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LEXICON

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Maan (มาร)

Thai name for the demon Mara, the personification of evil, who tried to withhold Prince Siddhartha from becoming Enlightened.

macaque

Name of a monkey of the genus Macaca. There are several species, including five that are found in Thailand, i.e. the Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca irus or ling sahaem - fig.), Pig-tail Macaque (Macaca nemestrina or ling hang san - fig.), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta or ling wok - fig.), Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis or ling wok phu khao - fig.) and the Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides or ling sen - fig.). Beside these, there is yet another species of Pig-tailed Macaque, known as the Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, genus Macaca leonina, but this has traditionally been considered a subspecies of Macaca nemestrina. To distinguish the two, Macaca nemestrina is also referred to as Southern Pig-tail Macaque. Macaques are usually not afraid of water, but not all species are good swimmers, though some are, and a few even like to dive (fig.). Some species, especially Pig-tail Macaques, are trained for picking coconuts at coconut palm plantations (fig.). Typically, macaques often store food for short periods of time in their cheeks, which they use as pouches. In Thai they are generally called kang, but are specified with other or additional names. Etymologically the word macaque comes from the Portuguese word macaco which was picked up from makaku, a word from a West African tongue called Fiot, in which the word kaku means ‘monkey’. In southern Thailand the Malay term Beruk is often used to refer to the Southern Pig-tail Macaque, though in reality the term refers to any type of monkey or macaque. In India, monkeys are considered the warriors of King Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, and when one of them dies near a Hindu community, it is given the proper respect and rites for the dead (fig.).

Macrochenus isabellinus

See duang nuad yao kho malaai.

madan (มะดัน)

Thai name for a evergreen tree with the scientific name Garcinia schomburgkiana pierre, of the family Guttiferae. Its long, oval shaped, edible fruit is green and has a very sour tatse. It is rich in Vitamin C. Besides its fruit also some of its young, lance-shaped leaves and their buds can be used as nutritious food ingredients, e.g. to make nahm phrik. Its root and leaves are used in herbal medicine for a variety of ailments. Garcinia is of the same genus as the mangosteen (garcinia mangostana).

Madana (मादन)

Sanskrit. Another name for Kama or Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love. The word madana literally means ‘delighting’, but also ‘passion’, ‘intoxicating’ and ‘inebriating’, and the English word mad derives from it. He is also known as Manmatha, i.e. ‘Churner [of the mind]’. His consort or shakti is known as Rati.

Madchanu (มัจฉานุ)

1. Thai-Pali. The son of Hanuman (fig.) and the mermaid queen Suphanamatcha (fig.) in the epic Ramayana, thus having the body of a monkey with a fish tail. Later, Rama cut off his tail so that he was no longer part fish. Also spelled Matchanu.

2. Thai-Pali. Name of the submarine HTMS Madhanu, as well as the generic name for this particular type of Japanese-built submarine, of which a total of four were used by the Royal Thai Navy between 19 July 1938 and 30 November 1951, the date on which all U-boats were decommissioned (fig.), after the Navy's Submarine Group had already been dissolved on 16 July, following a group of naval officers' involvement in the failed coup of 29 June 1951. This type of submarine was 51 meters long, 4.1 meters wide, and armed with four 450 millimeter torpedo tubes (fig.). Whereas the HTMS Madhanu is named after the son of Hanuman and the mermaid queen Suphanamatcha from the Thai story Ramayana (fig.), the other three U-boats were named HTMS Wirun, after Wirunchambang, a giant or yak with a navy blue complexion (fig.); HTMS Sin Samut, after a character from the story Phra Aphaimanih; and HTMS Phlaay Chumphon, after a character from the story Khun Chang Khun Paen. Following their eventual dismantlement, parts of the submarines were brought to the Naval Museum (fig.) in Samut Prakan, where they are still preserved today. Also spelled Matchanu.

madeua (มะเดื่อ)

Thai name for a kind of fig tree of which there are several species, several being similar to the cluster fig tree. The family includes the madeua kliang or madeua uthumphon, madeua kwahng, madeua ching, madeua plong, madeua chumphon and madeua hom.

madeua kliang (มะเดื่อเกลี้ยง)

Thai name for the ficus racemosa or ficus glomerata, a type of cluster fig tree belonging to the family of Moraceae, with the Thai name madeua. It grows near watersides where it thrives well. Its fruit grows in dense clusters on the main, usually thicker branches, and directly on its trunk. The 2.2-5 cm pear-shaped receptacles, called figs, are initially yellow-green and turn dark red-brown when ripening (fig.). This independent deciduous tree grows up to 24 meters and has a rather open crown and large spreading branches. It sheds its leaves in January. The fig is in fact a compartment enclosing hundreds of small flowers which are pollinated by blastophaga wasps, very small wasps that crawl through the mouth of the fig which opens as the fig starts to ripen, in search of a suitable place to lay their eggs. In turn, the figs provide a safe haven and nourishment for the next generation of wasps. In Sanskrit called udumbara and sometimes referred to as goolar fig, a word derived from its Hindi name. The tree is native to Australasia, South-East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Also called madeua uthumphon (มะเดื่ออุทุมพร).

madeua kwahng (มะเดื่อกวาง)

Thai name for a large independent deciduous or semi- evergreen tree with the scientific name Ficus callosa, that grows up to 30 meters and belongs to the family of Madeua. The yellow-green 1.8-2.8 cm figs grow solitary or paired in leaf axils or slightly behind the leaves. The tree has a rounded crown and a long straight trunk that becomes slightly buttressed with age.

madeua plong (มะเดื่อปล้อง)

Thai name for a small independent evergreen or semi-deciduous fig tree with the scientific name Ficus hispida, that grows up to 12 meters and belongs to the family of Madeua. Its 2.5-4 cm figs grow clustered on long stems hanging from the trunk and the main branches.

Madhava (माधव)

A name for Krishna or Vishnu.

Madhavi (माधवी)

A name for Lakshmi, a consort of Vishnu.

Madira (मदिर)

Sanskrit. A name for Varuni, goddess of wine and consort of Varuna. See also Sura.

mae ai (แม่อาย)

Thai. ‘Shy mother’. Nickname for the maiyarahb. Also transcribed mae aai or mae ahy.

mae chi (แม่ชี)

Thai. Buddhist nun. They have lay status and do not belong to the Sangha. See also bhikkuni.

Mae Fahng (แม่ฝาง)

Name of a National Park in the northern part of Chiang Mai Province, covering the districts Fahng, Chaiprakan and Mai Ai (map), an area popular for mountain hiking. It covers an area of about 524 kmē and borders both Chiang Rai and Myanmar. There are several high mountains, that part of the Dan Laos mountain range, including Doi Pha Hom Pok (ดอยผ้าห่มปก) with an altitude of 2,297.84 meters, making it the second highest mountain in Thailand. The park also has hot springs and is said to attract well over 100,000 visitors annually. Often spelled Mae Fang.

Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน)

The small capital of a jangwat of the same name in Northwest Thailand (map), at 924 kms from Bangkok and by mountain road over Pai, 1,864 curves and 245 kms from Chiang Mai. In the North Mae Hong Son province borders Myanmar's Shan State and in the West its Kayin and Kayah States. With a population of less than 7,000 in town and about 254,800 in the province, half of them being Shan-Thai Yai, it has the lowest population density of all Thai provinces. It is believed that the Lua or Lawa hill tribe peoples already lived on these lands long before Chao Kaew Meuang Ma (เจ้าแก้วเมืองมา) arrived in the area in 1831 AD. Historical records show that he was sent there by Phraya Mahawong (มหาวงศ์) of Chiang Mai, to capture the wild elephants that inhabited the forested mountains of the region. He built a post from where he could operate his expedition which later grew into the present-day town. The place-name is possibly derived, though with a different Thai spelling, from the name of an elephant training camp, that is an enclosed space or ‘room’ (hong - ห้อง) in between two mountains, in a valley several kilometers south of the city where wild elephants were formerly rounded up, tamed and ‘trained’ (son - สอน). The name Mae (แม่) which means ‘mother’, is also a general name for any village or small city in North Thailand and appears in many place-names. It is likely an abbreviation of Mae Nahm, the Thai word for ‘river’ which literally means ‘mother of the water’, as many villages are situated on river banks and their name often derives from the river they are located at, akin to the Central Thai word Bang, e.g. the northern city of Mae Taeng which is located at the Mae Taeng River or Mae Nahm Taeng, in Thai. Besides this, the name Mae (‘mother’) might also be understood as an allegorical reference to a place where one feels at home. Another story says that the dwelling near the elephant training camp was first called Ban Mae Rong Son (บ้านแม่ร่องสอน) with Ban, meaning ‘dwelling’ or ‘village’ and Rong being a ‘groove’, ‘cavity’ or ‘corner’. This version states that the name Mae Rong Son was corrupted to Mae Hong Son, as the initial R is often pronounced as H in the northern dialect of Lan Na, e.g. Chiang Rai which is pronounced Chiang Hai and the word Ban was dropped altogether when the place grew into a larger town. Mae Hong Son prospered and Shan began migrating there in increased numbers. In approximately 1856 political unrest arose on the western banks of the Salawin river, causing further influx of Shan who fled the troubled area, and again in 1876 war broke out between the principalities of Meuang Nai (เมืองนาย) and Meuang Mok Mai (เมืองหมอกใหม่) in which prince Kolan (โกหล่าน) of Mok Mai, unable to sustain the battle, fled with his family and peers to Mae Hong Son. With this constant influx of migrants Mae Hong Son had by 1874 become a large community and changed it status from a village to a meuang. A phaya was appointed and from then onward the area and town were governed by successive rulers, the first being the Shan leader Singha Nat Racha (fig.). In 1890, during the reign of king Rama V, several partially independent city-states in the region, including Mae Hong Son, Khun Yuam, Mae Sariang and Pai were incorporated into one single unit of government, named Boriwen Chiang Mai Tawantok (บริเวณเชียงใหม่ตะวันตก), i.e. ‘Chiang Mai's Western Precinct’ which in 1903 was renamed Boriwen Phayap Neua (บริเวณพายัพเหนือ), the ‘Northwestern Precinct’ and in 1910 made into a Thai province by royal decree, with the town of Mae Hong Son (fig.) as the administrative capital. Places of interest include Wat Jong Kham and Wat Jong Klang, two temples in Burmese style (fig.) near the lake in the centre of town (fig.); Tham Pla fish cave (fig.); Tham Lod cave (fig.) with a river running through (fig.) and the separate section of Tham Phi Maen (fig.); Kiw Lom (กิ่วลม) viewpoint (fig.) and Lisu market; Pai Memorial Bridge (fig.); and Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Moo (fig.), a hilltop temple offering an excellent view over the city (fig.). This province of 7 amphur is known for its Poi Sang Long festival (fig.), Bua Thong Flower Blooming Season festival (fig.) and the Longneck Karen (fig.). Its provincial flower is the tithonia diversifolia (fig.). See also Mae Hong Son data file.

Mae Khlong-Mahachai Railway

Thai. An old stretch of rail track, that runs between Wong Wian Yai in Thonburi and Samut Songkhram on the Gulf of Thailand. Originally constructed as a private line to take sea produce from the fishing ports of Samut Sakon (Mahachai) and Samut Songkram to the markets of Bangkok, it later became part of the State Railway of Thailand, though it was never physically connected to the rest of the network. This little known railway line has great charm and passes through still unspoiled countryside, and terminates in the middle of the fresh food market in Samut Sakhon, where vendors sell their groceries along and between the rails, only stepping aside and removing the awnings when the next train is due. From there, one has to take a ferry across the Tha Jihn (Tha Chin) river, where trains connect to Samut Songkhram on the Mae Khlong river, from a parallel station on the west bank. A similar rail track market as described above is found in the centre of Samut Songkhram (fig.).

Mae Khong (แม่โขง)

1. Thai. Popular name of Thailand's longest waterway, which is also the 12th longest river in the world. It rises in the Himalayas and forms the border between Thailand and Laos (fig.), and Laos and Myanmar (Burma), at the Golden Triangle. It is formed by the melt waters of the Tibetan Himalayas joined by several other rivers. It is 4,590 kms long and passes through 7 countries, namely  Tibet, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where it forms one of the world's largest deltas, before flowing into the South China Sea at five different locations. This delta is in Vietnamese known as Cuu Long, which translates as Nine Dragons. In China, it is besides Mei Gong He (湄公河) officially called Lancang Jiang (澜沧江), that literally means Vast Swelling Water River, but which is usually translated as Turbulent River’. The Mae Khong basin is the habitat of the Giant Catfish, the world’s largest known freshwater fish. Also spelt Mekhong, though its full Thai name is Mae Nahm Khong. See also Yunnan.

2. Name of a Thai brand of rice whisky.

Mae Khongkha (แม่คงคา)

See Khongkha.

Mae Kwan Khao (แม่ขวัญข้าว)

Another name for the Thai goddess of rice Poh Sop. Also spelled Mae Khwan Khaw.

mae mai (แม่ไม้)

Thai term to refer to the various fighting techniques in muay thai, i.e. Thai boxing. Generally, strikes are known as kaanrook (การรุก), whereas defence poses are called kaanrab (การรับ). Punches are called mat (หมัด), but if performed with the elbow they are called tee/tih sok (ตีศอก), with the knee tee/tih khao (ตีเข่า), and when using the feet the strikes are classified as theeb/thihb (ถีบ). See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

Mae Nahm Khong (แม่น้ำโขง)

Full Thai name for the Mae Khong River.

maeng (แมง)

Thai. Generic name for certain adult invertebrates, including most insects, but also jellyfish and certain species of crab, etc. Two kinds are distinguished: i.e. those of which the head and abdomen form one single section, and those with a clearly divided head and abdomen. Maeng typically have 8 or 10 legs, no antennae and no wings. Although terms are often used interchangeably, other kinds of insects are most often called malaeng, whereas pupae or insects in the larval stage usually carry yet another name.

maengda (แมงดา)

1. Thai name for a giant water bug. They are consumed by some and can be served both fried as well as an ingredient in nahm prik num, a spicy dish of pounded grilled green chilies.

2. Thai slang for a pimp.

3. Short for maengda talae, the horseshoe crab.

maengda thalae (แมงดาทะเล)

Thai name for the horseshoe crab.

maeng kaphrun (แมงกะพรุน)

Thai for jellyfish’, also referred to as ‘sea jelly’ or simply ‘jelly’, of which there are around 2,000 varieties, in appearance often transparent or translucent and with stinging tentacles, used for protection and to catch prey. READ ON.

maeng kinoon (แมงกินูน)

Thai. Name for a kind of scarab beetle of the genus Holotrichia, that belong to the order Coleoptera and the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. There exist several subspecies, including Holotrichia longipennis and Holotrichia problematica. In Thai the different varieties are called maeng kinoon daeng noi (แมงกินูนแดงน้อย), maeng kinoon daeng (แมงกินูนแดง), maeng kinoon daeng yai (แมงกินูนแดงใหญ่), maeng kinoon thong (แมงกินูนทอง), maeng kinoon dam (แมงกินูนดำ), etc. Depending on the species, they are light to reddish brown, to near black, and about 22 to 25 millimeters in length. They dig into the soil and live near or in the roots of trees and plants, oftentimes causing damage to crops such as ginger. During the day they stay in the earth to avoid the heat, while during the night they come out of the burrows to feed, flying high up in trees in search of young leaves. In some parts of Isaan, they are fried and eaten as a snack. Alternatively called maeng jinoon (แมงจินูน).

maeng mao (แมงเมา)

Thai. ‘Drunken insect’. Thai term for winged termites (fig.). They are the offspring of real termites and are sent out in large swarms (fig.) by the nest, to establish new colonies, typically at sundown during the rainy season. Their Thai designation refers to the fact that they seem to be completely disorientated and once they have dropped onto the floor, they act even more so, going around in circles, as if they are drunk. Although the majority of them will die, it takes only one male and one female to become the king and queen of a new colony. These winged termites aid in the development of hed pluak, literally ‘termite mushrooms’, an edible species of wild mushroom naturally found near termite mounds, as they sprout from the burrows created by the winged termites when leave the old nest.

maengmoom (แมงมุม)

Thai generic name for any kind of spider. Maeng is a generic name for insects with 8 or more legs, and without antennae nor wings, whereas moom means ‘corner’. Maengmoom could thus be translated as ‘eight-legged corner insect’. Many species spin webs to capture insects as food (fig.), though some hunt for prey, yet all are able to produce silken threads from glands in their abdomen. Thailand also has some cave spiders (fig.), i.e. spiders that dwell solely in caves. The world's largest spider by leg-span is the Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima), a cave dwelling spider of the genus Heteropoda found in Laos, and laying claim to a leg-span of 30 centimeters. Other large spiders include certain species of wolf spider, of which some may additionally be funnel-web spiders, known in Thai as maengmoom yai kruay (แมงมุมใยกรวย), whilst others may resemble nursery-web spiders. Besides this, there are several species of tarantula (fig.), some of which are eaten in some parts of Southeast Asia (fig.).

maengmoom kradoht (แมงมุมกระโดด)

