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Singlish Words & Singlish Phrases You Must Know this 2020: Ultimate List

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The unique slang, Singlish has made its rounds all over the world in the last couple of years. Besides having a blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians completely blowing out of proportions, there are lots of Singlish words being included in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Just here to search? Skip to our condensed list here.

The Singlish slang is also discussed by linguists in at least 7 Universities from Italy to Japan.

However, there has never been a complete or updated list (Singlish Dictionary is obsolete) of all Singlish terms, Singlish phrases or Singlish words published anywhere on the net.

Not to mention Singlish examples to accurately illustrate the meaning of what we Singaporeans mean.

Feel free to shoot us an email or comment below and we will gladly fill this list of Singlish words with your suggestions. We must complete this!

Weirdly Unknown Fact: Many foreigners reading our Singlish guide are still confused about where Singapore is located at or whether it is a sovereign country by itself. To all non-Singaporeans, You may or may not be surprised to know that we are not a part of China or Malaysia, and is well located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula (surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia).

Want to learn how to speak like a local?

Today, we compile not a Singlish dictionary but a list of basic communication sentences and phrases.

This list consists of 125 colloquial and uniquely Singaporean terms for your research, reference, mere entertainment or to fit in if you are a foreigner. Know any more Singlish words and phrases to add on to the list?

Let us know, and we will update and maintain this list of Singlish words on a regular basis (confirm not so swee 125 only one).

Let’s begin. 

Singlish Consolidated List – Make A Quick Search!

