Thai Words of the Year

Thai Words of the Year


Collins Dictionary recently picked NFT, or non-fungible tokens, as 2021's Word of the Year and it got my language pedant self thinking two things. First, isn't NFT an acronym and hence it should be "acronym of the year" or two words of the year if we want to be that anal-retentive. Second, why don't I give the same treatment to the Thai language for your edutainment? Here's my personal pick of TWOTY.


You can say taaz or taaaz, depending on the varying degree of how impressed you are with the person or things that you describe them with this word. The longer the vowel sound, the more impressed you are, obviously. YouTuber Sprite Bababi has been credited as the creator of the viral world and it doesn't derive from the word touch in English as many have theorised.

For example, your body looks so taaaz in that thirst trap.


The Thai word for mother has expanded its meaning in recent years. Its new meaning includes a term of endearment and respect that you afford to women or female-presenting individuals, who are deemed to possess both sass and class. Prolong the vowel sound when you use it for full effect.

When you meet a friend whom you haven't met in a while at a party you can go, "Maeee, how have you been? You look so taaz in that dress."

Por Sor

This Thai abbreviation stands for several words. It can mean your female friend or good Judy (phuen sao), older sister (phee sao) or even monks (phra song). Be careful not to confuse this abbreviation with another with the same sound that stands for Buddhist Era. The more you know.

How to use it? I went to the temple with my por sor and por sor to ask for a blessing from a por sor. Capice?


Thip isn't a new word but it has gained new usage thanks to an online personality by the name of Mae Ying Lee, who runs a Facebook page called Veen. Traditionally it means something belonging to deities or something so splendid that it's worthy of deities. Mae Ying Lee popularises the word when she portrays herself as a ruler of a magical town (Muang Thip) from her favourite lakorn. The word thip now works as an adjective to describe fictitious, highly desirable yet unattainable things.

For example, I can mano that P' Weir is my thip boyfriend (imaginary boyfriend) now that he has reportedly broken up with Bella. Also, when you explore a famous museum or tourist attraction online or stage a photoshoot to make it looks like you're abroad, you can say you tiew thip (imaginary trip or travel).

Gaeng / Tom Leng

Here are two food words that have gained new meaning. Gaeng usually means curry in Thai such as Gaeng kiew whan or gaeng tai pla. Circa now, to Gaeng somebody in Thai basically means to tease them or do a prank on them. The word Gaeng sounds so close to the word Glaeng, which means to tease. I guess glaeng is just a cuter way to say that you tease someone in Thai. Tom leng is a dish of pork bone in spicy soup but, in a modern context, it can also refer to something unpleasant or bad. The dish itself is very good for soothing sips and fall-off-the-bone meat, though.

For example, Uncle Tu's publicity shots always draw harsh criticism from the public. They look tom leng. Has he been Gaeng-ed by his own team?

*These examples are just for the sake of examples and don't reflect the editorial opinion of the Guru team.

Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Guru section Editor

Guru section Editor

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