PickUpThai: Colloquial Thai Compound Words

PickUpThai: Colloquial Thai Compound Words

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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Colloquial Thai Compound Words…

Word you know + Word you know = Word you probably don’t know!

It’s me again, Yuki Tachaya (from Pick up Thai), a professional private Thai teacher who loves to teach things that textbooks don’t teach. Last time I wrote an article on colloquial terms & expressions, if you’ve missed it, you can read it here: Colloquial Thai Terms and Expressions. This time, I’d like to share with you guys some useful Thai compound words that we do use frequently in everyday colloquial Thai! I am sure you have learned all those compound words that contain the word “ใจ” or “ขี้” – the classic sets! This article will show you something similar but new, exciting, interesting and useful!! Enjoy.

1. ทำตัว /tam tua/
ทำ to do, to make + ตัว body, self = ทำตัว to behave.

ถ้าทำตัวไม่ดี อดกินขนมนะ
If you don’t behave, you won’t get your treat.

2. หักหน้า /hàk nâa/
หัก to break + หน้า face = หักหน้า to make someone lose face, to embarrass someone.


He always makes me lose face in front of other people.

3. ไม่เอาไหน /mâi ao nǎi/
ไม่ negative particle + เอา to take, to get + ไหน which = ไม่เอาไหน terrible.

รสชาติไม่เอาไหนเลย วันหลังทำให้อร่อยกว่านี้หน่อยนะ
This tastes terrible. Make it more tasty next time!

4. เข้าท่า /kâo thâa/
เข้า to enter + ท่า posture, pose = เข้าท่า = good, appropriate.

That’s a good idea!

5. บอกใบ้ /bàwk bâi/
บอก to tell + ใบ้ mute = บอกใบ้ to give a hint.

ไม่รู้อ่ะ ช่วยบอกใบ้หน่อย
I don’t know. Give me a hint!

6. เล่นตัว /lên tua/
เล่น to play + ตัว body, self = เล่นตัว to play hard to get.

เขาชอบเล่นตัวอยู่นั่นแหล่ะ ผมชักจะเบื่อแล้ว
She keeps playing hard to get, I’m starting to get fed up.

7. ไม่เห็นหัว /mâi hěn hǔa/
ไม่ negative particle + เห็น to see + หัว head = ไม่เห็นหัว to not respect, to disregard.

เขาเจอใครก็ไม่ไหว้ ไม่เห็นหัวผู้ใหญ่เลย
This guy never bows his head to greet anyone he meets, he totally disregards the elders.

8. เรื่องมาก /reûang mâak/
เรื่อง story, affair + มาก many, a lot = เรื่องมาก picky, fussy.

เรื่องมากจัง แบบนี้เมื่อไหร่ก็ทำไม่เสร็จสักที
You’re so picky. You’ll never get it done if you don’t stop being like this!

9. ในหลวง /nai lǔang/
ใน in + หลวง royal = ในหลวง the informal term Thai people use to refer to the King.

Thai people love their King.

10. เก็บตัว /gèp tua/
เก็บ to keep + ตัว body = เก็บตัว to isolate oneself, to introvert.

เขาชอบเก็บตัว ไม่ค่อยสุงสิงกับใคร
He likes to isolate himself and hardly ever interacts with other people.

11. ออกนอกเรื่อง /àwk nâwk reûang/
ออก to exit + นอก outside + เรื่อง story, affair = นอกเรื่อง to talk off topic, to derail.

คุยเรื่องนี้ให้รู้เรื่องก่อน อย่าเพิ่งออกนอกเรื่อง
Let’s settle this first. Don’t change the topic yet.

12. ใส่ความ /sài kwaam/
ใส่ to put + ความ matter, affair = ใส่ความ to slander.

ฉันไม่ได้ทำสักหน่อย อย่าใส่ความมั่ว
I didn’t do it. Don’t accuse me without knowing the truth!

13. มีหน้า /mii nâa/
มี to have + หน้า face = มีหน้า to not feel ashamed to do something shameful.

ผมทำให้เขาเสียใจ ผมไม่มีหน้าไปขอเขาแต่งงานหรอก
I caused her pain. I’d feel too ashamed to propose to her.

14. ลงตัว /long tua/
ลง to go down + ตัว body, self = ลงตัว arranged, settled.

After everything is settled, I’ll contact you.

15. ให้ได้ /hâi dâai/
ให้ to give + ได้ to be able to = ให้ได้ definitely, no matter what.

ไม่ว่ายังไง ปีหน้าฉันก็จะไปลอนดอนให้ได้
Next year, I will go to London no matter what!

If you can’t get enough of Thai colloquial terms and expressions, visit my website, Pick Up Thai, and learn more cool stuff that textbooks don’t teach, like my Facebook page, PickUpThai, which I update almost every day. And don’t forget to check out my video lessons on my Youtube channel, PickUpThai, including the latest one on Popular Thai Slang.

