One of the first words you probably learned when you started learning Thai is คุณ (kun). But did you know it has a few other meanings?
คุณ (kun) is also a way to add a polite / formal title to someone. You can use it like you would use Mr, Ms, Miss, and Mrs in English. I’ll explain more in-depth shortly.
The other use is to say kindness.
Let’s explore คุณ (kun) more in-depth!
คุณ as a Formal Title
In Thai, if you want to sound respectful before saying someone’s name you would say คุณ (kun) before the name.
I recommend you use คุณ when addressing people you are not super close with such as friends, family members, teachers, doctors, etc.
The following examples will show you the respectful way to address people. As you can see, it’s as simple as คุณ + (person).
Please note, that unlike in English where you say Mr. + ( Last Name), in Thai you say คุณ + (nickname). If you don’t know the nickname then use their first name.
- Mom: คุณแม่ (kun mâe)
- Dad: คุณพ่อ (kun pôr)
- Bob: คุณ Bob (kun Bob)
- Grace: คุณ Grace (kun Grace)
คุณ to say kindness
คุณ also means kindness/virtue.
- The king has kindness towards the people
prá jâo yòo hŭa mee kun dtòr bprà-chaa kon
I hope you now know the different uses of คุณ (kun). So don’t get surprised when you hear it and it doesn’t mean you!