Gao Gao

Gao Gao Origin: Hokkien – gao means thick, gao gao means very thick Gao Gao are two words with the same meaning of thick and when used together represents it as extra thick or concentrated depending on what the usage is for.

Buay Tahan

Buay Tahan Origin: Hokkien/Malay – means unable to withstand/tolerate any longer. Buay (Hokkien) for “cannot” and tahan (malay) for “withstand” combines together to give the expression that one can no longer withstand or tolerate any longer. It has a similar meaning to the malay phrase “tak boleh tahan” where “tak boleh” means cannot.


Jiak Origin: Hokkien/Teochew – literal translation “to eat” Jiak is a commonly used word to ask people if they have already eaten or to invite them to eat. It can be used to greet one another at the dinner table urging them to start eating. Younger family members will also greet their seniors at the […]

Chin Chai

Chin Chai Origin: Hokkien/Teochew – literally means “anything” or “whatever” Chin Chai is often used as a reply to a question when one is unable to make up his/her mind or has no preference to a choice. It can also be used to describe a person that is easy-going.

chao private

Chao Private Origin: Hokkien/English/Army lingo – a name to describe a newly enlisted soldier Chao Private refers to a newly enlisted soldier. The word “chao” stands for smelly in hokkien and Private is the rank for a newly enlisted Soldier. The words used together form a name that is often used on new recruits by […]

Tan Ku Ku

Tan Ku Ku Origin: Hokkien – a phrase that literal says “wait long long” Tan Ku Ku is a hokkien phrase that in its literal translation means “wait long long” and is often used to tell someone that the chances of what they expect to happen is very remote.