2. "Heng ah! The policeman didn't see me shoot the red light."

HENG KAO KAN  (Contributed by Gabriel Png)
A Hokkien term which literally means "to be given to a dog for fucking". Used as an expression of extreme frustration.
"Na beh I buy SCORE! two goals, then they go and score three. Heng kao kan, siah!"

A Malay army drill command meaning to "march in place" and thus can refer to any form of inaction or idling. Outside of the military, it also describes someone whose career has stagnated either by choice or incompetence.
"Ah Beng used to be a high-flyer, but now he just hentak kaki."

Hokkien for "strong" or "fierce".
"Wah lau, his B.O. is damn heong."
See also: Powderful  Siong.  

Has the same meaning as in English, but often connotes either a foolhardy person or someone out to grab attention.
1. "Just pass, can oreddy. Why try and score A? You hero or what?"
2. "It's too dangerous. Don't try to be hero."

A flirtatious and vain girl.
"Don't be such a hiao mi, can or not?"
See also: Hiao  

A Hokkien term describing someone as flirtatious and/or vain. The "Lay Lay" is added for emphasis. Can be used as a verb.
1. "Look at Jane in her mini skirt. Si beh hiao, man."
2. "Aiyah, she always wear jeans tight-tight. Very hiao lay lay one."
3. "She wear so much makeup because she wan' to go and hiao lay lay, lor."

See also: Hiao Mi  

HO GAI SIAO  (Contributed by Terry How)
This Hokkien phrase expresses regret over having taken in bad advice.
"Ah Beng tell me go to No. 90-052 Geylang Lorong 69 look for "Tiffany" say she have damn jude one. Wah lan eh! Din'ch know she sooo pooi one - damn ho gai siao!"

Hokkien exclamation denoting satisfaction, or enthusiastic endorsement.
1. Beng: "Eh, I belanja you makan tonight, okay?" Seng: "Ho say, ah!"
2. "His company IPO oreddy, he sure ho say liao."

HOJJIBER/HORRIJIBER  (Contributed by Egwin)
Acceptable Singlish variant pronunciations of "Horrible".
1. "Wah lau, simple thing like this, how can do until so hojjiber one?"
2. "I just saw that 'Hannibal' flim. Damn horrijiber one."

The quintessential private soldier - salt of the earth, if not downright earthy. Forms the foundation of our armed forces, and the persons without whom this Singlish dictionary would not be possible.

A very rude Hokkien phrase meaning, "asking for it". Literally, "wanting to be fucked".
"Why you stare at me? Hong kan is it?"

HOONG KEE  (Contributed by zx)
Hokkien for 'cigarette'.
"Eh, go outside and take a hoon kee break, ai mai?"

The quintessential Ah Beng term for "fight" or "beat up".
1. "You go and stare at the Ah Beng, sure kena hoot."
2. "Ai tio hoot ah?" (Do you want to be beaten up?)

HOPE  (Contributed by Phyllis Low)
Of uncertain origin, it has come to mean catching something, usually, but not always, unpleasant.
“Wah lau, I kena arrow this type of kang tao hor wa hope tio, ah!!!" ("My goodness, why am I being given a task like this?")

Another Singlish tag, used like a punctuation mark.
"He, hor, very kan cheong one.
See also: Lah  Leh  Lor  Meh  

HORLAN  (Contributed by Desmond)
Deliberate mispronunciation of "Holland". Of uncertain origin, the term is used to denote finding oneself in a far-off place, or unexpected consequence, usually unpleasant. Some have posited that the term may derive from the Hokkien predilection to incorporate the word "Lan" into their speech, and there is some basis for this belief, as the Taiwanese reportedly use the word "Horlan" to denote "bullshitting".
1. "Wah lau, now we know the bugger made us go to Horlan!"
2. "Ah Beng reported us to the Principal? Horlan liao, lah!"

HORLUMPICK  (Contributed by Desmond)
Singlish mispronunciation of "Olympics", usually by the older generation.
"Eh, you got watch the Sydney Horlumpick, not?"

To sound the horn of one's car. Used as a verb.
"Why is the car in front of us so slow? Horn the bugger!"

In true Singaporean economical style, this is a contraction of "How can this be?" or "How can this be possible?" Originates from the Malay-Hokkien hybrid phrase, "Mana eh sai?"
"Ah Beng became a President's Scholar? How can?"
See also: Mana Eh Sai  

HOW SEOW  (Contributed by Sian Tao Ong)
Very rude Hokkien term meaning "nonsense" or bullshit". "Seow" in Hokkien means "sperm".
"You always talk too much. Don't how seow, lah!"

HUAT SIO  (Contributed by Mike Soo)
Hokkien for "fever" or getting hot under the collar, or to describe someone as crazy.
1. "Piang eh, everytime I see Ah Lien only, I huat sio, man!"
2. "Aiyah, that huat sio one come oreddy!" (Oh no, that nut has arrived!)

HUM KAR CHAN  (Contributed by AA)
(hum ga chaan)
Cantonese curse, meaning "Whole Family Die" or "Whole Family Bankrupt".

Means "everything", and may connote a lack of discrimination. It could be derived from Cantonese, but there is also a Malay term "hamparan", which means 'carpet' or 'cover'.
"Wah lau, so kiasu, hum pah lang also want!"

(haam sup)
Cantonese term literally meaning, "salty and wet fellow". A dirty old man.
See also: Chee Ko Pek  Lau Ter Khor  

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