Wah, Singapore has really come a long way. And we’re not referring to our infrastructure or GDP.
We’re talking about Singlish lah.
In the past, Singlish was frowned upon by the government. But today, Singlish words have made their way into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
Here’s a list of all 27 Singlish words and other Singaporean things that are officially in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Our exclamations are now official words! How crazy is that? There’s Aiyah, Aiyoh, Lah, and Wah.
How Lah made it into the dictionary is really beyond our understanding. Are the people at OED expecting the rest of the world to use the term?
Aiyah, whatever lah.
The best thing about Singlish, is how it gets the point across using as little words as possible. And our adjectives can just nail descriptions with a word or two.
Which is why Atas, Blur, Kiasu, and Shiok made it into the dictionary.
Blur isn’t a new word but Oxford English Dictionary added a new meaning to it, to mean someone who is stupid, clumsy or confused.
Kiasu refers to the Singaporean spirit.
We’re kidding. It basically means “afraid to lose” or “afraid to lose out” which translates to a selfish attitude.
Singlish Nouns Referring To People
Are you excited to see the ones that made it into the dictionary?
The ones that made it in are Ah Beng, Angmoh, Chinese Helicopter, Sabo King, Sinseh, and Sotong.
If you’re wondering what a Chinese Helicopter is, so are we. According to OED, it refers to a Singaporean who is Chinese-educated and has a limited knowledge of the English language.
However, the phrase apparently originated in National Service, where the older generation of servicemen who were in fact Chinese-educated, butchered the word “educated” to sound like “Chinese-HELIcated”.
Today, the term has turned into Chinese Helicopter.
Sinseh refers to a Chinese doctor that practises Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Sotong is a Malay term that usually refers to squid or octopus. However in this context, it is used to refer to people who are clueless or unaware.
Leave it to Singaporeans to come up with terms for specific actions. Lepak and Sabo are now official verbs.
Lepak means to relax, while Sabo is a shortening of Sabotage.
As in, “David was saboed to take the shift this weekend.”
Yes, local food made it into the dictionary. Char Kway Teow, Char Siu (BBQ Pork), Chilli Crab, and Teh Tarik are now included in the
menu dictionary. We’re just happy they included Teh Tarik.
Organisations In Singapore
We’ve got 2 that made it. First off, there’s HDB. The next one is Gahmen. Yes, Gahmen made it into the dictionary. Really no gahmen already.
Our beloved Hawker Centre made it into the dictionary. And what hawker centre is complete without a Wet Market. That’s right, buy one get one free. Both words can now be found in Oxford English Dictionary.
Just Singaporean Things
Ang Pow, Hongbao, and Killer Litter were chosen and included in the dictionary. What we don’t understand is, why are Ang Pow and Hongbao added together? They both refer to red packets.
Killer Litter is probably included because some of you don’t know how to be considerate. You know who you are. Own up please. (Hello 999? People anyhow throw rubbish.)
It’s fun to see what other words are going to end up in the Oxford English Dictionary. We’re waiting for chope and sian to be included.
What other Singlish words do you hope to see in the dictionary?
(Header Image Source: Unsplash)