Aiyoh, atas, ah beng and char kway teow: More Singlish words added to Oxford English Dictionary

A plate of char kway teow from Alexandra Village Food Centre.
A plate of char kway teow from Alexandra Village Food Centre. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

More "Singapore English" words used colloquially here have been added to the lexicon of the venerable Oxford English Dictionary (OED), following its latest quarterly update this month.

Top on the list of new words: "aiyah" and "aiyoh", which are often used to express impatience or dismay, and "ah beng", a stereotype applied to Chinese men.

"Atas", an oft-used term by Singaporeans to deride people for being too arrogant or high-class, was also included in the list.

The ubiquitous coffee shop, or "kopitiam", also made it to the big time, alongside dishes popular in Singapore and South-east Asia. They were "char kway teow", "chicken rice" and "rendang".

Malaysian words "mamak", which means street stall, and "pancit" (often referring to a flat tyre) were also included. 


In its last update in March, the OED created a buzz by adding a varied list of nearly 20 Singapore English words.

They included "blur", "ang moh", "shiok" and "sabo", as well as food items like "teh tarik" and "char siu".

The September update, which paid tribute to the late British author Roald Dahl, also featured new and revised entries used in his books for children.

Several Singlish words had previously made it to the dictionary's online version, which was launched in March 2000, including "lah", "sinseh" and "kiasu".