Singapore is a nation of immigrants. Most were uneducated peasants who fled their home countries to seek a better economic future. As such, the vernacular that they brought with them was an earthy one, containing many vulgarities and crude expressions with which they peppered their daily conversations.
This atavistic remnant of an uncultured ancestry can still be heard today, although the possibility of encountering such instances of colourful glossal flourishes in written form, apart from graffiti, is extremely remote indeed. In the case of the Chinese dialects, it is well nigh impossible as colloquial dialectal speech has never been written down. Only a more literary form may be found in dialect operas. Hong Kong has, in the past few decades, developed a written form of Cantonese used in some novels, periodicals and comics, but this cannot be said of Hokkien or Teochew.
A salient feature of Asian culture is its superficial veneer of politèsse. Literature and the written word have traditionally been regarded as respectable art forms not to be defiled by the expression of verbal crudities. These factors further compound the difficulty of finding printed examples of Singaporean colloquial sexual slang.
Thus, it is imperative that this historically important (but embarrassing to some) aspect of local culture be preserved for posterity, especially since facility in Chinese dialects is eroding precipitously amongst the younger generation.
Singlish, a portmanteau of the words Singaporean and English, is the English-based creole spoken colloquially in Singapore. Only a handful of common English sexual slang words are used by the English-educated in Singapore. The following are unique concoctions influenced by native languages.
- Talk cock - to talk nonsense; probably derived from a combination of the proper English "cock and bull" and the Hokkien "kóng lān-chiáu ōe".
- Fuck - slang of army origin meaning "to scold".
- "Recruit, you better wake up your idea, OK? Don't let me fuck you!" (You'd better improve your attitude, recruit, or I'll give you a good dressing-down.)
- "He damn idle one, that's why always kena fuck". (He's very lazy, that's why he's always getting scolded.) Kena is a Malay-derived word meaning "to get" and used to indicate the passive voice, i.e. that the subject has been the recipient of an (usually unpleasant) action. "One" is usually used as a suffixed possessive particle, a direct translation of the Chinese "de" or the Malay "punya", but in this case functions as an adjectival particle.
- PCC - to masturbate; an acronym of the Hokkien "phah ch'iew ch'eng" (see below).
- Basket - euphemism for "bastard".
- Fish - euphemism for "fuck".
Malay is an Austronesian language, and uses a largely phonemic writing system based on the Latin alphabet. As such, examples of Malay sexual slang are commonly found in the scripts of plays and in conversation quotes in modern novels.
- Kotek - vulgar slang for penis; cock; non-vulgar meanings of the word are "tail" and the Pink Shower tree - Cassia, Cassia grandis.
- Konek - slightly less vulgar slang for penis; cock.
- Butuh / buto - vulgar slang for penis; cock.
- Kepala butuh / kepala buto - vulgar slang for glans penis; cock head.
- Burung - literally 'bird'; euphemism for 'penis'.
- Batang - literally "twig"; euphemism for an erect penis.
- Canggar - less common slang word for "erect penis".
- Bodek - slang for testicles; balls.
- Pantat - vulgarity for "cunt" or "vagina".
- Punggung - more polite word for buttocks.
- Jubur / Jubo - slang for anus; arsehole.
- Merancap / Melancap - to masturbate (applied to males).
- Melocok - to masturbate (applied to females).
- Tetek - slang for breast; boobs.
- Nonok - slang for vagina; cunt.
- Burit - less common slang word for vagina; cunt.
- Cipap - less common slang word for vagina: cunt; probably derived from the Hokkien "chi bai".
- Puki - vulgar slang for vagina; cunt. Expression:
- Puki mak - "Your mother's cunt!"
- Raba-raba - literally 'to feel or grope'; petting.
- Sodok - to fuck.
- Ngentot / ewe - vulgar Indonesian slang for fuck
- Merodok / mengancuk / mengayuk / menghamput / mengewe / mengentot - to fuck.
- Main punggung / main pantat / main jubo - literally "to play with the backside"; to sodomise someone.
- Merogol - to rape.
- Memperkosa - Indonesian, meaning "to rape".
- Hisap - to suck.
- Jilat - to lick.
- Cium - to kiss.
- Zakar - Arabic-derived, scientific word for penis.
- Pelir - proper word for penis.
- Ciceh / kontol - rarely used words for penis.
- Buah pelir / buah zakar - literally "fruit of the penis"; proper words for testicles.
- Buah dada - literally "fruit of the chest"; proper word for breast.
- Faraj - Arabic-derived, proper word for vagina.
- Anak haram - son of a bitch.
Mandarin was historically not native to the largely Southern Chinese who populate Singapore. It is the uniting literary language of all ethnic Chinese, and originated in Northern China. Early Singaporean Chinese immigrants learnt it more as a second language after their mother tongue which was, for most, a Southern Chinese dialect. Thus, sexual slang words used by Northern Chinese are uncommonly used in Singapore and direct Mandarin translations of the dialectal forms are popular instead.
