Usuful Thai words and idioms

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PeteC
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by PeteC » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:19 pm

I got hit with a new one today that made me chuckle. It appears that a certain level of Thais now refer to gasoline as "nam mun". Literally translated that would mean " potato water or potato juice". :D

I got hit with it as without me knowing the wife gave our garden lady 100 Baht to go buy gas for the mower if she needed it. She didn't and returned the 100 to me at the end of the day saying "su nam mun mai dai..." My reply was OOOKKKK? :? Then I called the wife and got a translation.

Maybe gasohol will catch on later, just like iceacream did. :wink: Pete :cheers:
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by dtaai-maai » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:35 pm

I'm no expert, Pete, but I'm pretty sure it's nothing to do with potatoes.

I've always understood a gas/petrol station to be a pum nam mun, and the generic word for gas/petrol to be nam mun (or nam mun benzin).

A potato is a mun farang.





And could a friendly mod please correct the typo in the thread title!
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by PeteC » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:51 pm

I don't know except that "mun" I believe is generic for any kind of root vegetable....potato, cassava etc. How it came to mean the above I'm lost. Roel will show up later on and clarify I hope.

Petrus, my name in Latin, means rock and associated and that's where us English speakers got petroleum from. At least a rock it's bit deeper than a potato! (usually) :laugh: Pete :cheers:
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by Korkenzieher » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:02 pm

In the Paiboon dictionary, you will find:

มัน man n.
fat (grease)

มัน man n.
yam (sweet potato)

Spellings are the same, tones etc. I think it comes down to context - if something is man-xxx it is a root (vegetable); if it is a nam-man-xxx it is a fat of something. May be some historical connection - but if there is it is well lost on me.
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by Roel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:31 pm

Although common in most languages that a word can have several meanings, this is quite exceptional in Thai. Another example is pom ผม both used for I (male) and for hair. Same spelling and therefore obviously same tone.

gasoline = nam man (น้ำมัน)
potato = man farang (มันฝรั่ง)

Same man (มัน) but as far as I know completely unrelated as Korkenzieher already noted.
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by PeteC » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:30 pm

In all my time I've only heard "benzin" used for gasoline. Perhaps the other pieces as DTM mentions have always been there and my ear simply didn't catch them. I guess also possible that in this new age of no choice but gasohol, benzin is being dropped for the nam mun(man) saying.

Interesting exercise we had here tonight though. Readers now know more. :thumb: Petrus :cheers:
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Re: Usuful Thai words and idioms

Post by blahblah » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:54 pm

johnnyk wrote:kee niaow = "sticky shit" refers to a cheap person (Cheap Chaalie).
Cheap Chaalie? My wife calls me that all the time ...

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