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|
|死坐活吃||si tse wâ tsiâ||
sitting dead, |
|describing one who is too lazy to earn a living, yet survives through help of others|
|無腳無手||bo k’a bo tsiu||no feet, no hands||a helpless situation|
|薑還是老的辣||kniu ya si lao eh duâ||ginger gets spicier as it ages||the older one gets, the more experienced he is|
|tsit ting p’e pao tsit ting kut||one layer skin covers one layer bone||a thin person; skin and bones|
|給蚊仔腳踢著||ho bang-nga-k’a t’at tio||kicked by the foot of a mosquito||having a bad day when everything goes wrong|