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Thai language is as rich in metaphor as any language is

Old Snake Heads and Butterflies of the Night…

The kinds of metaphors that you will come into contact with will all depend on what level of society you hang out with. It is a good idea to keep the drinking buddies’ metaphors separate from the HiSo matron metaphors.

One group of metaphors goes over well with just about any crowd. They are the ones that use animals. They are also pretty easy to understand and therefore remember. Here is a sample. If you know some more drop it off in a comment below.


bpàak măa
Literal meaning: dog mouth
Metaphorical Meaning: dirty talk; crude talk; to use vulgar speech

ภาษาหมา ๆ

paa-săa măa măa
Literal meaning: dog language
Metaphorical Meaning: to talk trash; to act silly


rôhk măa bâa
Literal meaning: mad dog disease
Metaphorical Meaning: hydrophobia; rabies


măa kêe réuan
Literal meaning: mangy dog (leprous dog)
Metaphorical Meaning: pariah


măa nâo
Literal meaning: rotten dog
Metaphorical Meaning: a foul person


Literal meaning: water buffalo
Metaphorical Meaning: buffoon, ignoramus


Literal meaning: giant water bug (male rides on female’s back)
Metaphorical Meaning: pimp, procurer, gigolo


sĕua pôo yĭng
Literal meaning: girl tiger
Metaphorical Meaning: womanizer, lecher


Literal meaning: monitor lizard (water monitor)
Metaphorical Meaning: a despicable or bad person, a worthless character


sĕua sĭng grà-ting râet
Literal meaning: tiger, lion bull, rhinoceros
Metaphorical Meaning: experienced con men


hăa hăo sài hŭa
Literal meaning: look for lice to put on your head
Metaphorical Meaning: looking for trouble, cause your own problems


nĕe sĕua bpà jor-rá-kây
Literal meaning: run away from the tiger and meet the crocodile
Metaphorical Meaning: “Out of the frying-pan and into the fire.”


páe ráp bàap
Literal meaning: the goat that takes the sin
Metaphorical Meaning: scapegoat; fall guy


Literal meaning: chicken
Metaphorical Meaning: woman


Literal meaning: night butterfly (moth)
Metaphorical Meaning: “Lady of the night”, prostitute


ying grà-dtàai
Literal meaning: shoot the rabbit
Metaphorical Meaning: male urination, often done at the side of the road


tâo hŭa ngoo
Literal meaning: old man snake head
Metaphorical Meaning: old man who runs after young girls, dirty old man


ngoo ngoo bplaa bplaa
Literal meaning: snake snake fish fish
Metaphorical Meaning: mediocre, not very good



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Posts: 8

Hi John

My name Toon Khaw (Rice Tree)

   You can learn this Thai words. aww  But not use or speak. 
It’s lost human and lost honor for you.  disbelief   Take care..ka


Lucky Phill

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Posts: 146


I agree.   The great benefit I enjoy with exchanging culture and have Thai people come to stay in my home is when we are good friends we can laugh about many things, including the slang and and then with trust of friendship we can explain more about the low quality words and know more of the culture.

In December 2009 I was lucky to be on bus trip to North Thailand (4 days) with about 8 thai people. I only know 2 as friends but after 4 days we are all family.  (the travel article and video is in this forum)

We watch some Thai videos and they laugfh so much about something on the video that I don't understand so they teach me and always ask me to play these words with them so ...

when I see them I am to "mung ja glup roo mia glup"....  etc and eventually ending in ... "goo dop".,     I think most people will know what it's about and which video it comes from .. 
The words are very UNPOLITE but when said in character it's very funny.  I think the Thai people enjoy it so when I say it because I'm not thai and .. I now appreciate their humour and probably I don;t say ir correctly with the proper tone .. same when the Thai people try to say some of our slang ..  it's not the same BUT MOST OF ALL WE CAN ENJOY TO PLAY AND LAUGH TOGETHER.

There is a very funny article (somewhere in this forum) about a Farang that tried to speak something in Thai and it was so horribly wrong and inpolite that .. well it hust makes you laugh)...  if I can find it I will include a link

Thank you Thailand  pom raak kon tai tee soot nai rhok jing jing

-- Edited by Lucky on Wednesday 26th of May 2010 12:32:41 PM

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