Thai. ‘Jumping spider’. Generic name for any spider in the family Salticidae, with more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, the world's largest family of spiders, accounting for about 13% of all species, with most of them found in tropical forests. Its tiny members are in English, similar as in Thai, commonly referred to as jumping spiders, as they are capable of jumping, often several times the length of their body. Unlike grasshoppers that have strong muscular legs, jumping spiders are capable of leaping forward by altering their blood (bodily fluid) pressure within their limbs, using a well-developed internal hydraulic system. Before they jump over heights, they secure themselves with a thin silken thread, in case they should fall. Jumping spiders are known for their hairy legs, superior eyesight, curiosity and inquisitiveness. They have eight eyes and the largest ones, the principal eyes in the front of the head are very specialized and are very good at seeing spatial detail. Jumping spiders do not posses eyeballs, but have mushroom-shaped eyes, that consist of a fixed lens on the outside and a tiny retina at the back of a long tube on the inside, which the spider is able to move due to muscles that surround these so-called eye-tubes. This allows the spider to look from one side to the other while sitting still and make for a perfect hunting tool when ambushing prey without any outer movement. Mostly carnivorous, they are diurnal, active hunters and usually stalk their prey, though there are some species that also eat nectar and pollen, and at least one species that lives on plant matter. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

maengmoom lang naam (แมงมุมหลังหนาม)

Thai. ‘Spiny-backed spider’. Generic name for a genus of spider, which members are commonly referred to as Spiny Orb-weavers or Spiny-backed Orb-weavers (fig.), and of which there are several species and subspecies. They belong to the family Araneidae and include the subfamily Gasteracanthinae, genus Gasteracantha. Members are typified by a crab-like shell on their back, with an even number of spine-like projections, usually totaling between two and six (fig.), such as in Gasteracantha cancriformis, G. kuhlii and G. minax (Austracantha minax). Their shell is generally black with a pattern in another colour, often white or yellow. Depending on the species, spiders of this genus may also be called Crab Spider, Six Spined Spider, Spiny Spider, Spiny-bellied Orb-weaver, Jewel Spider, Jewel Box Spider and Smiley Face Spider, among others. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

maengmoom mae maay nahm tahn (แมงมุมแม่หม้ายน้ำตาล)

Thai. ‘Brown Widow Spider’. Name for a very venomous spider, with the scientific designation Latrodectus geometricus. Though it was previously only rarely found in a few places outside Africa and the Americas, it recently started to occur also in Thailand. According to the Thai Nature Education Centre this species was introduced in the wild accidently through some arachnophiles, i.e. fans of spiders, who imported it from abroad. Once escaped, it reproduced rapidly, as females lay between 200 to 400 eggs at a time, and has now spread to about 20 Thai provinces. This bulbous spider, with rather long fore and hind legs, has a body size of about one centimeter. Its neurotoxic venom is purportedly twice as potent as that of the black widow, though usually stays confined to the bite area. If bitten, medical attention is needed.

maengmoom sih thong laai phah batik (แมงมุมสีทองลายผ้าบาติค)

Thai designation for the Batik Golden Web Spider.

maengmoom yai thong laai khanaan (แมงมุมใยทองลายขนาน)

Thai designation for the Golden Orb-web Spider.

maengmoom yak (แมงมุมยักษ์)

Thai. ‘Giant spider’. Another name for beung.

maengpong (แมงป่อง)

Thai for ‘scorpion’. Having eight legs and no wings, these venomous, predatory arthropods officially belong to the invertebrate category of maeng, though they are sometimes erratically called malaengpong, thus placing them unjustly in the category of malaeng, i.e. invertebrates with only  6 legs. Scorpions belong to the class of Arachnida, i.e. joint-legged invertebrates, which includes all spiders, with the Greek word arachne (άράχνη) meaning spider. Among the estimated 11-18 (depending on the source) species of scorpion found in Thailand are the Asian Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus spinifer), known in Thai as maengpong pah asia (แมงป่องป่าเอเชีย), maengpong yak (แมงป่องยักษ์) or maeng ngao (แมงเงา), meaning ‘Asian forest scorpion’, ‘giant scorpion’ and ‘shadow scorpion’ respectively, the latter perhaps referring to its photophobic nature or its preferred habitat, i.e. out of the sun, due to its aversion to sunlight; the Asian Giant Black Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus longimanus); and the very aggressive species Vietnamese Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus laoticus - fig.), which is known in Thai as maengpong chang (แมงป่องช้าง), i.e. ‘elephant scorpion’, and that in Thailand is mainly found in Isaan. When threatened, scorpions will curl their tail up forward in defense (fig.). Also transcribed maeng pong. See also scorpion orchid (fig.).

maeng pong sae (แมงป่องแส้)

Thai for Whip Scorpion, a literal translation of the English designation.

maeng tab tao (แมงตับเต่า)

Thai name for a species of rather large Water Scavenger Beetle, with the scientific designation Hydrous cavistanum. It belongs to the order Coleoptera and to the family Hydrophilidae (fig.). In Thai, it is also known by the name malaeng niang (แมลงเหนี่ยง). It is black in colour, almond-shaped, and has a strongly keeled abdomen. In addition to scavenging, adults may be predatory or vergetarian. This species of beetle is fried and eaten as a snack in some parts of Thailand, especially in Isaan.

Mae Phra Thoranee (แม่พระธรณี)

Thai name for Thoranee.

Mae Poh Sop (แม่โพสพ)

Another name for the Thai goddess of rice Poh Sop.

Mae Seua (แม่ซื้อ)

Thai. Name a kind of spirit or thevada, that looks out for infants, i.e. a sort of guardian angel that looks after kids. There are seven different kinds of those guardian spirits, one for each day of the week, and children will receive their guardian angel according to the day on which they are born, similar as in the dao prajam wan, sat prajam wan, sih prajam wan, and Phra prajam wan systems. The seven Mae Seua are known individually by the names Wichitmahwan, who is represented with a red human-like body and the head of a lion (singh), and who correspondents to Sunday; Wannongkrahn, who is represented with an off-white (khao-nuan) human-like body and the head of a horse, and who correspondents to Monday; Yaksaborisut, who is represented with a pink (or sometimes black) human-like body and the head of a buffalo (fig.), and who correspondents to Tuesday; Samonthat, who is represented with a human-like body and the head of an elephant (fig.), similar to the Hindu deity Ganesha (fig.), and who correspondents to Wednesday; Galohtuk, who is represented with a pale yellow human-like body and the head of deer, and who correspondents to Thursday; Yaknongyao, who is represented with a light blue-greyish human-like body and the head of an ox (ko - fig.), and who correspondents to Friday; and lastly Ekalai, who is represented with either a blackish or an orangey-yellowish human-like body with black cloud-like stripes and the head of tiger (seua), and who correspondents to Saturday (fig.).

Maew (แม้ว)

1. Thai name for Hmong. Also Miao. MORE ON THIS.

2. Language belonging to the family of Miao-Yao-Pateng, a subgroup of the Sino-Tibetan language group that includes Chinese, Burmese and Tibetan. Also Miao. MORE ON THIS.

maew (แมว)

Thai generic name for any kind of cat. See also Siamese Cat.

maew dao (แมวดาว)

Thai for Leopard Cat. Compare with seua dao.

Maew Kwak (แมวกวัก)

Thai. ‘Beckoning Cat’. Thai name for the Japanese cat Maneki-neko (fig.). Compare with Nang Kwak. See also kwak.

Mae Ya Nang (แม่ย่านาง)

Thai. Mascot or spirit guarding a ship or a boat.

ma fai (มะไฟ)

Thai name for a tree (fig.), with the botanical name Baccaurea ramiflora, which is listed in the family Euphorbiaceae and yields small, round, yellowish-orange fruits, that are commonly known as Burmese grapes and in some way similar in appearance to longkong (fig.) or langsat (a kind of longkong), but are more spread on the branch, i.e. less clustered, while its skin can more easily be removed. The flesh has a sweet citrus-like flavour, a soft creamy texture, and is usually eaten including the seed, which is inextricably attached to the flesh. The tree fruits from April to May and is found all over Thailand. In Thai, also known as sae khreua sae (แซเครือแซ), pha yiw (ผะยิ้ว), hamkang (หัมกัง), and somfai (ส้มไฟ).

ma feuang (มะเฟือง)

Thai name for a tree with the Latin name Averrhoa carambola and its fruit, the star fruit.

Magadha (मगध)

Sanskrit. See Makot.

Magadhi (मागधी)

Sanskrit. Ancient language from Magadha. It is believed to be the language spoken by the Buddha. Also called Magahi.

Magahi (मगही)

Another name for Magadhi.

Magistrates of the Netherworld

The scribes of Yan Mo (fig.), who is also known as Yan Wang (fig.), the king of death and the counterpart of the Vedic god Yama. READ ON.

mah (หมา)

Thai for ‘dog’. This word has a rising tone and is not to be confused with the same word (mah), but with a high tone which means ‘horse’. Sometimes transcribed ma. See also sunak.

mah (ม้า, 马)

Thai for ‘horse’. This word carries a high tone and is not to be confused with the same word (mah), that has a rising tone and means ‘dog’. The Chinese name for ‘horse’, is also mah (), but is pronounced with a (low) falling-rising tone. In feng shui, the horse is considered auspicious and is associated with success and fame, and two horses together stand for a strong partnership in either business or marriage. In China, seven horses together may symbolize the unification of China (fig.) under its first Emperor Qin Shi Huang Ti (fig.), whom unified his kingdom with 6 others, each represented by a horse. Besides this, the horse is the seventh animal in the Chinese zodiac (fig.). It represents strength and energy, and those born in the Year of the Horse are said to have an outgoing personality. The horse features on many a Thai postage stamp, including the Songkraan Day Postage Stamp, issued in 2002 (fig.). Sometimes transcribed ma. See also Ashwin.

maha (महा, มหา, မဟာ)

1. Sanskrit-Pali-Thai, Burmese. ‘Great’ or ‘mighty’. A prefix often placed before the name or title of important persons, things and places.

2. Thai. A graduate in Buddhist theology who has passed at least the third grade exam, out of a total of nine. He must be a member of the clergy, though retains the title after leaving the priesthood.

mahaadlek (มหาดเล็ก)

Thai for an officer of a royal or princely household, a royal page.

Maha Bali (महाबलि)

Name of the king who became so powerful that he dominated the triloka (three worlds). Vishnu in his avatar of a dwarf (Vamana) eventually subdued him.

Mahabharata (महाभारत)

Sanskrit. ‘The Great Bharata’. Great epic from India dated around the 4th century BC. It contains chronicles of the Vedic times and is composed of eighteen books consisting of one hundred and ten thousand couplets relating the great battle of the Bharatas between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, two related families of a royal lineage. The Hindu god Krishna emerges as one of the protagonists of the poem in which he reveals the Bhagavad Gita. In Thai, the story is known as Mahapharata, thought there is also a Thai adaptation of the story called Mahabharata Yudh or Mahapharata Yuth (มหาภารตะยุทธ), with Yudh or Yuth being a Sanskrit word meaning ‘war’ (compare with Ayutthaya), but which is also an abbreviation of Yudhisthira, i.e. the Dhammaracha and the leader of the successful Pandava side in the Kurukshetra War. The Mahabharata Yudh is a shortened version of the Mahabharata, which varies from the original story and was translated and composed by Karunah Kusalahsai (กรุณา กุศลาสัย) and his wife Reuangurai Hinchiranan (เรืองอุไร หิญชีระนันทน์). Illustrations for the publication of the Mahabharata Yudh were made by Hem Wetchakon and one of those, depicting the archer Arjuna riding a chariot, appears on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2004 (fig.).

Mahachaat (มหาชาติ)

Thai. The story of the last great incarnation of the Buddha, consisting of thirteen chapters (kan) and many episodes (lae).

Mahachai (มหาชัย)

1. Thai. Another name for Samut Sakon.

2. Thai. ‘Great accomplishment or triumph’. Name of a canal that connects Samut Songkhram with Bangkok and runs straight across the province of Samut Sakon where it crosses the Tachin River.

3. Thai. Name for the Thai deity of victory, usually referred to as Phra Mahachai.

Mahachanok (มหาชนก)

See Mahajanaka.

Maha Chomphoo (มหาชมพู)

1. Thai. Name of a monkey in the Ramakien. He has a dark blue complexion and is the ruler of Chomphoo City. His queen is from a northern continent and is hence named Kaew Udon. Since they didn't have any children Phra Idsuan granted them a son with a black complexion, who was named Nilaphat (fig.).

2. Thai. Another name for the Veda Bodhisattva Phra Wet Photisat, who in Chinese is called Wei Tuo, and who is associated with Skanda, the Hindu god of war.

Mahadhammaracha (มหาธรรมราชา)

Thai. ‘Great righteous king’. Name of a bronze Buddha image in Phetchabun, that is cast in the Lopburi-style and is the focus of the annual Diving Buddha Image Festival. The Buddha image is the kuh bahn kuh meuang of Phetchabun, and today the province also has a giant Mahadhammaraja Buddha statue, the largest in the world, located in a park off the main highway into Phetchabun city, and which was officially inaugurated on 26 September 2011. Also spelled Maha Dhamma Racha, Mahadhammaraja or similar.

Mahadhammaracha Lithai (มหาธรรมราชาลิไท)

King of Sukhothai in the 14th century, who commissioned the casting of the Phraphutta Chinnarat image (fig.) from Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat. During his reign, from 1347 until his death in 1376, he moved the city of Phitsanulok, then known as Song Khwae, to its present-day location on the Nan river. Beside his kingship he also taught Buddhist cosmology. Also known as Maha Dhamma Racha I, Thammaracha I or phaya Li Thai.

mahadhatu (มหาธาตุ)

Another transliteration for mahathat.

Maha Ganayon Kyaung

Burmese. Name of a Buddhist monastery (kyaung), founded in 1914 and located on the banks of Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura, south of Mandalay, in northern Myanmar. It is home to ca. 1,300 monks and novices, and is renowned as a centre of monastic and linguistic excellence, where besides Pali, the language of Theravada Buddhism, also English, Chinese, German, and Korean are being taught. See also maha.

Mahajanaka (มหาชนก)

Pali-Thai. Name of one of the ten jataka, i.e. life stories of the previous incarnations of the Buddha, which are known in Thai as chadok. In this story, the bodhisatta is born as Prince Mahajanaka, whom after being shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean, is rescued by Mekala.  After that, he succeeded his father and became King of Mithila city. Some time later, he renounced his worldly wealth and became a monk. In 2000 AD, the story was modified into a cartoon version by King Bhumiphon. In Thai, pronounced Mahachanok. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

Mahakala (महाकला)

Sanskrit. ‘Great Time’ or the ‘Great Black One’. The personification of Kala in a terrible form, associated with the destructive aspects of Shiva, and personified as a destructive form of Shiva. READ ON.

Mahakali (महाकाली)

Sanskrit. ‘Great Kali’. The awesome form of Parvati with two or more arms and sometimes with several heads with protruding tongues (fig.). Around her waist she often wears a dress of severed arms and around her neck a garland of decapitated heads. Sometimes depicted standing over Shiva. See also Kali and puang manao.

Mahakan Fort

See Pom Maha Kaan.

Maha Kassapa (มหากัสสปะ)

Pali-Thai. Name of a brahman of Magadha, who became a disciple of the Buddha and later the monk that succeeded him as leader of the Sangha. Usually represented in iconography and murals as an old man (fig.), generally accompanied by the young monk Ananda, the Buddha's cousin and his most important disciple. In Sanskrit he is known as Maha Kasyapa (महाकश्यप).

mahal (महल)

A palace or grand building in India, as in Taj Mahal (fig.). Also pronounced mahel.

mahamandapa (महामण्डप)

Sanskrit. ‘Great pavilion’. A large porch or pillared hall in a temple, usually in front of the main shrine. See also mandapa.

Maha Maya (महामा‍या)

Sanskrit. ‘Great illusion’. Wife of king Suddhodana and mother of prince Siddhartha who later became the Buddha. In Vajrayana Buddhism a protective deity.

Mahamayuri (महामायूर)

Sanskrit. ‘Great peacock’. Name of a dharani and of an Indian goddess, who is believed to be the deification of that particular dharani, a magical formula used to ensure protection from snake bites. The goddess has three or alternatively six heads, and eight or twelve arms. She is generally depicted as seated on her mount the mayura and with the colours of a peacock, i.e. overall green in colour with her three faces in green, white and blue. Her very name is suggestive of her close connection with the peacock, which is called mayura in Sanskrit. Two of her hands are usually held in the abhaya and varada mudras, whereas the others hold various attributes and weapons, which may include a sword, a jar, a flower, a bell, a vajra and a jewel. According to legend, there was a newly ordained bhiksu, who was unluckily bitten by a poisonous snake and fainted. On seeing his condition Ananda reported the incident to the Buddha whom out of compassion revealed a dharani, i.e. a ritual speech which was capable of eliminating poisonous harm and malignant diseases. This dharani was Mahamayuri. In another story, there was a golden peacock, named Suvarnavabhasa (fig.), that lived near the Himalayas and used to recite the Mahamayuri dharani daily with great devotion. One day the peacock king travelled with his family to the mountains, forgetting to recite the dharani. He was caught by hunters and thinking of his forgetfulness of the dharani he immediately began to recite it and was able to free himself. The Buddha told Ananda that the peacock king was none other than the Buddha himself. Consequently, the dharani became known as the Golden Peacock Charm and is believed to be efficient in all cases of dangers, on top of a protection from snake bites.

Mahamuni (महामुनि)

Sanskrit-Pali-Burmese. ‘Great Sage’. A title sometimes given to the Buddha, especially in Myanmar (fig.), whereas in other countries he is more often referred to as Sakyamuni, i.e. ‘Sage of the Sakya [clan]’, since the title Mahamuni could also be used for any celebrated sage, monk or saint. Also transcribed Maha Muni.

