10+ Authentic Cantonese Slang Words

Cantonese Slang Words

Do you want to sound like a local and talk to your Cantonese-speaking friends? Then, why not learn these essential Cantonese slang words 俚語 (lei5 jyu5) today? Today, we will learn about basic Cantonese slang words used in Hong Kong in everyday life.

Do not worry because each word has romanization and its meaning using the English word, so, if you’re a beginner in learning Chinese languages like Cantonese, this will help you. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

What Are Slang Words?

Slang words are vocabulary (words, phrases, expressions, etc.) spoken in a particular local culture. It’s a kind of language that is very different from formal one as it is born out of context and particular trends in society. These are words that are generally exclusive within a social group. With this, you can see who belongs to the group and those who don’t. It is used in a special way in a certain social context.

Basic Cantonese Slang Words And Their Meaning

For a country as developed and as busy as Hong Kong, slang words and phrases are widely used in different social contexts. Even by just walking along the streets of a city, you can hear HK slang words. Usually, the old-fashioned slang words came from their rich culture and history. On the other hand, the slang words used by the younger generation have developed and used these slang words as a result of pop culture and online forums.

The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority included local language in the questions in Chinese paper five of the 2008 Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Knowing slang words is one of the bases on how well you know your language and its culture.

So, now, here are some Cantonese slang words that you may want to learn to sound like a local.

Cantonese Slang Words Gai1 Tung4 Aap3 Gong2

雞同鴨講 (Gai1 Tung4 Aap3 Gong2)

Literal Meaning: A Chicken Talking To A Duck

Is it possible for a chicken to talk to a duck? Well, yes, but in fairytales. In reality, no way! This Cantonese slang is best used to describe people having problems communicating with each other because of different factors like language barriers or different beliefs and opinions. No matter how much they talk, nothing makes sense because of the barriers, just like how a chicken can’t talk to a duck.

Cantonese Slang Words Fat6 Hai6

佛系 (Fat6 Hai6)

Literal Meaning: Buddhist Style

Have you ever met someone who has a nonchalant attitude towards their life? Someone who’s not in a rush in everything because they believe that if it is meant to happen, it will happen. Then this is an adjective that best describes them. If you have an idea about Buddhism, you might get the reference of Cantonese slang. If you have a Buddhist-style approach in life, you do things lovingly and peacefully.

Cantonese Slang Words Zuk1 Cung4

捉蟲 (Zuk1 Cung4)

Literal Meaning: Catching Worms

Have you gotten yourself in a pretty bad situation? Well, this is the Cantonese slang that suits you. This phrase means to “cause oneself unnecessary trouble.” The Cantonese slang phrase Catching Worms (捉蟲 Zuk1 Cung4) is an abbreviation for the longer version of the Cantonese slang 捉蟲入屎忽 (zuk1 cung4 jap6 si2 fat1), which means “putting worms up your rear end.”

Cantonese Slang Words Sau1 Bing1

收兵 (Sau1 Bing1)

Literal Meaning: Collecting Soldiers

The phrase Collecting Soldiers (收兵 Sau1 Bing1) is a Cantonese slang word that has recently emerged in Hong Kong. This slang word does not have a positive meaning because it is used when a girl seeks male friendships to get her work and tasks done. This commonly happens in the workplace.

Cantonese Slang Words Fuk6

伏 (Fuk6)

Literal Meaning: Trap

Today, online shopping is a world trend, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic came. But, have you ever experienced having the expectation vs. reality moment when something looks far from the picture posted on the website? Well, that’s a trap, and the Cantonese slang word for that is 伏 (Fuk6). The closest English word for this Hong Kong slang is dodgy’. This Cantonese word is used in Hong Kong to describe something that’s of misleading quality.

Cantonese Slang Words Zaa1 Baa1 Si6

揸巴士 (Zaa1 Baa1 Si6)

Literal Meaning: Driving A bus

Hong Kong has amazing nightlife, which will make it hard for you to resist drinking and saying cheers. But, you may want to hold your liquor if you don’t want to be referred to as a person driving a bus (揸巴士 zaa1 baa1 si6). This slang refers to someone who had way too many drinks and became sick in the toilet while gripping the toilet seat as if they were holding the bus driver’s steering wheel.

Cantonese Slang Words Se6 Bo1

射波 (Se6 Bo1)

Literal Meaning: Kicking The Ball

Have you ever experienced doing the work of someone in your workplace because you are told that they are sick, then you found out that it isn’t true? How annoying, right? This Cantonese slang is a metaphor that literally means kicking the ball. It is used as an act of passing off responsibilities to someone else.

Cantonese Slang Words Ke4 Ngau4 Wan2 Maa5

騎牛搵馬 (Ke4 Ngau4 Wan2 Maa5)

Literal Meaning: To Ride An Ox While Looking For A Horse

There are times that you’re tired or sick of doing something that you have been doing for years, like your job. You want to find something better and new that ignites the fire in you again, so you look for that job somewhere else while you’re still in your current job. The Cantonese slang used in Hong Kong for this is To Ride An Ox While Looking For A Horse (騎牛搵馬 Ke4 Ngau4 Wan2 Maa5).

