Malaysian English vocabulary

Malaysian English vocabulary

Malaysian English is a form of English used and spoken in Malaysia as a second language. Malaysian English is primarily used in informal speech.

Many Malay and Malaysian words or phrases that describe Malaysian culture have become part of Malaysian English. For instance, although "kampung" which literally means village is a Malay word, it is often used in Malaysian English literature, everyday speech and sometimes, even in Malaysian media.

General vocabulary

These words are used either in writing or orally.This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Please note that many, if not most words listed are very localised or almost obsolete today.

A to D

*ABC - "Air Batu Campur" (ice blended with melted sugar, beans, corn and chendol)
*Aci - elderly Indian woman
*Ah Long/Along - loan shark, from Cantonese, 阿隆
*aiyoo/aiyah - to express frustration. The former's from Indian, the latter Chinese, from Mandarin-哎哟/哎呀.
*amoi/amoy - Chinese girlfriend, from Hakka-阿妹.
*apartment - a medium-cost and high-cost flat with veranda/balcony.
*apek - elderly Chinese man, from Hokkien-阿伯
*aqua/ah kua - Derogatory term for transsexuals
*ATM - automated teller machine.
*awek - Malay girlfriend.
*aisey man - "I'll say, man." Used to express frustration.
*angau - lovesick, in love
*angmor - [omit the r sound when pronounce] westerner, from Hokkien-红毛
*angpau - red packet with money to be given on Chinese New Year or during some occasion like weeding, birthday party and so on as a wishes to the receiver, from Hokkien-红包

** a brawl or heated argument (for example "they were having a blue"), similar to the British word "barney".
** offensive ("blue language").
** porn reference ("blue movie", "layan blue").
*balak - Malay boyfriend
*bapok - transvestite, sissy
*botak- bald-headed
*blur - confused/slow-thinking.
*bodoh - stupid.
*bohsia - young female slut, literally means 'no sound' ("boh" - No "sia" - Sound) from Hokkien
*brinjal - eggplant.
*bungalow - a villa.

*cantik - beautiful.
*"'ceti haram - loan shark (Indian)
*chao/chow - goodbye/see you.
*cilok - weaving through traffic.
*Cik - Miss (a Malay title used to address unmarried women).
*cincai - informal, sloppy
*chop - to stamp (with a rubber stamp), as well as the stamp itself.
*condominium - a high-rise flat typically high-cost with veranda and other facilities.
*comot - messy
*cut (other vehicles) - to overtake

*dadah - illegal drugs
*dang - damn.
*deco - decoration.
*DeepaRaya - a portmanteau denoting the Deepavali and Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival
*demo - demonstration.
*depa - they, generally used in Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Pinang.
** someone who drives.
** chauffeur.

E to K

*encik - mister.
*entao - handsome (hokkien)
*expressway - motorway (similar to the expressways in Japan or China)

*flat - a low-cost high-rise flat typically without veranda.
*follow - to accompany.

*ganja - marijuana
*gao lin - what the fuck (Hakka)
*gwai lou - Derogatory term for white person. From Cantonese 鬼佬
*gostan - derived from "go astern", reverse
*geng - powerful, From Cantonese

*having-in - eat-in at a restaurant.
*hailat - In a deadly situation. From the Cantonese profanity term 閪甩 .
*haprak- useless, rubbish
*hampeh-useless, meaningles, rubbish
*hang- you, generally used in Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Pinang. Used only to address good friends.
*horn - "(used as verb)" to sound the vehicle horn.
*HP - acronym of handphone, mobile phone or cellphone.

*ikan bilis - anchovies.