Maha Myat Muni (မဟာမြတ်မုနိ)

Burmese. ‘Great Noble Saint’. Name of the most revered and oldest Buddha image of Myanmar, currently located in the Maha Muni Buddha Temple near Mandalay, though it originally comes from Arakan, and said to date from the lifetime of the Buddha himself. According to legend, King Sanda Thuriya of Arakan commissioned that an image was cast of himself, though when the Buddha visited Dhanyawadi, the capital of this ancient kingdom, he breathed upon the image and it consequently became the exact likeness of Mahamuni, i.e. the ‘Great Sage’, a designation for the Buddha, who is also known as Maha Sakyamuni. The bronze Buddha image, now almost entirely covered in gold leaf applied by devotees, is about 3.83 meters high, i.e. 8 Burmese cubits (ca. 45.97 centimeters) and 1 Burmese maik (15.24 centimeters), and is seated on a high altar in the bhumisparsa pose. Its said to have a total weight of 6.5 tonnes and when the image was transported from its initial place to its present location by overland routes and waterways, it took 4 months to carry it across the Rakhine Yoma mountain ranges.

Mahanikaai (มหานิกาย)

Thai. ‘Great Sect’. One of the two major denominations of the Thai Sangha, the other being the Thammayut. It is the larger school of Thai Buddhism whose monks specialize in either meditation or study of the scriptures, not in both, as is the case in the Thammayut sect. Mahanikaai monks are allowed to eat twice a day, before noon, and may accept side dishes, unlike Thammayut monks, who are allowed to eat only once before noon and only what is in their alms bowl. There are about 35 times as many Mahanikaai monks than there are Thammayut monks. In Pali-Sanskrit called Mahanikaya and in Khmer Mohanikay. See also nikaya.

Mahanikaya (महानिकाय)

Sanskrit-Pali term for Mahanikaai. It is a compound of the words maha and nikaya.

Mahantayot (มหันตยศ)

Thai. Twin brother of Anantayot and son of the legendary Chamadevi of Lopburi, queen of the Dvaravati empire in the 7th century AD.

Mahaparinippahn (มหาปรินิพพาน)

See Mahaparinirvana.

Mahaparinirvana (महापरिनिर्वाण)

Sanskrit. The definitive transition of the Buddha to nirvana and his total extinction following death in which all his suffering, desire, and the cycle of rebirths cease. This happened in 483 BC in Kusinagara after he had gathered all his disciples to hear his final sermon. In Thai Mahaparinippahn. See also parinippahn.

Mahapharata (มหาภารต, มหาภารตะ)

Thai name for Mahabharata.

Mahaphrom Rachini (มหาพรหมราชินี)

Thai. Name for a plant, with the botanical name Mitrephora sirikitiae. It grows to about 4-6 meters tall and blossoms in May, bearing one to three large flowers on almost every branch, each of the showy flowers with a diameter of about 10 centimetres, with white bracts and a core that consists of three dark petals that are fused together, each petal with three tips, of which the outer ones are dark red and the one in the middle yellowish-green. It was only discovered in 2004, when it was found at the peak of a mountain in the Nahm Tok Mae Surin (น้ำตกแม่สุรินทร์) National Park, in Mae Hong Son Province, where the best ecological conditions for this flowers is met, namely: steep mountains surrounded by thick forest, and cool weather. It's a rare species of plant and so far found only in Thailand, and difficult to reproduce. It was officially named after Queen Sirikit Kitthiyagon on 12 August 2004, on the occasion of her 6th cycle birthday, whereas the common name is a compound of Maha (Great), Phrom (Brahma) and Rachini (Queen). See also POSTAGE STAMP.

Maha Prajapati (महाप्रजापति)

Sanskrit. ‘Great protector of creatures’. Name of the sister of Maha Maya who served as Siddhartha's guardian when his mother died seven days after his birth. She later married Siddhartha's father Suddhodana. She is also known by the name Gautami.

mahapurusha (महापुरुष)

Sanskrit. A ‘great man’ destined to become a world leader or saviour and recognizable by the 32 lakshanas, the marks of a great person to be.

maharadja (महाराज)

Sanskrit. ‘Great king’ or ‘great monarch’. A compound of maha and raja. In Thai Maha Raj, pronounced and sometimes transcribed Maha Raat or Maharaat.

Maha Raj (มหาราช)

Thai. ‘Great king’ or ‘great monarch’. Usually occurs as a suffix with the names of important kings of Thai history. In Sanskrit maharadja.

maharani (महारानी)

Sanskrit. Great queen, the wife of a maharadja.

maharishi (महर्षि)

Sanskrit. Great rishi, master, teacher or sage. An honorary title.

Maha Sarakham (มหาสารคาม)

Thai. ‘Great independent village’. Provincial capital and province (map) in central Isaan, about 475 kms Northeast of Bangkok, between Khon Khaen and Roi Et. There is historical evidence that the area has been inhabited for several hundred years. Objects and artifacts from the Dvaravati period showing ancient Buddhist influences from the end of the Gupta and the Pallava period from India have been found, i.e. from a standing Buddha image and clay votive tablets to relics of the Buddha. These objects came via Pukaam and were found in the vicinity of the tambon Kohk Phra (โคกพระ) in the amphur Kanthara Wichai and at Nakhon Jampah Sri (นครจำปาศรี) in the amphur Wapi Pathum. Besides this, also art styles with brahman influences have been found, dating from the Lopburi period and brought along by the Khmer people, including several Khmer buildings known as koo (กู่), graven images and pottery which was excavated all around Maha Sarakham province. The city was founded near the source of the Kut Nang Yai (กุดนางใย) river, on 22 August 1865 AD, by a royal decree of Phra Chom Klao that elevated the village of Ban Lahd Kut Yahng Yai (บ้านลาดกุดยางใหญ่) to the status of a city, renaming it Meuang Maha Sarakham and populating it with about 2,000 people from nearby Roi Et. He appointed thao Maha Chai (มหาชัย) and his brother thao Bua Thong (บัวทอง), both grandsons of Phraya Khatiyawongsah (ขัติยวงศา), the second ruler of Roi Et, as the local leaders to rule the city, originally as a satellite town of Roi Et. In 1869 the central government in Bangkok declared Maha Sarakham a province in its own right and another 7,000 people from Roi Et were resettled to help populate the Maha Sarakham, allegedly to weaken the power of Roi Et. The province has eleven amphur and two king amphur. Its places of interest include Kosamphi Forest Park (fig.), a wildlife reserve for Long-tailed Macaques (fig.). See also Maha Sarakham data file.

Maha Shivratri (महाशिवरात्रि)

See Shivratri.

mahat (महत्)

Sanskrit. The great intelligence produced during creation. It is related to the word ‘manas’, meaning ‘mind, intellect, understanding’.

Mahathat (มหาธาตุ)

Thai. ‘Great relic’. Term used in Thailand to name the most important relic shrines which usually hold a relic of the lord Buddha.

mahatma (महात्मा)

Sanskrit. ‘Great soul’. Honorary title given to sages and teachers, such as Gandhi.

Mahatthai (มหาดไทย)

Thai. Since 1 April 1892 the name stands for the ‘Ministry of the Interior’, but in the Ayutthaya, Thonburi and early Rattanakosin Periods, it was the name for the office responsible for the provinces North and East of the capital and led by a Chao Phraya, who had direct territorial responsibilities. The term Mahatthai is also used to refer to its minister, whose office and title were conferred by the king. See also Damrong Rachanuphaap.

Mahavairochana (महावैरोचन)

Sanskrit. ‘Great illumination’ or ‘great sun’. The Adi-Buddha. One of the five jinas or transcendental buddhas from Vajrayana Buddhism. He is positioned in the middle of a mandala and makes the gesture of supreme wisdom by holding the right index finger in the left fist with the thumb pointing upward. His signs are the wheel and the sun. Sometimes transcribed Mahavairocana. Also Vairochana.

Mahavamsa (மகாவம்சம், महावंश)

Tamil. Singhalese chronicle in Pali containing the history of Buddhism in Ceylon from its beginning in the 3rd century BC to the early 4th century AD. In Thai Mahawong.

Mahavir (มหาวีร)

Thai for Mahavira.

Mahavira (महावीर)

Sanskrit. ‘Great hero’. Title for the last of the twenty-four omniscient great teachers called tirthankaras and the founder of Jainism. He was a contemporary of the Buddha. In Thai Mahavir. See also Vardhamana.

mahawithayahlai (มหาวิทยาลัย)

Thai for ‘university’. See education.

Mahawithayahlai Maha Chulalongkon Ratcha Withayahlai (มหาวิทยาลัย มหาจุฬาลงกรณราชวิทยาลัย)

Thai. Chulalongkorn the Great Royal Seminary University’. Name of a public Buddhist university in Thailand. READ ON.

Mahawong (มหาวงศ์)

Thai name for the Mahavamsa, the Singhalese chronicle that traces the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Mahayaan (มหายาน)

Thai name for Mahayana.

Mahayana (महायान)

Sanskrit. ‘Greater vehicle’. The branch of Buddhism whose believers rely on bodhisattvas for their salvation from the endless cycle of rebirths and their aim to become a buddha. This sect of Buddhism spread from northern India in the 2nd century AD and is mainly practiced in countries of northeastern Asia, including Tibet, Nepal, China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan, but also in Vietnam and sometimes also in Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia, though the latter three now practice mainly Theravada or Hinayana Buddhism, the other main branch of Buddhism. During prayers, Thai Mahayana monks wear a long orange ceremonial robe (fig.), akin to that of Theravada Buddhist monks (fig.), but otherwise they are dressed in a more leisurely outfit, that consists of an orange jacket and long baggy kaangkaeng le trousers (fig.). However, the dress for Mahayana Buddhist monks and novices differs greatly per country (fig.). In Vietnam, for instance, they wear a pale grey outfit (fig.), which is covered by an orange-brown to dark brown robe (fig.) during prayers (fig.), or when travelling. In Thai called Mahayaan.

Mahayogi (महायोगी)

Sanskrit. ‘Great ascetic’. A name of Shiva.

Mahayommayak (มหายมยักษ์)

Thai. Name of a yak, i.e. a demon character, in the Ramakien, who has a red complexion. READ ON.

Mahendraparvata (महेंद्रपर्वत)

Hindi-Sanskrit. ‘Mountain of the Great Indra’. One of the seven mountain chains of the Himalayas and the early name for Phnom Kulen in Cambodia.

Mahesvara (महेश्वर)

Sanskrit. ‘Great Lord’. A name for Shiva. Also Maheshwara.

mah han bai yah soob (ม้าหั่นใบยาสูบ)

Thai. ‘Bench to cut tobacco leaves’. See tobacco cutter.

Mahidol Adulyadej (มหิดล อดุลยเดช)

Thai. The father of Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and Bhumipol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and husband to Sangwan Talabhat, the Princess Mother, Sri Nagarindra. He was the 69th child of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) with Queen Sawang Wattana (Savang Vadhana) of whom he was the 7th child. Besides two kings he also fathered a daughter, i.e. Princess Galyani Watthana. He has the title Prince of Songkhla, and though educated as a MD, he was reportedly unable to fully practice his profession, as direct contact between royalty and commoners was at the time –at least officially– strictly prohibited. With his princely status making it near-impossible to practice in the capital, he went to work in a missionary-run hospital in Chiang Mai, where he became a resident doctor. He was born on 1 January 1892 and died untimely from kidney failure on 24 September 1929. The Prince is portrayed on a postage stamp issued in 1983, to mark the 60th Anniversary of the cooperation between the Siriraj Faculty of Medicine and the Rockefeller Foundation, because in 1920, the Prince was the Thai Government's delegate to negotiate with the Rockefeller Foundation for medical aid (fig.). He has appeared on a number of Thai postage stamps, most recently for the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birthday, in 2012 (fig.). He has been given the title Adulyadejvikrom.

Mahidon Adunyadet (มหิดล อดุลยเดช)

Thai. Pronunciation of Mahidol Adulyadej.

mahingsa (มหิงสา)

Thai pronunciation for mahisha, buffalo.

mahisha (महिष)

Sanskrit. ‘Buffalo’. The mount of Yama. In Thai pronounced mahingsa.

Mahishasura (महिषासुर)

Sanskrit. ‘Buffalo demon’. An asura or demon of darkness, with immense powers, who after continuously changing shape eventually transformed into a buffalo (mahisha), and thus got slain by Durga in her fearsome form of Chamunda, who is also referred to as Mahishasuramardini. The episode is described in the Devi Mahatmyam, yet is also found in the Mahabharata, though according to the latter, Mahishasura is slain by Skanda. The event is remembered during Vijayadazaami (fig.), i.e. the last day of the annual Hindu festival of Navaratri.

Mahishasuramardini (महिषासुरमर्दिनि)

Sanskrit. ‘Slayer of the buffalo demon’. The name given to Durga when she is fighting Mahishasura (fig.), the buffalo demon that represents the forces of evil and darkness. In this form, she is also known as Chamunda. See also Devi Mahatmyam.

Mahison Rachareuthay (มหิศร ราชหฤทัย)

Thai. Royal name of the 77th son of King Mongkut, i.e. King Rama IV, whom he begot with his consort Huang (ห่วง). The prince was born in Bangkok on 30 January 1866, as Chaiyanta Mongkon (fig.) and a half-brother to Prince Chulalongkorn, the later King Rama V. He became Minister of Finance and after having joined King Rama V on his 1897 European tour, he set out to develop international trade relations and worked towards modernizing Siam’s business practices, in line with those in Europe. In 1904, he had converted the archaic photduang currency into a European-style metric system and −with banking then in the hands of the established foreign banks− he was aware of the need for a local Siamese bank and thus became instrumental in establishing the country's first prototype financial institution, called the Book Club, which was founded on 4 October 1904. On 30 January 1907, the prince's birthday, the Book Club officially became Thailand's first real bank by royal decree and was renamed Siam Commercial Bank. In 1910, it moved its office to a building in Talaat Noi (fig.), which became the banks first head office until 1971, when it relocated to Petchaburi Road, where it stayed until January 1996, when it moved to the SCB Park Plaza in Chatuchak District (fig.). Prince Mahison Rachareuthay is recognized as the Father of Thai Banking (fig.) and besides having his painted portrait in the entrance hall of the former head office in Talaat Noi, he also has his statue in the Thai Bank Museum (fig.), as well as a statue together with King Rama V in front of the head office in use since 1996 (fig.).

mahk (หมาก)

1. Thai name for the betel palm and its fruit the betel nut.

2. Thai board game or a game played with marbles, dry beans, nuts or fruit stones, such as mahk khum and mahk ruk.

mah kahn kluay (ม้าก้านกล้วย)

Thai. ‘Banana stem horse’. Name of a traditional Thai children's game from the past in which players run each other, whilst holding a banana stem (kahn kluay) that is carried over the shoulder with a string and held between the legs (fig.), as if straddling an imaginary horse (mah - fig.). First a banana stem is selected and its leaf is peeled away, leaving only the tip for decoration, like a horsetail. Then the head of the horse is made from another piece of banana stem of about 20 centimeters long (fig.). This is slightly cut on both sides of the top, to create two ears, and attached to the opposite side of the ‘horsetail’, pierced with a small piece of bamboo to keep it in place. Then a string, usually made from banana stem fibres, is attached near the tail and the head, or –alternatively– at the head and neck.

mahk daeng (หมากแดง)

Thai. ‘Red betel palm’. A palm tree with a reddish trunk up to 6 meters high and the scientific Latin name Cyrtostachys renda, and Cyrtostachys lakka, a similar but slightly shorter species. Often seen in gardens.

mahk khum (หมากขุม)

Thai. ‘Cavity board game’. A traditional board game from southern Thailand played with marbles, dry beans, nuts or fruit stones (mahk), often look sawahd (ลูกสวาด), greenish gray nuts from a kind of climber. The board consists of a elongated wooden boat-like panel with either rounded or tapering ends and sixteen round cavities. Fourteen of those are arranged two by two, in a double row of seven indentions each and flanked by two larger cavities, one on either side. These two larger holes are to collect the winning playing pieces and are known as hua meuang (หัวเมือง) or reuan (เรือน), the ‘village heads’ or ‘home [base]’ respectively. The game is played with two contestants, who sit on opposite sides and need to drop and collect the playing pieces, gradually moving up to the hua meuang. A countdown is given after which both players need to quickly distributed their playing pieces by dropping them in any of the cavities at will, but only on ones own side. This is called deun mahk khum (เดินหมากขุม) and each time a marble, stone or nut is dropped or collected is called kwak (ควัก). When all the playing pieces of one player are dropped, that is called taai (ตาย). He now has to wait for the other side to finish and when both sides ran out of nuts, the pieces need to be collected again, starting with the player who ran out of nuts first. Players now have to move their marbles up to their own village head on the left side, one at a time. If a cavity holds the same number of nuts as the cavity on the opposite side, those nuts may now be collected by either player whose turn it is. The one who collects the most playing pieces in his hua meuang wins the game. Although sometimes the game is played until one side has no more playing pieces or less than seven which is called ko khaad (คอขาด).

mah klaeb (ม้าแกลบ)

Thai. ‘Chaff horse’ or ‘husk horse’. Name of a small horse, which in English is known as Thai Pony. Fully grown adults are between 122 and 142 centimeters and weigh around 360 kilograms. The Thai Pony is a hybrid, resulting from crossbreeding between Mongolian and Asian horses. It came to Thailand with minority groups that migrated from China. People in the North, train these horses to trot according to instructions given by a horn, with the intend to familiarize the animals with loud noise, so that they won't get scared too easily when out and about. This type of horse is especially used by hill tribe people, both as beast of burden and as mount (fig.). Also named mah look kaew, after the Poi Look Kaew ceremony, in which it is used. See also phra khi mah bintabaat.

mahk ruk (หมากรุก)

Thai. ‘Invading board game’ or ‘advancing board game’. Designation for both international chess, as well as its local variant known as Thai chess (fig.). Besides the local chessboards, Thai shops also sell foreign chessboards imported from China (fig.), Burma (fig.), Vietnam (fig.), or other Asian countries, whereas local markets and night bazaars usually have mass-produced chessboards on offer, often small-sized travel games or souvenir gadgets (fig.). See also mahk.

mah look kaew (ม้าลูกแก้ว)

Thai. ‘Crystal horse’. A Thai designation for the Thai Pony (fig.), named after the Poi Look Kaew ceremony, in which it is used. Also known as mah klaeb.

mah mai (หมาไม้)

Thai. ‘Wood dog’ or ‘tree dog’. Name for the Yellow-throated Marten.

mah mangkon (ม้ามังกร)

Thai. ‘Dragon-horse’. Another name for mah nin mangkon.

mah nin mangkon (ม้านิลมังกร)

Thai. ‘Dark blue-black (nin) dragon-horse’. Name of a mythological animal in the story of Phra Aphaimanih. It is partly horse (mah) and partly dragon (mangkon). It is the mount of Sut Saakhon. Also mah mangkon and in English dragon-horse.

mah nahm (ม้าน้ำ)

Thai for ‘sea horse’. A small, upright fish, with a head akin to that of a horse, and of the genus Hippocampus. Though an endangered animal, it is still caught in the wild for use in Chinese traditional medicine, as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a whole range of ailments, stretching from heart disease and asthma, to impotence. And alas, even though there is no scientific proof for any real therapeutic value, medicinal sea horses (fig.) can still commonly be found for sale in dried form, in Bangkok's Chinatown.

mahogany

See mahokkanih.

mahokkanih (มะฮอกกานี)

Thai for ‘mahogany’. Name for a large tree of which there are two genuine species, which are known by the botanical names Swietenia mahagoni and Swietenia macrophylla. Besides a variety of common names, the first species is known by the common name Small-leaf Mahogany, in Thai mahokkanih bai lek (มะฮอกกานีใบเล็ก), whilst the latter variety is commonly known as Big-leaf Mahogany, in Thai mahokkanih bai yai (มะฮอกกานีใบใหญ่). Mahogany is famed for its dark-coloured hardwood and is most easily recognized by its seed pods, woody capsules that enclose numerous long, flat, winged seeds (fig.), which are released when the pods breaks open from below. In the blooming season, from March to July, the tree has tiny, pale greenish flowers, that spread a strong yet pleasant fragrance. These flowers are so tiny that they are hardly noticeable when on the tree, but they can often be seen scattered on the ground beneath the tree. Though it used to be mostly cultivated for its wood, it is now also grown as an ornamental tree and there are several roads in Bangkok that are lined by this tree, e.g. around Chitralada Palace in Dusit and along the path at the northern entrance of King Rama IX Royal Park.

mahorateuk (มโหระทึก)

See klong mahorateuk.

mahori (มโหรี)

Thai. An orchestra chiefly composed of stringed instruments.

