Thai Body Talk

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m “progressive” and all but I’m not talking about THAT. 😉

As Wit goes about talking about JAI (heart), as I was at home yesterda because my guts has been literally rebelling against whatever it is I ate the previous day, I was inspired to expand on the Thai body parts into a few other Thai sayings. Of course, this is all based on my understanding of the sayings. No book to back it up or anything. You just have to trust the native speaker on this one. : – )

Thankgoodness for online Thai-English dictionary! I managed to construct the sayings onto here either word by word or letter by letter.

So here goes, starting with the one near and dear to my heart at the moment. And yes. It’s a little gross.

Tong Siah / Tong Ruang / Tong Dern
ท้องเสีย / ท้องร่วง / ท้องเดิน
Direct translation: Bad (siah) stomach (tong) / Falling (ruang) stomach / Walking (dern) stomach

When Thai people talk about their “stomach”, it doesn’t necessarily mean just the stomach. Tong covers your whole mid section and your intestinal tracks.

Tong Siah is used when someone has a mild case of diarrhea. It suggests that the “stomach” has gone bad. Tong Ruang is when it’s a really bad case of one, befitting the imagery of your intestines falling out of your body. Tong duen is a little less than that, but worse than Tong Siah. I don’t have to go into more details than that, do I?

Siew Sai / Kluen Sai
เสียวไส้ / คลื่นไส้
“Oh…my…god…we’re all going to die!”
Direct translation: First off, Sai means intestines. Oh gosh, how on earth can I explain “siew”? Sensitive teeth meet ice. Nails on chalkboard. Yeah. That’s the feeling of “siew”. Kluen means wave, as in ocean waves.

Siew Sai is a slang for that sensation you get of anticipation and terror. Not necessarily in your stomach, and maybe a little bit of the tingling in your spine. It’s the feeling you have right before the roller coaster takes the dip; when it’s 1 point away with 5 seconds to go; witnessing a near-hit collision. On the other hand, yet another sensation you may get out of riding the roller coaster, Kluen Sai means nausea. Nice imagery once again for that gurgling, rolling feeling in your stomach when you are nauseated.

I promise, the rest is not gross.

Podd Haek
ปอดแหก
“What are you, chicken?”
Slang for coward, scaredty cat
Actual translation: ripped (haek – a slang) lung (podd)

When someone is a coward, that’s a case of Podd Haek. Why is your lung ripped when you’re scared, I have no idea. *shrug*

On a personal note, about 5 years ago, my left lung spontaneously collapsed and was rushed to an ER. Apparently I had the flu and I coughed too hard, tearing a hole in my lung, causing a leak into my chest and therefore flattened my entire left lung. Long and bizarre story, but I have since recovered. Now, earlier this year my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and had 2/3 of her right lung removed. The running joke between us is that like mother like daughter, we both had Podd Haek. Haha!

Ronn Tdubb Tdaek
ร้อนตับแตก
“It’s so frickin’ hot out here!”
Actual translation: So hot (ronn) your liver (tdubb) bursts (tdaek)

If you have to ask why we’d come to use that saying, surely you haven’t been to Thailand in April.

Hua Dedd Tdeen Kaad
หัวเด็ดตีนขาด
“Over my dead body!”
Actual translation: Head (hua) picked off (dedd). Feet (tdeen – old Thai, not a polite word) torn out (kaad).

It’s a saying used for someone so stubborn. Pretty much saying you can’t make me change my mind even if you lop off my head and chop of my feet. What imagery!

Hmod Nuah Hmod Tdua
หมดเนื้อหมดตัว
“Flat broke”
Actual translation: No more (hmod) on my flesh (nuah). No more on my body (tdua)

This is when someone loss all their money and/or possession. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Hak Lang
หักหลัง
“Back stabbing”
Direct translation: break (hak) someone’s back (lang)

Another similar saying about the act of betrayal. Thai people don’t stab you in the back, they break it. I guess that probably comes with Muay Thai being the prominent self defense back in the day. You turn your back on someone, they kick you in the back and break it.

Well, that’s good for this installment. There are a lot more saying like this I’m sure, but this is all I can muster for the moment. Please excuse me as I go back to my nap because I feel a little bit of waves in my stomach. Heh.

7 responses to “Thai Body Talk

  1. LOL great stuff! Now how to slip one of these into a conversation, some of my friends are so squimish 😉

    Thanks Oakley for a terrific blog. If I inspired your writting with my Jai blogs then I am glad I did.

    Something I have always wanted to learn more is Thai idioms. One of the few subjects on Thailand/Thai language I don’t already have books about yet. There is a new one on idioms being written by Benjawon Poomsan Becker (of the Thai for Beginners book series) but it’s not due out until Christmas 🙁

    Thanks for filling some in until then!

    Wit

  2. Oakley… this was like reading a horror story!! Must go back and read some ‘Wit-blog’ to recover!!! LOL!

  3. Thanks to Wit and Oak for reminding me how much the Thei expressions involve body parts.

    I have never thought about it until now. 😎

  4. Thanks for the comment there transgam, does that mean my blogging is like a tonic?lol 😉

    W

  5. Wit: Yes it does. especially after Oakley’s explosive description of body parts!

    Oak: How are you feeling now?

  6. awasdee krup. i am a farang who lives in bangkok.I can read/write/speak thai, but I always have trouble with this idioms!!! can you help:
    ไก่ เห็น ตีน งงู งู เห็น นม ไก่

    hope this thai comes through: if not:
    gai-hen-tieng-ngoo-ngoo-hen-nom-gai, or the chicken sees the feet of the snake, and the snake sees the breast of the chicken. Is it perhaps they both see each other’s most vunerable part? Ie they see each other for what they are? sorry for my silly guessing..kapkhunnakrup choke dee mikel

  7. Please ask all questions like this one in the Learn Thai forum:

    http://www.thailandQA.com