Hokkien Phrases P-T


~berthing~ image copyrght Kris Lee 2012

image copyrght Kris Lee 2012



















PAIK CHEK- Exasperation or frustration.

PAI OO LUNG- Refering to a person/a blurr cock who always catches the wrong end of the stick.

PA KAT- To conspire/Gang up against.

PANG CHIEW- Let go of the hand. To give chance.

PANG PUAY KEE- Fly Aeroplane. To be stood up.

PAR CHAT- Full tummy and pocket. A wealthy person.

PATTERN CHUT KAR LIOW- A person’s real self is revealed.

PEH KHI LAI THIOW- To jump up. A visibly upset person.

PEH PHI KONG CHU- White nose scholar. An amorous gentlemen.

PEH TH’I KI- Climb iron bars. Someone who is behind bars/in prison or in a police lock up.

PHAI KIA- Bad kid, A gangster/triad.

PHAI KHUAN- Bad manners.

PHAI SAY-  Humility.

PHAR BAY SI- Beat but won’t die. Indestructible or invincible.

PHAR CHIAO BAK- Beat bird eye. It describes someone with a squint/cockeye or someone who is not observant enough.

PHAR CH’IEW CHENG- To hit the hand gun. To masturbate.

PHAR PNAI SENG LI- Spoil business.  To describe someone who chases away prospects of others.

PHAR PUAY KEE- Beat Aeroplane. To masturbate.

PHAK THOR- Going on a date.

PHIAN CHIAK- Cheat to eat. An illegal way to earn a living.

PHONG TAI HAI- Appear bloated. As in a person’s face.

PHOR LUM PHAR- To carry balls. An act of sycophancy. Buttering someone up, or brown-nosing.

PHU BOR KNIA- Fucks wife and children. Swear Language.

PHUAK LENG CHWEE- Throw cold water. To denegrade another’s plan/idea/dream.

PHUI CHOW NUAR- To spit smelly spittle. Hence to spit on someone is a way of ridiculing someone over his actions or words.

PHU KI MAK/MAK PHU KI- Your mother’s clitoris. Swear Language.

PIEN HENG- Changed in form. A changed person.

PIEN MOR KWI- To turn into a ghost. Used when a good person changes to bad.

PNIA CHUI/PNIA TIN- Pour water/Pour team. To get into unruly fights with gangsters.

PNIA MIA- Pour your life. Working against time.

PNUA KIN, PEH NIAU- Half a kati, eight tahils. To describe something similar.

PUAY KI TNIAU/PUAY KI POR- Airport. A flat chested woman.

PUM CHET- Puncture.  How a flat tyre is called.


RO  JIAK- A salad of mixed vegetables eaten with prawn paste sauce. To describe something eclectic/messy.


SAM SENG- A ruthless person, either a gangster or even a thug or just an arrogant person.


SAO KOR NA LENG-  Sao means sweep & ‘Kor na leng’ is a local colloquial for ‘cornering’ hence to compromise a corner in driving.

SARK BO SAIK- Not enough boiling. Like a half boil egg. To describe a naive person.

SART CHUI- Kill Hand. An Assassin

SA YANG- Borrowed from a Malay word which means Love.

SEK AR NI- Eurasians. From the Arab word nasrani meaning Nazarene, or Christians.

SENG LI CHO TUA- Business getting bigger. Used (with a bit of sarcasm) to comment on someone who appears to be giving others the impression that he/she is doing very well in his/her undertaking.

SI AR NEH KHUAN EH- That’s the way it is. To reaffirm that your way of doing something is in fact correct.

SIAR SUAY- To embarass.

SIAM- Get out of the way/move away. Used to shoo people away/To dodge a task.

SIAM SAI HONG- To run away from the wind. To be hiding/like a fugitive.

SIAN THOW ONG- A bullshitter.

SI BAI- A placid person.

SI GIN NA- Dying child. Used to scold naughty kids.

SI KI TENG TARN- Four nails sounding. An indicative that death is around the corner.

SI KNIA SI SOON- Dead children and dead grand children. A bad curse. Swear Language.

SI LANG KHUAN CHUT KA LIOW- Dead man’s personality surfaces. A person’s bad attitude begin to show.

SI SIM- Heart goes dead. No longer affectionate.

SIM CHENG BO HO- Heart is troubled. Used on a person who is not in a good mood.

SIM KNUA BO LART/ SIM KNUA THAU BO LART- Heart is weak. To express disappointment over a rude news or someone else’s action/inaction.

SIM LENG- Cold heart or frozen heart. Used by a person to describe how he/she no longer feels affection towards someone they love.

SIM TNIA- Heart ache. Used by a person who recollects his past mistake/poor judgement/inaction over an investment that could bring him good returns today.

SI OR KWI- Dead tortoise/dead pimp. Swear Language.

SIO PHAK KAY- Fighting cock. A formidable pugilist who never loses.

SIO SIAR- Embarassing. Similar to PHAI SAY.

SIONG NOW- Injuring the brain. Used on bird brains.

SIOW CHAR BOR- A crazy woman.

SIOW LIOW- Gone crazy.  Used whenever a situation or something has gone wrong.

SIOW TAR POR- A crazy man.

SIOW TING TONG- A dumbbell or crazy person.