Mahothon (มโหทร)

1. Thai. ‘One with a big belly’. Term derived from Sanskrit and used in Hindu iconography to refer to someone with a big belly, such as Ganesha. See also lampothon.

2. Thai. Name of an important yak character from the Ramakien, who belongs to the army of Longka, i.e. the city or kingdom of Totsakan. He has a green complexion, wide open eyes called tah phlohng (fig.), and wears a golden crown with a bulbous tip, which is decorated with pieces of dark green glass. He is very similar in appearance to Phiphek, another yak with a green complexion and a similar golden crown with a bulbous tip, but which is more elongated and usually decorated with pieces of dark blue glass (fig.), and who has eyes of which the upper eyelid partly covers the eyeball and that are known as tah jorakae (fig.). Mahothon usually appears in pair (fig.) with Paowanasoon (fig.), another yak with a very similar crown, but with a white complexion (fig.).

mahout

English-Hindi. Herd, caretaker and keeper of an elephant. In Thailand mahouts often belong to the Karen hill tribe (fig.) and are usually assigned to a young elephant when still a young boy, allowing them to stay attached to one another throughout their lives. Also transcribed mahaut and sometimes called kornak. In Thai kwan chang.

Mah Pihk (ม้าปีก)

Thai. ‘Winged Horse’. Name for a mythological creature, that consists of a horse with wings, and which is able to fly. READ ON.

mahrah (หมาร่า)

Thai name for the wasp family Sphecidae, which includes mud daubers, digger wasps and other types, that all fall under the category of Thread-waisted Wasps (fig.).

mah yohk (ม้าโยก)

Thai for ‘rocking horse’. Though rocking horses are perhaps not originally Thai, the way they are produced in Thailand, i.e. from old cart wheels, is definitely an original idea. These unique rocking horses are generally known as mah yohk lo kwian (ม้าโยกล้อเกวียน). See also kwian.

mai (ไม้)

Thai. Generic name and classifier for any plant or tree, as well as for a piece of log, lumber, timber, or plank. The word is also often used as part of a compound.

mai (ไหม)

1. Thai for silk.

2. Thai for silkworm. Also called dakdae.

mai faad khao (ไม้ฟาดข้าว)

Thai. Rice-thrashing woods’. A set of wooden sticks connected by a piece of rope, used like large pincers to grab bundles of rice, in order to beat (trash) them and make the grains fall from the ears of the paddy (fig.). The rope is attached through holes at the end of each stick and fixed with a knot. The sticks are often made from ruak and about 60-70 centimeters, whereas the rope is about 50 centimeters long.

mai jan (ไม้จันทน์)

Thai for sandalwood.

mai kaan haab (ไม้คานหาบ)

Thai. Flexible yet strong bamboo wooden (mai) pole used for carrying loads (kaan) across the shoulder (haab) as often seen in rural Thailand and with itinerant food sellers. Also kaan. Compare with kaanhaam and with lao (fig.).

mai kham (ไม้ค้ำ)

Thai. ‘Support wood’. Name of either a cut or carved wooden log, or a smaller natural stick, which has been painted (fig.) and is used to symbolically support a sacred object or place. It is typically forked (Y-shaped) at the top and is most commonly seen placed under the branches, or against the trunk, of a bodhi tree, especially in northern Thailand. These sticks or logs are believed to be auspicious, preventing hardship and prolonging life. It is sometimes done as part of the seubchatah ceremony and the wooden stick or log is therefore also referred to as mai kham chatah. Since they are usually painted, they are also called mai kham see/sih, i.e. ‘painted support wood’.

mai kham chatah (ไม้ค้ำชะตา)

See mai kham.

mai kwaat dok yah (ไม้กวาดดอกหญ้า)

Thai. A traditional broom, made from natural grasses and with a long handle, made from bamboo. They are usually offered for sale by street side vendors (fig.). See also dok yah (fig.).

Mainland Serow

A species of cloven-hoofed mammal with the binomial name Capricornis sumatraensis, that belongs to the family Bovidae. It is sometimes placed in the genus Naemorhedus and hence called Naemorhedus sumatraensis. Beside this, it may commonly be called Southern Serow or Sumatran Serow. It is distributed from India through southern China, to most of mainland Southeast Asia and some parts of Indonesia. It has a relatively short body and long legs, with a grey to black bristly fur, sometimes with a reddish brown tinge, especially on and around the legs. It has short, slightly curved horns and a mane of long hairs, that are dark near the body, but pale towards the top. At first glance, this animal is somewhat similar in appearance to the male Nilgai (fig.). The Mainland Serow lives either solitary or in small groups and feeds on grasses, shoots and leaves of a variety of plants. Being a territorial dweller, it is has a fondness for its area and doesn't move much when feeding. Mainland Serows mostly inhabit forested, steep mountainous areas, including limestone cliffs, but are also found in lowlands. They are mostly active at dusk and dawn, and spends the rest of the day in dense vegetation and under overhanging cliffs. In Thai it is named liang phah, yiang phah, yeuang, gooram and koram.

mai phai (ไม้ไผ่)

Thai for bamboo. Also phai.

mai sak (ไม้สัก)

Thai for teak.

Mai Thai (ไหมไทย)

Thai for hand-woven Thai silk.

maithuna (मैथुन)

Sanskrit. ‘Couple’ or ‘the act of pairing’. Copulating figurines or sculptures as seen in iconography or used as amulets (fig.). Also spelled mithuna. In Thai methun. See also yabyum.

Maitreya (मैत्रेय)

Sanskrit. A bodhisattva now living in Tushita heaven waiting to be reborn as a future Buddha in order to restore faith. He is worshipped in both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, and is sometimes represented as a bodhisattva dressed in royal attire ruling from his throne in heaven. He wears a stupa in his headdress and his attributes may include a vase and wheel. In another form he is also known as Huan Xi Fo or Budai, the Chinese ‘smiling buddha’ (fig.). Besides this, he is sometimes considered to be one of the Eighteen Arahats, though originally those were to remain in the world to propagate the dhamma until Maitreya came, which is conflicting if he is one of them. He is however also one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (fig.). Also Metraiy and in Pali Metteya.

maiyarahb (ไมยราบ)

Thai. Name of an omnipresent weed that thrives well and is found all over Thailand. This shrubby, sensitive plant has the scientific name Mimosa pudica. Its leaves fold up with the slightest touch or when they come into contact with rain. This is a self-defence system that scares off any leaf-eating flying insect that may land on it, and also prevents heavy raindrops from damaging this rather fragile shrub. It also protects itself from predators by small spikes underneath its stalks and leaves. It can sometimes grow to a height of well over two meters and blooms globular amethyst flowers. Due to its sensitivity it is nicknamed mae ai (shy mother) and some varieties are known as maiyarahb yak (giant mimosa pudica) and maiyarahb leuay (climbing mimosa pudica vine).

Maiyarahp (ไมยราพณ์)

Thai. Name of a yak, i.e. giant demon from the Ramakien. He lived in the underworld and was the son of Mahayommayak (fig.) and Nang Chantrapraphasih (จันทรประภาศรี), and a nephew of Totsakan. Maiyarahp succeeded his father as the third king of Meuang or Krung Badahn (บาดาล). Despite his father's instructions not to associate with his uncle, and a reminder of this by his mother, Maiyarahp sets out to join Totskan in his batlle against Rama. He performed a ceremony to make a sleeping potion for Rama's army and he succeeded in putting everyone to sleep, but was later killed by Hanuman. He is described as having a pale mauve complexion. In iconography, he is usually depicted with a chadah-like, cockerel tail crown, that seen from the side, is wavy and arches backward at the tip (fig.). In architecture, he is usually portrayed in companion with Virunchambang, a yak with a navy blue complexion. Both stand at the third door of the Northern entrances of Wat Phra Kaew. In 2001, he was depicted on a Thai postage stamp, as part of a set of four stamps with yak that guard temple entrances (fig.). Sometimes transcribed Mayarap or Maiyarap. In the Ramayana, he is known as Ahiravan or Mahiravan, king of the underworld, and is described as a brother of Ravana, rather than a nephew like his counterpart in the Thai version.

Ma Jow (ม่าโจ้ว)

Thai-Tae Chew name for Mazu. In full also called Ma Jow Poh (ม่าโจ้วโป๋).

mak (มรรค)

Thai. ‘Way, path’. One of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

makanayok (มรรคนายก)

Thai. ‘Temple liaison man’. A layman responsible for the liaison between the clergy of a temple or monastery and the laity, a male appointed to look after the interests of a temple or monastery. Also maknayok.

makara (मकर)

Sanskrit. A mythical aquatic creature symbolizing ‘water’ and ‘abundance’. In architecture, especially in Khmer buildings, it may be found as a decoration on lintels, doorway frames, etc., sometimes in combination with kala. In Thailand it is usually found on the balustrades of temple buildings, where a naga (fig.) is seen emerging from its mouth (fig.). In India it has the body and tail of a fish, but in Southeast Asia usually that of a reptile. Though, in Java its head is that of a crocodile with a large jaw and an elephant's trunk. In Champa it has the head of a lion with tusks and a trunk, or the head of a antelope with forelegs. It is the emblem of Kama and conveyance of the Hindu goddess Ganga as well as that of Varuna. In North Thailand it is called mom and is the mount of the god of the storm clouds, Thep Patchanna. In Thailand, the makara also appears as the bow of certain Royal Barges, both ancient (fig.) and modern (fig.).

Makha (มาฆ)

Thai. The third lunar month corresponding to the sign of Capricorn in the zodiac.

makhaam (มะขาม)

Thai for tamarind (fig.). Besides this it is also known by different local names, depending on the region: in Kanchanaburi it is known by its Karen name muang klohng, in Korat it is called taloob, in the South it is named khaam and in the province of Surin the Khmer name ampial is used. See also makhaampom and makhaamthet.

makhaam kaew (มะขามแก้ว)

Thai. ‘Crystal tamarind’. Name for a sweet made from tamarind (fig.). Fresh tamarind fruits are first peeled and cleaned from their inedible parts, i.e. fibres and pits. The flesh of fruit is then made into a paste by mixing it with water and put in a pot over a fire, to liquefy it. Then salt, pulverized prik khee noo chilies and sugar are added, and the brew is cooked until it becomes sticky. After this, the mixture is cooled off and made into small balls, which are coated by dipping and rolling them in granulated sugar. They are a popular snack and a local specialty from Phichit province, amongst others.

makhaam khluk (มะขามคลุก)

Thai. ‘Rolled tamarind’ or ‘mixed tamarind’. Name for a sweet made from tamarind (fig.). Fresh tamarind fruits are peeled and cleaned from their fibres, and then coated by rolling them in, or mixing (khluk) them with, granulated sugar. Also known as makhaam khluk nahmtahn (มะขามคลุกน้ำตาล), i.e. ‘tamarind mixed [with] sugar’.

makhaam khluk buay (มะขามคลุกบ๊วย)

Thai. ‘Buay mixed tamarind’. Name for a tamarind candy, made from fresh tamarind fruits (fig.) which are peeled and cleaned from their fibres, and then coated by rolling them in  a mixture of granulated sugar and buay powder, i.e. powder obtained from the Japanese apricot, a fruit which is also known as Chinese plum (Prunus mume).

makhaampom (มะขามป้อม)

Thai. Name of the Indian gooseberry, a tree and its fruit which is known by the scienticfic name phyllanthus emblica. Its fruit has a rather sweet-and-sour taste. Also known as the emblic tree.

Makhaam Thao (มะขามเฒ่า)

Thai. ‘Old Tamarind’. A regional name of the Tha Chin River, after it splits from Chao Phraya River near Chainat until Suphanburi, where it becomes known by the local name Suphan River.

makhaamthet (มะขามเทศ)

Thai name for the Camachile, a tree and its fruit (fig.) known by the scientific name Pithecolobium dulce. Its fruits are similar to those of the tamarind tree but has a softer skin and a different taste. Its tender curly skin is red-green and its whitish-pink flesh sits around shiny brown seeds.

Makha Bucha (มาฆบูชา)

Thai. Buddhist holiday that commemorates all saints and is held during the full moon of the third lunar month (Makha), usually mid-February. It celebrates the 1,250 enlightened monks who, without prior notice or call, simultaneously came to the Buddha to hear him preach. This public holiday reaches its climax in candle processions around the main temple buildings or chedi. Also Wan Makha Bucha.

makheua (มะเขือ)

Thai. Generic name for plants that produce bulbous vegetables, such as the different varieties of eggplant and the tomato (fig.), which both belong to the family Solanaceae. There are many different varieties, such as the makheua khao (white eggplant - fig.), makheua phuang (pea eggplant - fig.), makheua muang (purple eggplant - fig.), makheua thet (tomato), makheua proh (crisp eggplant - fig.), makheua poo (Thai hairy-fruited eggplant - fig.), etc. Any of the eggplant varieties grown to its full size may in Thai also be called makheua yao (long makheua - fig.), whereas their small appearance may in English be referred to as baby eggplant. Compare with taeng.

makheua cartoon (มะเขือการ์ตูน)

Thai. ‘Cartoon makheua’. Name for a species of eggplant with the scientific name Solanum mammosum. Its fruit's is yellowish-orange and has an udder-like appearance. Due to this, it is known in English as Cow's Udder, Nipplefruit, Titty Fruit, and Apple of Sodom. In China, the gold-coloured fruit is considered auspicious and is known as wu zhi jia (五指茄), i.e. ‘five toes eggplant’, while in Japan it is reportedly referred to as ‘fox face’. Unlike most other eggplant species found in Southeast Asia, the fruit of this one is poisonous and the plant is grown solely for ornamental purposes.

makheua khao (มะเขือขาว)

Thai. ‘White makheua’. Name for the white eggplant, a plant with the scientific name Solanum melongena. It is a variety of the purple eggplant, in Thai known as makheua muang. It produces white, bulbous vegetables that when still young look like round eggs and are full of tiny seeds. Similar varieties may be slightly green or have green stripes. They are edible and usually harvested when still young and hard. Especially in this stage they are popular in Thai cuisine. Cut in half and boiled they are used as an ingredient in red and green curries (fig.), usually together with the seed boxes of the cluster eggplant which in Thai is known as makheua phuang. On occasion they are also eaten fresh.

makheua muang (มะเขือม่วง)

Thai. ‘Purple makheua’. Name for the purple eggplant, a plant with the scientific name Solanum melongena. It is a variety of the white eggplant, in Thai known as makheua khao, and is usually grown to a much larger size. Despite its clear differences, it has the same Latin designation. When grown into an elongated size (fig.), it is also known as purple aubergine (fig.).

makheua phuang (มะเขือพวง)

Thai. ‘Cluster makheua’. Name for the pea eggplant, a species of eggplant with the scientific name Solanum tarvum/torvum. It produces clusters of small green balls, each the size of a large pea. These spherical seed boxes are edible and contain numerous small seeds. They are eaten when still unripe and are mainly used as an ingredient in red and green curries, usually together with the white eggplant which in Thai is known as makheua khao.

makheua poo (มะเขือปู่)

Thai. ‘Paternal grandfather's eggplant’. Name for a species of makheua, with the scientic name Solanum ferox. It has soft furry-like hairs on it and is yellowish orange in colour. Its taste is a little sour and the hair needs to be removed before consumption. In English it is known as Hairy Eggplant, Hairy-fruited Eggplant and Thai Hairy-fruited Eggplant. In Thai also called ma-poo.

makheua proh (มะเขือเปราะ)

Thai. ‘Crisp makheua’. Name for a species of eggplant of which the fruits are either oval-round or round-flat and about the size of a golf ball (fig.). The fruit is crisp and comes in two colours: green-white and purple-white, depending on the type. It is used as a vegetable, mainly quartered as an ingredient in red and green curries (fig.), similar to the white eggplant which in Thai is called makheua khao. In English, this type of eggplant is sometimes referred to as Thai eggplant.

makheua yao (มะเขือาว)

Thai. ‘Long makheua’. Name for any species of eggplant that has grown into a full-grown lengthy size (fig.), although the term is also and in particular used for the elongated green eggplant or green aubergine.

maki sushi (巻き寿司)

Japanese for ‘rolled sushi’, a type of sushi made by using a bamboo rolling mat called a makisu. It has a filling made of sushi rice and some other ingredients, usually fish and is wrapped in sheets of dried seaweed called nori, although it can also be found wrapped in other edible wrappers, such as a soy paper, thin omelet, etc. After this the cylindrical roll is cut into small ready-to-eat chunks and served, often in bamboo steaming baskets called kheng (fig.). There are several types of maki sushi, all with their own names, depending on their size and the different fillings. Sometimes transcribed maki-zushi or makizushi.

makisu (巻き簾)

Japanese for a sushi rolling mat, used to make maki sushi. It consists of a collection of round wooden sticks woven together with string into a flat pliable mat (fig.).

makkaliphon (มักกะลีผล)

See makkariphon and nariphon.

makkariphon (มักรีผล)

Thai. Name for the fruit of a mythical tree in Himaphan forest that, according to legend, fruits beautiful women (fig.), which are also known as nariphon, i.e. ‘women fruit’.

