Definition of kiasu in English:

kiasu

Syllabification: ki·a·su
Pronunciation: /ˈkēəˌso͞o
 
/

noun

SE Asian
  • A grasping, selfish attitude.

adjective

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  • (Of a person) very anxious not to miss out on an opportunity; grasping.
    More example sentences
    • Despite the generally negative connotation of kiasu behaviour, there is also a positive side to it, one which surfaces as diligence and hard work in order to be on top of any situation.
    • I think many of the rural people are complex, too shy, too kind to have this kiasu drive.
    • Alas, we didn't get to make it in the end because we weren't kiasu enough.

Origin

from Chinese, 'scared to lose'.

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