Thai Language Blog

Hey There, Good Looking! Posted by on Oct 13, 2010 in Beginner, Culture, Intermediate

I’d like to start out with one particular phrase,


This phrase is no longer used, its really old. I’ve been told this is the sleezy ‘gangsta’ way of hitting on a girl that passes by. Although I’m not sure what a Thai gangster 50 years ago would have looked like . . . There are three parts to this phrase, the first is to ask where the girl is going, ไปไหน. The word จ๊ะ is an ending partical, implying that you are really close to the person you are speaking to (such as your mom, wife, or daughter). But using it for a girl you don’t know just comes off a bit sleezy. The last part is คนสวย, basically meaning ‘good looking’. Where ya goin, good lookin’?

Like in English, there are many ways to say someone else looks good. I’ll go over all of the most common ways.

Oh and before we start, I’d like to point out the Thai version of beautiful. If you are Thai, with western-ish facial features, a western shaped nose, pale white skin, brown highlights in your wavy hair (for the ladies), and not too skinny, you’d be considered good looking.

For men, you’ll also need some goofy looking hair, a collar that’s unfolded in the back, and some white powder to lighten up the face. Oh, and wear business casual. Instant handsome!

Speaking of sarcasm, the phrase งามหลาย needs to be brought to attention. This word is from the Isaan dialect. The stereotype for a girl from Isaan is someone with dark skin, skinny body, black unkept hair, a flattish nose, and dresses like a farm girl. In other words, to call someone beautiful using the Isaan dialect can be considered an insult to a girl in Bangkok. As for westerners . . . if you ask a Thai whats good to see in Isaan, they’ll promptly answer ‘ผู้หญิงสวยๆ’ (beautiful girls). They assume western guys only like Isaan girls . . . and they probably won’t care if any of them get taken, either.

If a bunch of overweight middle-aged guys from China came to the US, snatched up all the ugliest girls you’ve ever met to take them back to China, how would you feel? Seriously . . .

vocabulary (คำศัพท์):

น่ารัก                     cute (use for a girl or boy you like, or a stuffed animal)

น่าเอ็นดู                cute (use for a baby, or a puppy)

น่าตาดี                  looks good

แต่งตัวดี               dresses well

สวย                       pretty

สวยงาม                beautiful

งามหลาย              pretty (Isaan dialect)

ว่าดหวาม               skimpy (like the way a girl can dress)

เริ่ด                         eye-catching, trendy

จูบู้ๆ                        hot and sexy (slang)

ผิวสาย                   clear skin (you’ll hear this in all the makeup commercials)

ห่าน                       hot (slang)

หล่อ                       handsome

รูปหล่อ                  handsome

หุ่นดี                       nice body (used to describe women)

เท่                           stylish in a charming sort of way

สมารท์                   dressed ‘smart’, almost like business casual for men (slang)

เก๊กหล่อ                 handsome in a poser sort of way (like James Bond, or an action hero) (slang)

เก๊กสวย                  pretty is a poser sort of way (like Britney Spears) (slang)

เซ็กซี่                      sexy

เช้งวับ                      sexy, but only because of the way she dressed up (slang)

คิกขุ                        innocently cute (like a Japanese girl in a school girl uniform) (slang)

หน้าตาหมวยๆ         Chinese-looking face (Thai guys think this is attractive)

กล้ามใหญ่              big muscles

สโพก                      to have an hour-glass shaped body (to describe women)

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