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This survey reveals the most commonly used Singlish and Gen Z slang words in Singapore

The tea has been spilt

Mingli Seet
Written by
Mingli Seet

Have you been told to slay one too many times for no rhyme or reason? Or perhaps catch yourself instinctively uttering alamak at almost every happening? Well, you’re definitely not alone. 

According to a recent lighthearted survey conducted by the language learning platform Preply, it appears that 'Slay' holds the title as the most popular Gen Z slang word in Singapore, while 'Alamak' takes the lead as the most favoured Singlish slang word overall. This survey gathered responses from 1,500 Singaporeans to explore their sentiments towards slang culture.

For those that are not familiar with the languages spoken here in Singapore, we speak several languages, with the most prominent ones being English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Next in line is our unofficial national language, Singlish (used by 95% of Singaporeans) – one that is a mishmash of English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese.

Singlish isn’t an official subject in school. So, where do we learn how to punctuate our sentences with the three musketeers – lah, lor, leh? According to the survey, it is said that a huge bulk of Singaporeans (65%) pick up slang words from their friends, and a small percentage from entertainment (28%). And unfortunately, the survey also showed that 65% of Singaporeans use these slangs without knowing its actual meaning… Alamak.

The most popular Singlish slang words are Alamak (65.78%), Makan (60.92%), Lah Lor Leh Meh (57.92%), Paiseh (56.99%) Kaypoh (56.46%), Steady (56.13%), Shiok (55.39%), Bo Liao (54.33%), Kiasu (54.19%) and Atas (52.86%). 

Singlish slang singapore
Photograph: Preply

Slangs are used in all sorts of communities and generations. In recent times, Zoomers (Generation Z) have definitely also had their fair share in contributing to slang words used in Singapore. Coming in first place is, without a doubt, the word Slay (35.15%), followed by Sus (30.76%), G.O.A.T (27.43%), Salty (26.03%), Spilling Tea (25.77%), and Flex (22.70%). Ironically, Slay (12.72%) is also the most annoying Gen Z slang according to the survey results followed by Purr (11.78%), Zaddy (10.52%), and Bussin (10.19%). 

Now, it’s time to answer the big question – Gen Z slang words or Singlish slang words: which is more commonly used in Singapore? Preply’s results revealed that ultimately, half of the respondents prefer using Singlish to Gen Z slang words. 

Here’s a last fun fact: the survey also found out that people living in Woodlands (100%) apparently use the most Singlish slang words, followed by Tampines (99%) and Punggol (99%). And as for Gen Z slang words, the survey showed that people in Geylang (86%) use them the most, followed by Tampines (80.2%) and Kallang/Whampoa (77.6%). Alamak, like that also can...

And there we have it, an intense breakdown of slang culture on our sunny island. Where do you stand? If you’re kaypoh, fret not, you can read more about this interesting survey here.


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