Word/PhraseDefinitionExample
AbudenSingaporean/Singlish version of "you don't say"Sally - 313 at Somerset hor?
Josh - Abuden! If not at Woodlands arh?
Act blurDescribes someone who plays the ignorance card.Oi cb don't act blur!  Where you hide my phone?
Ah bu neh neh/ah nehCrude Hokkien phrase referring to Indians.You cry some more! Later I call ah bu neh neh come and catch you!
Ah Gua/Gu NiangGay. More often used to describe someone who acts feminine.This Keith damn gu niang. Stand for 5 minutes tired already.
AiyaUsed to express disappointment or when something unpleasant happens.Aiya, computer kena virus again.
AiyoCan be used when you are disappointed, surprised, annoyed or in pain.Example (Disappointed): Aiyo, computer kena virus again.
Example (Surprised): Aiyooo! Gabriel going out on a date sia!
Example (Annoyed): Aiyo! Somebody is kicking my leg.
Example (In Pain): Aiyoo, hammer drop on my leg.
AlamakUsed to express shock or surprise often in a bad way.Alamak, I thought the meeting was today. No wonder no one else was there.
Always like that oneUsed to describe someone's bad habit.He always liddat one. Buy so much food but can't finish.
Ang moh paiSomeone who acts like a westerner.This Jess damn ang moh pai one. She cannot even speak basic Chinese.
Anything lorSinglish phrase used when you don't really have an opinion.Jerry - Darling, what you want to eat?
Sarah - Anything lor
Jerry - *facepalm* Sh*t also can?
ArrowWhen someone delegates a task to you.Wa cb kena arrow by Kelvin again.
AtasTo describe a person of a high social status or an expensive place.My dream is to eat an A5 Wagyu steak at an atas restaurant with Joseph.
Blur sotong/c**kUsed to describe someone who is always confused.This blur sotong. Ask him to buy chicken for me he buy fish.
Bo chupUsed to describe someone who does not care.He bo chup one. Go everywhere also wear singlet, shorts and slippers.
Bo liaoUsed to show boredom or describe someone who is lame.He damn bo liao. Message me to ask me stupid questions.
BojioWhen someone did not invite you to hang out together.David - Yesterday, Jerry and I went to watch Wonderwoman.
Kenny - Wa Bojio! I had no plans yesterday.
Buay paiTo describe something or someone who is exceptional.That girl at 9 o'clock buay pai sia!
Buay saiCannot.This Friday I buay sai, need to study for Finals.
Buay tahanCannot stand it anymore.Wa the weather so hot really buay tahan!
Can also can, cannot also canUsed typically in a scenario when you have no choice but to say yes. Less used by Singaporeans nowadays as it often leads to extreme confusion.Jerry: Uncle can add milk to my Ice Kachang
Uncle: Can also can, cannot also can!
CBShort form for Chee Bai, which translates to the v*gina. Used as a swear word.That CB kia come and annoy me again.
Chao geng/Chao KengUsed to describe someone who malingers.This chao geng kia everyday go see MO one.
Chao muggerSomeone who studies a lot.This Kelly is a chao mugger. Everyday at the library studying.
Chao turtleUsed to express frustration and dissatisfaction.Chao turtle, that auntie didn't even say excuse me.
Chim/cheemUsed to describe something is difficult or complicated.Don't talk until so chim leh. Can simplify it and explain to me again?
ChiobuA beautiful girl.I wish that chiobu is my gf sia... haha.
ChiongRun/RushFaster chiong to the canteen, if not later long queue.
Chiong suaUsed to describe an SAF unit/soldier that is tough and has gone through intensive training.Wa he posted to NDU, everyday chiong sua.
Chop chopSinglish term used to hurry people.Eh chop chop finish your work so we can go home early.
Chope seatsUsually used in coffee shop and hawkers before eating. It means to reserve seats. Putting a pack of tissue on the table is a common way to do so.Now lunch time faster chope seats or else later GG.
CMIShort form for cannot make it. Can be used to turn down someone or to describe a person as less than satisfactory (derogatory).Example 1: This Friday I CMI, got a wedding to attend.
Example 2: The girl you like CMI la, personality and looks both bad.
Come I clap for youUsed sarcastically to act like you are impressed with something.Adam - Eh, yesterday I was the top scorer when I was playing football with Ahmad they all.
Alex - Wa! Come I clap for you...
Confirm plus chop / Double confirmSinglish term for being very confident or sure about something.I confirm plus chop you cannot find a lower price outside of this store.
DabaoMeans to take away food.Eh help me dabao. I am very lazy today.
DiamUsed to tell someone to shut up. In army, you are not allowed to move when you are ordered to diam.Eh diam la! Talk talk talk, your mouth not tired one meh?
Die alreadyAnother phrase to use when you or someone is in trouble.This time he confirm die already. He go tell his CO to go f*ck himself.
Don't play playUsed to tell someone not to fool around or to take a matter seriously. This Singlish phrase was used repeatedly by Phua Chu Kang.Don't play play hor! He black belt in Taekwondo one.
Dulan Used when you are annoyed and outraged.Stop stealing my food, later I dulan ah!
Dunno lehUsed when you are uncertain of something.Sarah - Baby, you think the red or black dress better?
James - Dunno leh, I think both also excellent.
EeeeeeyerUsed when you are disgusted by something. "Eeeeee" is a short form of eeeeyer.Eeeeeeyer, the table so dirty
Eye powerSomeone who only crowds around and looks but does not help in any way.Oi don't eye power leh! Give me a hand and move the boxes!
Geh gehTo describe someone who is putting up an act.He get get one la. One look you know he is lying already.
Geh kiangSomeone who makes a rash decision and ends up getting into trouble.He geh kiang volunteer to be the leader. Now everyday a lot of work to do.
GGInitially used worldwide by Starcraft 2 players to mean "good game", it is now used by Singaporeans when something bad is going to happen.Wa GG, they say this year economy very bad, firing a lot of people.
Gong gongHokkien for talk talk. Usually used to describe something as bullsh*t.He gong gong only la. He doesn't have the balls to confess one.
GostunRefers to reversing in driving.Remember to check safety when you gostun!
Gu gu bird/Gu gu D*ck. More recently used in a cheer during a NTU orientation camp."Kukubird ah! Kukubird kuubird, this is our kukubird!"
Guai Lan Used to describe an annoying person or someone who is very troublesome.Wa this Henry damn guai lan, everything also tell me cannot.
Hao lianDescribes someone who likes to show off. Hao lian bo la liang, is a longer form of this phrase.Got full marks for Math now come hao lian la!
Heck itSinglish phrase to show that you do not care anymore.Heck it la! I'm just going to confess to Sarah after our date tonight.
Hong ganUsed when you or someone is in deep trouble.Hong gan liao. I just got into a traffic accident.
Hosei/HosehUsed to describe a pleasant situation. Can also be used sarcastically in unpleasant situations.Example: Hosei la! Just won a 52-inch 3D OLED TV from lucky draw!
Example (Sacarsm): Hosei liao la! Tom just call boss a fat pig! He confirm hong gan!
Hum jiDescribes someone who is timid.Don't hum ji lah! Want to fight then come lah!
JialatUsed to describe a bad situation.Wa jialat. It looks like it's going to rain, but I never bring my umbrella.
KaypohUsed to describe someone nosy.This Henry damn kaypoh, keep asking what I do with my girlfriend.
KenaUsed when something bad happens to someone.Jerry kena scolded by teacher for failing his test.
KenasaiMore severe version of kena. Translate to get into deep sh*t. Also used to express frustration.He kenasai by boss for not meeting his KPI again.
KiasuTranslate to fear of losing. Used to describe aggressive and competitive behavior.Wa parents nowadays so kiasu. Their children five years old start going for tuition already.
KnnShort form for Kanina, which translates to f**k your mum. Used as a swear word/profanity.Knn, ERP increase again!
