20 Singaporean Slangs – A Guide to Singlish

To all Singaporeans who have been away from home, nothing in the world feels more heart-warming than stepping into Changi Airport’s arrival hall and hearing, “WAH, SO FAT ALREADY AH!” or “AH BOY, MAMA MISS YOU LEI.

Something about hearing Singlish, the beloved Singaporean slang, always hits home after an eternity of trying to convince the world that Singapore isn’t part of China. And if they disagree…

This post of 20 Singapore Slangs is dedicated to all you true blue locally born Singaporeans out there.


1. Bo Jio


What it means: Arguably the most overused words in Singapore, “Bo Jio” is amazingly applicable to almost every situation in life. A hokkien phrase which means never invite, your friends will probably say it to you if you fail to share this awesome article with them.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: *Posts an image on Instagram having an awesome time somewhere*



Example of an irrelevant use of Bo Jio:

A: *Takes a photo of girlfriend kissing him in front of MBS*



Counter: My personal favourite comeback every time someone comments “Bo Jio” on my wall:



2. Whatever / Anything Lor


Remember this?


What it means: Anything lor, whatever lor. The typical response when you have no idea what you want, but you are just too shy or lazy to suggest something. You’re likely to reject the first few suggestions too, shame on you!

To make it #SoSingaporean, we add the Singlish word “lor” for the emphasis.

The Everyday Singaporean:

Boy: Wat u wanna eat?



Boy: Ok lor, we go Japanese?




3. Guai Lan


What it means: Literally meaning strange dick in Hokkien, “Guai Lan” usually refers to people who are difficult to deal with or are just plain annoying.


The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh help me leh,





4. Wah Lau Eh


What it means: A hokkien phase which when translated stands for “My Father Eh“, “Wah Lau Eh” is an expression typically used to portray surprise or disappointment.

Similiar phrases: Wah Piang Eh, Wah Kao

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh, Charles says he going to be late again.




5. 几点了 (What Time Already)


What it means: “几点了” or what time already is meant for that one friend who is never, ever on time for gatherings.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh bro, where are you?

B: On my way, reaching soon..

*30 Minutes Later*


B: Reaching reaching!! 10 Mins!! Pai seh pai seh.

C: OIIIIII, 几点了!!!?

B: *1 hour after meeting time*



6. Pai Seh


What it means: A hokkien phrase which means 不好意思 or a feeling of embarrassment. “Pai seh” is used mainly as an apologetic response or a portrayal of the feeling of embarrassment.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: *thinks of an excuse to pang seh*



7. Kao Pei Kao Bu (KPKB)


What it means: Meaning cry father, cry mother in hokkien, the crying indicates noise and “KPKB” is used for people who kicks up a big fuss about something. It can also be used in short form “Kao pei la” to scold someone who sprouts nonsense.


The Everyday Singaporean:

Student: Eh teacher, you see, you see, he take my pencil!!



LOL okay, that doesn’t actually happen but, you guys get the idea.


8. CB


What it means: I know what you guys are thinking, but no I’m not making references to a certain legendary leaf we army boys discover in Tekong.


CB is also known as “Chio Bu”, a Hokkien phrase which means actually means buxom lady. In the Singaporean context however, it is the guys’ favourite phrase to describe the presence of an attractive girl.


The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh bro, chio bu! 6 o’clock!






9. Last Warning


What it means: Have you ever felt like kicking your friend’s ass for doing something really stupid or for being impossibly smart at exams? Just like a referee brandishing a yellow card in a soccer game, “Last Warning” is a phrase usually used at people whose face you feel like punching for whatever reason; or for things that just ticks you off and makes you go LOL or ARGH.

Or for moments like these..



The Everyday Singaporean:

A: I need a date for tonight leh, how about you lend me your girlfriend la? We best friends right.




10. Eee-yer


What it means: Pronounced “E-Year”, “Eeyer” is a slang to signify a person’s disgust or dislike when encountering something gross or just plain disgusting.