Makkawaan (มัฆวาน)

A Thai name for Indra.

maknayok (มรรคนายก)

See makanayok.

makok (มะกอก)

1. Thai. Generic name for any plum tree of the genus Spondias, in the family Anacardiaceae, of which there are several species, the ones most commonly found in Thailand being the genus Spondias mombin and Spondias dulcis, which are known in Thai as makok and makok farang (มะกอกฝรั่ง), respectively. The name Bangkok is derived from this tree, which bears oval, edible fruits that grow on long stalks, and which are sometimes referred to as hog plums. The flesh of this fruit is crunchy and it contains a fibrous pit. Eaten fresh, the taste is slightly sour, but it also has several culinary uses.

2. Thai. Name for a plum tree of the genus Spondias, in the family Anacardiaceae, with the botanical name Spondias mombin.

Makot

1. Thai name for the kingdom of Magadha in ancient India, now called Bihar.

2. Magadhi, the Prakrit language of Magadha, similar to Pali.

makrud (มะกรูด)

Thai for the kaffir lime or kieffer lime, a shrub with the Latin scientific name Citrus hystrix. It is native to Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is called limau purut, but is commonly grown all over South and Southeast Asia, often as a backyard shrub which consist of a thorny bush with leaves that grow vertically in pairs, one on top of the other, somewhat like the shape of a hourglass. Its fruit, a kind of lime with a knobby rind (fig.), as well as its aromatic leaves are widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Thai cooking. The leaves are used as a spice, both fresh as in tom yam or dried (fig.) as mixed with nuts or khao mao (fig.), whereas the oil from the fruit's rind can be applied as a mosquito repellant. See also manao.

makut (มกุฎ)

Thai for ‘crown’. It derives from the Sanskrit word mukuta. Also mongkut.

makutrajakumaan (มกุฎราชกุมาร)

Thai for ‘crown prince’.

malabiang (มาลาเบียง)

See Phra Malah Biang.

malachite

A copper carbonate hydroxide mineral that is green in appearance. It is one among several minerals that qualify as jade. This semiprecious mineral polishes to a high gloss and is used to produce ornaments. Since the late 19th century, in Europe and especially in Bohemia, i.e. today's western part of the Czech Republic, this mineral is imitated in pressed glass, known as Malachite Glass, and intended to look like malachite.

malaeng (แมลง)

Nonspecific Thai name for several types of adult invertebrates, including most insects, such as bugs, flies, beetles, etc. They consist of three main parts: i.e. a head; an outer part, such as a shell or wings; and an abdomen, which has  6 legs. Some of the invertebrates in this category may have 1 or 2 pairs of wings, though there are some without wings too. Although not completely interchangeable some of those invertebrates may also be called maeng, though this term is usually reserved for those with 8-10 legs. Several species of insect, both of the malaeng and maeng category, are eaten (fig.) by some locals, e.g. scorpions (maengpong - fig.), crickets (jing rihd - fig.), giant water bugs or horseshoe crabs (maengda - fig.), silk pupae (dakdae), bamboo worms (rotduan - fig.), grasshoppers (takkataen), tarantulas (beung - fig.), etc.

malaeng noon luang (แมลงนูนหลวง)

Thai. ‘Embossed royal insect’. Designation for a large beetle, commonly known as  Sugarcane White Grub, after their larvae, which feed on the roots of sugarcane. It belongs to the family Scarabaeidae and has the scientific name Lepidiota stigma. Females are overall whitish-grey, whereas males are pale beige-brown (fig.). On average, adults measure between 3.5 to 4.7 centimeters. With adults being able to fly (fig.), they can spread over large areas and are considered important pests of cassava and sugarcane, especially in the provinces Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Chonburi and Kamphaeng Phet. In Isaan, they are fried and eaten by some locals. In English, this beetle is sometimes also referred to as the Large Cockchafer. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

malaeng phi (แมลงผี)

Thai. ‘Ghost insect’. The popular name for an insect that camouflages as a stick (fig.), dry twig or withered leave. It comes in many sizes and shapes, the most common being a walking stick. The so-called stick bug, the kind that camouflages as a stick, can grow well over 30 centimeters in length and researchers have identified a species from the island of Borneo with a size of over 55 centimeters, as the world's alleged longest insect.

malaeng pihk khaeng (แมลงปีกแข็ง)

Thai. ‘Hard-winged insect’. Generic name for any type of beetle, alongside the designation duang. The term derives from the elytra, i.e. the modified hardened fore-wings, that serve as shield-like wing-covers or sheaths to the rear-wings, when not in flight. The elytra of metallic beetles are in Thailand used to make artifacts, which are generally referred to as beetle wing collages (fig.). The life-cycle of metallic beetles is short and they meet a natural death at the due time, leaving their wings scattered around the tree trunks where they used to live. The wings of metallic beetles are bluish-green with a golden-yellow shine and remain vivid and durable, so they can be used to decorate sculptures and ornaments. With a size of up to 13 centimeters, the largest beetles in Thailand are the three-horned beetles, generally known in Thai as kwahng sahm khao, and in English commonly referred to as Atlas Beetles. They belong to the genus Chalcosoma, which includes the species Chalcosoma caucasus, Chalcosoma atlas and Chalcosoma mollenkampi.

malaeng pihk khaeng thee you tahm moon sat (แมลงปีกแข็งที่อยู่ตามมูลสัตว์)

Thai generic name for dung beetles. There are several species and the ones found in Thailand include Onitis sp., which lives in buffalo dung and is, naturally, a local delicacy.

malaeng poh (แมลงปอ)

Thai. Generic name for ‘dragonfly’, as well as ‘damselfly’, though the latter is officially known as malaeng poh khem (แมลงปอเข็ม), literally ‘needle dragonfly’. These two types of insects have elongated bodies, two pairs of strong, usually transparent wings, and large multifaceted eyes, and both belong to the order Odonata. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but in resting adults the wings of the latter are held along and parallel to the abdomen (fig.), whereas those of dragonflies are held away from and perpendicular to the body (fig.). Dragonflies have a life span of more than a year and up to several years, but very little of that life is actually as an adult dragonfly. Most of their life cycle is lived out in the nymph stage, underwater, in still and calm waters. At the end of the nymph stage, it will crawl out of the water to complete its metamorphosis into a dragonfly. It does so by shedding its skin, which is left behind as an empty shell, known as the exuvia (fig.). These empty shells can often be found sticking on the spot where the dragonfly emerged, even long after the actual event. There are more than 5,000 species worldwide, of which 295 are found in Thailand and with over 190 species, Chiang Mai is reported to have more dragonflies and damselflies than any other province in the country. Commonly found species in Thailand include the Crimson Marsh Glider (Trithemis aurora - fig.), the Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva - fig.), the Scarlet Skimmer or Crimson Darter (Crocothemis servilia servilia), etc. In Japan dragonflies symbolize martial success, due to the similarity of sound in the Japanese words for dragonfly and victory.

malaeng poh ban boh (แมลงปอบ้านบ่อ)

Thai name for the Scarlet Skimmer.

malaeng poh ban pihk leuang dam (แมลงปอบ้านปีกเหลืองดำ)

Thai name for the Yellow-Striped Flutterer.

malaeng poh ban pihk taem dam (แมลงปอบ้านปีกแต้มดำ)

Thai name for the Blackspot Widow.

malaeng poh ban seua khiaw (แมลงปอบ้านเสือเขียว)

A Thai name for the Green Tiger Skimmer, besides malaeng poh ban seua laai khiaw.

malaeng poh ban seua laai khiaw (แมลงปอบ้านเสือลายเขียว)

A Thai name for the Green Tiger Skimmer, besides malaeng poh ban seua khiaw.

malaeng poh ban sih mon thong daeng (แมลงปอบ้านสีหม่นท้องแดง)

Thai name for the Black-bodied Skimmer.

malaeng poh ban som leuang (แมลงปอบ้านส้มเหลือง)

Thai name for the Orange Skimmer.

malaeng poh ban song sih khiaw fah (แมลงปอบ้านสองสีเขียวฟ้า)

Thai name for the Ground Skimmer.

malaeng poh ban tahn plaay pihk saai (แมลงปอบ้านตาลปลายปีกใส)

Thai name for the Cleartip Widows.

malaeng poh ban tai kohn pihk dam (แมลงปอบ้านใต้โคนปีกดำ)

Thai name for the Indigo Dropwing.

malaeng poh ban tai phu muang (แมลงปอบ้านใต้ผู้ม่วง)

Thai name for the Crimson Marsh Glider.

malaeng poh seua laai pradap (แมลงปอเสือลายประดับ)

A Thai name for the Common Clubtail, besides malaeng poh seua thammada.

malaeng poh seua thammada (แมลงปอเสือธรรมดา)

A Thai name for the Common Clubtail, besides malaeng poh seua laai pradap.

malaeng saab (แมลงสาบ)

Thai. ‘Musty insect’. Generic name for any kind of cockroach. Species commonly found in Thailand include the American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana), Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae - fig.), Common or Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis), German Cockroach (Blattella germanica), Brown-banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa or Supella supelectilium - fig.) and the Surinam Cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis). Cockroaches can go without water or food for a long period and are able to live without their heads. Cockroaches breathe through the sides of their bodies and as such do not require a nose or head. This, in addition with the fact that they do not have blood pressure like mammals do -which can lead to uncontrolled bleeding- they can live about a week or longer without their heads. A decapitated individual will eventually die of dehydration. It has recently been discovered that special chemicals in the brains of cockroaches enable them to resist a wide range of bacteria and allow them to live in highly unclean environments. Scientists have identified several different molecules in their brains and tissues that are toxic to deadly bugs, possibly opening the way to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.

malaeng wan (แมลงวัน)

Thai for ‘fly’, literally it reads ‘day insect’, and thus malaeng wan is sometimes translated as ‘day-fly’. See also malaeng.

malaeng wan bian (แมลงวันเบียน)

Thai. ‘Disturbing fly’ or ‘annoying fly’. Generic name for any fly in the family Tachinidae, of which there are more than 2,000 genera, and more than 10,000 species worldwide. They are commonly called Tachina Flies or simply Tachinids, an in Thai also known as malaeng wan tua bian (แมลงวันตัวเบียน). Their larvae are often parasitoids, developing inside a living host and eventually killing it, or sometimes parasitic, just living off the host for a while. Depending on the species, there are different reproductive strategies. Some species lay their eggs on the host insect, others insert them into the host's body, or leave them in the host's environment, where they are either ingested by the host, or the larvae search for the host themselves, some even by using ambush techniques. For this reason, this fly is also referred to as Parasitic Fly.

malaeng wan hua boob (แมลงวันหัวบุบ)

Thai. ‘Dented-headed fly’. Generic name for any species of robber fly, that belongs to the Asilidae family. There are several subfamilies and members all have stout, spiny legs, a dense bristle of hairs on the face, and three simple eyes in a characteristic dent between two larger compound eyes. Furthermore, they have short antennae, with a bristle-like structure, and a short, strong proboscis, used to stab victims, which they then inject with saliva containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes, that paralyze and digest the internal organs, allowing the robber fly to suck up the liquefied insides. Most robber flies have a rather long abdomen and some species mimic other insects.

malaeng wan hua khiaw (แมลงวันหัวเขียว)

Thai. ‘Green-headed fly’. Name for a species of blow-fly with the scientific designation Chrysomya megacephala, that belongs to the family Calliphoridae. It has large, bright reddish-brown compound eyes, and a metallic greenish-blue body, 1 to 1.2 centimeters in length, with a golden shine and dark, blackish rings. Though found in many places across the globe, it does prefer year-round warmer climates and is particularly prevalent in the Oriental and Australasian region. Whilst it can be a nuisance and cause health problems to both humans and animals, it is also an important tool in forensic entomology, as it is one of the first species to show up on a corpse, allowing pathologists and forensic scientists to determine, or at least estimate, the time of death by calculating a post mortem interval, according to the larvae of this species and their abundance, found on a decaying body. Research done in Thailand was used to examine what species of insects were found on a number of cadavers, grouped in specific environments, e.g. indoor, outdoor, urban, forested, etc. Results showed that flies in the family Calliphoridae were by far the most common of all flies found on all of these cadavers, headed by the species Chrysomya megacephala, which was found on two thirds of the cadavers. For this reason, blow-flies are also called carrion flies. In English, it is commonly known by the less than flattering designation Oriental Latrine Fly. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

malaeng wan ponlamai (แมลงวันผลไม้)

Thai. ‘Fruit fly’. Designation for small flies of the family Tephritidae, one of two families commonly referred to as fruit flies, the other being Drosophilidae, which members are included in a group of insects known as malaeng wih in Thai, said to be named after the sound they make. Worldwide, there are several thousand species belonging to the family Tephritidae, commonly known as picture-wing flies. They are larger than fruit flies of the family Drosophilidae, commonly known as vinegar flies (fig.), and are easily distinguished from other, similar flies, by the dark pattern or banding of the wings.

malaeng wan klaay mot (แมลงวันคล้ายมด)

Thai. ‘Ant-like fly’. Designation for the Stilt-legged Fly (fig.).

malaeng wih (แมลงหวี่)

Thai. ‘Buzzing insect’. Designation for flying insects that include the small flies of the family Drosophilidae, said to be named after the sound they make and which is one of two families commonly referred to as fruit flies, the other being Tephritidae, which members are known as malaeng wan ponlamai in Thai (fig.). Malaeng wih are fruit flies commonly known as vinegar, wine or pomace flies and can be identified by the frontal bristles on their head, usually three on each side above the eye. Since the Thai word for bristle is also wih (หวี), though pronounced with a different tone (i.e. rising rather than low, see tonal marks and rules), it could perhaps be questioned if the name malaeng wih, may have been derived from this, rather than just the sound it makes. Vinegar flies are mostly 2 to 4 millimeter small, pale yellow to reddish brown or black flies, with distinctive red eyes.

malai (มาลัย)

Thai term for ‘garland’, used both for puang malai (fig.) and kreuang khwaen (fig.).

malai khao tok (มาลัยข้าวตอก)

Thai. ‘Popped rice garland’. Name for a kind of garland or mobile, made of stringed grains of popped rice. READ ON.

malai khlong meua (มาลัยคล้องมือ)

Thai. ‘Wristlet garland’. A round-shaped garland to wear around the wrist. See also puang malai.

malai piya (มาลัยเปีย)

Thai. ‘Plaited garland’. An oval-shaped garland, with below a tassel of flowers and at the top a string to be hung from one point. See also puang malai.

malai song chai (มาลัยสองชาย)

Thai. ‘Two boys garland’. A double garland with two ends connected with a string or band to wear around the neck. See also puang malai.

malai tum (มาลัยตุ้ม)

Thai. ‘Knobbed garland’. A somewhat bulbous garland, with below a floral tassel and on top a bowed band for hanging. See also puang malai.

malako (มะละกอ)

Thai for papaya. A small  tree with the Latin name Carica papaja that can grows up to 7.5 meters. Its fruits, when still green (fig.), are used as the main ingredient for the popular dish somtam. When ripe the fruit is orange (fig.) and resembles melon. The Hawaiian species is smaller than the usual Thai variety (fig.). Also called melon tree.

malaria

Disease that causes a recurrent fever caused by a parasite transmitted by a bite of the Anopheles mosquito, the carrier of this parasite. In Thai called khai pah (jungle fever) and khai jab san (shivering fever). See also haemorrhagic fever and dengue.

Malayan Bear

Small species of bear whose natural habitat is southern Thailand, the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago. It has the scientific name Helarctos malayanus and is also known by the name Malayan Sun Bear, due to a creamy-white crescent-shaped curve on its upper chest (fig.). In China and some countries of Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, Malayan Sun Bears are farmed –often in very poor living conditions, including crush cages– to extract their bile, which is used in Chinese traditional medicine, although the practice is illegal. In Thai, this bear is called mih mah, i.e. ‘dog bear’. See also Asian Black Bear.

