When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (22)

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
大粒頭tua diap t’ao big heada famous person; VIP
花紅柳綠hue ang diu diakred and green flowervery colorful
含眠含沓ham bin ham taksleepywoozy from sleep
雞嘴变鴨嘴kue tsui pian ah tsuichicken mouth turned into duck mouthlost in an argument
畫瘋貓uwe siao niaodrawing silly catimproper writing or drawing

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, nos. 1-2 (June 21-July 4, 2016): 25.