Jump to content

Farang, insult or not?


Recommended Posts

Yes. Nothing like sitting there listening to a conversation - especially when they don't know you can speak Thai - and then come out with:


"Phuut koey arai gun?"


(What are you chatting about together?)


Certainly a conversation stopper! :thumbup:





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 84
  • Created
  • Last Reply

wikipedia has the same exlanation as Mac but gives some alternatives


Origins and related words

One theory of the word's origin derives it from farangset, the Thai pronunciation of français, the French word for 'French' or 'Frenchman'. France was one of the first European nations to establish cultural ties with Thailand in the 17th century, so to Thais at that time, 'white man' and 'Frenchman' were synonymous. However, the Portuguese, Dutch and others arrived long before the French, which makes that origin unlikely. A few others have suggested that in the Ayutthaya period, land was given to the Portuguese merchants to conduct their business at "Baan Farang" (Guava Village).


A more common etymology which explains why many other Southern Asian and Southeast Asian languages use the word, has to do with the French but in a more indirect way, saying it derives from the earlier Persian word farangi, which refers to foreigners. This in turn comes from the word "frank" via the Arabic word firinjia, which was used refer to the Franks (French) in the Middle Ages. The French were later the first European nation that helped the Ghajar Kings modernize the Iranian government, in particular with the establishment of customs, in Persian: gomrok. Long before English, and until about the 1960s, French was the foreign language of choice for educated Iranians. The abundance of French words in the Persian language attests to this fact.


By another account the word comes through Arabic ("Afrandj"), and there are quite a few articles about this. One of the most detailed treatments of the subject is by Rashid al-din Fazl Allâh[1].


Farang is closely related to the Khmer word Barang.


In Tamil, the word that refers to Europeans (most specifically to the British) is parangiar, presumably because Tamil does not have the "F" sound. Many South Asian and Southeast Asian languages, including Hindi-Urdu and Malay, also use this word to denote foreigners.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I her the Farlang term being used in rapid conversation....between two Thai's (who I know)...I always interupt and say "farlang arai" ...this usually stops the conversation, where both parties smile and say "not talk about you".... I know....but I make my point.


Since Farang appears in a number of thai words:


Naw Mai Farang aspargus

Phak Chee Farang parsley

Mark Farang chewing gum

Man Farang potato

Farang guava


(There are undoubtedly more)


Chances are that they don`t talk about us every time the word farang pops up in a conversation.:)





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Me: (Talking to John's Thai Wife) I heard those two say "Blaa blaa blaa 'Farang' blaa." What did they say?


Ceu: They say "That ugly honkey white devil looks like he fell out of the ugly tree with that other one."


Me: "Farang = Honkey White Devil???"


Ceu: No, "Farang" = that other one. First part of talk about you being honkey ugly white devil!!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it any different than westerners referring to Eastern people as "Asians"?


Given the widespread, totally un-selfconscious and unapologetic racism in Thailand, I would say it's more akin to the now archaic (at least in the circles I operate in) English term "Oriental"...or perhaps "Colored".



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...