When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (98)

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
鼠牛虎兔 chi gu ho t’oh rat, cow, tiger, rabbit (first four animals of Chinese zodiac ) meaning various walks of life;  used derogatively to describe a bunch of  unscrupulous people
放狗屁 pang kao p’uì dog excrement talking nonsense
歹剃頭 p’ai t’i t’ao hard to shave head to describe people who are extremely hard to deal with
艱苦有日 kan-k’o wu dit hardship has its day expecting challenging times
成物不毀 sing-boot put hui finished items not destroyed all things must not be destroyed

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