Want to know if your Thai friends are gossiping about you? Having a few Thai slang words to keep up your sleeve.
When choosing a new language to learn, Thai may not be on top of the list for many, even for polyglots. After all, it’s got one of the most complicated writing systems in the world, the tonal system is not the easiest for Westerners to get used to, and how useful is Thai when travelling around the world anyway?
Still, knowing the language and knowing the culture is important, especially when travelling. You’d be surprised by how much Thai people appreciate you trying out their language, even if it’s nowhere near perfect. Why not pique your own interest in the language with one of the most fun parts of language learning: Thai slang words?
10 Thai slang words to learn for your next visit to Bangkok
“Farang” may be the first Thai slang word people come to Thailand to learn about. “Farang” literally translates to the Thai word for guava fruit, but it also means “foreigner.”
Thai people shorten a lot of English words, and the word you’ll probably hear most often is “get.” Basically, “get” means “I get it.” Examples of its usage include “Okay, get,” or “Get la.”
In this episode of Thai people shortening words, “hi-so” is a shortened form of the word “high society.” It’s used very much like the slang word “bougie” in English. So, if you see someone dressing up very fancy and living out a luxury lifestyle, they can be described as hi-so.
As a literal translation, “Tay” is a verb meaning to transfer liquid from one container to another. When used in a social context, “tay” can either mean to leave someone or to flake out on an appointment.
These three words express excitement, giving praise to whatever you’re referring to. “Rerd mak” could describe a delicious som-tam or an attractive person walking by, for example.
“In” is a Thai slang word that means to feel emotional. A few common usages include watching the end of a romcom or hearing a sad song at the club. If you can relate, you feel “in” with said romcom or sad song.
Watch out if someone glances at you and exclaims this to their friend. “Lamyai” on its own translates to the sweet summer fruit longan, but in Thai slang, it can also be used to express annoyance. “Ugh, lamyai” basically means “Ugh, so annoying.”
This is pronounced the same as the word “annoy,” but the meaning is quite different. As a verb, when someone is “noii,” it means they’re feeling upset, especially at someone else. So, if your significant other is “noii” at you, it doesn’t mean you’re annoying, it just means you’ve done something wrong.
Not what you think it means. Normally “dong” in Thai means to pickle an ingredient. Similarly to that translation, when used in everyday conversations, “dong” means to leave something without checking it for a while, and letting it pile up. You can dong a message on your phone, dong your work, and so on.
“Juk juk” is often heard in commercials, but can also be heard in normal conversation. Whilst “juk” means you’re stuffed from eating a lot of food, “juk juk” indicates an even greater amount of something. When asked if you had a lot of beers last night, “juk juk loey” will get the point across.
This story first appeared here.
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