Swearing in Thai

Swearing in Thai

Swearing in Thai is not something I would recommend and probably wouldn’t normally include here. However, Ive been asked twice recently to explain why a Thai person wouldnt translate (or even say) the word to refer to water monitor (a species of monitor lizard found in Thailand) to them. So I looked it up on Wikipedia and found this interesting entry which I translated for one of them.

ในสมัยอดีต ชาวบ้านมักจะเลี้ยงไก่ไว้ในบริเวณบ้าน ตัวเหี้ยมักจะมาขโมยไก่ของชาวบ้านลากไปกินในน้ำ ทำให้เป็นสัตว์ที่ผู้คนเกลียดมาก จนถูกนำมาใช้เรียกคนไม่ดี และกลายเป็นคำด่าทอมาจนปัจจุบัน อีกคำหนึ่งที่ใช้ด่าทอกันก็คือ อีดอก ก็เพราะว่าลายบนตัวเหี้ยนั้นจะเป็นลายดอก (ไม่เหมือนกันกับตะกวดหรือสัตว์ตระกูลเดียวกันที่มีลายเป็นลายอื่นๆ ไม่ใช่ลายดอก) [ต้องการแหล่งอ้างอิง] คำนี้จึงเป็นคำด่าผู้หญิงที่ประพฤติตนไม่ดี อนึ่ง มีความเชื่อว่าถ้าเหี้ยขึ้นบ้านใคร บ้านนั้นจะมีแต่ความโชคร้าย จึงเปลี่ยนชื่อเรียกให้ฟังมีสิริมงคล โดยเรียกว่า ตัวเงินตัวทอง

In the past villagers often raised chickens in their gardens and water monitors (dtua hiia) would take them off and eat them in the water, which lead to people hating the animal so much that they began using the term to refer to bad people. A convention which continues to the present day.

Another phrase which Thai people use as a curse word is ee dohk because the colouring on a water monitor is like flowers – dohk means flower – (unlike other types of monitor lizard or animals in the same family which have other colourings).[citation needed] This phrase therefore is now used when cursing a female who behaves badly. Furthermore, there is the belief that if a water monitor climbs up into sommeones house, that house will be brought nothing but bad luck. So, the term used to refer to monitor lizards has been changed to a more fortunate one dtua ngern dtua tong.

So the translation for the first phrase is often something like despicable person although that doesnt quite do it justice but think of the worst thing you could call someone in English. The word dtua incidently means body (the classifier for chairs, tables and in this case animals) so what youll actually hear is just hiia or prefixed with the word aiy or ee (as in ee dohk).

Aiy is an insulting word to refer to a man and ee a female. The phrase ee dohk or ee dohk tong (flower/golden flower) is basicallly used to mean slut. Dtua ngern dtua tong just means silver and gold animal so as to avoid using an unpleasant or unlucky word, but could again be turned around to be used by a friend making fun of you.

I obviously dont recommend anyone using any of the phrases, but you wont have to listen out too hard before you hear them again. Young people use the phrases a bit more sparingly and, of course, its less insulting amongst friends. Its much worse when used with people you dont know.