Malayan Gharial

See jorakae.

Malayan Peacock-pheasant

Common name of a medium-sized pheasant, with the binomial name Polyplectron malacense. Adult males are short-tailed, measure about fifty centimeters, and have a loose, pointed and upturned, dark blue-green crest on the forehead. Their  plumage is mainly pale brown, with small black spots and bands, and iridescent greenish-blue ocelli with a buff edge. It has a blackish bill and legs, and pink to bright orange-red, bare facial skin. Their eyes have bluish-white irises. Females have less distinct ocelli and no obvious crest. Also known as Crested Peacock-pheasant, Malay Peacock-pheasant and Malaysian Peacock-pheasant. Sometimes spelled Malayan Peacock Pheasant. In Thai it is called nok waen sih nahm tahn (นกแว่นสีน้ำตาล) and nok waen tai (นกแว่นใต้), which translates as ‘brown ringed bird’ and ‘southern ringed bird’, respectively.

Malayan Pit Viper

A venomous and potentially fatal snake, with the binomial name Calloselasma rhodostoma and Agkistrodon rhodostoma, which is found throughout tropical and subtropical Southeast Asia. Its body has a pattern of triangular markings on a light to dark, reddish to purplish brown background. This colouring is perfect camouflage, making it almost impossible to see the snake when it is coiled among dried leaf matter, hence it is easily stepped on. The Malayan Pit Viper is the only Asian pit viper with large crown scales and smooth dorsal scales. Characteristically, on each side of its head, behind the eyes, it has a dark-brown patch, bordered with a fine white line. The top of this patch is straight, the bottom is serrated. Its snout is pointed and curved upward. This snake has long, hollow fangs that fold back against the roof of its mouth and which must be extended before it can bite. As with all pit vipers, it is distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on either side of the head (fig.). The Malayan Pit Viper is in many ways reminiscent of the in America occurring pit viper Bothrops atrox, including its hemotoxic venom. In Thai ngu kapa. In 1981, it was depicted on the last stamp of a set of four Thai postage stamps featuring venomous Thai snakes (fig.).

Malayan Porcupine

Name of a species of porcupine (fig.) found in South and Southeast Asia, from Nepal to Sumatra and Borneo, including Thailand. It has the scientific name Hystrix brachyura and occurs in various types of forest, as well as in open areas near forests, where it may even stray into agricultural areas. Its habitat is terrestrial, digging into the ground and living in burrows, often inhabiting dens near rocky areas. It resides in small groups and females may give birth to a litter of usually one young, twice a year. Its diet consists largely of roots, tubers, bark and fallen fruits, but they also feed on carrion and insects. Malayan porcupines are characterized by a large and stout, black body, covered with sharp quills. These long quills or spines are actually modified hairs that grow on their upper body parts and are of a white colour with a narrow dark band, often someplace halfway towards the tip. The quills are soft at birth and become hard and rough as the porcupines enter adulthood. The spines on its back can be raised when it is attacked and those on its tail, which are shorter and hollow, are used to rattle when it feels threatened. If a predator persists past these threats, the porcupine launches a backwards assault, anticipating to stab its attacker with its quills. Porcupine quills are needle-sharp and can be released on contact. Their tips have microscopic barbs on them that, once implanted in an attacker, will remain attached and may even move further up into the tissue, due to the movements of the predator. The barbs make them difficult and painful to extract, and animals can be severely injured and even die as a result of quill penetration. New quills will grow to replace the ones that are discharged during an attack or drop out when the porcupine shakes its body. Malayan porcupines have short stocky legs with smooth soles and four claws on the forelegs, and five on the hind legs. In Thai this species is known as men yai phaeng kho yao or just men yai, i.e. ‘large porcupine’. It strongly resembles the Indian Porcupine, but has a much longer mane. Also known as East Asian porcupine and Himalayan Porcupine. See also men.

Malayan Tapir

See Asian Tapir.

malay lukkaew ok kai (มาลัยลูกแก้วอกไก่)

Thai. A redented chedi with a central part of several successive rings (malay) with three angles, in which the outer edge of each ring in profile resembles the form of a chicken breast (ok kai). This part of the chedi resembles a decorative buffer and was popular towards the end of the Ayutthaya Period.

Malaysia

Thailand's neighbouring country to the South. It includes the southern peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam. Its total area is 329,750 km². It has a total land border of 2,669 km, that is  381 km with Brunei, 1,782 km with Indonesia, and  506 km with Thailand. Its total coastline is 4,675 km long (the Peninsula 2,068 km and East Malaysia 2,607 km) and its highest point is Gunung Kinabalu with 4,100 m. The country's capital is Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. The first several years of the country's history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the federation in 1965. It now consists of a federation with 13 member states under one federal government, which are together represented in the 14 stripes and the 14-pointed star of the national flag (fig.), which in Malay is known as Jalur Gemilang, a designation that translates as Stripes of Excellence’. Malaysia has a population of just over 28 million, consisting of 58% of Malays and other indigenous people, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, and 10% others. Bahasa Melayu is the official language, but a variety of other languages are also spoken, such as English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, and Thai. In addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest being Iban and Kadazan. Practiced religions are Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and the Sikh religion. In East Malaysia Shamanism is practiced. The currency is the ‘ringgit’ and natural resources are tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas and bauxite. See also Thailand's Neighbours & Beyond.

malet phak chih (เมล็ดผักชี)

Thai for ‘coriander seed’, a spice used in cuisine for flavouring. It is one of several spices used to make phalo powder, an ingredient to make khai phalo, for one. See also phak chih.

ma-li (มะลิ)

Thai for Arabian Jasmine, a shrub of the genus Jasminum sambac. There are different species and the Thai variety has white scented flowers and its flower buds (fig.) are used as the main item in most puang malai garlands (fig.). In Thailand, it is considered a symbol for maternal love and has been assigned to be the flower of Wan Mae, i.e. Mother Day. Another specific, newly discovered species of Thai jasmine is named after King Bhumipol Adulyadej (Bhumipon Adunyadet), i.e. Jasminum bhumibolianum (fig.) See also POSTAGE STAMP (1) and (2).

ma-li farang (มะลิฝรั่ง)

Thai. ‘Western (farang) jasmine (ma-li)’. Name for a shrub in the family Apocynaceae, with the scientific designation Tabernaemontana cumingiana, and known in English by its generic name Milkwood. It is also called phut farang (พุดฝรั่ง) and phut tuhm (พุดตูม), and is comparable to another shrub known as Tabernaemontana corymbosa, a very similar species of plant in the same family, which is known in Thai as sang lah (สั่งลา). It originates from India, but can also be found in many other countries of South, East and Southeast Asia. It grows to about 2 meters tall and has somewhat spiny branches with milky sap, which is poisonous if ingested. It blooms almost year-round, bearing flowers with white petals and a pale yellowish centre. The flowers are similar in shape to the flower emblem depicted on the flag of Hong Kong, though that is actually supposed to be a stylized representation of a Hong Kong orchid (Bauhinia blakeana), a flower and tree very similar to the Indian orchid (Bauhinia purpurea - fig.).

Malihwaraat (มาลีวราช)

Thai. Name of a wise king in the story Ramakien, who spoke the truth and was just. He decreed that Totsakan must return Sida to Phra Ram, but Totsakan refused. In iconography, he is usually depicted with a white complexion, eigth arms and four faces, and thus often appears very similar to Phra Phrom, i.e. the Hindu god Brahma. Often referred to as thao Malihwaraat and also spelled Maleewaraj.

Mallard

Name for a species of dabbling duck, with the binomial name Anas platyrhynchos, which is also commonly known as Wild Duck. It is thought to be the most abundant and wide-ranging duck on the planet. The adult drake has a bottle green head and neck atop a white neckband, a chestnut to purplish coloured chest, a grey body, orange legs and feet, a yellowish-olive bill tipped with black, and a curled centre tail feather. Adult females have a mottled drab brown-buff plumage, with a very faint white collar, and a black and orange bill. Both sexes have iridescent purple-blue wing patches, that are lined with a black and a white bar at both the front and hind edges. In males, these patches are best visible during flight, whereas in females they are sometimes visible on the hind flanks as they rest. Chicks are brown with yellowish cheeks and supercilium, a black eye-stripe, buffy-white underparts, and a dark grey bill. After about two months, juveniles become similar to females, but darker and with heavily streaked underparts. As they reach maturity and slowly change to the adult plumage, males will get a yellowish-olive bill and females a black and orange bill. In the non-breeding season, adult males will change into eclipse plumage, becoming less colourful and more female-like again.

Malunthakeson (มาลุนทเกสร)

Thai name of a monkey-warrior character from the Ramakien. He is an ally of Phra Ram (fig.) and belongs to the camp of Meuang Khiet Kheun (เมืองขีดขิน), which is ruled by Phali (fig.). He is described as having a pale purplish-indigo fur. He wears a golden taab, a decorative and protective neckpiece, as well as a golden kabang-style crown. He is usually depicted with his mouth closed. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, who in his previous chaht or incarnation, was the deity Phra Phareuhadsabodih, the god of Thursday as well as of learning (fig.). Also transcribed Malunthagesorn. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

Ma Mian (马面)

 

ma muang (มะม่วง)

Thai for mango. A tree and fruit of the genus Mangifera indica with a large variety of species, the most popular in Thailand being ma muang ok rong.

ma muang fah lan (มะม่วงฟ้าลั่น)

Thai. ‘Thundering mango’. A mango with a green skin and yellowy spots. Fruits mainly in the month of April. It makes a slight sound (lan) when peeled, hence its name fah lan (thunder). The flesh is yellow and quite sweet.

ma muang himaphan (มะม่วงหิมพานต์)

Thai for cashew nut.

ma muang man (มะม่วงมัน)

Thai collective term for all mangos eaten when still green and consequently still hard and sour.

ma muang nahm dok mai (มะม่วงน้ำดอกไม้)

Thai. ‘Barracuda mango’. Name for a sweet and soft mango with yellow flesh.

ma muang ok rong (มะม่วงอกร่อง)

Thai name for a popular kind of mango.

ma muang raed (มะม่วงแรด)

Thai. ‘Rhino mango’. A kind of hard mango with a green skin, which is in season from April to May, and is grown especially in the province of Chachengsao, where it is a local specialty. The name derives from the peculiar hook that grows from its side at the top and resembles a rhinoceros' horn (fig.), an animal that in Thai is known as raed.

man (mẩn)

Vietnamese. Name of a traditional, tubular style of female headdress from northern Vietnam, in which the end of a girl's long hair is tied together like a sausage and worn around the head, somewhat like a turban.

manao (มะนาว)

Common Thai term for ‘lemon’, but the word is also used for ‘citron’ and at times even for ‘lime’. In practice the word is used generally for several species. In Hinduism lemons are used as a medium or go-between of the gods, used to eradicate ominous spirits and ghosts, as well as bad things. As an offer they are made into garlands called puang manao (fig.) and during the festival of Vijayadazaami they are seen everywhere, from decorations on chariots (fig.) to dangling from hooks that are pierced to spiritualist mediums in trance (fig.). Throughout many parts of Southeast Asia, dried slices of lemon are used as natural deodorizer and in Thailand also as replacement for urinal cakes.

manao kwai (มะนาวควาย)

Thai for ‘lime’ of the species Citrus medica linn. var. linetta, but the term may also be used for ‘citron’ and for ‘lemon’. Literally kwai manao means ‘buffalo lemon’.

Manchurian Crane

Common name of a large bird in the crane family Gruidae, with the scientific name Grus japonensis, and also commonly called Japanese Crane and Red-crowned Crane. It is found from China to Japan, and is similar in appearance to the Common Crane, i.e. with black-tipped secondaries and long, drooping tertials, mixed with black plumes, a blackish head and upper-neck, with a red patch on the crown, and a broad white band from the ear-coverts down to the upper neck, but with an overall white plumage rather than grey. In Thai, it is known as nok krarian mongkut daeng (นกกระเรียนมงกุฎแดง), i.e. ‘Red-crowned Crane’.

mandala (मण्डल)

Sanskrit. ‘Circle’. A complex and mystic diagram symbolizing the universe and used as an object of meditation in Vajrayana Buddhism. They usually comprise one or more circles (fig.) divided into geometrical figures and with representations of buddhas, deities and their pantheons. In the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism, the mandala may also be made from coloured sand (fig.), and is usually destroyed once it has been completed, to symbolize the Buddhist belief in the transitory nature of material life. In Tibet, the sand mandala is known as kilkhor and often represents a ‘time-wheel’ or kalachakra. In Thai, the mandala is sometimes referred to as monthon. Besides mystic diagrams, also other religious paintings are created by mandala artists (fig.), which are used both for meditation and as decorative art.

Mandalay Bodaw (မန္တလေးဘိုးတော်)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar.

mandapa (मण्डप)

Sanskrit. ‘Pavilion’. In India an open hall in front of the entrance to a Jain or Hindu sanctuary. In Khmer temples it is the projecting porch to the main shrine. In Thailand it is called mondop, and consists generally of an open square building with a pyramidal or four arched roof, used to house distinguished religious objects or texts.

Mandara (मन्दर)

Sanskrit. The mountain that the gods used with the demons and Ananta to churn the ‘Ocean of Milk (fig.). It is believed to be a spur or peak of Mt. Meru (fig.), and the abode of Krishna as Madhusudana, i.e. the destroyer of a demon with the name Madhu, who was killed by Krishna and then buried underneath Mt. Mandara.

Mandarin Duck

Name of a species of medium-sized duck, with the scientific name Aix galericulata. Adult males have a bulky head and striking colours. Its face is buffish-brown, the forehead dark green, the crown blackish-blue and the upper part of the nape dark brown. The lower sides of the face are buffish-brown and appear somewhat streaked, while the throat and breast are very dark purplish-brown, and the lower part of the nape and mantle are blackish-blue to dark green. It has a long whitish supercilium, as well as two vertical white bars that run from the neck to the lower breast, and a reddish bill. Furthermore, it has buffish underparts, with a white vent, brown wings and two orange, upright, sail-like wingtips at the back. Adult females are overall grayish-brown, with whitish spots on the breast and flanks, a white eyering, and a pale eyestripe. In addition, it has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill. Junveniles are similar to females, but more brownish and with a paler eyering, whilst their breast and flank markings are also less distinct. In Thai it is known as pet maendarin (เป็ดเเมนดาริน).

Mandarin square

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mandir (मन्दिर्)

Sanskrit for ‘temple’.

Maneeswarar

Tamil. Name of a Hindu-Tamil deity, who also referred to as Maneeswaran and Manishvara. His name is a compound of the word mani, which means ‘Saint’, and the name ‘Ishvara’, a title given to Shiva. As such, he is considered a form of Shiva and his weapon is accordingly a trident (trisula). In temples, usually lemons are placed upon the prongs. They are a medium or go-between of the gods, used to eradicate ominous spirits and ghosts, as well as bad things. Maneeswarar is generally worshiped either as a fierce deity, or as a peaceful god. Those who worship him in his fierce form offer animal sacrifices, liquor, and lit cigars or cigarettes, which are placed in his mouth. Those who worship him in his peaceful form offer him roti and rice milk. He is often worshipped alongside Karuppu.. Sometimes transcribed Muneeswarar. See also mani.

Maneki-neko (招き猫)

Japanese. ‘Beckoning Cat’. According to legend, the wooden house of an old woman in Tokyo caught fire one day. Unaware of what was happening, her cat beckoned the old woman to follow her outside, using her paw. Curious of what the cat was up to the lady followed outside and was consequently saved from burning to death. Hence, figurines of a beckoning cat are believed to bring good luck. Later on, statues of a beckoning cat that makes a welcoming gesture with one paw, often holding an ancient coin with the other, appeared. They are said to invite happiness and good fortune, its meaning dependent on its colour. Thus, a white cat invites happiness whilst a golden cat brings richness. If its left paw is raised it invites prosperity. It is often found displayed in shops to attract good business. In Thai called Maew Kwak. See also Nang Kwak.

Mangkala Ubon (มังคลอุบล)

Thai. Name for a species of water lily, with the botanical name Nymphaea mangkala ubol and commonly as the Mangala-ubol Water Lily. This free-blooming hardy water lily originates from Thailand and blooms all year round. It is a hybrid of the Maxicana and the Parries Five O, bred by Asst. Prof. Dr. Noppachai Chansilpa. The flower has dense layers of petals. It has yellow-to-peach flowers, with the ends of the petals being orangey. It has participated in international water lily competitions and has won several awards. It is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2008 (fig.).

mangkon (มังกร)

Thai for dragon.

