Wah, now can act blur and lepak: Oxford English Dictionary

Wah, now can act blur and lepak: Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary has added more Singlish words and phrases to its lexicon, including "teh tarik", "char siu", "chilli crab" and "sotong".

SINGAPORE: Wah, Singaporeans can now act blur and lepak - and it would be perfectly acceptable English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The OED said in a media statement on Wednesday (May 11) that it has added a number of words and phrases from Singapore English to its lexicon in its March 2016 update.

It noted that there are new senses of common English words like "blur", meaning "slow in understanding; unaware, ignorant, confused"; as well as loanwords from Hokkien, like "ang moh" ("a light-skinned person, esp. of Western origin or descent; a Caucasian") and Malay, like "shiok" ("cool, great; delicious, superb").

Food and drink featured prominently among the new entries, including "teh tarik", "char siu", "chilli crab" and "sotong" - referring not only to cuttlefish but also "a stereotypically stupid, clumsy, or ignorant person". "Hawker centre" and "HDB" also made it to the OED's lexicon - presumably as places where one can "lepak" ("to loiter aimlessly or idly; to loaf, relax, hang out").

The OED noted that while some of the words are also used in Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia, there were some formations in English that are used only in Singapore, like "sabo" ("to harm, inconvenience, or make trouble for (a person); to trick, play a prank on").

The dictionary also shed light on the etymology of the words, noting that the exclamation "wah" ("used to express admiration, encouragement, delight, surprise") is of multiple origins, partly a borrowing from Hindi as well as Chinese.

Source: CNA/dt