The word jai in Thai means “heart,” and it is such an important concept to the Thais that the word can be compounded with more than 100 other words. A few examples:
Here are some of the jai lakkam (heart words) examples:
- ใจดี jai-dii (heart good) kind , good hearted, generous
ดีใจ dii-jai (heart good) glad, delighted
ใจร้าย jai-raaiy’ (heart mean) mean, cruel hearted
ใจอ่อน jai-on` (soft heart) easy to be persuaded
ใจแข็ง jai-kaeng~ (hard heart) hard to change once one has made his/her decision
สบายใจ sabaai-jai (comfortable, ease of heart) to feel good, in a good mood, happy
ทุกข์ใจ tuk’-jai (sad, worried)
น้ำใจ nam’-jai (water from the heart) compassion, mercy
เกรงใจ greng-jai (afraid heart) consideration, avoidance of conflict, politeness and sensitivity to feelings
ใจเย็นๆ jai yen-yen (heart cool cool) to calm down
เข้าใจ kao^ jai (enter heart) understand, “do you understand?”
รู้ใจ ruu’ jai (know heart) to know someone’s liking, to be able to read someone’s mind
เอาใจ (ao jai) (take/want heart) to please/pamper someone
เห็นใจ hen~ jai (see into the heart) to emphathise with someone’s feelings
สนใจ son~jai (interested heart) interested
จริงใจ jing-jai (real heart) sincere. “I tell you the truth, jing-jing!”
ทำใจ tam-jai (do heart) to prepare to accept it or ” get over it, let it go”
ซื้อใจ suuer jai (buy heart) to win someones’ heart
ไว้ใจ wai’-jai (keep/Leave/place heart) to begin to trust another
เชื่อใจ chuea^-jai (believe heart) trust in someone’s heart
พอใจ paw-jai (sufficient/enough heart) to be satisfied
ใจกว้าง jai gwaang^ (heart wide) wide minded, open minded
ใจแคบ jai kaeb^ (heart narrow) narrow minded
เต็มใจ dtem-jai (full heart) to be willing, to do something fullheartedly
ฝืนใจ fuuen~ jai (resist heart) to do something against one’s heart
ตั้งใจ dtang^ jai (set up heart) determined
ใส่ใจ sai` jai (put in heart) to pay attention, caring, sai=inside/put in
แปลกใจ bplaek` jai (strange heart) to be surprised
ตกใจ dtok` jai (fall heart) to be startled
ถูกใจ tuuk` jai (correct heart) like, to feel satisfied to find/get what you like
ผิดใจ pid` jai (wrong heart) to be in conflict with someone
หลายใจ laai~ jai (several heart) to simaltaneously like many people
ใจง่าย jai ngaai^ (easy heart) easy to like someone
มั่นใจ man^ jai (firm heart) confident
ใจดำ jai dam (heart black) heartless
ใจร้อน jai rawn’ (heart hot) hot tempered
น้อยใจ nawi’ jai (little heart) (v.) to feel hurt by sensitive reasons
ใจน้อย jai nawi’ (heart little) (adj) sensitive
The term nam jai (water + heart) means “water from the heart” and is used to describe genuine acts of kindness. It implies that these acts of kindness are done without any expectations — with no strings attached.
When someone brings food to the office to share with everyone else, or when a stranger stops to help when your car stalls — that’s nam jai. When your neighbor helps you fix a leaky faucet, or when a local takes you to your destination rather than just giving you directions, that’s nam jai.
I was once taken about 500 metres to a road I had asked the whereabouts of by a Thai waitress in a little food shop. She walked the entire way, smiled and walked back. I was also led by a Thai man on a bicycle following him on my motorcycle for about 15 minutes to find a repair shop. I tried to give him money but he refused.
Nam jai is grace. It’s unmerited favor. It’s a gift that doesn’t have to be, and cannot be repaid. It’s what all Christians are called to show to those around them but often do not. We should be looking for opportunities to practice nam jai everywhere we go and with everyone we meet.
The most common phrases you will hear in Thailand are often connected to the heart.
Jai Dii is a phrase you will hear if you tip or overpay but can be a little derisive if used by foreigners to each other suggesting you may be a bit of a soft touch!
Hen Jai means that you have looked into someone’s heart and understand what they need and closely follow this miraculous observation with nam jai and give them money to help their mother, father, uncle, buffalo etc . .but what if you look into her heart and see little but thievery and lies?
Then you would be, Jai-damn, a black-hearted but financially better off devil from the west. A “lie man” or even worse a”fucking man”!
This rumpled gentleman was clearly not
“Jai-Dii” as he has been given a well deserved “duffing”, selfish old bastard!!