Slang term for "boast". From Teochew word “好臉 haon3 liêng2” (love to boast, show off).
Marked by superiority or distinction
福建話/潮州話的直接音譯，即 "幸" (hīng), which means to be lucky or fortunate.
意思是唬濫的福建話發音，音同英語的Holland，在福建話是貶義詞。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.
或Sam Seng Kia (三牲囝, saⁿ-seng-kiáⁿ) - gangster. From Chinese term 三牲 (Hokkien/Teochew saⁿ-seng).拜拜用。
Corruption of "sergeant".
To flatter, to lick one's boots. Derived from Malay meaning 'sugar', which may have been derived from Hindi 'sakar' or 'Sakkar' meaning 'sugar' and 'sweet words', and ultimately from Persian 'shakar' meaning 'sugar', 'sweet'.
Pronounced SCAR-ly. Lest, what if.
帶某人去某处，例如："I will send you to the airport"(“我会送你去机场。”)。
Great! An expression of satisfaction. Originally "shauk" in Punjabi.
An event held by an estate agency that spans several weeks to promote a housing project, usually condominiums.
Refers to either "crazy" in response to a silly suggestion or an offensive term used to address a friend. From Hokkien or Teochew word "siáu 嬲". Also refers to somebody who is a fanatic. "He Siao bicycles" is saying that someone is crazy about bicycles.
Similar to "very". Originated from Teochew word 死爸 (si2-bê6) (literally a curse vulgar word meaning "dead father"). Interchangeably used in Singaporean Hokkien and Singlish.
Si Mi Lan Jiao
A much more derogatory term of "What's up?" Literally means "What's up dickhead?"
Si Mi Tai Dzi
Used to express a machine, person, or object that has gone mental or haywire. Localization of the word "short" from English term "short circuit".
Used to express pleasure. Lit. "refreshing". From Hokkien/Cantonese 爽 (sóng). Same meaning as Shiok.
Forgetful or not knowing what is going on. Lit. "squid". Spineless or without principles, like the cuttlefish.
生活(居住) "如：我住在宏茂橋（I stay in Ang Mo Ki）o"。這是直接從馬來語直譯(tinggal)。
偷竊(動詞)。看: Cope. Can be used as part of "Gostan". See: Gostan
字面上的意義是指'豆粕'。By students who throw themselves on one another in a pile, usually for fun or to bully. Special cases with vertical tau pok where a person gets squashed against a vertical object, found in MRTs on a crowded day.
Tai Ko (also spelled "tyco")
Lucky (only used sarcastically). Literally "leper".
Talking nonsense/senselessly and gibberish or engage in idle banter. Probably originated from the English expression "cock and bull story" or its equivalent to talking "gibberish"—an American slang for talking nonsensical things.
Bully/Torture/Put under pressure. Military slang for punishments.
cup shaped steamed rice flour cakes topped with preserved vegetables (usually radish) and served with or without chilli
Hokkien char mee
Refers to the Kuala Lumpur Hokkien noodle. It is a dish of thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage as the main ingredients and cubes of pork fat fried until crispy.
薄餅 Chinese spring rolls (non fried). Various condiments and vegetables wrapped in a flour skin with sweet flour sauce. Condiments can be varied, but the common ones include turnip, bamboo shoots, lettuce, Chinese sausage, prawns, bean sprouts, garlic and peanut. Origins from China. Hokkien and Straits Chinese (Nonya) popiah are the main versions.
local salad of Malay origins. Mixture of sliced cucumber, pineapple, turnip, dried beancurd, Chinese doughsticks, bean sprouts with prawn paste, sugar, lotus buds and assam (tamarind).
Indian version of western hamburger consisting of two halves of French loaves fried with egg and minced beef/mutton. Colonial origins.
(福建話; 煮炒, POJ chí-chhá)
Literally means cook and fry. General term for food served by mini restaurants in local hawker stalls serving restaurant style Chinese
dishes, like fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, claypot tofu etc.
The above list is not complete; for example, one can add the "-peng" suffix (meaning "iced") to form other variations such as Teh-C-peng (tea with evaporated milk and ice) which is a popular drink considering Singapore's warm weather.
