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The Coxford Singlish Dictionary

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

GABRA  (Contributed by Terry How)
To panic or be so nervous that you mess things up.
"Acherly, she a damn solid athlete. But every track meet, hor, somehow she gabra."

GAHMEN  (Contributed by edaniel)
Has nothing to do with the garment industry, but is the Singlish mispronunciation of "government". Origins usually attributed to incensed taxi drivers offering unsolicited political opinions.
Taxi driver: "The gahmen always charge for everything. Increase ERP, increase taxi rental, then go and cut CPF. Like that how can?"

GARANG
Malay for 'fierce' or "powerful". Can mean "impulsive", "courageous", "foolhardy".
1. "The CO damn garang one, so don't ji seow with him"
2. "Why so garang for? You not kia si is it?"


GASAK/GASAK BUTA
Derived from the Malay phrase "gasak buta", it literally means to "fight blind". It has two meanings: one is to do things in a panicky or haphazard manner, while the other is to grab or swipe things in a gluttonous, indiscriminate manner.
1. "This sort of thing must do properly, cannot anyhow gasak buta!"
2. "Wah lau! Everybody go to McDonald's and gasak all the Hello Kitty oreddy!"


GAU MM TIM
Cantonese for "cannot manage". Often used in the sense that things are going out of control.
"Ah Lien got promoted to marketing manager? Wah lau, she sure gao mm tim one."

GEI YAN  (Contributed by Bubba)
(kay yan)
Describes something as very interesting, or intriguing.
"Eh, did you check out that TalkingCock wep site? Si beh gei yan one."

GER  (Contributed by Andrew Yong)
Singlish pronounciation for "girl".
"That ger quite chio hor."

GERAGOK  (Contributed by Maryanne Bell)
(grah-goh')
"Geragua" is Malay for shrimp. "Geragok" has evolved o mean dried shrimp, often pulverized to make a rather foul-smelling, but tastebud-awakening condiment. Through cultural association somehow, it has also become an insensitive way to ddress a Eurasian, i.e. a person of mixed Asian and Caucasian ancestry.
See also: Serani  

GERAM
Malay word meaning "exasperated" or "greatly annoyed".
"When I hear people do this sort of thing, ah, I get damn geram, man!"

GEREK
Malay word meaning "perforated", which has somehow morphed into an adjective for "groovy" or "cool".
"Did you see Kassim in his Marlboro leather jacket? Gerek sial!"

GIAH LUM PAH CHUT LAI TOM TO'TENG
(giah lum pah choo' lai tome to'h teng)
A rather graphic expression which translates as "to take one's testicles out and bang them on the table". It is an act of self-flagellation, and the phrase is usedwhen one has discovered he has done something especially idiotic or horrific.
"Wah lau, when I found out that the char bor I was trying to chee hong in the disco was actually my auntie, I giah lum pah chu lai tom to'teng!"

GIAM SIAP
See Kiam Siap  

GIVE CHANCE
Singlish expression for "to be fair, generous, or to give a fighting chance".
1. "Our goalie not here yet, so give chance, can or not?"
2. "That guy always kena whack, they never give chance to him one."

See also: Panchan  

GLAM/UN-GLAM  (Contributed by MC)
Short for glamorous, meaning fashionable or cool. Its antonym is "un-glam".
1. "Eh, that Wendy ah, so glam one! Every week also got new dress!"
2. "Aiyah, I heard that Ah Beng has become an insurance salesman. Damn un-glam, man!" 


GO FLY KITE  (Contributed by Daniel)
Derived from the English admonition "go fly a kite!" which means "piss off", "fuck off", "buzz off", etc, depending on your level of profanity-tolerance. Of course, we economical Singaporeans have removed the extraneous indefinite article.
"He know I so busy, still ask me to do things. Ask him go fly kite, lah!"

GO HEAD  (Contributed by Sliide)
In true Singlish economy, to go ahead.
"You go head first, later I catch up."

GO WHERE?  (Contributed by Terry How)
Contraction of "Where are you/we going?" or "Where shall we go?"
"Eh, tonight go where and makan?"

GONE CASE
Someone or something beyond help. A lost cause.
1. "We tried to help, but he oreddy gone case."
2. "If you continue like this, you sure gone case."


GOONDU
Idiot, twit, moron, etc. Derived from the Tamil word for "fat", connoting clumsiness and awkwardness.
"Why are you such a goondu?"

GOR CHIAM TUA KUAY GU CHIA LENG  (Contributed by Henry Tan)
Hokkien phrase which literally translates as "five cents bigger than a bullock cart's wheel".  Used sarcastically to criticise someone for thinking that his money is worth a lot.
"Wah, you want to buy this for only $1 ah? You gor chiam tua kuay  gu chia leng ah?"

GORBLOCK
Idiot, twit, moron, etc.
"Why are you such a gorblock?"

GOSTAN
A Malay contraction of the colonial instruction to "go astern", i.e. to reverse one's vehicle or turn it around. Can be used as a verb.
"You can gostan your car some more. Still got space behind."

GOT
Denoting availability of something.
Beng: "Got milk or not?"
Seng: "Got!"


GOT EYE SEE NO TARZAN/GOT EYE SEE NO OR-YEE-OR  (Contributed by Hume)
A brilliant example of hand-me-down Singlish wordplay, this bizarre phrase is derived from the Mandarin proverb, you yan jian bu dao tai san: "to have eyes, but be unable to see the large mountain", meaning to be blind, ignorant or clueless.  The inclusion of 'Tarzan' is because Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous fictional ape man's name is transliterated as 'Tai San' in Mandarin.  And over time, some local wits have morphed the Tarzan reference into his trademark jungle call.
1. "Eh, you got eye see no tarzan! You know who that man is or not? He's our new principal! Don't play-play, okay!"
2. "Wah lau, that truck so big also can langgar! You got eye see no or-yee-or, is it?"


GOT LICENCE  (Contributed by trashkore)
Reflecting Singapore's highly regulated society, it is a Singlish term for "allowed to", usually used when one is allowed to commit a social vice, i.e. smoking ordrinking.
Seng: "Na beh, now my sister got licence from my mother to smoke!"
Bala: " Good what, now you and your sister can share cigarette."
Seng : Lan cheow! She everytime kapoh my cigarette!


GOT...MUST...  (Contributed by Edwin Lian)
Ubiquitous Singlish syntactic pairing. Basically used whenever one wishes to suggest that it is imperative to seize an opportunity.
1. "Got food must eat, lah!"
2. "Got show must see, lah!"
3. "Got sale, must shop!"


GRANDFUDDER ROAD
"Your grandfather's road". A belligerent expression aimed at road hogs. Similar to the English expression, "Do you own the road?""Wah lau, drive so slow! Your grandfudder road, is it?"

GU POON SI  (Contributed by Calvin Fong)
(goo poon see)
Hokkien phrase meaning, "Even a cow would die". Used to describe especially tough and arduous events.
1. "Wah lau, kena do one hunlet puss up, gu poon si, man!" (Wow, doing one hundred push ups is so tough, it can even kill a cow!)
2. "Last night we go to three launge, si beh siong. Gu poon si, man!" (We visited three lounges last night. It was very hard going. Even a cow would have been killed."


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