When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (16)

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
吐血吐土t’o hui t’o tospitting blood and soiltalking nonsense.
添木添火teen tsa teen headding wood and fireadding something to one’s story; exaggerating
嘴無圍巾tsui bo wue kunmouth not coveredtalking too much without thinking
無聲無說bo xian bo seno sound, no talksomeone approaching stealthily
假死假活ke si ke wuaplaying dead and playing alivean untruthful act

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 19 (March 1-14, 2016): 15.