Aiyoh and aiyah, both are fine says Oxford English Dictionary


KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysian words and expressions have been included in the Oxford English Dictionary in its latest update of accepted words.

Among them are the words ‘mamak’ and ‘kopitiam’ which are everyday words for most Malaysians.

There is no corner of the country where you can’t find a ‘mamak’ restaurant or stall; and there is hardly any town where you can’t find a ‘kopitiam’.

Several favourite dishes of Malaysians and Singaporeans – ‘char kway teow’, ‘rendang’, and ‘chicken rice’ have also made it into the list.

Aiyah, that’s not all. The word ‘aiyah’ is also accepted by Oxford. And before you exclaim ‘aiyoh’, pause for a moment: that word too is now an acceptable form of expression recognised by the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary.

Anyone planning to give an ‘ang pow’ can now do so, knowing that it is no longer just a Chinese word but is now an English word too.

The Malay word ‘atas’ – in the sense of high social status – is also in, as is ‘Ah Beng’ – a term that describes unsophisticated young Chinese men.

These are among the 1000-plus new entries in the latest quarterly update by the Oxford English Dictionary, including several words dedicated to the centenary birth year of celebrated author Roald Dahl.

Among the new words included are ‘cheeseball’ , ‘moobs’, ‘oompa loompa’, ‘yolo’, ‘gender-fluid’, ‘Merica’, ‘squee’, ‘splendiferous’ and ‘clickbait’.

The 150-year-old Oxford English Dictionary has a collection of 600,000 words.