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.
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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However, there has never been a complete or updated list (Singlish Dictionary is obsolete) of all Singlish terms, Singlish phrases or Singlish words published anywhere on the net.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).
Singlish Consolidated List – Make A Quick Search!
|Abuden||Singaporean/Singlish version of "you don't say"||Sally - 313 at Somerset hor?
Josh - Abuden! If not at Woodlands arh?
|Act blur||Describes someone who plays the ignorance card.||Oi cb don't act blur! Where you hide my phone?|
|Ah bu neh neh/ah neh||Crude Hokkien phrase referring to Indians.||You cry some more! Later I call ah bu neh neh come and catch you!|
|Ah Gua/Gu Niang||Gay. More often used to describe someone who acts feminine.||This Keith damn gu niang. Stand for 5 minutes tired already.|
|Aiya||Used to express disappointment or when something unpleasant happens.||Aiya, computer kena virus again.|
|Aiyo||Can 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.
|Alamak||Used 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 one||Used to describe someone's bad habit.||He always liddat one. Buy so much food but can't finish.|
|Ang moh pai||Someone who acts like a westerner.||This Jess damn ang moh pai one. She cannot even speak basic Chinese.|
|Anything lor||Singlish 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?
|Arrow||When someone delegates a task to you.||Wa cb kena arrow by Kelvin again.|
|Atas||To 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**k||Used to describe someone who is always confused.||This blur sotong. Ask him to buy chicken for me he buy fish.|
|Bo chup||Used to describe someone who does not care.||He bo chup one. Go everywhere also wear singlet, shorts and slippers.|
|Bo liao||Used to show boredom or describe someone who is lame.||He damn bo liao. Message me to ask me stupid questions.|
|Bojio||When 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 pai||To describe something or someone who is exceptional.||That girl at 9 o'clock buay pai sia!|
|Buay sai||Cannot.||This Friday I buay sai, need to study for Finals.|
|Buay tahan||Cannot stand it anymore.||Wa the weather so hot really buay tahan!|
|Can also can, cannot also can||Used 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!
|CB||Short 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 Keng||Used to describe someone who malingers.||This chao geng kia everyday go see MO one.|
|Chao mugger||Someone who studies a lot.||This Kelly is a chao mugger. Everyday at the library studying.|
|Chao turtle||Used to express frustration and dissatisfaction.||Chao turtle, that auntie didn't even say excuse me.|
|Chim/cheem||Used to describe something is difficult or complicated.||Don't talk until so chim leh. Can simplify it and explain to me again?|
|Chiobu||A beautiful girl.||I wish that chiobu is my gf sia... haha.|
|Chiong||Run/Rush||Faster chiong to the canteen, if not later long queue.|
|Chiong sua||Used to describe an SAF unit/soldier that is tough and has gone through intensive training.||Wa he posted to NDU, everyday chiong sua.|
|Chop chop||Singlish term used to hurry people.||Eh chop chop finish your work so we can go home early.|
|Chope seats||Usually 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.|
|CMI||Short 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 you||Used 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 confirm||Singlish term for being very confident or sure about something.||I confirm plus chop you cannot find a lower price outside of this store.|
|Dabao||Means to take away food.||Eh help me dabao. I am very lazy today.|
|Diam||Used 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 already||Another 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 play||Used 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 leh||Used when you are uncertain of something.||Sarah - Baby, you think the red or black dress better?
James - Dunno leh, I think both also excellent.
|Eeeeeeyer||Used when you are disgusted by something. "Eeeeee" is a short form of eeeeyer.||Eeeeeeyer, the table so dirty|
|Eye power||Someone 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 geh||To describe someone who is putting up an act.||He get get one la. One look you know he is lying already.|
|Geh kiang||Someone 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.|
|GG||Initially 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 gong||Hokkien 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.|
|Gostun||Refers 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 lian||Describes 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 it||Singlish 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 gan||Used when you or someone is in deep trouble.||Hong gan liao. I just got into a traffic accident.|
|Hosei/Hoseh||Used 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 ji||Describes someone who is timid.||Don't hum ji lah! Want to fight then come lah!|
|Jialat||Used to describe a bad situation.||Wa jialat. It looks like it's going to rain, but I never bring my umbrella.|
|Kaypoh||Used to describe someone nosy.||This Henry damn kaypoh, keep asking what I do with my girlfriend.|
|Kena||Used when something bad happens to someone.||Jerry kena scolded by teacher for failing his test.|
|Kenasai||More 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.|
|Kiasu||Translate 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.|
|Knn||Short form for Kanina, which translates to f**k your mum. Used as a swear word/profanity.||Knn, ERP increase again!|
|Kopi||Hokkien word for coffee.||Ah boy, want go lim kopi with ah gong tomorrow morning?|
|Kopitiam||Refers to a coffeeshop in the past. Nowadays, it mostly refers to the food court chain.||Want to eat at kopitiam for lunch?|
|KPKB||Short 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 thumb||Used 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 kui||An alternate word to describe something embarrassing.||I lost an arm wrestling challenge to a girl, damn lao kui.|
|Last time policemen wear shorts||Used when you are discouraging someone from being nostalgic||Jason - Last time in school a lot of girls come talk to me one hor!
