Have you ever wondered what “555” means?

And why Thai people use “555” in comments or in any online conversations like text, LINE, Facebook, and many more anywhere informal Thai is written? Is it an abbreviation or acronyms of “internet slang” in Thai language?

This is actually a useful thing to know if you have talked to Thai people via emails, chatting programs or social networking websites, you might have seen “555” or “555555+” characters, but you didn’t know what it all meant or never knew why we used it, maybe until you learned the numbers in Thai.

Thai people are using “555” commonly in Thailand and this trend has been used among Thai women mostly. It’s one of the main communication skill to express our amusement feeling easier with the number “5” that does all the required pronunciation that we need. We used “555” /hâa hâa hâa/ (ห้า ห้า ห้า) as an onomatopoeic for the sound of laughter; /hâa hâa hâa/ (ฮ่า ฮ่า ฮ่า). According to Etymology, number five in Thai is the homophone of /hâa/ (ฮ่า) which is laughing sound because the Thai pronunciation for five is also /hâa/ (ห้า) but different spelling.

            – Numbers: “555” => /hâa hâa hâa/ (ห้า ห้า ห้า)

            – Laughing sound: “HA-HA-HA” => /hâa hâa hâa/ (ฮ่า ฮ่า ฮ่า )

So, we could say that the habit of using “555” in chat or message comes from how the numeral “5” is pronounced in Thai language when Thai people want to say that something is funny or it’s the Thai equivalent of “LOL”; when you see “555” /hâa hâa hâa/ (ห้า ห้า ห้า) in Thailand that means “funny and laughing out loud /hâa hâa hâa/ (ฮ่า ฮ่า ฮ่า)” like “HA-HA-HA” or “LOL” (actually it doesn’t matter which language you use, when you want to say that something is funny you can use “ha-ha-ha” as you use “lol”). Occasionally, adding a plus sign to the number five just comes after in order to indicate that the laugh is longer than typed and express the level of fun or feeling, e.g. the funnier something is – the more “555555” or “555+” will be used in the text.

Why Thai people use “555” in any texting or online conversations a lot?

As in Thai language, we have so many alphabets, vowels and tones. To form a single word, we need to take time to combine (and type) the consonant+vowel+tone which no wonder that Thai keyboard has so many letters flying around. That’s probably one of the reason we prefer to use “555” rather than to type a full word. (If you were to write “LOL” by using regular Thai script, it would be “ฮ่าฮ่าฮ่า”). It’s way easier pressing a creative “word” choice like “555” keypad while laughing and hit the enter.

Tips: There’re many onomatopoeia for the sound of laughing in Thai and other ways of “spelling” laughter include “อิอิ”, “ฮิฮิ”, “ฮา ฮ า “, “เห  อ  เห  อ ” and so forth. And if you ever chatted with Thai women, you might have seen some strange words like “อิอิ”, “หุหุ”, “งุงิ” or “คริ คริ” which mean chuckling.

That’s all for today’s lesson, guys. We hope it helps you to understand Thai people better and benefit in somehow. Open your mind then take some time to learn Thai, we’re sure it will help your travel or stay here more enjoyable as you will understand Thai’s culture. Overall the quality of your life in Thailand will be significantly increased if you can read and speak Thai which put a huge range of information and entertainment options at your disposal.

(Featured Image from www.555arts.org)