KopiHokkien word for coffee.Ah boy, want go lim kopi with ah gong tomorrow morning?
KopitiamRefers to a coffeeshop in the past. Nowadays, it mostly refers to the food court chain.Want to eat at kopitiam for lunch?
KPKBShort form for kao pei kao bu, which translates to cry father cry mother. Used when someone makes a big deal about something.James KPKB me for drinking one sip of his drink.
Lan lan suck thumbUsed when you have no choice but to do something that you dislike or hate. Commonly used during National Service.Desmond - Eh you tomorrow got SOC again ah? It's your 5th time le leh!
Mark - Lan lan suck thumb lorh... if not complain to MINDEF meh?
Lao jiao Someone who is experienced.Don't know anything ask Timothy. He is a lao jiao.
Lao kuiAn alternate word to describe something embarrassing.I lost an arm wrestling challenge to a girl, damn lao kui.
Last time policemen wear shortsUsed when you are discouraging someone from being nostalgicJason - Last time in school a lot of girls come talk to me one hor!
Farah - Last time policemen wear shorts also.
Last warningUsed on someone who annoys you so much that you feel like beating them up.Eh last warning hor! Don't disturb me. I want to study.
LepakTo spend time walking/loitering around aimlessly.My friends and I like to lepak at JEM after school.
LiddatShort form for like that.Dun liddat la. We go drink beer cheer up ok?
LobangTips, life hacks, and deals.Got any lobang to earn money?
MachiamUsed to compare describe things that feel or look similar.Her eye bag so big machiam some panda.
Mai laiDon't try/Don't give me that.Last week you say need take care of brother. This week you say got family outing. Mai lai!
MakanMalay word for eating.What you want to makan for dinner?
MaluMalay word for shy. To embarrass or humiliate.Wa just now our performance damn malu sia!
Neh neh pok/Neh Neh BreastHer looks not bad but her neh neh pok damn small.
NehmindShort form for never mind.You don't want to help me nehmind, I can just ask someone else.
NiaCan be used to substitute only. Occasionally has a slightly condescending tone to it.He every month earn $3000 nia. How to buy a car?
No choice lehUsed when you are left with no other options.Jones - Wa working so hard ah!
Larry - No choice leh, got a family to feed.
No linkWhen something is unrelated to whatever you were saying.Jerry - Jordan just bought a PS4 yesterday!
Jenn - I like to eat steak!
Jerry - Huh? No link leh.
O$P$Short form for owe money pay money. Mostly painted or sprayed by loan sharks near lift lobbies.#03-03 O$P$ 91234567 (Graffiti on the lift)
Onz?Used to ask if someone is agreeable with a plan.This Saturday we go to the beach, onz?
Orbi goodUsed when you do not feel sorry for someone and feels that he or she deserves to be punished.Orbi good la! Tell you so many times already don't want to listen.
ORD LOFavourite phrase of NSF. Chanted when one has completed his NS or is very near to it.Instagram - Uploading photo with pink IC... ORD LO
OrhYes/Okay.Mother - Remember to lock the door later ah!
Xavier - Orh.
Orh horUsed when trouble is incoming.Louisa - This Ms Lim damn guai lan sia. No wonder so old already not married.
*Ms Lim walks past and overheard the conversation*
Peter - Orh horwealthy GG. You die already!
PaisehTo express one's embarassment or to make an apologyExample 1: Just now I fall down walking on flat ground, damn paiseh sia.
Example 2: Paiseh, just now bathing can't reply your message.
PangsehUsed when someone who does not turn up for meet ups or outings with friends.This Alex pangseh us again. Go out with his gf then don't want come LAN with us.
PokkaiUsed when you are broke.This month keep eating good food, pokkai liao.
PonTo skip an activity. Short form for ponteng.I going to pon school today.
RojakA vegetable salad dish found mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. More often used when everything is mixed or very messy.My workplace really like rojak. Got people from a lot of countries.
SaboShort form of sabotage. Means to create trouble or cause harm.Eh later don't sabo ah. We just keep quiet can already.
See firstUsed when you are still considering or do not have an answer yet. Also, a nice way to reject an invitation subtly.Justin - Friday want to Zouk?
Mabel - I see first.
SekaliWhat if?Eh later we take cab can? Sekali that MRT breakdown again how?
ShagUsed to show tiredness.Shag, today need to OT again.
Shiok (MUST KNOW!)Used to express great satisfaction. Wa shiok! This month got 4 long weekends!
Sia laMeans Oh My God. (OMG)Sia la! His father just bought him a Lamborghini for his 21st birthday!
Sia SuayUsed to describe something embarrassing.Haha he banged into the wall just now damn sia suay!
Siam lahSinglish way to tell people to f*ck offSiam lah, stop blocking the way.
SianUsed when you are unhappy, bored or tired.Sian, tomorrow need to work again.
SibehMeans very.Today got Barcelona vs Real Madrid match! Sibeh excited.
Simi saiLiterally means What The Sh*t.Simi said, he passed his driving in less than two months.
SiolSimilarly to lah and sia, siol is an expression used at the end of a sentence. Some Singaporeans tend to add ~ right after siol in text messages.Wa, golden bayonet siol~
SMLJ Short form for simi lan jiao, which translates to what c**k. Swear word for an unpleasant situation.SMLJ! The clothes I bought 2 days ago now got discount!
SteadySimply means yes.This Saturday we go MBS eat want or not?
James: Steady la bro!
SuanSinglish word used when someone is getting teased, often in a sarcastic way.Don't suan me la. I know you confirm score higher than me one.
SuayUsed to describe an unfortunate situation.Wa damn suay. Kena bird sh*t on my head.
SwakuSomeone who is not well informed, or a country bumpkin.I very swaku one, never go USS before.
SweeSinglish word for perfect!I prepare everything swee swee for you already. Don't screw it up hor!
Talk c**kWhen you are talking about random stuff or bullsh*t.Me and Xaver like to talk c**k.
Tau pokThe situation when guys lie on top of one another to crush a person, mostly for fun.Ivan - Today his birthday let's tau pok him!
All - TAU POK!!!
TolongUsed as a cry for help.Tolong la. I will pay you back the money in 3 days.
TycoSinglish word for lucky.Wa tyco sia! Posted as a clerk at HQ.
UluSome place which is not easily accessible.This restaurant damn ulu but the food is good!
Uncle / AuntieA friendly way to address middle age and above men (uncle) or women (auntie). Can also be used for relatives.That chicken uncle very nice! Give me extra rice!
Ups/up there lahTo praise someone who is a high achiever.GPA 5.0?! Up there lah!
Walao/WapiangUsed to express dissatisfaction and discontent.Walao eh! The MRT aircon why so hot one?
WayangSomeone who puts up a show to suck up to his or her superiors.This Julian like some wayang king. Superiors around he then act like he is working. Once they zao he slack already.
What time alreadyUsually used on someone who is late. You are not really asking for the time.Eh what time already? Why haven't fall in! Whole lot knock it down!
White horseSomeone who is the child of an influential/powerful/wealthy person.Their bmt company got white horse no wonder life so good.
Yaya papapyaSomeone who is arrogant or a show off.This guy damn yaya papaya. Everyday drive different car come to work.
You ask me I ask who?When you are clearly not the right guy to answer a particular question.Benny - Why are we waiting so long?
Jet - You ask me I ask who?
You say lehUsually used when the answer is self-evident.Adam - Darling, can I go clubbing this Saturday?
Rachel - You say leh?
Your headSinglish term usually used when someone is spouting nonsense to shut them up.Terry - Eh Mike you like Helen right!
Mike - I like your head la!
ZaiPro.Wa he damn zai, read one time can memorise everything already.
Zhun boTranslates to are you sure?They say government is giving money again, zhun bo?

