Cantonese Slangs and Expressions Glossary

While you are navigating this website, you can find the explanations of some vocab by visiting this page. Hongkongers text each other this way in English. More to come...

Blow water ( 吹水 ceoi1 seoi2)

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A favorite activity of many Cantonese people is gossiping and shooting the breeze, and this is known as “blowing water” (吹水 ceoi1 seoi2).

One can also chastise someone who is talking nonsense by saying they are “blowing water”.

Add oil ( 加油 gaa1 jau2)

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Gaa1: to add. Jau2: oil. Add oil is a Hong Kong English expression used as an encouragement and support to a person. The expression is literally translated from the Cantonese phrase. It is originated in Hong Kong and is commonly used by bilingual Hong Kong speakers. This term has been added to Oxford dictionary in 2018

K king/ K queen ( K 王/K 后 K wong4 / K hau6)

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We love karaoke so much that there are many slangs aorund it. K-wong4 or k-hau6 means someone who is really good in singing or simply someone who loves to do karaoke.

Half-filled bucket ( 半桶水 bun3 tung2 seoi2)

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When we say 我嘅廣東話半桶水 Ngo5 ge3 gwong2-dung1-waa2 bun3-tung2-seoi2. It means we have certain knowledge or ability in Cantonese but without full comprehension or capacity. 

Sing K (k coeng3 k)

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Coeng3 (唱) means to sing. ''K'' represents the first letter in karaoke. Hongkongers say ''coeng3 k'' referring to do karaoke.