- Dì di / xiăo dì di (弟弟/小弟弟) - literally 'little brother'; slang for penis.
- Jī bā / Xiăo jī jī (鸡巴/小鸡鸡) - slang for penis; used by northern and mainland Chinese; not commonly used by Singaporean Chinese. Usually abbreviated to "JJ", especially on gay Chinese websites.
- Yīn jīng (阴茎) - scientific word for penis.
- Bī (屄) - classical Chinese word for vagina; not used by Singaporean Chinese.
- Yīn dào (阴道) - scientific word for vagina.
- Dă shǒu qiāng (打手枪) - Mandarin translation of Hokkien slang meaning male masturbation. (lit: firing a handgun)
- Dǎ fēi jī (打飞机) - slang for male masturbation, the imagery being anti-aircraft fire or spunk flying out like an airplane.
- Shǒu yín (手淫) - scientific word for masturbation.
- Pì gǔ (屁股)- buttocks or anus.
- Gāng mén (肛门)- scientific word for anus.
- Gāng jiāo (肛交)- scientific word for anal intercourse.
- Luàn jiāo (乱交) - scientific word for promiscuous sex.
- Kǒu jiāo (口交) - scientific word for oral sex.
- Piáo (嫖) - to go whoring.
- Diǎo (a "门" with a "小" inside it; or 屌) - Mandarin translation of Cantonese slang meaning "to fuck".
- Gǔn dàn (滚蛋) - fuck off!
- Cāo (肏; sometimes wrongly written as 操) - northern Chinese slang for fuck, not used by Singaporean Chinese.
- Gàn (干) - milder northern Chinese slang for fuck, not used by Singaporean Chinese.
- Gàn cao (干操) - northern Chinese slang meaning to fuck, not used by Singaporean Chinese.
- Liao - to rim (eg. an anus with the tip of the tongue).
- Xī (吸) - to suck.
- Rǔ fáng (乳房) - scientific word for breast.
- Rǔ tóu (乳头) - scientific word for nipple.
- Jī (鸡) - literally meaning "chicken", slang for "female prostitute".
- Yā (鸭)- literally meaning "duck", slang for masculine "male prostitute" or "gigolo".
- Jì nǚ (妓女) - proper word for "female prostitute".
- Tā mā de jī dàn (他妈的鸡蛋) - literally 'his mother's eggs'; 鸡 (jī) is an oblique reference to the Hokkien 'chi-bai' meaning 'cunt' (see below). Thus, the expression is akin to the English use of 'shoot' as a milder substitute for 'shit'.
- Jī dàn gāo (鸡蛋糕) - literally 'cake made with eggs'. Also an allusion to the Hokkien 'chi-bai', used in a similar way as the previous expression.
- Bā pó (八婆) - Mandarin translation of Cantonese slang for bitch.
- Sǐ sān bā/Chòu sān bā (死三八/臭三八) - bitch.
- Huaì dàn (坏蛋) - literally "bad or ruined egg"; scoundrel; bastard.
- Wáng bā dàn (王八蛋) - son-of-a-bitch; bastard.
- Biǎo zi (婊子) - Northern Chinese slang for bitch, not used by Singaporean Chinese.
Some slang words have no Chinese characters created to represent them.
Hokkien is the largest dialect group in Singapore. Chinese dialects are languages in their own right, unlike dialects of Indo-European languages, and are not readily mutually intelligible. The main reason why they have not historically been accorded language status is that they have no extensive literary tradition apart from opera librettos. Many dialect words have not been assigned a standardised Chinese character to represent them. Thus, it is almost impossible to find these common expressions in any form of literature despite the popularity of their use in everyday life for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Many regard Hokkien as having the highest frequency of crude expressions in daily conversation, a characteristic which lends it a unique flavour.
- Lān-chiáu (門+能 鳥) - penis; also used as an expression to indicate incredulity, as in the English "Bullshit!". Expressions:
- Kóng lān-chiáu oe (講 門+能 鳥 話) - to talk rubbish
- Khoà sim-mih lān-chiáu? (看 甚麼 門+能 鳥) - "What the hell are you looking at?"
- Lān-pha - scrotum; also used as an expression to indicate incredulity, as in the English "Bullshit!"
- Lān-hút - testes; used in a similar way as the above examples.
