[ Updated on August 2nd 2007 thanks to all the wonderful contributions at my blog and also at the two popular Mizo discussion forums misual.com and lawrkhawm.com. Keep the contributions coming. ]
The British may have left India 50 years ago, but their language continue to dominate the language of other cultures day by day, the Mizos being one of them. Given below, is a list of English words that have made their way in the Mizo language in the forms of slang and “youth lingo”. Also check out the new post on Mizo slang (Mizo words)
Recommended reading: Loan words in Mizo from English by Lalchhandami
ENGLISH - MIZO SLANG
| BC | Cial | Coach | Confi | Contri | Cool | Cow | Den | Expi | Grind | Happening/Hep | High | Hot | Intro | Man | Nice | Over | Profe | Quit | Raw | Shake | Si | Spin | Star | Tri | UT |
[ Technical jargons and proper nouns/common nouns have been left out as such words are used in almost every other languages too, like “Secretary in mi rawn sms a” (The secretary sent me an sms), “internet ah i online em” (are you online at the internet), “apple hi fridge chhungah dah rawh” (Keep the apple inside the fridge) etc.]
This acronym is a popular slang among the youth to denote something (a person, song, dress style, hair style etc) that is passé, (BC = Before Christ). “A kawr hak chu a BC e” (Her clothes are so BC [out of fashion]), “i hla ngaihthlak kha a BC lutuk” (The song you’re listening to is very BC [old]) etc. Another slang sometimes used instead of BC is UT. UT refers to Union Territory, and Mizoram used to be a UT a long time ago before it became a State, hence the reference to something that happened a long time ago. “i hairstyle kha a UT lutuk” (Your hairstyle is very UT [out dated]). Even though old may be gold, the usage here is more about mocking somebody for not keeping up with the current fashion and style.
Contributed by: Zoa Tlau
A word derived from “special”, it means just that. Special, extraordinary, over-the-top, etc. Rather than in the context of “special treatment”, the word “cial” is usually used in the Mizo context to describe a tangible object. “An bawnghnute chu a cial ngawt mai” (their milk is special) denoting that their milk is better than the usual milk. “A computer thar chu a cial lutuk” (His new computer is very special) which means that his computer has all the latest configurations and hardware accessories, and the special mentioned here is not about any special emotional value that might be attached with the mentioned computer.
Another funny slang that I really love. You gotta give the Mizo youth credit for coming out with such ingenuity! We all know what the word coach means in English right? “To train somebody”. Well, the word “coach” in the Mizo context means “to flirt”. When somebody says “Michael an Mary a coach”, apart from just the meaning that “Michael flirted with Mary” it also means “Michael is training Rose”! LoLz. Because you know, one becomes smooth in “the game” only after a “personal experience” right?
This is from the word “confident”. When somebody says “a confi lutuk”, it means “the person is very confident (about what he/she is doing)”. When it comes to the youth slang, the words they use are “chhe confi”. This is similar to the upcoming word “chhe hot” a bit below where “chhe” means “ugly”. When somebody calls a girl as “chhe confi”, it means the girl is not very pretty, but talks with a lot of confidence like how a pretty girl (who knows she’s pretty) talks like. “Chhe confi” is usually in reference to a not-so-pretty girl who is also mean, throws a lot of attitude, snobbish to a certain degree, gossips about all the other people (especially other attractive girls) and believes she can get any man she wants. She is completely delusional into thinking that she is attractive. People call such a person “chhe confi”. This term applies to guys as well.
|Contri / in con|
Contributed by: Tawia, Delhi.
This is directly from the English word “contribution”. Examples for this word would be “in contri i la” or “in con i la” which both literally means the same thing (Let’s contribute [cash] together). Here the contribution is about pooling cash together. This is a quite a common word as most of the youth are usually low on cash and if they want to buy something expensive that they can all share but cannot afford individually (basketball, petrol for the car, alcohol etc) they must all pool in their respective pocket-money to buy what they want.
Mizos aren’t the only community over-using this much-hyped word. South Indians too have the habit of predominantly uttering the word “cool” (such as “cool drinks” instead of cold drinks). In Mizo, the word “cool” is used in contexts such as the ones used in English to describe somebody or something awesome or somebody with extraordinary composure. “A cool khawp mai” (He/she is extremely cool).
Apart from that, “cool” is also a slang for drugs like cough syrups (antidepressants) because the kind of kick an abuser gets from cough syrups is similar to “an indescribable feeling of being cool”, where everything moves in slow motion and you just don’t seem to care about anyone or anything around you, similar to how a “cool rider” driving his bike at 150kmph on a straight smooth empty Highway with slowly changing scenery at the background probably feels like.
|Cow / cowboy|
Contributed by: Tawia, Delhi.