Mangkonkan (มังกรกัณฐ์)

Thai name of a giant or yak from the Ramakien. In a previous incarnation, he was the buffalo Torapi (fig.). After he was slain in a fight by the monkey-king Phali (fig.), due to a curse of the god Idsuan, he was now reborn as the son of Phaya Khon (พญาขร), who is also referred to as Phraya Khon (พระยาขร), and Nang Ratchada (รัชฎา). He joined Indrachit in battle against Rama, when Indrachit shot the nagabaat, i.e. the arrow that changed into a naga and tied Rama and Lakshmana down, but was eventually killed himself by an arrow of Phra Ram. He has a green (fig.) to greenish-blue complexion and wears a chadah-style crown, which is topped with the figure of a naga, similar to Wirunhok (fig.). He is one of the 12 giants that stand guard at the check-in hall of Bangkok's International Airport Suwannaphum (fig.), as well as one of the 12 giants, set up in 6 pairs, that guard the entrances in the enclosure of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (fig.), i.e. Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, where he is erected in pair with Wirunhok (fig.). He is also one of the giants in the thepchumnum (fig.) of the two golden redented chedis at the compound, in which 4 monkeys and 16 giants from the Ramakien support the base of these pagodas, which were built by King Rama I to house the ashes of his parents, i.e. those of his mother in the gilded chedi on the North, and those of his father in the gilded chedi on the South. See LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

mangkut (มังคุค)

Thai for mangosteen.

mang ming (หมั่งหมิง)

Thai-Chinese. Chinese method in which unwanted facial hairs are removed by putting Chinese toilet powder on the face whilst using a set of strings, that are pinched together to grab the hairs and pull them out. It is amongst others practiced on the sidewalks of Charoen Krung Road in Yaowaraht, Bangkok's Chinatown. The method claims to also help prevent acne, but is said to be rather painful, especially around certain spots, such as the lips, the hairline and the eyes.

mango

Fruit of an evergreen, long-lived, tropical fruiting tree, that grows well over twenty meters and has the Latin name Mangifera indica, referring to its origin, i.e. the Indian Subcontinent. The genus Mangifera, however, consists of numerous species. Mango trees are listed in the family Anacardiaceae and are a relative to the in Thailand growing maprahng, in English known as Plum Mango. The many different kinds of fruit are usually categorized by taste and texture, which can be sour to sweet, and hard to soft. A common way of eating sweet and soft mangos is the so-called hedgehog style, in which the sides of the fruit are cut off lengthwise, along the large flat pit; the flesh of fruit of each side is then sliced horizontally and vertically, while leaving it on the skin, which is then folded back, forming a humpback reminiscent of a hedgehog. Other, hard and sour mangos are usually sliced into thin slivers, eaten by dipping them in a mixture of sugar, salt and dry powdered chili. Thailand total area of harvested mango trees is about 285,000 hectares, putting them third on the world's list of harvesters, after India and China, though in tonnage they come in only fifth, with an anual production of 1,800,000 tonnes. In Thai called ma muang. See also Big Mango.

mangosteen

Evergreen tree of the genus Garcinia mangostana which grows up to twelve meters with fruits of the same name in a purple shell. It is known as the ‘queen of fruits’, with the durian being the ‘king of fruits’. Its sweet cream-coloured flesh is soft, succulent and made up of several pieces. At the bottom of the thick rind is a small flowerlike ‘crown’ of which the number of ‘petals’ indicate how many peaces of flesh of fruit are inside. It is thus possible to tell from the outside how many slices it will have on the inside. It is generally believed that eating this fruit gives renewed strength and lowers the body temperature. Its season is from April to September. In Thai called mangkut. It belongs to the same genus as the madan (Garcinia schomburgkiana pierre).

mangrove

Name of a tropical tree or shrub growing in coastal wetlands near brackish and salt water areas of estuaries, including coastlines and shores. There are many varieties of mangrove, including the Sonneratia and Avicennia, the Rizophora species and the larger Bruguiera trees. Sonneratia and Avicennia have a long cable root system underneath the ooze as well as prickle roots, the so-called pneumatophores, growing above the surface of the shore-mud (fig.) and used for taken in oxygen through special pores during low tide. These pneumatophores also excrete excess salt making the shrub tolerant of high salinity. The Sonneratia and Avicennia differ in the colour of their leaves, with those of the Sonneratia usually being lighter in colour. Rizophora on the other hand are characterized by their distinctive long stilt-like buttress roots (fig.) that grow above ground (fig.) and which enable the sturdy tree to thrive in soft mud and prevent it from falling over during strong tides. The bruguiera trees grows in rather compacted mud which is inundated with water only during high spring tides. Mangrove has large round seed pods that grow separate from each other dangling from thin woody wires. The unusual seed pods of the bruguiera trees are equipped with dagger-shaped appendages (fig.) that enable them to penetrate the mud when they drop, so they won't drift away with the tide. Due to this mangrove forests often colonize large coastal areas, such as the Bay of Phang Nga in Southern Thailand. Its tangled root system form a natural habitat for many animals, such as mudskippers (fig.); mangrove crabs (fig.), including certain fiddler crabs (fig.); Yellow-ringed Cat Snakes; Mangrove Pit Vipers (fig.); Small-clawed Otters and Crab-eating Macaques, which in Thai are called ling sahaem - fig.), after the mangrove they often live in. Mangrove wood is burned to make charcoal (fig.). The different varieties in Thai are: lamphu (ลำพู) and lamphaen (ลำแพน) for species in the group Sonneratia, including the Mangrove Apple (fig.), prohng (โปรง) for Ceriops, sahaem (แสม) for Avicennia, gohng gahng (โกงกาง) or phang kah (พังกา) for Rizophora, and gohng gahng hua soom (โกงกางหัวสุม) for the Bruguiera, especially the Bruguiera gymnorrhiza. The gohng gahng or Rizophora have several subspecies which are commonly found in Thailand, including gohng gahng bai lek (โกงกางใบเล็ก) or ‘small leaves gohng gahng’ (Rizophora apiculata) and gohng gahng bai yai (โกงกางใบใหญ่) or ‘large leaves gohng gahng’ (Rizophora mucronata). The prohng or ceriops are also dived into two main species, i.e. prohng daeng (โปรงแดง) or ‘red prohng’ (Ceriops tagal) and prohng khao or ‘white prohng’ (Ceriops decandra). Often mangrove is generally referred to as ton gohng gahng (ต้นโกงกาง) for the tree and pah gohng gahng (ป่าโกงกาง) for the forest, regardless of the species, but also the term pah chai len (ป่าชายเลน) is frequently used, which literally means ‘wetland forest’ and refers to a forest at the estuary of a river, i.e. most likely mangrove. Besides this there are many other species, some of them found worldwide, including black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), white mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha) and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). The latex or milky sap of white mangrove is known for causing blisters on contact with the skin and even temporary blindness if it contacts the eyes. Besides its nickname milky mangrove, it is therefore also given the epithet blind-your-eye mangrove, in Thai ton tah toom (ต้นตาตุ่ม), literally ‘sore eyes tree’ or ton tah toom taleh (ตาตุ่มทะเล), ‘sore eyes coastal tree’.

Mangrove Apple

Species of mangrove, with the scientific name Sonneratia alba. It grows up to 15 meters tall and has thick, cone-shaped prickle roots, called pneumatophores, which are used to exclude salt and that allows it to grow in and near saline water. It has no buttresses roots and its bark is creamy grey to brown, with slight vertical fissures. The bark of young trees is covered with a layer of wax, which most likely serves to protect it against water loss, as well as attacks by creatures great and small. Its fruit consists of circa 4 centimeters large, green, leathery berries, with a star-shaped base, that contain tiny, white seeds. They are are flattened and buoyant, and when ripe the fruit is edible and is said to taste like cheese. The rounded, leathery leaves are also edible and may be eaten either raw or cooked. Besides this, the tree is used for firewood, though it is not the preferred mangrove tree for this purpose. In Thai it is known as lamphaen thalae, which could be translated as ‘Sea Sonneratia’. It is one of four species of Sonneratia found in Thailand, the others being Sonneratia caseolaris, Sonneratia ovate and Sonneratia griffithii.

Mangrove Catsnake

A mildly poisonous snake in the family Colubridae and with the scientific name Boiga dendrophila melanota. It is often seen in South-East Asia, including in West Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, and of all Boiga dendrophila subspecies, this is the one with the largest distribution area. The body and tail are glossy black with narrow yellow bars, which sometimes are no more than a few spots and do not usually meet over the back. The Mangrove Catsnake can grow up to about 2.5 meters in length and may have up to 54 bands or groups of spots. This snake is very defensive and will hiss and strike repeatedly when disturbed or provoked. Though rear-fanged, it can open it's mouth very wide and could sink its fangs into a person. Once it bites, it will hold on and chew, though its venom is rarely harmful to humans. Mangrove Catsnakes are found in mangrove swamps and along forest streams in humid lowland forests, where they can often be seen on branches overhanging water. In Thailand they are mostly found in the South. It is generally referred to as Mangrove Snake and in Thai it is called ngu plong thong, meaning ‘Golden-segment snake’.

Mangrove Pitta

Common name for a small terrestrial bird, with the scientific name Pitta megarhyncha. It is one of twelve species of Pitta, that occur in Thailand, and a resident breeder. It is very similar tot the Blue-winged Pitta, which only comes to Thailand to breed, yet differs by a thicker and longer bill, and the near absence of the black line on the crown. Its natural habitat includes mangrove forests. In Thai it is called nok taew laew pah gohng gahng.

Mangrove Pit Viper

A highly aggressive and fierce, venomous pit viper. Though dangerous, its bite is rarely fatal to humans. This nocturnal snake is found in mangrove and lowland forests. It has a blackish olive-brown crown with granular head scales and its body, which is greenish yellow with dark blotches, is strongly keeled. The abdominal scales are white with black edges, whilst the subcaudals, i.e. the scales on the underside of the tail, are mainly black. A light, almost white line on the first row of scales bordering the abdomen may be present. A second colour variety is uniformly purplish brown. As with all pit vipers, it is distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on either side of the head (fig.). Its diet consists of lizards, birds, rodents and frogs. It has the binomial name Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus and in Thai it is called ngu phang kah. Also known as Shore Pit Viper.

Mangrove Terrapin

Common name for a large species of river turtle with the scientific designation Batagur baska. It is one of the largest turtles in the family of Emydidae, reaching a carapace length of at least 60 centimeters. Its carapace has smooth scutes, making it perfectly modified for swimming in the tidal currents of mangrove estuaries. Typically, it has four claws on its front legs. Adult males are somewhat smaller than females, and have longer, thicker tails. Also known as Giant River Turtle and in Thai called tao kra-ahn.

Mangu (曼谷)

Chinese. ‘Large valley’ or ‘beautiful valley’. Name for Bangkok. See also Big Mango.

mani (मणि)

Sanskrit. ‘Gem’ or ‘jewel’. Name for flat stones, stone plates, rocks and pebbles from Tibet that have mantras, prayers or sacred script written on them. Mani stones are piled up and are considered very holy, hence they should never be picked up or collected. Mani walls at Buddhist locations are built of stones with sacred inscriptions. The largest pile of mani stones is located in Tibet and has over two billion stones. The idea is that how bigger the pile gets the more benefit it will bring, a principle reminiscent of that with Buddha images of which it is believed that the bigger they are or the more there are gathered together, the more energy they radiate. Buddhist prayer wheels are also known as mani wheels (fig.).

Manibhadra (मनिभद्र)

Sanskrit. Protector of travellers and ruler of the yakshas.

manioc

Common name for a small plant (fig.) of the genus Manihot, mainly cultivated in the province of Kanchanaburi for its thick root from which tapioca or cassava is harvested (fig.). In Thai called mansampalang and mansamrohng.

man jihn (มันจีน)

Thai. ‘Chinese tuber’. A kind of edible root which is mainly sold on markets, especially Chinese ones, such as in Yaoraht, Bangkok's Chinatown. It looks like a elongated potato but with a reddish-pink skin.

Manjushri (मंजुश्री)

Sanskrit. The god of learning and wisdom, a bodhisattva of Mahayana Buddhism. His attribute is a scroll or book, which represents the Prajnaparamita, whilst his mount is a lion, and his consort Sarasvati, the wife of Brahma in Hinduism. He is sometimes depicted wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, symbolizing his realization of wisdom, which cuts through ignorance and wrong views, whilst the scroll or book represents his attainment of ultimate wisdom and Enlightenment. In art, especially in Chinese and sometimes in Thai  iconography, he is also depicted riding a lion and holding a ruyi in the form of a lotus (fig.). In China, he is known as ‘the bodhisattva of keen awareness’ and called Wen Shu (fig.), which means ‘Unique Culture’, and in Tibetan art, he is sometimes depicted in a wrathful form, usually with multiple arms (fig.), and in his ferocious manifestation as Yamantaka (fig.). He is one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (fig.). Also spelled Manjusri and Manchusri, and in Thai known as Phra Manchusri Photisat (พระมัญชุศรีโพธิสัตว์ - fig.). Although under dispute, some sources say that the northeastern Chinese tribe, that eventually became the last Imperial Dynasty of China, i.e. the  Manchu Dynasty, which is also known as the Qing Dynasty, was named after Manchusri.

Manmatha (मन्मथ)

Sanskrit. ‘Churner or agitator [of the mind]’. An epithet of Kama, the god of love. See also Madana.

manohara (मनोहर)

Sanskrit for ‘enchanting’. Manohra, the name of the longest existing dance drama in Thailand, is derived from it.

Manohra (มโนห์รา)

1. Thai. Longest existing dance drama in Thailand with similar themes to the Ramakien. READ ON.

2. Daughter of the King of the kinnons, who eventually marries Phra Suthon.

Man Phoorithattoh (มั่น ภูริทตโต)

Thai. Name of a revered Buddhist monk, who is usually referred to as Phra Ajaan Man, i.e. ‘Determined Teacher Monk’. He was born in Ubon Ratchathani on 20 January 1870 AD and passed away on 11 November 1949 in Sakon Nakhon. He preferred a solitary life in the forest and in caves, and is credited with establishing the Thai Forest Tradition, in which practitioners dwell in so-called forest temples called wat pah. He was very persistent and became known as the greatest meditation teacher in Isaan. Hence, he was a very sought after personality for advice on Enlightenment and meditation. See also POSTAGE STAMP.

mansampalang (มันสำปะหลัง)

Thai name for manioc, the plant from which root cassava or tapioca is made. Also mansamrohng.

mansamrohng (มันสำโรง)

Thai name for manioc, the plant from which root cassava or tapioca is made. Also mansampalang.

mantis shrimp

See kang.

mantra (मन्त्र)

Sanskrit. ‘Mystical syllables’. A mystical incantation or religious chant. It has a magical intention when used by Hindus. A stimulating phonetic symbol that evokes and revives the deity being worshipped. Its sound is more important than its meaning. One of the most commonly seen and heard incantations is the six syllable mantra Aum mani padma hum. In Thai pronounced mon. See also om.

Mantrayana (मन्त्रयान)

See Vajrayana.

Manuthiha

Pali. Man-lion. Name of a mythological, sphinx-like creature, with a body that is half man and half lion, found in Myanmar. It is often found as sculptural art in temples, depicted on the corners of zedi. According to legend, it was created by Buddhist monks to protect newborn royalty. It is similar to Narasimha, yet differs in this that the latter has the body of a man with the head of a lion, whereas in Manuthiha the head and front body are those of a man and the back that of a lion. It could rather be seen as the Burmese equivalent of the Thai Thepnorasi (fig.), but sitting rather than standing or walking upright. Statues of Manuthiha can also be found in Thailand (fig.), especially in towns close to the border with Myanmar, e.g. Sangkhlaburi, Mae Hong Son, Mae Saai, etc. Pronunciation is Manu Thi Ha.

manussaloka

Pali. ‘Human world’, i.e. one of the six lower celestial worlds in Buddhism, that make up the kamaloka, i.e. the world of the five senses. The term is a compound of the words manussa and loka, and the Thai word manut (มนุช), which means ‘human’, derives of the Pali word manussa.

mao bi (毛笔)

Chinese. ‘Hairy pen’ or ‘furry writing brush.’ Name for an ink brush used in Chinese calligraphy and painting (fig.). They are normally made from real animal hair, such as goat’s hair, rabbit hair or the tail hairs of a weasel, and with a stalk from bamboo, although other materials, such as baby hair and stalks made from jade, ivory, sandalwood or other precious materials, are also used for more luxurious brushes. Synthetic materials are not used. In English it is called Chinese writing brush or ink brush and it is part of the wen fang si bao (fig.).

maphlab (มะพลับ)

A Thai name for persimmon.

ma-poo (มะปู่)

Thai. Short for makheua poo.

maprahng (มะปราง)

Thai. Name for a plum-like tropical fruit tree (fig.) native to Southeast Asia and with the scientific names Bouea burmanica and Bouea macrophylla, of the genus Anacardiaceae, which belongs to the Sumac family. The tree is related to the mango and is hence sometimes referred to as Plum Mango, though it is also known as Gandaria and Marian Plum in English. Its sweet fruit is edible and has a somewhat hard, yet thin yellowish skin. Its fruiting season is from March to April. When young, also the leaves of the tree can be eaten and may be used in salads. There are also other varieties, i.e. including one called called mapring, and another known as mayong (fig.).

maprao (มะพร้าว)

Thai for coconut. Also transcribed maphrao.

mapring (มะปริง)

A variety of the maprahng.

maqbara (مقبرا, मक़बरा)

Arabic-Hindu. ‘Place of burial’. A term used either for a Muslim tomb (fig.), or for a chamber or compartment within a larger mausoleum, to refer to the exact location of the grave. The term derives from the word qabr, which means ‘grave’. Though the term in general refers to the graves of all Muslims, it is especially used to refer to the graves of exemplary Muslim figures who dedicated their life in service to Islam.

maqsura (مقصورة)

Arabic. ‘Closed-off space’. The arched façade of a mosque, Also transcribed maqsurah.

ma-ra (มะระ)

See bitter gourd.

