Tsinoy Culture

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (11)

First published in Tulay, Fortnightly Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 13 (December 8-21, 2015): 14.

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
半屎桶puan sai t’anghalf a bowl of stoolsomeone who is inefficient
七說八說tsit se pue setalking nonsensetelling something that is untrue
糊里糊塗ho di ho tocarelessto do things carelessly
吃頭路tsia t’ao loemployedworking as an employee
金腳骨tsin ka kutgolden feetsomeone who does not like to walk