- Khha-chhng (尻川) - buttocks or anus
- Kha-chhng khang (尻川孔) - anus; arsehole
- Chi-bai (cheebai) - vagina; cunt (AND also 'Chao Cheebai')
- Ni (奶)- breast
- Kàn (干)- to fuck. Expressions:
- "Kàn ni na-bu chhau chi-bai"; often abbreviated to "kàn ni na-bu" or simply "kàn ni na"- the most infamously popular Hokkien expletive meaning "fuck your mother's smelly cunt". Amazingly not considered very rude in Singapore by rough-edged young male and female Hokkiens popularly known as Ah Bengs & Ah Lians respectively and often interjected in passing, more to express frustration than anger, into perfectly normal social discourse. However, an average Chinese Singaporean would consider it to be extremely vulgar. Some would advise that these are the words that will be referred to the respective authorities (case by case basis).
- "Sio kàn" - to fuck
- "Tioh kàn" (着干)- to get fucked
- "Hiong kàn/hong kàn" - expression used in anger, meaning "go get fucked!"
- Phah chhíu-chhèng (打手枪)- literally 'to fire a hand-gun'; slang for male masturbation
- Phuh - to fuck
- Bôa (磨)- literally 'to rub' or 'to grind'. Slang for 'having sex', the imagery being two bodies rubbing against each other.
- Teh - literally 'to squeeze' or 'to lie on something'. Slang for 'fuck'. Expression:
- "li hor lang teh" (you let yourself get [[squeezed).
- Se - literally 'to whack'. Slang for 'fuck'. Expression:
- "li hor lang se" (you let yourself get fucked).
- Kā (咬) - literally 'to bite'; slang for fellatio. Expression:
- "lan chiao li ka" (suck my cock), used in anger as in "up yours!"
- Khàm (蓋)- literally 'to cover'; slang for fellatio. Expression:
- "khàm lān" (蓋 門+能) (stupid cock).
- Chhīu-ni (樹柅) - literally 'rubber'; slang for condom
Many uniquely Cantonese words which traditionally have not had any Chinese characters assigned to represent them have been expressed in Hong Kong by the addition of the 口 (mouth) radical to the left side of a phoneme. Thus, amongst the Chinese dialects, examples of written Cantonese sexual slang are the most commonly found in modern literature.
- Ku ku chiao - penis
- Hai (閪) - vagina
- Diu (a "門" with a "小" inside it; or 屌) - to fuck. Expressions:
- Si fatt (屎忽) - buttocks; anus
- Si fatt long (屎忽窿) - anus; arsehole
- Bō (波) - breast
- Pok kaai (仆街) - fallen on the street (Singaporean Cantonese Slang for "Drop Dead!")
Tamil is a Dravidian language and exhibits a marked diglossia between the spoken and written forms, a characteristic not found in the other Singaporean official languages. As such, it is also difficult to find instances of colloquial sexual slang in any form of literature.
- Sunni - slang for penis.
- Poolu - slang for penis.
- Koodi - slang for anus. (pronounced 'Koo'-'thi')
- Pundai - slang for vagina.
- Alhul - slang for vagina.
- Uumpu- to suck a penis.
- Ozhu - to fuck.
- Megalai - an ornament used to cover the vagina when no undergarment is worn.
- Kai adiththal - male masturbation.
- Kaai adiththal - destruction of one's testicles.
- Mulai / thanam / maarbu - proper word for breast.
- Mulai kann - literally "breast eye"; proper word for nipple.
- Vaesi - proper word for prostitute.
- Vithai pai - literally "seed bag"; proper word for scrotum.
- Malavaay - literally "faeces portal"; proper word for anus.
- Kalavi - proper word for coitus.
- Ovvaa punnartchi - proper word for incest.
- Suuppi - proper word for nipple.
(See also Sri Lankan Tamil slang)
Poya - penis
Saadu - female vaginal secretion
Sulli - penis
Gudda - arse
Choot - cunt; another word derived from it is chootiya meaning stupid, the latter being equivalent to dumb ass.
Chode - to fuck; usually suffixed in combination with madar (mother), beti (daughter) or behn (sister).
Gaand - ass
Gaandu - asshole; usually used in the sense of stupid.
- The Coxford Singlish Dictionary
- 'Best of Singlish Words and Phrases', Remember Singapore blog, 21 August 2011.
- Times Comparative Dictionary of Malay-Indonesian Synonyms, compiled by Dr. Leo Suryadinata, edited by Prof. Abdullah Hassan (1991, Times Editions Pte. Ltd., ISBN 981-204-215-6).
- Chinese-English Dictionary of the Vernacular or Spoken Language of Amoy, by Rev. Carstairs Douglas (SMC Publishing Inc., Taipei ISBN 957-9482-32-2).
- A Dictionary of Cantonese Slang: The Language of Hong Kong Movies, Street Gangs and City Life, by Christopher Hutton and Kingsley Bolton (2005, Singapore University Press, ISBN 9971-69-324-0).
- Balaji's Tamil-English Dictionary (1980, Balaji Publications, Madras).