The following set all have to do with the word for leisure, eng^ (not sure if there is a character for this word. The Mandarin usage of 閒 ㄒㄧㄢˊ has the same meaning but is probably a different character. (Correct me if I am wrong, but I think this character in Taiwanese is pronounced “han^” and is merely a less commonly used synonym for eng^ .)
It is possible that the Taiwanese created these expressions because of a pun on the word for honor/accomplishment also pronounced eng^ 榮 (M= ㄖㄨㄥˊ) since certain honored officials were the only ones with leisure to sit around doing nothing.
Here is a sample, but there are probably even more related to eng^.
WORD: eng^ (M= 閒 ㄒㄧㄢˊ) leisure, idleness, free-time, not busy
chiah ba/ siu* eng^ (食?siu*?)
“All full and nothing to do/too much free time”
eng^ kah liah’ sat~bo/ sio~ka-
“Have time to catch lice and watch them fight each other; don’t know what to do with my leisure”
bo^ thau^~lo.- eng^~chhui\ ge\ ke~kha bong/ khai~kang/
“Out of a job and nothing to do but stand around and talk”
eng^~chhui\ ge\ ke~kha
Nothing to do but lick chicken bones.
M- thang koan/ lang^ e^ eng^~su .
“One must not meddle in someone’s private affairs.”
Mai\ koan/ eng^~su .
“Don’t meddle in the affairs of others.”
Other words/phrases with eng^ :
eng^~a/~oe- : [N] idle gossip
eng^~kang : [N] leisure time, spare time (M= 閒 暇 ㄒㄧㄢˊ ㄒㄧㄚˋ)
eng^~sin N: a person of leisure (rich, elderly or occupying an honorary position) ( M= 清閒的人 ㄑㄧㄥ ㄒㄧㄢˊ ㄉ ㄖㄣˊ )
eng^~su : [N] private affairs
eng^~eng^ : at leisure
goa/ eng^~eng^ : “I have nothing to do. I am free.”
chhu\ eng^~eng^ : vacant house (M= 空 屋 ㄎㄨㄥ ㄨ) (Taiwanese synonym: khang~chhu\ )
pang^~keng eng^~eng^ : vacant room (M=空房間 ㄎㄨㄥ ㄈㄤˊ ㄐㄧㄢ) (Taiwanese synonym: khang~keng)
Created by Rev. Joel H. Linton
Last updated 3/11/2005