L27 - Jai Words (Words of the Heart)

A nice feature of the Thai language is the way they create words describing emotions or characteristics as 'heart words'.

heart hua jai
heart, mind, spirit jai

The Thai for heart is hua jai. That is the physical organ in your chest. Just like in English, the word heart is also associated with a more spiritual level to describe feelings or characteristics. In this case, Thais tend to use jai.

Words that describe emotions or feelings generally end with jai. For example, dee jai is to be happy or pleased. The word dee means 'good'. You can see therefore that, as described in the previous lesson, the word jai is being combined with other words from the Thai language to create the feeling of the emotion described. In this case 'good heart'.

There are literally hundreds of jai words in the Thai language but we will only look at some of the more common examples.

bplairk jai Wonder / Confuse bplairk = strange
bplee-an jai Change Mind bplee-an = change
bpralaht jai Surpised bpralaht = surprise
cheu-a jai Believe In cheu-a = believe
chorp jai Like / Be Pleased chorp = like
dee jai Happy / Pleased dee = good
dtahm jai Go Along With dtahm = follow
dtang jai Intend dtang = establish
dtem jai Excited dtem = full
gamlang jai Have Will Power gamlang = strength
gep jai Hide Feelings gep = collect
gloom jai Worried gloom = worry
greng jai Considerate / Respectful greng = fear
hen jai Sympathise hen = see
jap jai Touching jap = touch
jep jai Feel Hurt jep = hurt
jit jai emotional / mental state jit = mind
jing jai Sincere jing = true
kao jai Understand kao = to enter
korp jai Thankful korp = thanks
mun jai Become Sure of a Person munkong = sturdy / stable
nair jai Certain nair = sure
poom jai Proud poom = proud
por jai Satisfied por = enough
sabai jai Content sabai = comfortable
sao jai Sad sao = sad
see-a jai Upset / Broken Hearted see-a = broken
son jai Interested son = interest
tam jai Accept tam = do / done
touk jai To One's Liking touk = correct/right
wai jai Trust wai = keep, store


Words that describe characteristics generally start with with jai:

jai dee Kind / Generous dee = good
jai dum Mean / Nasty dum = black
jai glah Brave glah = bravery
jai hin Adament hin = stone
jai kairng Strong Willed kairng = hard
jai ngai Gullible ngai = easy
jai orn Compliant orn = soft
jai raai Bad / Cruel / Heartless raai = bad
jai rorn Impetuous / Hot-headed rorn = hot
jai soo Determined soo = fight
jai yen Calm / Cool yen = cool


The full meaning of some of these jai words cannot be conveyed in the simple tables above. Two commonly heard jai words that often cause confusion are:

greng jai

This is a very Thai concept that will not translate to any single English word. It can be used to convey a sense of indebtedness and not wanting to impose any more. Thais will also use it in the sense of feeling the need to repay a favour. It can also be used in a sense of being fearful of causing offence or annoyance.

mun jai

This is a complimentary word. It is used in the case of coming to trust somebody. It indicates that perhaps there was previously a feeling of doubt but that has now passed and you have faith in the subject.





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