How to Swear in Thai
When I first started out learning Thai I thought I understood everything. Problem is when people were talking to me, I could understand them. But when Thai people were talking to their friends I couldn’t understand a word, simple words like you and I weren't what I read in the text books. That’s because Thai people swear, and they swear a lot!
Thai people don’t like to admit it but when they talk to their friends they swear all the time, if you were to ask a Thai person how to swear, 99% of the time they won’t tell you how. They’ll say things like “No it’s impolite” “You shouldn't talk like that”. However at the same time they’ll probably turn around and say “This fuckin farang what’s to fuckin swear in Thai!”
So how are you supposed to learn what Thai people are saying, and how are you supposed to learn how to swear in Thai? Well here's a small list of my favourites but if you want the full list it's in the book.
Word: กู Goo
Literally: I or me
Replaces the word for I when talking to someone.
Example: Goo By Gin Kaow. I am going to go get something to Eat
Typically if you’re a guy you would say Pom as the meaning of I or me, but if you replace Pom with Goo you will be using it the same way in English you would say “I fuckin this” “I fuckin that”. Both girls and guys can use the world Goo.
Word: มึง Meung
Replaces the word for You when talking to someone.
Example: Meung tum ary wa. What the fuck are you doing?
This word is more harsh than Goo because your now talking about someone else. Say the word Meung instead of the world Khun which means you but polite. And it’s similar to saying “Fuck You”.
Word: สมองขี้เลื่อย Samong Kee Leauy
Literally: Brain Sawdust
Say this if you want to call someone a fuckin idiot. Literally it means the shit that flies out of wood when you saw into it. Basically your brain only contains sawdust.
Word: ไอ้บ้ากาม Aey Bah Garm
Literally: Crazed Sex
Say this to someone who is crazy about sex and likes to talk about sex to other people, an example of a person who is “Bah Garm” someone who goes to a bar and starts feeling up the waitresses. Another example of a person who would be Bah Garm is someone who likes to take photo’s of the upskirts of young girls.
Word: ไอ้หื่น Aey Heun
Same as Bah Garm and used the same way. Though this one is more popular and it's used more against guys.
The following is a video of me swearing, no i'm not really like this I just figured noone else has done a video of farang swearing in Thai so wanted to add it. It has english subtitles.
I don’t believe ‘guu’ and ‘meung’ are as bad as you say. They are definitely impolite but I would refer to them as colloquial words rather than clear cut swear words.
From my experience (5 years learning the Thai language) these words are used by Thai people when talking to close friends with whom ‘pom’ or ‘chan’ would be too formal. In most situations this is simply a change in pronouns and would not translate as ‘fuck’ ‘fucking’, etc.
The words ‘guu’ and ‘meung’ did in fact use to be appropriate pronouns further back in history and were considered very polite. As time wore on they fell out of usage and were subjected to the process of pejoration wherein a word which once bore positive connotations now bears negative ones. See the word ‘gay’ in the English language, once taken to mean ‘happy, joyful’ and now a derogatory term in some situations.
Although I do agree with you that when you are in an argument you would use those words as you would be genuinely trying to be impolite to the person with whom you are arguing.
When speaking Thai I try to limit the amount of swearing and would never swear in front of someone I didn’t know. It’s good for a laugh in the right company but could land you in trouble if you misjudge your company.
Some good articles on this sight, by the way, good job.
Small detail: you say “wa” (the วะ on the end of your first sentence, Mong alai wa?) with a bit of a low tone, but it should have a shorter, snappier, higher tone.
I agree with the other poster about the non-offensive use of Gu/Meung between close friends.
Great line about collecting money for his mom’s services… ouch!