Learn the word play or /lên/ in Thai language

Play is one of my most favorite English words as I love to play. However it can be use with different things, not only with sports and games in Thai language. Let’s learn with interesting examples.

How to say ‘play’ in Thai?

Play in Thai is เล่น /lên/ (up-down tone)

For examples:

  • เล่นฟุตบอล lên football = to play football
  • เล่นเทนนิส lên tennis = to play tennis
  • เล่นเกมส์ lên game = to play games
  • เล่นไพ่ lên pâi = to play cards

Other cases to use ‘lên’

In English, you can use the word “play” with sports, music, and games, while we can use the word เล่น /lên/ or play in much more cases in Thai language.

เล่น /lên/ can be used with anything that gives you some fun and joy. Now I will show you some interesting examples with the word /lên/

1. To Gamble

เล่นการพนัน /lên kaanpha-nan/
As gambling gives you some excitement and fun, Thai people use the word /lên/ with gambling

  • พนัน /pha-nan/ (verb) = to gamble
  • การพนัน /kaan pha-nan/ (noun) = gambling

Ex. ฉันไม่ชอบเล่นการพนัน /chãn mây chôorb lên kaan-pa-nan/ = I don’t like to gamble. 

2. Do Yoga

Black Woman, Afro Hairstyle, Doing Yoga in Warrior Asana in the Stock Image - Image of person, beach: 107117619


เล่นโยคะ /lên yoo-khá/
Even though, we say “do yoga” in English, we use the word เล่น “lên” or “play” with Yoga as yoga is fun.

  • แม่ของฉันเล่นโยคะทุกวัน
    /mâe-khõrng-chãn lên yoo-khá thúk-wan/
    = My mom does yoga every day.

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3. To do drug

เล่นยา /lên yaa/
Frankly, I don’t wanna touch this topic, but it is so interesting that we use the word /lên/ with drugs.

It is because drugs might give someone temporary joy.


เล่นยา /lên-yaa/ used only with the colloquial term, we use the word /sèeb/ as a proper way to say instead)

  • เสพ /sèeb/ (v) = to consume used mostly with drugs (formal term)
  • ยา /yaa/ (n) = drugs or medicine
  • ยาเสพติด /yaa-sèb-tìd/ (n) = drugs or habit-forming
  • เพื่อนของฉันถูกจับเพราะเล่นยา
    /phûeng khõrng chãn thùuk-jàb phrór lên-yaa/
    = My friend got arrested because he did drugs.

4. To use social media

How tech firms have tried to stop disinformation and voter intimidation – and come up short -- GCN


เล่นเฟสบุ๊ค /lên Facebook/
Seriously, we use the word เล่น (play) with social media and applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  • คุณเล่นเฟสบุ๊คไหม
    /khun lên Facebook mai?/
    = Do you use Facebook?
  • ฉันชอบเล่นทวิตเตอร์ทุกวัน
    /chãn chôob lên Twitter tûk-wan/
    = I like to use Twitter every day.

That is it for the word ‘เล่น’ or play and how to use this word in different situations in Thai language.

Hope you enjoy this topic, and let me know, what you like to PLAY? Keep learning Thai and see you soon!

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