7 Vietnamese Words with Beautiful Meanings

7 Vietnamese Words with Beautiful Meanings

7 Vietnamese Words with Beautiful Meanings

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Words can be considered beautiful, not just for the way that they sound, but also because of what they mean. Vietnamese has a rich vocabulary due to numerous layers of meaning found in each word - there is perhaps no language more poetic in its simplicity. To give you a flavour of what Vietnamese has to offer, we've gathered 19 of our favourite words below:


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Words can be considered beautiful, not just for the way that they sound, but also because of what they mean. Vietnamese has a rich vocabulary due to numerous layers of meaning found in each word - there is perhaps no language more poetic in its simplicity. To give you a flavour of what Vietnamese has to offer, we've gathered 19 of our favourite words below:

1. Chín muồi (adj) - An opportune moment

This word actually has two meanings. “Chín muồi” is literally used to refer to ripe fruits that are ready to be harvested.

On the other hand, the figurative meaning of “chín muồi” is to indicate an object or phenomenon that has reached its fullest development, and has taken on a new form or status.

In Vietnam, people often use the second meaning and use it with time or conditions: “thời cơ chín muồi”, “điều kiện chín muồi” - the right time to do something.

Example: Khi thời cơ đã chín muồi, chúng ta cần phải chớp lấy nó để giành lợi thế.

Meaning: When the time is right, we need to act fast to take advantage of the situation

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DO YOU WANT TO LEARN VIETNAMESE?
VietnamesePod101 is the best program for anyone who wants to master Vietnamese.  Sign up today to receive a wealth of free video lessons, podcasts, vocabulary sheets, and other language learning material!
START YOUR FREE TRIAL!
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN VIETNAMESE?
VietnamesePod101 is the best program for anyone who wants to master Vietnamese.  Sign up today to receive a wealth of free video lessons, podcasts, vocabulary sheets, and other language learning material!

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN VIETNAMESE?

VietnamesePod101 is the best program for anyone who wants to master Vietnamese.  Sign up today to receive a wealth of free video lessons, podcasts, vocabulary sheets, and other language learning material!

2. Tham quan (v) - To visit and wonder at something

Many people, including native Vietnamese speakers, confuse the word “tham quan” with “thăm quan”. Actually, these two words have quite different meanings.

“Thăm quan” means to call in on someone, for example, one's parents. However, if you search the word “tham quan” in an English - Vietnamese dictionary, you should find that that word means to go sightseeing, which is the act of visiting interesting places, to wonder at them and expand one's understanding and gain a greater appreciation of the world.

Example: Đến với Hà Nội, du khách có thể tham quan phố cổ, và thưởng thức những món ăn vặt nổi tiếng như Bún Chả, Nem Chua, v.v.

Meaning: Coming to Hanoi, visitors can visit the Old Quarter and try famous street food here such as Bun Cha, Nem Chua, etc.

Vietnamese Memories is one of my favourite books about Vietnam and its people.

This sweeping graphic novel follows five family members as they struggle to navigate Vietnam's turbulent 20th century.  Their stories are both tragic and life-afirming, and will stay with you long after you have finished reading

This is one of the most entertaining ways to learn about Vietnam's history - highly recommended!

Vietnamese Memories is one of my favourite books about Vietnam and its people.

This sweeping graphic novel follows five family members as they struggle to navigate Vietnam's turbulent 20th century.  Their stories are both tragic and life-afirming, and will stay with you long after you have finished reading

This is one of the most entertaining ways to learn about Vietnam's history - highly recommended!

3. Đỡ đần (v) - Give a friendly hand, assist

“Đỡ đần” is an act of kindness to make other people's lives less difficult and painful.

However, this verb is usually used only to refer to the help among family members who are close to each other. With other people like friends, collages, strangers, etc. the word “giúp đỡ” will be used in place of “đỡ đần”.

Example: Con cái có thể đi làm thêm kiếm chút tiền để đỡ đần, giảm bớt gánh nặng tài chính cho bố mẹ.

Meaning: Children can do some part-time jobs to help parents with financial burdens.

4. Đa đoan (adj) - Complicate, tangled

The word “đa đoan” is often used to describe women who are sensitive, introverted and easily influenced by others.

This emotional weakness always causes trouble trouble for them and as a result they often end up feeling hurt. Therefore, they usually have lots of loose ends in their lives, especially in their love lives.  Most of them live unhappy and miserable lives.  

Example: Cô ấy có một cuộc sống đa đoan, khổ sở lắm.

Meaning: Her life is a complete mess.

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5. Đượm (v) - Mixed, hidden, implied in something

The word “đượm”, as an adjective, refers to fuel which catches fire easily and burns for a long time

When used as a verb, “đượm” means that something lies deep inside of something else. It's difficult to explain the nuances of this word, and even harder to translate into English

Example: Cậu bé ấy có một đôi mắt đượm buồn.

Meaning: This little boy has very sad eyes - sadness is hidden in his eyes.

6. Đìu hiu (adj) - Wistfully sad

"Đìu hiu" is a word that describes a particular sort of sadness - a lonely, wistful sadness.

The English word "sad" simply doesn't carry the same emotional depth as the  word "đìu hiu", because this word also conveys a hit of longing and loneliness.

Example: Phong cảnh thiên nhiên ở đây thật đẹp, hùng vĩ nhưng lại có nét đìu hiu, quạnh quẽ.

Meaning: The natural scenery here is beautiful and spectacular but inspires a wistful sadness.

7. Bạt mạng (adj) - Reckless, devil-may-care

“Bạt mạng” is an adjective that refers to a person that is reckless and has a devil-may-care attitude.

This person likes to do things that are risky and dangerous and don’t care or worry about the consequences of their actions.

Example: Một người bạn của tôi cùng đám bạn xấu của anh đã bị bắt giữ do tổ chức và đua xe bạt mạng trên phố.

Meaning: A friend of mine and his bad friends were arrested for organizing wild and irresponsible street-racing.

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