New Singapore English words

The OED’s March 2016 update sees the inclusion of a number of words from Singapore English. There are new senses of common English words like blur meaning ‘slow in understanding; unaware, ignorant, confused’; loanwords from Chinese, like ang moh (‘a light-skinned person, esp. of Western origin or descent;  a Caucasian’) and Malay, like shiok (‘cool, great; delicious, superb’);  and formations in English that are only used in Singapore, like sabo (‘to harm, inconvenience, or make trouble for (a person); to trick, play a prank on’) and HDB (‘a public housing estate’).

The terms lepak (‘to loiter aimlessly or idly; to loaf, relax, hang out’) and teh tarik (‘sweet tea with milk’), are characteristic of both Singapore and Malaysian English, while wet market (‘a market for the sale of fresh meat, fish, and produce’) is used not just in these two countries, but all over Southeast Asia.

Here is a list of all new Singapore English items in the OED. You can also click here for a visual timeline of Southeast Asian words in the OED, including words from or about Singapore, dating from 1555 to the present.