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Post Info TOPIC: What are these 6 Thai slang to avoid in Thailand?

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What are these 6 Thai slang to avoid in Thailand?


All Thais know that "turtle" can also mean body order, which is why they find this deodorant commercial hyterically funny.





If you’ve lived in Thailand long enough, chances are at some point you’ve befriended a Bear (Mi), dated a Pig (Mu), gone scuba-diving with a Tadpole (Luk Ot), or bar-hopped with a Grasshopper (Tak Ka Tan). 

Thais look upon animals with affection, so much so that they often nickname their children after different creatures, ranging from mammals to cephalopoda.

But not every creature is an acceptable candidate for a nickname when a child is born. (Most Thai kids are given nicknames right away as their real names are often multisyllabic.) Even in animal-loving Thai culture, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

For example, while a turtle represents anything from longevity to wisdom in some other cultures, “turtle” is Thai slang for underarm odor. Why? Nobody seems to know. 

Culture can’t always be explained. Most of the time you just have to accept it without logical explanations.

Here are a few examples of other creatures Thai parents never nickname their babies. And if you represent a foreign business in Thailand, translating your brand name into any of the following is also highly inadvisable.

1. Shelled Mollusk (Hoi)


A favorite double entendre among pre-teens and pre-teens at heart, the generic Thai word for mollusks is also used as a semi-vulgar slang term for the female genitalia.


A foreigner describing herself as being “happy as a clam” is likely to elicit more than a few giggles.


2. Water Beetle (Mang Da)


Zoologically speaking, water beetles are known as lethocerus indicus. In a culinary context, these little bugs, once pickled, are a sought-after ingredient in various Thai chili relishes.


In a cultural context, however, water beetles represent a whole spectrum of men who, at best, live off their women’s earnings -- right down to bona fide pimps.

The reason should be clear to anyone who has observed how the female water beetle routinely carries around a slightly smaller male who relies on her for food while showing little interest in getting off her back.


3. Dove (Nok Khao)


Almost universally, a dove symbolizes peace. The concept is rooted in the story of the Great Deluge found in ancient Near Eastern literature wherein a dove, sent out to see if the land has dried up, returns with an olive leaf signifying the end of the flood.


In the context of Thai culture, a dove -– oddly enough –- is used euphemistically to refer to the male genitalia.

When someone refers to a situation in which “a dove refuses to crow” (nok khao mai khan), chances are they’re not alluding to the traditional dove crowing competition whence the euphemism possibly comes, but a medical problem known as erectile dysfunction. 


4. Monitor Lizard (Hia)


Monitor Lizard
It’s anyone’s guess as to why the Thai word for monitor lizardis used in a similar way as a particular vulgar term in English that literally means an anal orifice, or how the animal itself symbolizes misfortune.


The negative connotation associated with monitor lizards is so ingrained that the attempt to rename the scaly reptile “Tua Ngoen Tua Thong” which roughly means, “gold and silver one” hasn’t done much to re-brand the poor animal.


5. Rhinoceros (Rat)


The Thai word for rhinoceros is also slang for a woman who overtly seeks to attract attention from or aggressively pursues the opposite sex.


This is not much of a head-scratcher considering the well-documented aggressive behaviors of the female rhinoceroses during oestrus.


6. Water Buffalo (Kwai)


This one is a classic. In Thai culture, since time immemorial water buffaloes -- so crucial in wet rice agriculture -- equate to cluelessness, the lack of supporting evidence notwithstanding.


This has given rise to a few related idioms. To play a fiddle to a water buffalo is to explain something to someone who is incapable of understanding it.

Knowing this, when a friend tells you -- winking -- that your spouse could be putting a pair of water buffalo horns on your head (suam khao), you should know he is not talking about an exotic ornament.  

Read more: 6 animal nicknames to avoid in Thailand |

-- Edited by arwee on Friday 25th of March 2011 10:03:28 PM


ARWEE - Manigluck

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