Farah - Last time policemen wear shorts also.
|Last warning||Used 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.|
|Lepak||To spend time walking/loitering around aimlessly.||My friends and I like to lepak at JEM after school.|
|Liddat||Short form for like that.||Dun liddat la. We go drink beer cheer up ok?|
|Lobang||Tips, life hacks, and deals.||Got any lobang to earn money?|
|Machiam||Used to compare describe things that feel or look similar.||Her eye bag so big machiam some panda.|
|Mai lai||Don'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!|
|Makan||Malay word for eating.||What you want to makan for dinner?|
|Malu||Malay word for shy. To embarrass or humiliate.||Wa just now our performance damn malu sia!|
|Neh neh pok/Neh Neh||Breast||Her looks not bad but her neh neh pok damn small.|
|Nehmind||Short form for never mind.||You don't want to help me nehmind, I can just ask someone else.|
|Nia||Can be used to substitute only. Occasionally has a slightly condescending tone to it.||He every month earn $3000 nia. How to buy a car?|
|No choice leh||Used when you are left with no other options.||Jones - Wa working so hard ah!
Larry - No choice leh, got a family to feed.
|No link||When something is unrelated to whatever you were saying.||Jerry - Jordan just bought a PS4 yesterday!
Jenn - I like to eat steak!
Jerry - Huh? No link leh.
|O$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 good||Used 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 LO||Favourite phrase of NSF. Chanted when one has completed his NS or is very near to it.||Instagram - Uploading photo with pink IC... ORD LO|
|Orh||Yes/Okay.||Mother - Remember to lock the door later ah!
Xavier - Orh.
|Orh hor||Used 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!
|Paiseh||To express one's embarassment or to make an apology||Example 1: Just now I fall down walking on flat ground, damn paiseh sia.
Example 2: Paiseh, just now bathing can't reply your message.
|Pangseh||Used 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.|
|Pokkai||Used when you are broke.||This month keep eating good food, pokkai liao.|
|Pon||To skip an activity. Short form for ponteng.||I going to pon school today.|
|Rojak||A 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.|
|Sabo||Short form of sabotage. Means to create trouble or cause harm.||Eh later don't sabo ah. We just keep quiet can already.|
|See first||Used 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.
|Sekali||What if?||Eh later we take cab can? Sekali that MRT breakdown again how?|
|Shag||Used 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 la||Means Oh My God. (OMG)||Sia la! His father just bought him a Lamborghini for his 21st birthday!|
|Sia Suay||Used to describe something embarrassing.||Haha he banged into the wall just now damn sia suay!|
|Siam lah||Singlish way to tell people to f*ck off||Siam lah, stop blocking the way.|
|Sian||Used when you are unhappy, bored or tired.||Sian, tomorrow need to work again.|
|Sibeh||Means very.||Today got Barcelona vs Real Madrid match! Sibeh excited.|
|Simi sai||Literally means What The Sh*t.||Simi said, he passed his driving in less than two months.|
|Siol||Similarly 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!|
|Steady||Simply means yes.||This Saturday we go MBS eat want or not?
James: Steady la bro!
|Suan||Singlish 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.|
|Suay||Used to describe an unfortunate situation.||Wa damn suay. Kena bird sh*t on my head.|
|Swaku||Someone who is not well informed, or a country bumpkin.||I very swaku one, never go USS before.|
|Swee||Singlish word for perfect!||I prepare everything swee swee for you already. Don't screw it up hor!|
|Talk c**k||When you are talking about random stuff or bullsh*t.||Me and Xaver like to talk c**k.|
|Tau pok||The 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!!!
|Tolong||Used as a cry for help.||Tolong la. I will pay you back the money in 3 days.|
|Tyco||Singlish word for lucky.||Wa tyco sia! Posted as a clerk at HQ.|
|Ulu||Some place which is not easily accessible.||This restaurant damn ulu but the food is good!|
|Uncle / Auntie||A 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 lah||To praise someone who is a high achiever.||GPA 5.0?! Up there lah!|
|Walao/Wapiang||Used to express dissatisfaction and discontent.||Walao eh! The MRT aircon why so hot one?|
|Wayang||Someone 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 already||Usually 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 horse||Someone who is the child of an influential/powerful/wealthy person.||Their bmt company got white horse no wonder life so good.|
|Yaya papapya||Someone 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 leh||Usually used when the answer is self-evident.||Adam - Darling, can I go clubbing this Saturday?
Rachel - You say leh?
|Your head||Singlish 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!
|Zai||Pro.||Wa he damn zai, read one time can memorise everything already.|
|Zhun bo||Translates 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:
Last updated on January 31st, 2020.