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Hàn-jī驚輸 / 惊输

Kiasu (simplified Chinese: 惊输; traditional Chinese: 驚輸; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: kiaⁿ-su) is a Hokkien word that denotes a "competitive” attitude" that arises from fear of missing out OR fear of being left out.[1]

Etymology and usage[edit]

Kiasu comes from the vernacular Chinese phrase Chinese: 怕輸, meaning 'fear of losing’. It is commonly used in Singapore, where a survey in 2015 ranked being kiasu as one of the top 10 Singaporean cultural values,[2] and the word has been introduced into the English language by speakers of colloquial Singaporean English. It is often used to refer to anxious, competitive attitude arising from a fear of "missing out" or "losing out".[3]

Kiasu is similar in etymology to kiasi (literally, fear of death); both terms are used to describe similar attitudes. Kiasu or kiasuism means taking extreme measures to achieve success, whereas kiasi or kiasiism means to taking extreme, risk-avoidant measures.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of kiasu in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012.
  2. ^ "The most ambitious country in the world? - BBC Travel".
  3. ^ "Where the word kiasu came from and how it spread". South China Morning Post.


External links[edit]