Idioms...Hokkien style

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (87)

Hokkien, on the tongues of Tsinoys, has grown and evolved, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes words simply fail us. With some creativity, Tsinoys have strung together words to form colorful phrases that simply hit the bull’s eye. Here are some expressions unique to Hokkien as favored by Tsinoys.

Idioms, expressions Hokkien pronunciation Literal translation Meaning
添柴添火 t’nee tsa t’nee heh adding firewood and
inflaming the situation
撿到一活 k’iô tiô tsi wâ pick up a life obtain something out of sheer
趁橫財 t’an hnui tsai to earn unexpected
to earn dirty money
囝仔人有耳無嘴 kin-na lang u
hee bo tsuì
little kid with ear but no mouth kids must not interfere when
adults are talking
借刀殺人 tsiô toh sat din borrow knife to kill
using another person to attack your enemy