Culture Idioms...Hokkien style Tsinoy Culture

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (100)

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
飯桶 pung t’ang rice barrel to hint that someone is worthless and unproductive
tsit dit tsian-t’ao sna-dit yan-tao cut hair one day, handsome for three days teasing someone who just had a new haircut
無頭神 bo t’ao sin headless deity absent-minded
tsit sin di-tsat-lak te kut-t’ao bo sna tsia tsing a body with 206 bones not properly connected describing someone who is not coordinated or agile
一舉兩得 it ki dion tiak one action, two gains killing two birds with one stone