Definition of kiasu in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkyäˌso͞o/


SE Asian
A grasping, selfish attitude.


(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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ki·a·su

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