Before we end our compilation of Singlish Words & Phrases…

Singlish is a wonderful encrypted form of colloquial English that has mixed at least 6 different languages and dialects.

The interesting thing is that none of us was given formal education on how to speak or understand this language (we just somehow know it by heart).

The accent, as well as, the ability to mash up various words from different ethnic groups to form our very own Singlish word is just fascinating! Here is a video to sum it all up!

Singlish Words Examples (Pronunciation)

And a funny video accurately portraying the differences between English and Singaporean pronunciation.

Dictionary of Singlish Words

Interestingly, there is a dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English which was launched in 2004.

It is comprehensive, but it has never been updated since 2016. Do note that the retro-themed dictionary contains many obsolete words that are rarely used or have “evolved” over time.

We are unsure if anyone is maintaining it to today’s standards.

See any missing Singlish words or phrases missing in this list?

Contact us and we will get it fixed right away!

Related to Singlish Words:

24 Ways Singaporeans Use the Word “Can”

Constipation Woes – Causes, Relief and Treatment (Sort of)

I need a holiday! – A Coping Mechanism

9 No-Bake Dessert Recipes For Everyone

singlish words guide pinterest

Last updated on January 31st, 2020.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    TierneyMcculloch

    October 18, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Hello to every one, as I am in fact keen of reading this weblog’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It includes pleasant information.|

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