Helping the medicine go down


(helping the medicine go down)

ยาสระผม and ยาสีฟัน

ยา means drug, medicine, cream, ointment, medical substance, or even product (e.g. for washing up liquid or mosquito coils)

สระ has two meanings, depending on how you pronounce it.

If you say สะ (dropping the ร) then it’s to rinse (and in the context of hair, it’s to wash the hair). It also refers to a pool of body of water like a swimming pool or lake.

ผม literally means “hair”, but is also used as a masculine “I” (probably because people of lower status would always keep their heads lower than people of higher status)

If you pronounce สระ as สะ-ระ (by adding in the bridge/spacer vowel) then it means “vowel”. So สะ-ระ อา means the า vowel.

ยาสระผม is shampoo, but everyone says simply: แชมพู (you’ll see this on shampoo bottles too)!

สี has two meanings also:

1. colour (on its own it’s just colour, but if you specify a colour like สีดำ then it is the colour itself: not “black colour” but just “black”)

By association, its also means to paint (a colour) onto something. สีบ้าน “to paint the house”

2. When it’s part of a compound word, it means to rub or scrape, so the most obvious one would be โรงสี which is a structure that rubs things (a mill).

Together with ขัด (“go against something”), it means to scour or scrub (ขัดสี)

And of course ยาสีฟัน is a substance [to aid in the] rubbing of teeth (toothpaste).

A แปรงสีฟัน is a brush for rubbing teeth (toothbrush).

Now, here are some interesting idiomatic expressions:

เสียดสี is to pierce/scrape (เสียด is to pierce or thrust into something, like a needle into your skin) – and the idiomatic meaning is to

be sarcastic or satirical (more the latter than the former).

ป้ายสี literally means to scrape a sign, but it’s used idiomatically to slander someone.

Finally สีลม means a windmill, and I can’t figure out why (scrape the wind?)