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Something strange about Thai Nicknames

Have you ever met a Thai person called "Moo" (meaning Pig) and then noticed how large they are? Or have you ever met a "Nok" (meaning bird) who never stops talking? I've been noticing lately how Thai people seem to match the personality of the Nickname they were given.

Something strange about Thai Nicknames

Really that's just the top of the iceberg when it comes to the weired and wonderful naming rituals of the Thai Nickname. Think about all the people you've ever met in Thailand and all those Nicknames you've had to learn, Nok is probably the most common one I've ever heard both guys and girls can have this name.

Thai's have these ridiculously long Names that are difficult to pronounce and even more difficult for people to spell, in fact most Thai people would have difficulty in spelling other Thai peoples names so Thais have this tradition of bestowing an unofficial "Nickname" to their offspring typically with one or two syllables to make it easier to call them. In fact you would probably know someone for years before ever learning their real name.

While every single Pancake I've met really did have small tits there have been a few Pigs that had rocking bodies.

Not all Nicknames however are going to match their owners either, ever met a Pancake? How about a Pepsi? I'm sorry but if I meet a Pepsi I honestly can't take that person seriously some people think those hippies calling their kids flowers and wind are out of their mind, man those people have nothing on Thai's how about nameing your kids Golf, Bomb, Bee, Guitar, Oil, can you imagine being called Oil?

I can't make Thai's understand either, when I try to have a conversation to a Thai person about their name or the names of others and try to make them understand why "I" think that it's a terrible name and I'd rather shoot myself than be called something like "Watermelon" they just don't get it. Thai's just get into the whole teasing thing either maybe that's why they don't get it?

The closest Thai's come to Teasing is looking you in the eye and calling you fat, bald, old whatever but it always seems so genuine that I don't ever really feel like that are teasing more like saying these things like the way they'll ask you if you've eaten already a form of greeting as you'd really only say stuff like that to someone you feel closer to anyway. So how is it that Thai's just don't think that these names are horrible and embarrassing, honestly would you really think your parents were awesome if they named you after a carbonated beverage?

Honestly Thai's live on another planet probably much more enlightened than the one I live on, If I ever have a daughter and am forced to give one of these names I'll just do what all the Thai's do that can't figure out what to call her so I'll just name her "Ying" (meaning female). If I had to choose a Thai Nickname I'd want to be called it'd be "Bank" who would you be?

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

16 Responses to Something strange about Thai Nicknames

  1. Derek February 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Do you actually know why Thai´s have a nick name?
    As far as my understanding is that it has something to do with the Buddhist religion and Thai culture as to not let evil spirits find them. If anyone can elaborate further/correct me, appreciated – Thanks.

    I do agree that some nick names can be quite odd – even as far as calling the first born “one” second born “two” etc. etc.

    I might be getting the wrong idea here, Chris but would n´t “Porn” be a more appropriate nick name for you.

    • Chris February 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      lol, nah probably more suitable would be “Noodles”….As for the nickname no I don’t know the origins, I’m just looking from the outside in, I can’t see anyone thinking religous thoughts when you name someone Pepsi, can you?

      • Derek February 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

        Thanks, just going on hearsay or from what I have heard. Not heard of Pepsi as nick or after any other product or manufacturer.

        • Chris February 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

          I bang a girl called Benz, after Mercedes Benz lol

  2. gmp360 February 14, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    ” Nok is probably the most common ”
    Really? What about Aom, or ohm, or om. Every single Thai women, and many Thai men I meet are named Aom! What’s the deal with that?

    • Chris February 14, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      Aom is another very popular name, i don’t know why either. Mysteries of Thailand.

      • Peht February 19, 2013 at 5:35 am #

        Hi all, very interesting discussion here. As a Thai who have noticed about where is the popular nick from. I’d share my observation that 1) it’s from the name of superstart or popular persons at those moment. 2.) Often they change their nick name when they went to the school with some reasons such as it doesn’t look cool.

        From these, we can guess the ages of the people from the name and also a little bit their background. These apply for the first and family name as well

  3. I-nomad February 14, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    As far as I know the Thai tradition of giving children ugly names originated as an attempt to deceive bad ghosts from stealing their spirit.

    • Chris February 14, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      I just asked the naked 19y/o on my bed why they have nicknames, I told her what you said about the ghost part and she laughed and said “no no no” it’s because the real names are so long. Not that University students know much here anyway but it’s just further proof that in this day in age,the nickname is really just to make it easy to call people.

      • I-nomad February 14, 2013 at 11:49 am #

        In the West some of us (used to) have middle or multiple names to distuingish eachother. In Thailand this is or has never been customary, instead children are given long names, with a short nick name to make it easier to call them by.
        My info about ugly names and keeping away evil spirits, is just from hear-say, so I don’t know really. Still it would not surprise me if in some cases, eg. in Isan, this is still customary, since many folks are quite superstitious 😉

      • Derek February 14, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

        I think most of us here are more disappointed you did n´t write an article telling us where to buy valentines cards in packs of ten in Thailand, kind of like how they sell xmas cards back home. 😉

  4. Jalapeños February 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I think the reason (not the choice of names) is because a lot of Thai names are very complicated to say due to their Sanskrit origins. The choice of a nick name is usually a spur of the moment kinda thing, that’s why they have these weird names.

    Daddy came home from the karaoke and had sang som with Pepsi. There you go. 😉

  5. ChiangMaiGuy February 16, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    I dated a girl called Titikunt the other day (true) not a nickname but thought I’d share it

  6. brad May 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    I’ve met an ‘Ice’, ‘New Year’ and a ‘Notebook’. My Thai wife is called Gratai (Bunny).

    On a different topic, what’s the deal with Thai’s talking about themselves in the third person (illeisms)? And Mum’s who call themselves Mum? It’s like watching the Jimmy episode of Seinfeld!

    • Chris May 25, 2015 at 3:40 am #

      555 i hqve no idea i find it annoying at well

  7. Bobby Reyes June 9, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Living and working in thailand. I feel this article is quite ignorant.
    I like their nicknames it gives them all character, and they arent horrible or embarassing either. Grow up man youre nothing special

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