*jack (someone) - to praise other people to gain interests of favour
*jangan - don't.
*jom- let's go

** village
** hometown (used as a possessive noun, for example "my kampung" which means "my hometown")
*kapchai/kapcai - underbone motorcycle
*kaki/kakilang - friend, company (literally means 'leg'. e.g. "I can't go, I have no kaki.")
*kantoi - get caught in trouble.
*kautim - to finish a task. From Cantonese term 搞掂
*kay poh chee/kepoh - busy body (for example "why are you so kay poh chee?")
** to put away or store.
** to retain as one's own.
*kong already - dead or non-functional
*kongmong - confused
*Kongsi Raya - a portmanteau, denoting the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr) festivals
*kuih - small cakes eaten before or after meals.
*kupang - cent, generally used in Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Pinang

L to P

*lady's fingers - Malaysian/British English term for Okra.
*lawak - funny.
*lepak - loiter.
*leng lui - Pretty girl. From Cantonese 靓女
*leng zai - Handsome guy 靓仔

*Malacca - Melaka.
*makan - eat.
*mau - want (eg "Mau makan?" ; "Want to eat?").
*MC - abbreviation for medical certificate, or sick note in British English
*McD (pronunciation "Mac-D", no "s" sound) - McDonald's restaurant.
*mee - noodles.
*megi - instant noodles, adopted from the Maggi brand instant noodle.
*member - also means a friend.
*Mat Gian - drug addict (male).
*Mat Motor - generic term for Malaysian bikers.
*Mat Rempit - illegal motorbike racer (male).
*"'Maple'- roadside hawkers
*mata - police (literally: eye)
*Mat Salleh - a white person or Caucasian
*Milo - generic term for hot chocolate or any chocolate drink, adopted from the Milo brand chocolate drink.
*momantai - no problem (from Cantonese)
*malu - shy/embarrassed

*nah - here (used when giving something to another person. e.g: "Nah, kotak!" ; "Here, a box!").
*NS/KN - National Service/Khidmat Negara
*Negri Sembilan - Negeri Sembilan.

*off / close (an electric appliance) - to turn off the switch of an electrical appliance
*on / open (an electric appliance) - to turn on the switch of an electrical appliance
*ong - Having good luck. From the Hokkien word 旺
*outstation - out of town/overseas.
*otai-chief,leader, (Old timer)
*otek- Police

*padan muka - serves you right.
*pass up - to hand in (for example "pass up your assignments").
*pass motion - defecate.
*pat - see kay poh chee. (from Cantonese)
*pei hai - someone who feel numb.
*Penang - Pulau Pinang.
*pokai - being broke. penniless.
*pondan - a derogatory term for shemales and transsexuals, the term also covers homosexuals in certain communities.
*Puan - Mrs. (a Malay title used to address married women).
*pulun - doing something in a massive scale (for example "pulun download" means downloading in massive scale).

Q to Z

*ragut- to snatch
*rakyat - citizen.
*raya - festive (usually referring to Eid).
*remisier - stockbroker.
*rembat- to steal
*rubber - meaning eraser (for example "can I borrow your rubber?").

*sambal - traditional sauce.
*send - to take somebody to somewhere (for example "I'll send you to the airport.").
*seow - from the Hokkien term meaning crazy.
*sirap/syrup - rose syrup beverage.
*sohai - you an idiot (cantonese)
*sotong - squid.
*sky juice - plain water.
*slippers - Japanese sandals; as in US and UK "flip-flops", Australia "thongs".
*SMS - text message.
*SPG - Abbreviation for "Sarong Party Girl". Degoratory term to describe an Asian woman who exclusively dates white men.
*stylo - stylish. "Stylo-mylo" is occasionally used.
*suey/sueh - having bad luck. From Cantonese and Hokkien word 衰

*take-away - food purchased at a restaurant but eaten elsewhere.
** See take away.
** To defeat an opponent in games. Similar usage to the term pwned
*thrice - three times.
*tin - can, especially for processed foods. (for example "give us a tin of beans.") Can is usually reserved for soft drinks or beer/cider.
*tani - drinking spree
** little child-like spirit in Malay folklore who steals valuables.
** cheat sheets during tests or exams.

*U - university.

*warung - Malay food stall
*wikang - endo (stoppie) or reverse wheelie

ee also

* British and Malaysian English differences
* Manglish
* Rojak language

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