When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (18)

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, expressionsHokkien pronunciationLiteral translationMeaning
長頭白日teng t’ao pe ditlong head white daya bright sunny day
財不落眼tsai put lok ganwealth cannot be seendo not show off your wealth
過來人ke lai langsomeone coming backreferring to an experienced person
吃便飯tsia pian pengeating ready ricesomeone who does not need to work or earn a living
真臭骨tsin tsao kutsmelly bonea very lazy person

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 21 (April 5-18, 2016): 11.

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