Idioms...Hokkien style

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (23)

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
三八sam patthree-eightsilly gesture
慢燦燦ban tsan tsanslow motionslow-footed person
莫哭莫爹bo k’ao bo penot crying for no fathera very silent person
優面優孔yiu bin yiu k’angworried faceworried face
偷吃莫插嘴t’ao tsia bo tsit tsuididn’t wipe his mouth after eatingdoing something wrong yet leaving traces

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 3 (July 5-18, 2016): 13.