Jia You! Recognised By Oxford English Dictionary

When I was in Primary 5, I wrote “jia you!” in an English composition about exams. Unsurprisingly, my teacher circled it in red and pulled me aside to tell me that I couldn’t use such “Singlish” terms.

10 years later, I would like to refer Madam Loh to the Oxford English Dictionary.

That’s because the dictionary now recognises “add oil”, the literal translation of “jia you!”, as a term of encouragement used in the region. According to the dictionary, “add oil” means,

Expressing encouragement, incitement or support: go on! go for it!

Yup, sounds about right.

A Taiwanese professor discovered its addition to the dictionary and wrote about it in a Hong Kong newspaper on Sunday (14 Oct).

Singlish in Oxford

“Jia you!” isn’t the only common regional phrase to make it to the Oxford English Dictionary, dubbed the definitive record of the English language.

Here are some other words and phrases:

  • Ang moh
  • Blur
  • Char siu
  • Chilli crab
  • Chinese helicopter
  • Hawker centre
  • HDB
  • Killer litter
  • Lepak (noun)
  • Lepak (verb)
  • Lepaking
  • Shiok
  • Sabo (noun)
  • Sabo (verb)
  • Sabo king
  • Sotong
  • Teh tarik
  • Wah
  • Wet market

We’re not sure if having Jia You! in the Oxford dictionary makes it anymore acceptable during English exams here. Any brave souls want to risk their grades to give it a go?

Featured image from WikiHow