Probably from the English "cock and bull story". Talking senselessly/rubbish; "Don't tok kok lah!"
In standard English it is used by handphone/mobile phone manufacturers to refer to the little speaker above your phone screen that you use to listen to a caller, but in Singlish it refers to a pair of earphones or headphones. Can be used as in, "Ah boy, don't wear your earpiece while crossing the road!" (Boy, don't use your earphones/headphones while crossing the road.)
字面意思就像是烏賊，烏賊作為自我防衛機制逃脫，噴出來的墨汁形容一個人做事很模糊，一團黑。例如： - "Wah! You damn blur leh! Liddat also dunno!"
Don't fly my kite/aeroplane
Don't play play!
Uncommon expression, popularised by the local comedy series Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd. Used only to evoke humour. Means 'Don't fool around' or 'Better take things seriously'
Got problem ah?
an aggressive, instigatory challenge. Or an expression of annoyance when someone is disturbed. 'Do you have a problem?'
He still small boy one
a remark (Often offensive) made against someone who is not of a legally median age allowed by the law. Or expression used to excuse someone because he is either immature or still too young to know the difference.
Abbreviated form of "is it?" used as a standard tag question. E.g.: You going home now issit? E.g.: You not going home issit? E.g.: Someone comments: "You look good today." Answer: "Issit??"
Last time policemen wear shorts!
a retort made to someone who refers to how policies were made in the past. Or in response to something which is passe. Or to brush aside old references or nostalgia. Direct reference to the British colonial police forces who wore three-quarter khaki pants in the 1950s and 60's.
Liddat oso can!?
(English - Like that also can?) In response to feats of achievement or actions which are almost impossible, or unexpected. Usually with tinge of awe, sarcasm or scepticism.
My England not powderful!
(English - My English is not powerful (good)) Uncommon expression, used only to evoke humour. Literally means 'My English is not good'.
no fish prawn oso can
accepting a lesser alternative (From the Hokkien idiom "bo hir hay mah hoh." literally translates as "no fish, prawns also ok" -)
Not happy, talk outside!
Used as a challenge to a fight to settle an argument, by taking it outside. (Hokkien: Ow buay gong (settle it at the back/alley way))
No horse run!
(Hokkien - 無馬走, POJ bô bé cháu) Original Hokkien expression used in horse racing jargon to describe a champion horse which is way ahead of the field. Used to describe things (food usually) which are ahead of its peers.
"It's on!"; expression used to voice enthusiastic agreement or confirmation (of an arranged meeting, event etc.)
(Malay-English for Relax) Expression used to ask someone to chill, cool it. 'Relak one corner' means to skive, or to literally go chill out in one corner.
..then you know!
Expression used at the back of a sentence to emphasise consequence of not heeding advice. 'Tell you not to park double yellow line, kena summon then you know!'
Why you so liddat ar?
(English - Why are you so "like that"?) 'an appeal made to someone who is being unreasonable.'
You thought, he think, who confirm?
army expression used during organisational foul ups. Generally used as a response to "I thought..." when something goes wrong.
You think, I thought, who confirm?
army expression used in uncertainty during questioning. Generally used as a response to "I think..." when a higher ranking abuses someone of a lower rank, which is a norm in the nation's army.
You want 10 cent?
Means to "buzz off!" Refers to public phones that require 10 cents per call.
Your grandfather's place/road ah?, Your father own this place/road?
Used to cut someone down to size in terms of their obnoxious boorish behaviour, behaving as if they owned the place.
You play where one?
Used to challenge someone to state his gang affiliations (if any)
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 215.
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, pp. 85-6
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 128.
^ 8.08.1Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 80.
^ 9.09.1Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 81.
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 154.
^Deterding, David (2000) 'Potential influences of English on the written English of Singapore'. In Adam Brown (ed.) English in Southeast Asia 99: Proceedings of the 'English in Southeast Asia' conference held at NIE Singapore, Singapore: National Institute of Education, pp. 201-209.
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, pp. 187
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 211.
^Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 217