Singaporean Mandarin Database
This database contains a collection of Mandarin terms which have cultural, historical or sentimental value unique to Singapore. These terms may be used by Singaporeans in the past or at present. Some of the terms are read in print while others are used in our everyday conversations.
busybody (colloquially known as kaypoh)
Noun , Adjective
- Derogatory term for a nosy person.
- A person who is meddlesome and loves to gossip.
- Used to describe a person who is nosy or meddlesome.
- “鸡婆”一词源自福建话（闽南话）词语“牙婆”，福建话发音为kay poh。“牙婆”在古代是以人口买卖为业的妇女，专门替官员或大户人家纳妾或购买婢女等。“牙婆”在古代被归为“三姑六婆”。
- “Kaypoh” or ”鸡婆” originated from the Hokkien (Minnan) term “牙婆”. In the olden days, “牙婆” referred to women who were involved in human trafficking and helped court officials find concubines or hand servants.
The entire road was closed for several hours, but the lorry came right through and parked illegally on the side of the road. An engineer who happened to be jogging by looked at the lorry driver with curiosity, which in turn irritated the driver who sounded his lorry’s horn. The engineer was so angered by the driver that he wanted to take a photo of the driver to report to the authorities. The driver scolded the engineer “kaypoh”, and the two started arguing on the street. Before leaving, the driver struck the engineer’s chest hard and the enraged engineer reported the incident to the police. (Lianhe Zaobao, 31/3/2019)
TERMS USED IN OTHER REGIONS
三姑六婆 (Mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia)
马来语kay poh，印尼语拼写为kepo，英语拼写为kaypoh，这些词语都在传媒和民间广泛使用。 Photo courtesy of Yumcha Studios & Colin Goh
The Malay term is kay poh, the Bahasa Indonesia term is spelt kepo, while the English phonetic is spelt kaypoh. All these terms are commonly used both in print and colloquially. Photo courtesy of Yumcha Studios & Colin Goh