When somebody is called a cowboy (“khapa chu a cow khawp mai”), it usually means somebody who is macho (à la Wild Wild West). It can also be used to mockingly describe somebody who is dirty and hasn’t taken bath in a long time (once again, à la Wild Wild West). Also see “raw” and “man”.
Contributed by: Hruaia
Derived from “Danger”, this word is usually used to describe a precarious incident, like a near-death/near-injury experience. “Silai mu a rawn thawi fiak a ka lu bulah, a den khawp mai” (The bullet just barely missed my head. It was a “dangerous” moment). “Saw in saw a den hmel” (That house looks “dangerous”) which is probably due to reasons like poor infrastructure or located on the edge of a cliff. One might say the “dangerous” mentioned here is similar to “frightening”, “horrifying” and “scary”.
Similar to the word “si” which is mentioned way below, people use the word “expi” to talk about the amount of experience the person has (which is obviously derived from the word “experience”). It can have both a negative and a positive insinuation.
- Positive: “Science lamah chuan expi a neih ngah” (He has a lot of experience in the field of science)
- Negative: “Kha nu kha chu a expi tawh khawp mai” (That girl has a lot of experience) where the experience mentioned here is about seduction, hence labeling the person as a flirt or somebody extremely loose.
Contributed by: Popsugar
Taken from the show “MTv Grind” in the 90’s, this word is slang for dance. “Zanin chu va grind i la” (Tonight let’s dance) It could even mean “Tonight let’s go to a discotheque” (to dance). “a grind zei khawp mai” means “He’s really good in dancing”.
Contributed by: moimoi
This word is used in the Mizo context as the same way it is used in English. “Saw pa saw a happening khawp mai” (That guy is very happening) indicating that he is a cool dude, party animal, and always interesting to be with.
Contributed by: Calliopes canticles
“In la high viau suh” (Don’t be so high). The “high” mentioned here is from the English meaning of “High horse”. It is used on a person who is arrogant with a superior attitude just because that person is more financially secured and behaves more “westernly”. Basically, it is a person with high status who throws around his/her weight around.
“A va hot ve” (which means “[He/she/it] is very hot”) – The “hot” mentioned here does not translate into the English meaning for somebody sexy or the temperature “hot”, but instead refers to somebody who is full of activity, vigor, enthusiasm and exuberance. Even though it can indeed be used to describe somebody who is sexy, people very rarely use it, as there are other slang to describe such a person.
- Highly spirited/energetic/peppy: “a lam hot” (Literally it means “she danced hotly”). Again this does not refer to somebody dancing only in a sexy way. Suppose in a Church, some of the older folks are dancing slowly to the devotional song, and then somebody suddenly starts dancing vigorously consumed by the Holy Spirit. The youth who are sitting in the balcony may comment that the person is dancing “very hotly”.
- Exuberance: During a football match, the term “hot” will apply to the energetic vivified spectators cheering for the players. “mipui chu an hot” (Literally it means “The crowd is very hot”, where the “hot” is not in reference to the way the crowd is dressing up, but rather to their enthusiasm) or “boruak chu a hot” (The air is hot, where the “hot” is again not about the atmospheric temperature, but the tension and the wild cheers) which can even refer to incidences where the raving football fans come to blow with each other.
- Enthusiasm: “Hot” is used to describe somebody with great enthusiasm. Eg: “Johna pa chu a hot khawp mai” (John’s father is very hot) or “Ka ni chu a la hot lutuk” (My aunt is still very hot at this age), where the “hot” here is not about them actually being sexy but rather about how enthusiastic they still are at this age to party or dress up like teenagers. Such people are also disparagingly defined by the youth as “tar hot” where “tar” means old.
- The last meaning is the word “chhe hot”. “Chhe” is derived from “chhia”, which means “somebody who is not good looking”. Hence “chhe hot” literally means “ugly hot” :-) It is used on a girl who puts on a lot of makeup, well groomed hair style (usually colored), wears the latest designer labels and branded shoes etc. But all those extra accessories are not enough to hide the fact that she is not attractive at all. This term is also applicable to men. The youth call such a person “chhe hot”. Also see “chhe confi”.
This is used in the exact same context as “introduction”. “Min lo intro la” means “Introduce me to…”
Contributed by: Muanpuia
This is another popular slang. It literally means “Manly” and is all about being macho. It is used to describe bravery and courage (“Ka Putea chu a man lutuk”).
