When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (93)

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
動嘴無動手 tang tsuì bo tang tsiu move mouth but not
move hands
to argue verbally without getting physical
落大雨狗打
死也毋出門
lo tua-ho kao p’a-si ah mm tsut meng when it rains very hard, dogs refuse to go out even when whipped under extreme circumstances, one refuses to do something even when threatened
打在皮
痛在心
p’a ti p’e t’nia ti sim whip on skin but hurt
in heart
to describe parental suffering of frustration when trying to teach kids
打啊要死毋像死 p’a-ah beh
si mm tsniu si
whip to death but
doesn’t look like dead
to beat someone within an inch of death
瀉啊腸肚直 sia-ah teng to tit diarrhea until intestine
and abdomen are straight
intense and grave diarrhea
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