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The Coxford Singlish Dictionary

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

A BIT THE  (Contributed by Stella)
A Singlish phrase meaning 'very', always said in a clearly sarcastic tone.
1. " Wah, you a bit the late, hor!"
2. "Piang eh, your shirt a bit the short, man!"

See also: Very The  

ABOURIT
Sloppy pronunciation of "about it".
Aiyah, this kind of small thing, don' worrage abourit.

ACT (ADJECTIVE) BUAY (ADJECTIVE)
To fail miserably at affecting a pose.  Substitute any adjective of your choice.
See also: Act Cute Buay Cute  Act Lian Buay Lian  

ACT BLUR
To play innocent
I know you know who did it, so don’t act blur!
See also: Buat Bodoh  Bedek  Wayang  N.A.T.O.  

ACT CUTE  (Contributed by Yong Kuan)
A phrase which describes behaving in an exaggeratedly cute or adorable fashion. Can be used as both verb and adjective. Usually performed by females who appear they cannot escape their childhood.
1. "Eh, Ah Lian is always so act cute one! She trying to be smurf, is it?"
2. "Ah, ignore her, lah. She's just acting cute again."


ACT CUTE BUAY CUTE/A.C.B.C.  (Contributed by Angus)
Literally describes the common occurrence of a Singaporean girl trying to pander to a guy's wishes, but failing miserably.
"Ee-yurr. I tell you, I damn buay tahan watching Ah Lien try to get Ah Beng to go kwa meenite with her. Damn ACBC one."

ACT LIAN BUAY LIAN, ACT BENG BUAY BENG/AI LIAN BUAY LIAN, AI BENG BUAY BENG  (Contributed by Woogie)
To fail at being an Ah Lian or Ah Beng, despite trying.
"Wah lau, Johnson is damn condemn. Act Beng buay beng. Si beh hopeless."
See also: Act Cute Buay Cute  

ACTION  (Contributed by Terry How)
Arrogant and haughty. Basically the same as "Ya Ya' and "Dao". Also sometimes used to mean "full of hot air."
"You don'ch talk so much, action only!"
See also: Ya Ya  Dao  

ADOI
A Malay exclamation of disgust or pain, similar to "alamak", but used to denote a lesser degree of exasperation.
See also: Alamak  

AGAIN?
A much more economical way of saying, "I beg your pardon?"
See also: Say Again?  

AGAK TAREK  (Contributed by Patrick Wong)
A Malay phrase literally broken down as 'estimate' (agak) and 'pull' (tarek). It means to "hold back" or "be charitable" or "not to go too far".
"Don't talk so bad about him. Agak tarek a bit and give him some face, lah."

AGAK-AGAK
(ah-ga’h, ah-ga’h)
Malay term meaning "to estimate".
See also: Agaration  

AGARATION
(ah-gah-ray-shun)
The noun form of the Malay verb "agak-agak", which means to estimate.
"I arrived at the number through agaration."
See also: Agak-Agak  

AH BENG
An unsophisticated Chinese boy, usually Hokkien. Stereotypically, he speaks gutter hokkien and likes neon-coloured clothes, spiky, moussed hair and accessories such as handphones or pagers, all of which are conspicuously displayed. He also likes to squat, even when a seat is available.
"Wah lao eh, why you so chao ah beng one?" (Goodness, why are you such an ah beng?)
See also: Ah Huay  Ah Kow  Ah Lian  Ah Seng  Beng  Chao Ah Beng/Ah Lian  

AH BENG AH SENG
A group of Ah Bengs.
"Why you go and make friend with those Ah Beng Ah Seng?" (Why are you associating with those Ah Bengs?)
See also: Ah Beng  

AH CHEK
"Uncle", a generic name used to address an older man.

AH HUAY
A pet-name which literally means, "Flower". Interchangeable with "Ah Lian".

AH KAH AH CHEW  (Contributed by Jonathan Ng)
(' kah ah' chew)
Hokkien phrase literally meaning "duck legs, duck hands". Used to describe someone's extremely poor coordination. "Ah Kah" and "Ah Chew" can be used separately.
1. "Don't go and ask him to help you set up the stage. He's very the ah kah ah chew."
2. "Wah lau, like that also cannot score! The player is damn ah kah, one!"


