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Funny Thai Words Translated to English That'll Make You Laugh
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Funny Thai Words Translated to English That'll Make You Laugh

Picture of Kelly Iverson
Updated: 6 March 2017
Language has always been a funny thing. From English to Luxembourgish, languages continue to surprise and make even the most fluent of speakers crack a smile every once in a while at the quirkiest of words. We travel now to Thailand, translating 11 Thai words to English that are sure to make you laugh.

“Aouk”—Vomit

Never has a translation sounded so uncomfortably close to its actual meaning. Aouk in Thai means vomit in English. Vulgar, but memorable all the same.

“Porn”—Blessing

Put the sexual innuendos to rest and your provocative magazines away for this next Thai word. Porn in Thai translates to blessings. From monk blessings to Buddhist blessings and more, there is enough porn to go around.

“Bless Your Soul”
“Bless Your Soul” | © Courtesy of Kent/Flickr

“Tong Sia”—Diarrhea

Unruly bowels are no laughing matter. While poop puns are out, the word for diarrhea in Thai is sure to make even the least humorous of human crack a smile. Tong means stomach, and sia means broken. So the Thai word literally translates to “broken stomach.”

“Fuk”—Gourd

Visitors of Thailand who hear this particular word muttered may find themselves taken aback a bit. Fuk, meaning gourd, sounds awfully similar to one of the most vulgar words in the English language by many people’s standards. In addition, this particular word is spoken, so it seems, quite often in Thailand. From fuktong (pumpkin) desserts to fuk kheao (wax gourd) curry, prepare for a whole lot of fuk.

Green pumpkins In the Pak Klong Talad market, Bangkok
Green pumpkins In the Pak Klong Talad market, Bangkok | © Courtesy of Andrea Kirkby/Flickr

“Prick”—Chili

While the dictionaries of the world define the word “prick” as a number of seemingly innocent things, many minds head straight for the gutter instead when hearing this word. Prick in Thai, however, means chili. Those who love spicy things might have more than one prick, while others with a sensitive palate may not devour a single prick while visiting.

“Thong”—Gold

Tourists heading to Thailand may hear the word thong quite often during their travels. Thai people, contrary to what many people think of when they hear this word, are not constantly speaking about their slender undergarments. Instead, thong means a number of different things depending on how it is said in Thai. Translations include gold, straight, stomach, and more.

Wat Arun, Bangkok. Thailand
Wat Arun, Bangkok. Thailand | © Courtesy of Juan Antonio F. Segal/Flickr

“Maew”—Cat

For the most part, learning a new language is a difficult endeavor. From different tones to strenuous pronunciations, the Thai language continues to trip up those hoping to learn a handful of words, except one. Maew (sounds like meow), meaning cat, is quite possibly the easiest word of all to recall in Thai. It may not be the most helpful of words, but it is certainly funny.

Cat at Pratunam Market
Cat at Pratunam Market | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

“Kăo”—He/She/They

Do not feel offended if someone refers to you as kăo. The Thai word for the pronouns he, she, and they sound unfortunately similar to the farm animal, cow.

“Moo”—Pig

Visitors might think that the Thai word moo means cow in English. If maew means cat, surely there is a pattern here. Alas, this is not the case. Moo translates to the word “pig” in English. This iss confusing, but this is an important word to know for those hoping to try some of the most noteworthy of Thai dishes during their journey through the Land of Smiles.

“Hâa”—Five

Acquire a Thai friend or two while visiting the Land of Smiles, and travelers will surely receive the following message: 555. The number of fives sent will vary, but one thing remains constant: someone is laughing. Hâa in Thai means the word “five.” So instead of sending a “laughing out loud” message, they will instead consist of a few number fives.

“Ow”—Want

This is one word travelers will hear regularly. This is not because someone is hurt, however, but because they want something. Ow means want in Thai, and Thai people ow a lot of stuff.