Thai idiom you must know – หนีเสือปะจระเข้

by | May 2, 2021 | idioms, Thai, Transcript, Video

In This article, we will talk about one of the most important idioms that all Thai people know. Therefore, you also have to know it. It is :

หนีเสือปะจระเข้ (nĕe sĕuua bpà jor-rá-kây)

Thai idiom you must know - หนีเสือปะจระเข้ 1

What does หนีเสือปะจระเข้ mean in English?

Let’s break it down word by word.

  1. หนี 🏃🏽‍♂️ (nĕe) is when you want to escape from something. You want to run away.
  2. เสือ 🐅 (sĕuua) means tiger.
  3. ปะ 👀 (bpà) means to encounter.
  4. จระเข้ 🐊 (jor-rá-kây) means crocodile.

So what does it mean? You run away from a tiger and meet with a crocodile? Like you all know, tigers and crocodiles are carnivores. They hunt and even attack humans. They kill brutally. Therefore, they are considered very dangerous. That is where this idiom originated.


You escaped a situation where you are in danger and, unluckily, you fall into another situation where it’s as dangerous, if not even more dangerous.

A very similar saying in English is “out of the frying pan into the fire“.


A female office worker worked till late, and the boss came in and tried to harass her. She ran away and enters the taxi to go home. But the taxi driver was evil and raped her.

Translation in Thai:


The situation above is considered as หนีเสือปะจระเข้ (nĕe sĕuua bpà jor-rá-kây).

I made a video explaining this idiom. Please take a look:

Download the transcript from the video here.

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