Slang & Idioms

Break into a cold sweat

break-into-a-cold-sweat journey 11

In this post, Journey11 shares with you two Cantonese phrases meaning “scared” or “petrified”.

嚇到標冷汗!

haak3 dou3 biu1 laang5 hon6

嚇Q死!

haak3 Q sei2


What’s Happening:

Cathay Pacific is going to slash 600 of its staff after suffering a major loss in business. It hopes to get out of the red with a reshuffle.


The Cantonese we speak:

Imagine you work for the airline, you probably would be worried about being laid off after the announcement. Well, a downsizing of 600 staff is pretty large in scale after all. You are feeling frightened.

You can say:

(1) 呢獲真係嚇到標冷汗!(broke out in a cold sweat)

ni1 wok6 zan1 hai6 haak3 dou3 biu1 laang5 hon6

(2) 呢獲真係嚇Q死!(damn scary)

ni1 wok6 zan1 hai6 haak3 “Q” sei2

p.s. (2) is used among close friends


Key Points

“呢獲”(ni1 wok6)

  • A pronoun usually mentioning something negative, meaning this time, this incident, thus referring to the layoff.
  • For a neutral tone, speak “呢次”(ni1 ci3)

Learn also: Butt of criticism in Cantonese

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