Share this entry

kiasu Syllabification: ki·a·su
Pronunciation: /ˈkyäˌso͞o/

Definition of kiasu in English:


SE Asian


Back to top  
(Of a person) very anxious not to miss out on an opportunity; grasping.
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.


From Chinese, 'scared to lose'.

Definition of kiasu in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈdo͞ofəs
a stupid person