The word “nice” is usually used in a negation with the word “not”. “A nice lo khawp mai” means “[it/he/she] is not nice (not a nice person)”. Apart from people and things, it can even be used for situations, especially uncomfortable situations. Suppose a teacher scolds a student harshly, the student would later say “a nice lo khawp mai”, which in this case means “it was not a very nice incident (to be scolded like that)” where the word nice in this case is similar to “pleasant”. Another popular usage of the above sentence is when it comes to manners. Suppose a man eats paan and spits it out openly on the side walk, people would comment “a nice lo khawp mai” which means “That’s not nice”. In this case it is similar to being “impolite” and “disgusting”.
Contributed by: Sweet Devil
- “i over lutuk” (Literally: you are over). The English sentence that would come closest to it would be “you are too much”. It is in reference to somebody who does things extremely or exaggerates stuff.
- “a tha over” or “a chhe over” (It/he/she is too good, or too bad) Here the word “over” is used as an intensifier, laying more stress on the adjective.
- “Ti over suh” (Don’t over do it)
This word is borrowed from the English word “professional”, and it means just that. “a profe khawp mai” which means he is extremely professional (at what he is doing). It is in reference to a person with high skills.
Contributed by: Sweet Devil
Even though the slang usage for this word is “to quit”, it is also used to describe something that involves everything. For eg: “Ka ti quit vek mai” (I did everything), “Sil quit law law la” (Finish cleaning everything). It’s about doing something in such a way that there is nothing left to be done, or completing all the tasks remaining.
Similar to the word “cow” and “man”, when we use the word “raw”, it usually means something macho or hardcore, like drinking hard alcohol without adding anything else (“a raw in in rawh”), a macho action figure like Rambo (“Rambo chu a raw khawp mai”), and doing something without using something that will make the job easier, like digging the ground with bare hands instead of a shovel (“a raw in a lai tawp”), pulling out a tooth without using anesthetics (“a raw in ha a pawt tir”), frying eggs without oil (“a raw in artui a kang”) and connecting a PC directly without using a UPS or a stabilizer (“a raw in ka connect tawp mai”). Sometimes, some men actually consider it Manly and a matter of pride to do things “rawly”, probably because of our head-hunting background
A cute slang that is quite useful if you don’t want others to know what you’re doing! It is used in the context of buying clothes that are sold in the second-hand market. “Vawin chu va shake lawk i la” (Let’s go and “shake” today). The “shake” mentioned here is used instead of “thing”. In Mizo, the verb “Thing” means “to shake”. Because when one is buying items from the second-hand market, one must carefully examine the goods everywhere to make sure it is not defected. That motion of such examination is similar to shaking (try picturing it in your head). Hence the slang “shake”. Some people might even tell you “Shake well” as a way of wishing you all the best so that you may get lucky and find some really good clothes in the second-hand market. Didn’t I tell you this was a cute slang?
The slang “si” is taken from the English word “senior”. The youth use it to describe somebody older than them, and is usually considered derogatory, because it is used mainly to describe a woman, and describing somebody old in this case is more about becoming senile, useless and loss of beauty rather than maturity (wisdom). Eg: “Kha nu chu a si ve tawh khawp mai” (That girl is really old) or “Ka si ve tep tawh alawm” (I am nearly becoming old now). It is usually in the negative. Only on rare occasions does it sound positive. Eg: “kan tum te chu an si hlawm khawp mai” (Literally it means “our opponents were old” but it translates into “our opponents had much more experience (and hence played better) than us”). See “Expi”.
Contributed by: Calliopes canticles
An interesting slang derived from English. When somebody says “Ka spin ang che” (I’m going to spin you), it means he is going to beat you up. After all, when someone gets beaten up, he is “spinned” around here and there right?
Contributed by: Hruaia
Another very popular Mizo slang taken from English. In the Mizo context, it takes the form of a verb, and it means “to be a fan of somebody” or “to have a crush on someone”. “Margareth-i ka star bawn tawps” (I have a big crush on Margareth).
|Tri / Zo|
This is another popular youth slang that many older folks fervently object to. “Tri” is from the English word “Tribal”, and “Zo” is from the word “Mizo”. When a youth says “khapa kha chu a tri khawp mai” or “a zo lutuk”, he or she is basically calling the person an uncouth, somebody who comes from a very low class background with no manners and refinement. The usage of this word is concentrated mainly within the urban jurisdiction, where some of the city youth greatly influenced by western culture look down upon the common man for not adhering to western culture. That is why most of us greatly disapprove of its usage, because instead of being proud of our own culture, it’s as if these kids are ashamed of being a Mizo.
The Mizo “a” is pronounced like the “a” in calm, balm, farm.
The Mizo “e” is pronounced like the English “a”.
The Mizo “i” is pronounced like the English “e”.