AH KONG
Hokkien for “Grandpa.”

AH KOW
A pet-name which literally means, "dog." A generic name given to the sidekicks of the Ah Beng, as well as dogs.
See also: Ah Beng  Ah Beng Ah Seng  

AH LIAN
A pet-name which literally means, "lotus flower". The female equivalent of an Ah Beng - an unsophisticated Chinese girl. Stereotypically dresses in neon colours, wears a huge ribbon perched on the top of her head, and carries a tiny basket.
See also: Ah Beng  Ah Huay  Chao Ah Beng/Ah Lian  

AH LONG
Hokkien for “loan shark”. An illegal moneylender who imposes exorbitant interest rates and abbreviated payback periods, usually to make up for the borrower’s complete lack of collateral.

AH MM
(ah-umm)
Generic name used to address an old woman.

AH NIA
Hokkien for "Pretty, Beautiful". Term used to refer to a pretty girl.
See also: Ah Huay  Ah Lian  

AH POOI
Generic name given to a fat person. Ah Beng's sidekick.
See also: Fatty Bom Bom  

AH QUAH
(ah-koo-ah)
An offensive term for an effeminate man. The Singlish equivalent of “faggot” or “fairy”.
See also: Pondan  

AH SENG
Ah Beng's sidekick. Also a generic pejorative term used to denote 'anybody'. As in "Tiu Lei Ah Seng", meaning "Fuck You".
See also: Ah Beng  

AH SOH
Generic name used to address an older (though not necessarily old) lady. Sometimes used as a pejorative term for a sloppily-dressed woman.
"Our CEO is damn powerful, but she always dress like Ah Soh one."

AH THEN?/ ARBO/ARBUTHEN  (Contributed by trashkore)
The Singlish equivalent for "of course" or "duh!". "Ah then?" is the sarcastic response given to blindingly obvious questions or statements. Somehow, it evolved into "arbuthen" sometime during the 1980's (possibly a deliberate mispronunciation of "Ah, but then?"), and has now become "arbo".
1. Ah Beng: "Eh, your void deck so clean and new, your constituency kena upgrading, ah?"
Ah Seng: "Ah then?"
2. Ah Lian: "Wah, see you got wear so swee-swee... confirm you tonight go pak tor, lor!" (Judging by how prettily you're dressed, you must have a date tonight.)
Ah Hway: "Arbuthen?"
3. Ali: "Eh, your exam finish oreddy, ah? I see you like very free lai dat."
Ah Lee : "Arbo!"


AH TONG AH SENG
Equivalent to the English phrase "Tom, Dick and Harry". Possibly of Cantonese origin.
"Every Ah Tong Ah Seng also got handphone today."

AI PEE, AI CHEE, AI TUA LIAP NEE  (Contributed by K. Ang)
Teochew saying which literally translates as ' Want cheap, want pretty, want big breasts!' It is used to describe someone who wants the earth, ie. someone with unrealistic or unreasonable desires or expectations.
“Singaporeans all very hard to please, one. They all ai pee, ai chee, ai tua liap nee.”

AI SI
Literally, "want to die". Courting disaster.
"Ai si, ah?" (Do you want to die?)
See also: Chuay Si  

AI TZAI
A Hokkien exhortation to calm down.
“The exam is not counted one. Ai tzai!” (The exam results are not taken into account. Relax!)
See also: Steady  Tzai  

AK KAH CHIEW JI  (Contributed by Half-Cocked)
Literally, to be as close to someone as two testicles.
"Don'ch worry, I ak kah chiew ji with this feller. If I ask, he sure help  you one."

AK KAH LIAO/AK
(ah-kah-leow)
To be good and intimate friends with someone.
1. "Ah Beng and the boss are damn ah kah liao, so he sure can find you lobang one."
2. "I didn't know you and your CEO were so ak."


