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Learn Thai | Thai word “fà-ràng” farang foreigner

Understand the Thai word “fà-ràng” / farang farang learn Thai at Thai Language Hut School

(foreigner) and when it is used

One of the first words visitors learn when they come to Thailand is ‘fà-ràng'(ฝรั่ง)/ farang which means a foreigner of Western descent. There are several theories as to the origin of the word. One of the most popular is that ‘fà-ràng’ is an abbreviation of fà-ràng sèet(French person).

More accurately, the word relates to the Germanic Franks who participated in the crusades. The name gave rise to the Arabic word ‘faranji’ meaning European Christian (hence ‘foreigner’ in the Middle East) and reached Thailand via Persian trade routes. Neighboring countries to Thailand have very similar words for a foreigner. In Cambodia, Westerners are called ‘barang’, and in Vietnam foreigners of western descent are called ‘pha-rang’ or pha-lang-xa.

In Thailand, the phrase farang is used a lot. You will hear this all the time when you are shopping, hotel, airport etc. All westerners are banned together in this way. Try not to take offense, there is a long tradition of banding peoples together in Asia and in Thailand. It is the norm.

In Thailand ‘fà-ràng’ also means ‘guava’ (possibly because guavas are not native to Thailand). It is a Thai joke to say, “fà-ràng’ gin fà-ràng” !!!!

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