Slang and Idioms – X咁Y and X到Y
October 9, 2010 2 Comments
I had really thought I would be able to write these short idiom posts every few days, but then things got busy and I let time get away from me. So I guess this one is long overdue, and I’ll make it twice as long.
When I first learned the expression 無雷公咁遠 mou4 leui4 gung1 gam3 yun5, it was by far my favorite phrase. I tried to use it as often as possible. Literally, it means to be “so far away that you can’t hear the thunder”. Like when a storm is so far away you can’t even hear the thunder. But it can be used to describe anything that is really far away.
I guess this is an example of the X咁Y idioms, of which there are several.
The X咁Y in this case basically means “it’s as Y as X”, or “X, that’s how Y it is”.
|七國咁亂||chat1 gwok3 gam3 lyun6||in a complete mess (as disorderly as the Seven Warring States)|
|鬼殺咁嘈||gwai2 saat3 gam3 chou4||all hell breaks loose (as noisy as some ghosts)|
|倒屎咁早 / 倒塔咁早||dou2 si2 gam3 jou2 / dou2 taap3 gam3 jou2||very early in the morning (metaphor)|
|水蛇春咁長||seui2 se4 sheun1 gam3 cheung4||lengthy (as long as a chain of snake eggs)|
|一疋布咁長||yat1 pat1 bou3 gam3 cheung4||it’s a long story (literally: as long as a bolt of cloth)|
|鼻屎咁多||bei6 si2 gam3 do1||so much snot appears so little|
|陳皮咁舊||chan4 pei4 gam3 gau6||metaphor for old fashioned things|
|鬼火咁靚||gwai2 fo2 gam3 leng3||as beautiful as a fire ghost (said of women)|
|鬼死咁亂||gwai2 sei2 gam3 lyun6||as chaotic as dying ghosts|
|狗竇咁亂||gau2 dau3 gam3 lyun6||as untidy as a dog’s lair|
|一字咁淺||yat1 ji6 gam3 chin2||as easy as ABC|
Also there are similar X到Y idioms. These expressions are saying to “do X until the point of Y”.
|笑到見牙唔見眼||siu3 dou3 gin3 nga4 m4 gin3 ngaan5||to laugh happily (literally: to laugh so that can see the teeth but not the eyes)|
|多到十隻手指都數唔晒||do1 dou3 sap6 jek3 sau2 ji2 dou1 sou2 m4 saai3||uncountable (literally: so many that one cannot count just using one’s ten fingers)|
|忙到黐綫||mong4 dou3 chi1 sin3||“busy until crazy” – person is so busy that is going crazy|
|賺到笑||jaan6 dou3 siu3||to earn so much money to the point of laughter|
|笑到碌地||siu3 dou3 luk1 dei2||to split your sides with laughter|
|吊頸到冇時間||diu3 geng2 dou3 mou5 si4 gaan3||so busy no time|