Warning: Extreme “EEYER” moments:


Botfly making a home in someone’s head..

The Everyday Singaporean:

Girl: Hey babe, check out my oozing pimple..




11. GG


What it means: A popular gamer’s term, “GG”, also known as good game, has in recent years been added to the Singaporean’s list of slangs to represent the feeling that something is going to or has already ended in a disaster.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh, project when due?

B: Erm.. Tomorrow 2359. Why you haven’t started yet ah?

A: Ya man, how siaaa…




12. Siao


What it means: Meaning crazy in hokkien. “Siao” is used as a reply to a crazy idea or proposition by someone, or to describe a crazy person. Check out the video below for a typical Singaporean’s usage of “Siao”:

The Everyday Singaporean:

Boy: *To girl best friend* Actually, after all these years of being friends, I just wanted to tell you.. I love you.. A lot..

Girl best friend: YOU SIAO AH?



13. Come I Clap For You


What it means: “Come I Clap for you” is a sarcastic response to anything in which you know a praise is due or expected but.. you just didn’t feel like being genuine about it.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh bro you know what?

B: What?

A: Yesterday I managed to get the girl’s number after planning my approach for 4 weeks!




14. No link


What it means: “No link” is the Singaporean way to describe when someone says something that has completely no relevance to the conversation and which makes you go:


Honestly, we can just say “This has no relevance” but.. We love shortcuts.

The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh you know yesterday Charlie got attached to Charlene!

B: Attached as in attachment? Like internship?






15. Pang Seh


What it means: A hokkien term which basically means to abandon. “Pang Seh” is used to describe someone who habitually does not turn up for meetings or appointments, or who always gives excuses to not show up at the last moment.

The Everyday Singaporean:



B: Ok ok.

*the next day*

B: Eh bro, sorry I last minute cannot make it.




16. Jialat


What it means: The exact translation of “Jialat” is sapping energy in hokkien. However, the usage of “Jialat” is to describe a tragic or disastrous situation.

The Everyday Singaporean:

Girl: Do I look fat in this dress?

Boy: No, you look gorgeous babe.

Girl: Come on, I want to hear your honest opinion. I won’t get mad!

Boy: Errr okay, maybe hot pink doesn’t really suit you.






17. Sian


What it means: “Sian” is a hokkien word which conveys boredom, frustration, weariness or monotony.


The Everyday Singaporean:

What Monday morning classes feel like:



18. Steady


What it means: “Steady” used to be a term which implies that a boy and a girl are in a serious relationship. I still remember those secondary school days where the guys will go, “Wanna stead?” when asking a girl to be his girlfriend. These days, “steady” has evolved into a positive reply made by a person when he or she agrees with a suggestion or idea made by the other party.


The Everyday Singaporean:

A: Eh bro, tonight New Year’s countdown, we go drink then party?




19. Liddat


What it means: If you ever observed a Singaporeans’ exchange of messages or listen in to a conversation, you most probably would have come across something that spells “L-i-d-d-a-t” or sounds like “Lie-dat”. “Liddat” is the Singaporean’s shortcut to “Like that”.. because we just like to do everything fast(er).


The Everyday Singaporean:

*5 Hours before project deadline*

A: Eh, David say he got to send his parents to airport, so he cannot complete his part of the project. He asks us to help him finish.




20. Simi


What it means: “Simi” bascially means what in hokkien. It is usually paired with “Tai-ji” meaning problem or “Sai” meaning shit to give the words:

  • Simi-taiji: What’s the problem?


  • Simi-sai: What the shit / Whatever shit


The Everyday Singaporean:

During final exams:



Have more Singapore Slangs to share?


This isn’t the complete list of Singaporean slang in our vocabulary, but they are my 20 favourite ones. There are many others that I didn’t include in this list, maybe even new ones I have not even heard of as well. Do you have a favourite slang not being included here that you wish to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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