Last but not least, learn how you can win a free private lesson with me on Skype at my Facebook page or my Twitter account.

Yuki Tachaya
Pick Up Thai | YouTube: PickUpThai | twitter: @PickupThai

13 thoughts on “PickUpThai: Colloquial Thai Compound Words”

  1. I have read both your articles on this site in relation to colloquial Thai and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Both articles that I read had more than a few words, terms and expressions that I was familiar with. Thanks 🙂

  2. Dear Khun Kostantinos,

    I’m glad to hear that my explanation was helpful 🙂 And THANK YOU for following my website. I am very happy to hear that. It means a lot to me. Please don’t forget to like my Facebook page as well 🙂 I update it more frequently (^n^)/*


  3. Thanks for your comment and for your explanation yuki!! <3 It clears my confusion!!! 🙂 Have a nice day 🙂 hehe We are looking forward for future posts! 😀 I check your website almost everyday!!

  4. Thank you very much Khun Scott, Khun Lani, Khun Keith and Khun Kostantinos for your kind comments. Nothing makes me happier than learning that you guys find my post useful 🙂 And sorry for the late reply. Anyway, let me answer each of your questions now 🙂

    Khun Scott:
    “มั่ว” functions mostly either as a verb or an adverb. If you “มั่ว”, it means you don’t have a solid knowledge about something or you don’t know the truth and you kind of guess or assume things or even make up stories. Another meaning it carries as a slang verb is “to have casual sex” with people who are not partners or “to do drugs” (generally in group). Not sure if I go too deep into details. Anyway, back to the conventional definitions, if you do something in a “มั่ว” fashion, it means you don’t really know how to do it or you don’t care enough to do it the correct and proper way or give it attention, you simply want to get it done. But if it modifies a speech-related verb like in my example, it simply means (saying/assuming things) “without knowing the truth”. Hope this helps.

    I have been asked to do a Youtube video on the same topic as you requested: Thai bad words. Honestly, I am very hesitant because I know it would be beneficial to many people (I love teaching stuff textbooks don’t teach) but people could just abuse the knowledge they learn from me too. It could be somewhat controversial so I’d have to think more but thank you for your suggestion.

    Khun Kostantinos:
    Khun Keith made quite a good point on the question you asked me. Although it’d be more appropriate to translate it as “when” or “as soon as” in English, when you think about the meaning, think of the word “ไว้” as meaning “until”. The sense of the sentence generally includes holding back some action or waiting for something to happen first before taking another action. Sometimes, you can translate it as “I’ll wait until…” e.g. ไว้เขามาถึงก่อน I’ll wait until he arrives first. Hope this helps 🙂

  5. 🙂 Your sentence is correct keith 😀
    If could someone explain the correct usage and if iam thinking it right according to my original post i would apreciate it.!

  6. Good question! I was wondering about that myself. I think that ไว้ must mean to keep something with the future in mind. There is the word พอ as well, which I think means “as soon as.” เช่น พอผมไปถึงประเทศออสเตรเลีย ผมก็จะโทร.หาคุณ Perhaps someone will correct my attempts at Thai in this post!

  7. Hey yuki and thanks for the list! Very usefull!

    However i would like to ask about a phrase that you mention in your list , This one – > ไว้ทุกอย่างลงตัวแล้วผมจะติดต่อไป
    After everything is settled, I’ll contact you.

    Why u put “wai” in the beginning? And how should we use “wai ” in front of the phrase? I guess the second phrase “I will contact you” will happen only if the first part happen which is “After everything is settled am i right? we use it in these kinds oh phrases? We could say for example “When i get to Australia i will call you” “wai bla bla bla i will call you”.. Right? If iam wrong could you please explain me ? : D

  8. These are great – although there are a couple of non-compound ones that I have come across that I still don’t know the meaning of. My wife sometimes uses the word เนียน and I was very happy to see that your previous post includes that one, because she has never been able to explain its meaning to me.

    I saw มั่ว above in one of your examples, and the dictionaries aren’t much help with that one, either!

    One thing that would be really useful for many people that spend a lot of time around Thais, would be a quick collection of the ‘coarser’ words. I have picked up quite a lot of ‘coarse’ Thai from listening to my wife, who talks very ‘not polite’ language with her friends. It would be useful to have a glossary of these so we know what they mean, as well as when they should be strongly avoided, and an idea of exactly how coarse they are (e.g. “if you say this, it will make you sound bad” to “never say this – it will start fights”). I’m thinking of words like กู มึง แดก and words like that. And some of the common insults used in those comedy movies like พ่อมึง or หน้าหม้อ and the like. As foreigners, we hear these words (sometimes very often), and it can be very difficult to understand exactly how ‘bad’ they are.

    Thanks for the post! It’s always fascinating 🙂


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