When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (26)

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
重頭輕tang t’ao k’inheavy head light endoff-balanced objects
輸阿脱褲su-ah t’eng k’olosing everything including the pantsutterly defeated
一元打十八結tsit yin p’a tsap pue katone peso is tied with 18 knots thriftiness
壞阿流汁p’ai-ah lao tsaprotting fruits with oozing juiceextremely bad
出土tsut t’oout of the earthshow ignorance

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 6 (August 23-September 5, 2016): 15.

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