SI SNUA LAI- Loose loose come. To describe someone who uses weird methods to perform a task.

SOAK HUEK KU- Suck Blood Beetle. A blood sucking negotiator.

SNAR KI KHAR- Three legged. Sycophancy.

SNAR KHAR CHUAR- Three legged snake. A sycophant that’s up to no good.

SNAR CHAP LAK LEH MOOI- Thirty six doors.  A sewage truck.

SNAR JIT HONG, SI JIT HOR- Three days of wind, three days of rain. To describe a moody, fickle person.

SNAR SUKU- Three quarter. To describe a person who had gone cuckoo.

SNI KIAM CHYE- Salted vegetable. To describe an old unmarried woman.

SNUA KOO/SNUA KOO PEK- Mountain tortoise. Used to describe or suggest someone as being unsophisticated and ignorant. A country bumpkin.

SNUA PAR KAU- Mountain monkey. A naive person.

SNUA NIOW CHU- Mountain rat. To describe communists.

SOM BONG- An arrogant/haughty person. Adapted from a Malay word of the same meaning.

SOO LANG BO SOO TIN- Loose people but not team. Used to describe what sportsmanship is about. That even when you are underhanded, you fight till the end even if it means losing.

SUAN SIAU- Fidgetty sperm. To criticize.

SUM PAT THONG- A mad/crazy person.

SUP SUP SUAY- As easy as drinking water. To describe a task that is supposedly easy to perform.

SWEE SWEE BOH KUAY CHOOI- Beautiful as it is not rinsed in water. Something or someone perfect.

SYIOK KAR BAY SI- Feel so good until one wants to die.  Delightful pleasure.

SYIOK KAR BAY PANG PHUI- Feel so good till cannot fart. Feeling delightfully great.


TAHAN MATI- Withstand death. A determined fighter/One who doesn’t give up easily.

TAN KU KU- Wait forever. The forever is asserted here meaning it won’t happen.

TAPI- But. Adapted from a Malay word of the same meaning.

TAR POW- As in takeaway of food. Adapted from a Cantonese word of the same meaning.

TA TA PAI- Everytime/Always.

TENG KHOK KHOK- Extremely hard.

THAI LANG PANG HUAY- To kill and set fire. A massacre.

THAU HONG- Wind in the head. A person gone fruity.

THAU SIO SIO BUAY LENG LENG- Warm Head, Cold Tail. Start with enthusiasm but fizzles out in the end. A bad organiser.

THAU TNIA- Headache. Can also mean troublesome.

THARN CHIAK/THARN LOOI- To earn a living.

THARN BOH CHIAK/THARN BOH LOOI-Not earning anything.

THIAU BU CHAR BOR- Dancing lady. A guest relations officer who works in a girly bar.

THI KHI- Iron teeth. Stubborn.

THOO LU/THOO LU KU- A bald headed person.

THOR HUEK- Vomit blood. Expression used in great surprise/disbelieve over someone else’s stupidity.

THNI OR OR- Black sky. An expression that rain is going to fall.

THUM SIM- Greedy Heart. A greedy person.

TIAM KOW KA SI LANG- A quiet dog do bite. A quiet person can be dangerous.

TIOK KA MAK BAY JIN KNIA- Get it till the mother can’t even recognise her own child. A severe problem.

TIOK MARK- Being marked.

TIOK PH’NI- Taken advantage of.

TIOK TNUA- Being stood up.

TIOK TUA KEE- Get a big dick. A person who landed himself in great trouble.

TNEH KA LUM PHAR TUA SAY LIAP- Press testicles till both are uneven in size. Describes a person whose plan, plot or decision backfired.

TNEH TIAU/TNEH TIAU LUM PHAR- Press testicles.  Describes a person whose plan, plot or decision backfired.

T’NG KHUI- Long breath. Used on long winded people/A person who emphasizes a point far too many times.

TNIAU KAIR- Fussy with price. Used on people who rejects a good gift/proposal or offer.

TO BALIK- Upside down or Inside out. A reversal. Balik is adapted from a Malay word meaning to go back.

TO LONG- Help. A cry for aid. Adapted from a Malay word of the same meaning.

TUA KANG- A big river. To describe someone telling a tall story.

TUA KHANG- A big hole. A loose woman.

TUA LAN PHAR- Big testis. Used on people who don’t walk normally.

TUA LAU CHUI- A leaking vagina. Someone telling a tall story.

TUA LIAP LANG- Big ball people. An important person as in a politician/dignitary/rulers or in more casual terms, a VIP.

TUA PHAI KNIAR- Big naughty child. A big time gangster.

TUA PHIAN SIAN- Big Bluffing God. A confidence trickster.

TUA SAY KANG- Big small flow(as in a river). A boastful person.

TUA SIM- Big heart. A greedy person.

TUA THOW- Big head. To describe the head of a company/team.

TU LAN- Pig’s testis. Disgruntled/Pissed off.


About the Phrases:~

The author/owner has also compiled for record, a collection of everyday Hokkien Phrases to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These phrases are as much as possible being conserved in its purest state despite having some which had been mixed with other local dialects and languages but nevertheless the Hokkien lingo took prominence over the rest. This list is continuously updated.