Translating Fun with Thoomtam


As hard as it is to speak another language, it is also a lot of fun! My Thai parents speak very little English so my Thai improves much quicker as all languages do when you are forced to speak them on a daily basis. One of my favourite Thai words is for the bathroom or toilet- hong nam. The word literally translates as ‘water room’. If you have ever entered a Thai bathroom soon after a Thai person has showered, you would understand why the translation entertains me so much! Traditional Thais use basically a bucket washing system, where from a large tank of water, you load up a bucket and pour it on you. Traditional squat toilets also do not have a flush but another tank of water from which you collect water in a small bucket and pour down the toilet to flush, there is also sometimes a hose. So a hong nam really is a room filled with water!

This got me thinking about other literal translations of Thai words and my Thai brother Thoomtam helped me out. They may not be completely correct translations and it is my own way of spelling the thai words but see if you can work out what the word means from the literal translations:

Puadt chi – hurt pee
Kao jai – in your heart
Tor a sap- call work
Tun ten – wake up dance
Fun dee – dream good
Nam keng – water heavy
Than a kan – money building
Nam pomm – water good smell

Answers in the same order:

Busting for the toilet
Excited (one of my favourites!)
Good night

Those are some of the best ones Thoomtam and I could come up with. My other favourite is ‘gin len’ which literally translates to ‘eat play’, we don’t really have an equivalent in English but it basically means to snack or nibble for fun!

I’m going to add one more, which is ‘theng ngann’. It literally translates as ‘make work’. Any idea what it could actually translate too…


… it means wedding! How true is that!

This entry was published on May 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm and is filed under Language, Thailand, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Translating Fun with Thoomtam

  1. Megs on said:

    Fantastic!! 🙂

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