People usually do this because they are scared that they have nothing to go back to if they fail. This may also apply in a relationship when a guy or girl is looking for another while they are still in a relationship.

Cantonese Slang Words Baan6 Zyu1 Sik6 Lou5 Fu2

扮豬食老虎 (Baan6 Zyu1 Sik6 Lou5 Fu2)

Literal Meaning: Pretend To Be A Pig To Eat A Tiger

Backstabbers! These are some of the types of people we hate the most, and in Hong Kong, the Cantonese slang for that is Pretend To Be A Pig To Eat A Tiger (扮豬食老虎 Baan6 Zyu1 Sik6 Lou5 Fu2). Beware of people who manipulate someone and appear innocent but later become evil.

Cantonese Slang Words Daai3 Luk6 Mou2

戴綠帽 (Daai3 Luk6 Mou2)

Literal Meaning: Wearing A Green Hat

We mostly hear stories about a woman who has been cheated on. But, a man who is being cheated on is described as a man wearing a green hat. This is what they call those men who had this experience in Hong Kong.

Other Hong Kong Slang Words

Wait, it’s not over yet because we have more Cantonese slang words that you can add to your vocabulary.

Contextual MeaningCantonese Slang WordsJyutpingLiteral MeaningSound
crazy or insane黐線ci1 sin3/ chi singlued wires
to express incredulous disbelief黐黐地ci1 ci1 dei6slightly sticky
someone who stroll around without any purpose𠺪he3slovenly
raining cats and dogs落狗屎lok6 gau2 si2drop dog poo
to feel speechless滴汗dik6 hon6sweat
failing to turn up on a date放飛機fong3 fei1 gei1fly an airplane
to cheer someone up十卜sap6 buk1support
something surprising and only happens because of luck負碌fu6 luk1a fluke
Oh my gosh (O shape resembles the shape of the mouth); to feel astonishing and stunningO 嘴O jeui2 to have an O shaped mouth
someone who is excellent and tremendous屈機wat1 gei1to break a machine into two pieces
two people fall in love and lead to becoming a couple撻著taat3 zoek3to ignite a fire
incredibly slow speed龜速gwai1 cuk1turtle speed
handsome/ cooljing4type
something cute that comes with being chubby or rounded肥嘟嘟fei4 dyut1 dyut1fat
used to describe how white the subject is白雪雪baak6 syut3 syut3white snow
to be rejected食檸檬sik6 ling4 mung1to eat lemons
unexpectedly, happened out of the blue無啦啦mou4 laa1 laa1without a “la la”
smelly/ stinks臭崩崩cau3 bang1 bang1smell chipped off
to drop dead仆街buk6 gaai1/pook gaito fall over
perverted鹹濕haam4 sap1salty and wet
being completely naked光脫脫gwong1 tyut3 tyut3bright shedding
to talk on the phone for hours煲電話粥bou1 din6 waa6 zuk1to boil telephone congee
causes someone to burst into laughter噴飯pan3 faan6
level up in a game升呢sing1 ne1
to behave arrogantly and rudely串嘴chyun3 jeui2
to behave pretentiously/conceitedly扮蟹baan6 haai5
a piece of cake, don’t mention it, no biggie!濕濕碎sap1 sap1 seoi3
not that great, only so-so, slightly okay麻麻哋maa4 maa4 dei2
hurrying to do something嗱嗱臨naa4 naa4 lam4
my favorite賣飛佛maai6 fei1 fat6

What Are Some Cantonse Slang Words On The Internet?

Contextual MeaningCantonese Slang WordsJyutpingLiteral MeaningSound
people who communicate better on the internet; people who are very opinionated on the internet but not true to their words in person鍵盤戰士gin6 pun4 zin3 si6keyboard warriors
people are paid to disseminate pro-China and pro-government sentiments on the internet.五毛ng5 mou450 cents
the practice of internet users who, after registering for an account, do not make any postings at all潛水cim4 seoi2underwater diving
to talk aimlessly吹水ceoi1 seoi2blow water
posting similar or multiple posts at once in order to flood the feed with the person’s posts; “Your feed is saturated.”洗版sai2 baan2wash the feed
photos, videos, or statements that can readily be parodied in a variety of contexts萬能keymaan6 nang4 keya universal key

Wanna Get By With Your Cantonese Speaking Friends?

Now that you have learned the Cantonese slang words, you have already taken a step in learning Cantonese, so why not continue your journey with the Ling app? Enough scrolling on the internet for nothing and start making every single day worth it by learning Cantonese.

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You can have an amazing language-learning journey with the Ling app! Download the app now on Play Store or App Store. Continue learning not just Cantonese but the rest of the 60+ languages available today!

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