If you live in Thailand, you would have ever got shocked when Thai people introduce their nicknames because they’re not only super creative but also can mean something hilarious/weird in English.
Thai parents would probably have so much fun thinking about naming their kid’s nicknames because it can be anything, literally any possible things from plants to animals.
In this blog post, I will help you understand the logic behind the topic of Thai nicknames as well as give you some examples of common nicknames and those weird ones.
How to say nickname in ThaiNickname in Thai is ชื่อเล่น (chûe-lên):
What is your nickname is Thai?In the western world, you would normally ask ‘What is your name?’ but in Thailand, you would also ask ‘What is your nickname?’:
- คุณชื่อเล่นอะไร (khun chûe-len a-rai)
- ฉันไม่มีชื่อเล่น (chan mai-mii chue-len)
Fun facts about Thai nicknamesTo learn a bit in the cultural part, there are many interesting things you might want to know about Thai nicknames and where they are from:
All Thais have a nicknameIt really makes sense for Thai people to have a nickname as Thai names are quite long and they are mainly in Pali or Sanskrit. For example:
- My name is ‘Pariyakorn’ ปริยากร (That was four syllables) in which it is not Thai and it’s quite complicated to call in daily life.
Parents named us a nicknameThai nicknames are usually named by parents or family members. While our names are carefully chosen from available names designed by monks or prophets (as Thai people believe in luck, fortune, and karma), our nicknames are quite easy, creative and fun.
Thai nicknames are usually not related to name or surnameMy foreign friends are always surprised when I introduce my name and my nickname as they totally different things!
- My friend สุดารัตน์ (sa-daa-rad) is called สุดา’ (su-da) as a nickname. Only the first two syllables.
They all have a meaning, and it doesn’t matter whatOur nicknames usually have meaning. For example,
- My dad named me มุก (Muk from Smuk) as it means ‘pearl’. He wants me to be beautiful, natural and valuable.
- One of my neighbors is called จิ๋ม (jim). It might sound like a Western name: Jim but it’s pronounced with a rising tone. This word might come from the word จุ๋มจิ๋ม ‘jum-jim’ which means ‘tiny or small’ but it can literally mean ‘vagina’ in Thai.
- Another example is my uncle. His nickname is หมู (Muu) in which it means ‘pig/pork’ in Thai.
- The last example, many people were named after fruits and vegetables such as แตงโม (dtaeng-moo = watermelon), แตงกวา (dtaeng-gwaa = cucumber), ชมพู่ (chom-pûu = rose apple) and มะนาว (ma-naao = lime)
Common Thai Nicknames
I would like to introduce you to common Thai nicknames from the 20th century, my generation. These names are the names of my classmates and university friends that are at least once duplicated.
One thing that you can realize of these names is that they are developed from the English language. For example, Boss, Fern, Gold, Ice, etc.
It was quite popular to have a nickname from English at that time, even though we don’t really care about the meaning.
Common Thai nicknames with a weird English meaningMany Thai nicknames are inspired by English names or words even though the meaning of the nicknames would not be so impressive and oftentimes sound really weird in English. Here is a list of those weird ones, but common in Thai.
- พร (Porn) Well, many Thai names compound the word ‘porn’ which means ‘blessing or wish’. We pronounce this word without ‘R’ sound. This name is really common for female names or nicknames. For example, สุดาพร (Sudaporn) พรประภา (Pornprapa) and พรทิพย์ (Pornthip)
- บอล (Ball) In English, Ball can be an ‘egg-shape object’ or ‘testicle’. For the Thai nickname, it definitely refers to ‘Football, Basketball and any other ball’. We pronounce the name ‘Bon’ instead of ‘Ball’
- ปู (Poo, Pu) ปู (pronounced bpuu) means ‘crab’ but many times it is written ‘Poo’ in which it is something disgusting in English.
- พี (Pee) P, Pee, Pii or Phi could sound like ‘Pee’ or urine in English, but for Thai people whose nickname is ‘พี’, it refers to ‘P alphabet’
- บอม (Bom) This name sounds destructive as it sounds similar to the word ‘bomb’ but it is quite popular for a male nickname.
- เนม (Name) One of my good friends is called เนม (name). She sometimes has a difficult time when introducing herself: My nickname is Name.
- อานัส อนัส (Anus) Well, it is an Arabic word that means intimacy or familiarity. It is pronounced อา-นัด (aa-nud) but it’s commonly written with ส (S).
Thai people have not only a name but also a nickname in which it oftentimes has nothing related to the name. A Thai nickname is named by parents and they are usually short, easy, and have a meaning.
As a Thai nickname is quite creative, the meaning can be hilarious when translated into English.
What about you? What are your Thai favorite nicknames or the interesting ones? Share with me in the comment below:
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