AKAN DATANG
Malay for "coming soon". Seen in movie trailers and some advertisements, but less so nowadays.
"Be more patient OK, akan datang"

AKASAI  (Contributed by Shaun Mathew)
A pejorative description of something or someone as extremely cutesy and girlish. Possibly a contraction of "act cute until like sai". (act cute until like shit)
"Aiyoh, Priscilla wear the Hello Kitty hairclips, so akasai!"

ALAMAK  (Contributed by Vidya Hable)
An Malay expression of dismay, surprise or alarm that has long been rumoured to mean "Allah's mother" but more likely comes either from the Arabic "Allah Ma'ak", meaning, "God be with you" or "Allah maaf kar" meaning "God forgive you".
"Alamak! Why you go and do this sort of stupid thing?"

ALI BABA  (Contributed by Jonathan Ng)
To steal or cheat.
1. "You don' act blur, okay! I know you ali baba my fries when I went to the toilet!"
2. "Don't try and Ali Baba, okay! I saw you take another ace of spades out of your pocket!"


ALL FART AND NO SHIT
Used to describe someone who's full of empty promises.
"Ah, shaddup lah. Everyday say you wan' to treat me go lunch. You all fart and no shit only."

AMACAM  (Contributed by Mat)
(ah-much-ahm)
A contraction of the Malay greeting, "Apa Macam" which is the Malay equivalent of "What's up?" or "What's happening?"
"Eh, Ramli! Long time no see! Amacam?"

AN CHUA
(ahn-choo-ah)
Hokkien for "What's the matter?", "What's up?" or "How are things?" Heard very often as the first or second phrase used on a mobile phone.
"Hallo? Ah Kow? An Chua?"

ANG MOR GAO  (Contributed by Michael Witty)
Hokkien for "red haired monkey", a reference to Caucasians.
See also: Ang Mor  Mat Salleh  Orang Putih  

ANG MOR/ANG MOR NANG
Hokkien for 'red-hair'. A pejorative term used to describe Caucasians
See also: Mat Salleh  

ANG TAO CHULOOT  (Contributed by revolushun)
A graphic reference to the fully erect male member. The phallic shape of the cigar has not gone unnnoticed by Hokkien speaking Singaporeans. Probably originated from a bastardized pronounciation of the English word cheroot for cigar.

ANGKAT BOLA
Malay term meaning to curry favour or be sycophantic. Literally, to "carry balls".
See also: Sah Kah  

ANONEH  (Contributed by Ayam Goreng)
(ah-nor-neh)
A Japanese expression similar to "Well..." or "If that's the case...", in Singlish this has come to be a generic term for any Japanese girl.
1. "Wah lau, see that anoneh! Her dressing damn solid one."
2. "I got some char bor friends in Pasir Ris, they are all anoneh working for airline one."


APU NEH NEH  (Contributed by lanmao)
Childish and racist term for an Indian man.
(To a child): " Don't go out by yourself , skarly the Apu neh-neh catch you then you know!"

ARGLY
The correct pronunciation for "ugly".
"Wah lan, check out Ah Beng's shirt. It's damn argly."

ARROW
To delegate somebody to perform a task. Generally used only if the task is unpleasant or boring. Derives from the Army or civil service practice of stamping a tiny arrow next to the name of the person in official documents.
"I don't know why I always kena arrow by the Inche to wash the jamban."

ARROW  (Contributed by Half-Cocked)
Another term inherited from the Army. It means to be tasked with something, usually unpleasant or troublesome.
1. "Wah lau, I kena arrow clean toilet!"
2. "So suay, I was just in the office, den he come and arrow me type his document."


ARSE LUCK
Used to describe extremely bad luck. Originally idiomatic in England, but very popular in Singlish.
"Ah Hock just got his driving license and straightaway kena caught for speeding. What arse luck!"

ATAS
(ah-tahs)
Malay for "upstairs", it describes someone as snobbish, hoity-toity, affected or arrogant.
"Wah, you nowsaday do'wan to eat ikan bilis, only eat caviar. Become damn atas oreddy."

AYAM
Malay for "chicken". Used to describe someone as hopeless or easily intimidated.
"Man U. sure win. The other team damn ayam one."

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