Mara (मार)

Sanskrit. ‘Destroyer, tempter’. Name of an important god that rules over the eleven levels of the World of Desire, derived from the Sanskrit root mri of the word mriti, meaning ‘death’, and thus the god of desire and death. He is the personification of evil and one of the five devils that tried to tempt the Buddha just before his Enlightenment. Although Mara tried to hinder him by sending him certain distractions Siddhartha Gautama seated in meditation under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya refused to leave until he had found true understanding. He is usually portrayed in a fierce form with several arms, and in India he is found in the pratyalidha asana (fig.). In Thai pronounced Maan.

marapajon (มารผจญ)

Thai. ‘Battle with Mara’. Thai term that refers to the scene during maravijaya.

maravichaya

Another transliteration for maravijaya.

maravijaya (मारविजया, มารวิชัย)

Sanskrit-Pali-Thai. ‘Victory over Mara’. A name for the most common mudra in Thai-Buddhist iconography, also known as bhumisparsa. It symbolizes the episode from the Buddha's legendary life story when he was seated in meditation under a fig tree in Bodh Gaya and vowed not to leave from there until he had gained Enlightenment. Mara, the god of desire and death, tried to hinder him by sending a number of distractions and temptations, including some young girls. Upon this the Buddha touched the earth with his right hand calling for the goddess of earth Mae Phra Thoranee (fig.). She came to his aid by wringing water from her long hair thus washing Mara and his army of demons away, a scene in Thailand known as marapajon (fig.). In this way the Buddha was saved from the temptations of desire and called upon the earth goddess to bear witness of his accumulated merits from former lives. The Buddha made this mudra seated in a half lotus position. Occasionally this episode is portrayed with a pahng nahg prok posture (fig.). Also maravichaya.

Marbled Cat

Common name of a small wild cat with an arboreal life-style, which is found in South and Southeast Asia. Similar in size to a domestic cat, it is easily distinguished by its long and densely furred tail, which may be as long as or longer than its body, as well as its large feet. It has a thick fur, that varies in background colour from dark grey-brown to red-brown, and which is patterned with dark spots on the forehead and crown, that merge into narrow longitudinal stripes on the neck, and irregular stripes on the back. Additionally, the back and flanks are marked with dark, irregular dark-edged marks, whilst the legs and underparts are patterned with black blotches. The long tail has black spots proximally and black rings distally. The Marble Cat has the scientific designation Pardofelis marmorata and is listed as endangered, with an estimated population of less than 10,000. As such, it occurs on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1975 as part of a set on protected wild animals (fig.), and again in 2011, as part of a set on wild cats (fig.) in an effort to promote awareness for this vulnerable animal, as well as for wildlife conservation in general. The Marble Cat is said to be closely related to the Asian Golden Cat (fig.).

Marble Temple

See Wat Benjamabophit.

mareuk (มฤค)

Thai for a male deer.

mareukathaiwan (มฤคทายวัน)

Thai name for Mrigadava.

mareuki (มฤคี)

Thai for a female deer.

Marian Plum

See maprahng.

Mariht (มารีศ)

Thai. Name of a giant or yak from the Ramakien. He is the son of Kaaknasoon and has a white complexion. He was ordered to spy on Nang Sida (fig.) and in order to accomplish this goal, he changed himself into a golden deer, referred to in Thai as Kwahng Thong (fig.). When Sida saw the golden deer, she wished to posses it and asked Phra Ram (fig.) to catch it for her. However, Phra Ram realized the deer to be a demon in disguise and hence shot and killed it with his arrow. Also transcribed Mareet and Mahrit. See LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

Marshal of the Central Altar

A title given to Nezha, the Taoist child-deity, which in Chinese is Zhong Tan Yuan Shua, literally ‘First Commander of the Central Alter’.

Marsh Crocodile

See jorakae.

ma-rum (มะรุม)

Thai designation for a tree with the botanical name Moringa oleifera. It has extremely high nutritional value and virtually every part of it can be used, but it are the pods that are the most healthy, containing all the essential amino acids, as well as many vitamins and other nutrients. The green, immature pods can be eaten raw or prepared, whereas the mature pods are usually fried. They also yield an edible oil, which has a nutritional value comparable to that of olive oil and besides being clear, sweet and odourless, it is also said to never becomes rancid. In addition, the tree's leaves can be eaten as greens or used for seasoning, the flowers -which are rich in potassium and calcium- are edible but need to be fried or cooked, whilst its root is used as a substitute for horseradish, and the bark for tanning. Besides all of this, the tree also has several medicinal uses and the seeds, especially the seed-cake that remains after the oil has been extracted, have the ability to purify water. Not surprisingly, this tree is sometimes described as nutritional dynamite. Like the Cassia fistula (rachaphreuk), it is also nicknamed Drumstick Tree.

Maruts (मरुत्)

Sanskrit. Vedic storm gods made by the rishi Kashyapa for the goddess Diti, the mother of the asuras, who had asked him for a son powerful enough to destroy Indra, as a revenge for killing the asuras. Her embryo, however, got cut into pieces by Indra who entered her womb with his thunderbolt, and their number increased somewhere between 21 and 180, depending on the myths that narrate their origin.

masayid (مَسْجِدٌ, มัสยิด)

Arabic-Thai. ‘Place of prostration’. A mosque. Also spelt masjid. Sometimes transliterated masyid.

Masayid Kreu Se (มัสยิดกรือเซะ)

Name of a mosque in Pattani, built by Lim To Khieng, a Chinese immigrant who married a local girl and converted to Islam. His sister Lim Ko Niau however sailed from China on a sampan to try and sway her brother to forsake Islam and return to his homeland. In a negative response he demonstrated his faith and started the construction of the masayid in 1578. His sister then put a curse on the mosque, saying it would never be completed. After a final failed attempt to persuade her brother she eventually hanged herself from a nearby cashew nut tree and from grief her brother was unable to finish mosque which to this day remains uncompleted. In April 2004 over a hundred alleged Muslim separatist rebels were killed here by Thai Army troops after they had attacked local police and fled inside the mosque, resisting arrest.

Masked Palm Civet

A species of civet native to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and China, where this mainly arboreal mammal is found in tropical rainforest and temperate deciduous forest. Its fur is grayish beige to orange-brown. Unlike most other civets, the Masked Palm Civet has no spots or stripes on its body, though it has dark feet, dark ears and dark spots on the face, which are reminiscent of a mask (fig.). Though omnivorous, this nocturnal predator feeds mainly on fruit, but additionally it also feeds on small vertebrates, such as squirrels and birds, as well as on insects. Following the April 2003 outbreak of SARS in Asia, the virus causing the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was in May 2003 isolated in several Masked Palm Civets in China, placing the animal under suspicion of having been a likely vector of the SARS virus. As a result, around 10,000 Masked Palm Civets were culled in Guangdong Province, though the virus was later also found in other animals. The Masked Palm Civet is also called Himalayan Palm Civet and its Binomial name is Paguma larvata. In Thai it is known as ih-hen kreua.

massage

See traditional massage.

Master of Healing

See Bhaisajyaguru.

masyid (มัสยิด)

See masayid.

Matanapatha (มัธนะพาธา)

Name of a drama in verse, written in the traditional Chan form, by King Vajiravudh. The story involves a powerful angel named Suthet (สุเทษณ์), who is intensively in love with the female angel Matana (มัทนา), who ignores him. Infatuated, he harbours a grudge against her and turns her into a rose on earth. However, on every full moon she will become human and only when she finds true love will she be able to maintain her human form. In English usually referred to as the Legend of the Rose (fig.). Compare with Qi Qiao Jie and see also kulaab.

Matchanu (มัจฉานุ)

See Madchanu.

math (मठ)

A Hindu and Jain monastery, usually more hierarchical, formal and rule-based than an ashram. Also transcribed matha and sometimes mutt.

mathayom (มัธยม)

Thai for high school. See education.

Mathura (मथुरा)

1. Hindi. One of the most sacred cities of Hinduism, situated on the west bank of the Yamuna river and dating back to 600 BC. The town is associated with the birth of Krishna and his exploits, and with several dynasties including the Gupta dynasty. In the 7th century AD it was an important Buddhist centre, as well as a commercial and cultural meeting place, but the city was sacked in 1017 and the Buddhist temples were destroyed.

2. Hindi. An art style from Mathura.

matmi (มัดหมี่)

Thai. A term from the textile industry in Laos and Thailand indicating a weaving process in which a typical pattern is obtained by tying off small bundles (‘mat’) of yarn prior to dyeing thus preventing the dye from penetrating. A well-known, ancient matmi design on silk cloth is called pah mai saket and comes from Roi Et (fig.). This weaving process is also known by the name ikat and sometimes transliterated mudmee.

Matris (मातृ)

Sanskrit. ‘Mothers’. The divine mothers. The term originally refers to a class of goddesses, who originated in the remote past and are connected to the forces of nature. Later they appear as the female energies (shaktis) of the great gods and are especially worshiped in Tantrism. Also called Mataras and Matrikas.

Matsu (妈祖)

Another spelling for Mazu.

Matsya (मत्‍स्‍य)

Sanskrit. ‘Fish’. Refers to Vishnu's first avatara, in the form of a fish, which is represented either as a great fish or as half-man half-fish. It symbolizes the existence that emerges from the waters of non-existence. Vishnu took this avatar after Shankasura, an asura, i.e. a demon at Satya yuga, i.e. the time of the beginning, stole the Vedas from Brahma and swallowed them, running off and hiding inside the waters of the ocean, thus making it impossible for Brahma to create world. Vishnu consequently killed the demon (fig.) and returned the Vedas to Brahma, though some texts say he gave them to Satyavrata, who was later renamed Manu, i.e. the first ever human in world, of whom a later legend relates that he saved in a boat all the medicinal plants of the world, as well as some animals, during a great inundation, a story reminiscent of Noah's ark. During his avatar as Matsya, Lakshmi or Sri, Vishnu's consort or shakti incarnated with him in the form of a female fish, i.e. half-woman half-fish (fig.), akin to Suphanamatcha (fig.). Sometimes transliterated Matsaya. See also Madchanu, Sareungka Matsaya, and Mazu.

ma tuan (麻团)

Mandarin-Chinese. ‘Sesame balls’. A type of crisp fried and chewy pastry, made from sticky rice flour and coated with sesame seeds. Due to the expansion of the dough, the pastry is hollow on the inside, and sometimes this cavity is filled with a filling, such as bean paste or lotus paste. There are two basic types, one coated with light sesame seeds, the other with a mixture of light and dark sesame seeds. Outwardly they strongly resemble the Thai sweet kanom nga (fig.), but their texture is much harder to chew. In English often referred to as sesame seeds balls, and in Mandarin also called jian dui (煎堆), which literally means ‘fried mass’.

matuhm (มะตูม)

Thai name for the bale (bael) tree of the genus Aegle marmelos, which yields a fruit called wood-apple, golden apple, bengal quince, or bale (bael) fruit. Dried slices of this fruit are soaked in water to make an amber coloured health-enhancing beverage rich in vitamins and called nahm matuhm in Thai.

Matulih (มาตุลี)

Pali-Thai name of Indra's charioteer. He appears in the Nemiraja Jataka, where he is ordered to take Nemiraja in Indra's chariot to view heaven and hell. He is depicted riding Indra's chariot pulled by two horses as part of the logo of the Thai Department of Land Transport (fig.), known in Thai as Krommakaan Khonsong Tahng Bok. He also appears on a Thai postage stamp related to the Nemiraja story, issued in 1996 to commemorate the annual Makha Bucha Day (fig.).

Matulih

Matulee (มาตุลี)

See Matulih.

Maung (မောင်, หฺม่อง)

Burmese-Thai. ‘Brother’. A Burmese title of courtesy equivalent to ‘mister’, sometimes used in Thailand.

Maung Minbyu (မောင်မင်းဖြူ)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar.

Maung Minshin (မောင်မင်းရှင်)

Burmese. Name of a spirit that belongs to the official pantheon of 37 nats worshipped in Myanmar.

Maung Po Tu (မောင်ဘိုးတူ)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar.

Maung Tint De (မောင်တင့်တယ်)

Burmese. The name at birth of Min Mahagiri (fig.), one of the 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. Pronunciation Maung Tinthé.

Maurya (मौर्य)

1. Hindi. Dynasty from 324 to 187 BC, founded by the Chandragupta in Patna, India.

2. Hindi. Art form from the period of the Indian Maurya dynasty.

Mawang (马王)

Chinese. ‘Horse-royals’ or ‘horse-kings’. Name for a group of Chinese deities worshipped since antiquity as the protectors of horses, especially in the Ming Dynasty, together with similar deities, known as the Mazu (fig.) and Shuicao (fig.). Horses are believed to bring power and prosperity, as in the past they were the possession of powerful rulers and generals. Hence, today, statuettes of horses are often found in the offices of many a Chinese manager or businessman.

maya (मा‍या)

Sanskrit. ‘Illusion, magic, phenomenal reality’. Creative power, personified as a female who is made for the purpose to beguile. Individuals have the illusion to be in control, but in fact everything is determined by maya. See also Maha Maya.

mayom (มะยม)

Thai name for the star gooseberry tree, an evergreen tree growing up to nine meters with the scientific names Phyllanthus acidus and Phyllanthus distichus. It has nearly spherical, yellowish light green berries that are quite smooth and hard on appearance, with vertical furrows, more or less in the form of a star. The tree is suitable for several medicinal purposes, including the treatment of fevers accompanied by a skin disease, e.g. the measles. In Sanskrit the fruit is called amla, a word related to amalaka, a term used for a star gooseberry-like circular decorative ribbed ornament at the top of a northern style Hindu temple (fig.). Other designations include wild plum, Malay gooseberry, country gooseberry, Indian gooseberry, etc.

mayong (มะยง)

A variety of the maprahng (fig.), which is very similar in appearance, but slightly bigger in size (close to a chicken egg) and with a yellowish-orange, somewhat darker skin. When ripe, the fruits' taste is still somewhat sweet-and-sour, rather than sweet. Yet, ripe mayong have no resin in the fruit, whereas maprahng do. Also called mayong chit khai gai (มะยงชิดไข่ไก่), meaning ‘mayong close to a chicken egg’, or in brief mayong chit (มะยงชิด).

Mayoon (มายูร)

Thai-Pali. Name of a monkey-warrior from the city of Meuang Chomphoo (เมืองชมพู), that appears in the Ramakien. He has a pale purple fur and wears a kabang-style crown. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, and an avatar of Virupaksa, who is also known as Varuna and in China as Guang Mu Tian (fig.), i.e. one of the Chinese Four Heavenly Kings and the lokapala of the West.

mayura (मायूर)

Sanskrit. ‘Peacock’. In Hindu mythology, where it refers to the Indian Blue Peafowl (fig.), it is the mount of Skanda, Karttikeya, Sarasvati and the goddess Mahamayuri for one, whereas Krishna is usually represented wearing a peacock feather tucked in his headband (fig.). It is the National Bird of India, and though native to the Indian subcontinent (fig.), it has also been introduced into many parts of the world, leading to the origin of feral populations in many of these regions. Its scientific name is Argusianus argus, and in English it is also known as Great Argus (fig.). Argus (Ἄργος) is Greek for ‘All Eyes’ and was the name of Argus o Panoptes (Άργος ο Πανόπτης), meaning ‘Argus the All-seeing’, a Greek mythological giant with a hundred eyes, and refers here to the multiple eye-like patterns on the male bird's elongated upper tail coverts. These large, colourful feathers, are often mistaken to be tail feathers, but the tail itself is actually brown and short, as in the peahen. Whereas males (fig.) have an overall blue head and neck, females have a whitish head with a dark brown crown and brown supercilium, and a scaled neck, which is greenish-blue above, and gradually changes to brownish grey-white towards the belly. Below, the female is white, whilst the upperparts are brownish-grey with tiny black-and-white lines on the wings (fig.). In Thailand, the peacock is a decorative symbol of Queen Sirikit (fig.), which is hence referred to as the Royal Peacock (fig.). In Thai, the Indian Blue Peafowl is called nok yoong india. See also Green Peafowl and kai fah. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

Mazu (马祖)

Chinese. ‘Horse-ancestor’. Name for a group of Chinese deities worshipped since antiquity as the protectors of horses, especially in the Ming Dynasty, together with similar deities, known as the Mawang (fig.), i.e. ‘horse-royals’ or ‘horse-kings’, and Shuicao (fig.). The Mazu are all depicted with four arms, holding swords and other attributes, and all have a vertical third eye on their face. Unlike the Mawang and Shuicao, the Mazu also wear a diadem-like crown, adorned with the head of a horse. Horses are believed to bring power and prosperity, as in the past they were the possession of powerful rulers and generals. Hence, today, statuettes of horses are often found in the offices of many a Chinese manager or businessman.

Mazu (妈祖)

Chinese. ‘Mother-ancestor’. Name for the goddess of the sea, who is believed to protect fishermen and sailors. READ ON.

Mecca (مكة‎)

Arabic. The most important place of pilgrimage of Islam situated in western Saudi-Arabia and the place of birth of the prophet Muhammad. It is the direction to which all Muslims turn to pray. Also spelled Makkah and in full known as Makkah Al Mukarramah.

medallion

Architectural term for a framed circular, oval or half circular centre part with decorative figures and motifs. Often seen on façades.

Medaw (တောင်)

Burmese. ‘Royal Mother’, sometimes translated as ‘Queen-Mother’. The term may be used as a title for the widow of a king and mother of the succeeding monarch, but is also used to refer to the mother of a monk or novice, or the woman sponsor for his ordination. Pronunciation medo.

Medaw Shwezaga (မယ်တော်ရွှေစကား)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. See also Medaw.

Medicine Buddha

See Bhaisajyaguru.

meditation

See samahti.

mehndi (मेहँदी)

Hindi term for henna skin decorations found in India and Pakistan, and in some places with large Indian populations, such as Singapore. It is usually applied on the hands and feet of girls and women during special occasions, such as festivals and weddings. However, like a painted or temporary tattoo (fig.), it may nowadays in some places be applied as a fashionable or trendy adornment (fig.). The henna, a product of the henna plant (fig.), can either be painted onto the skin with a brush, or it may be printed using a stamp with an image or pattern, that is hand carved from wood and known as henna stamp or mehndi stamp (fig.).

Mekala (เมขลา)

Thai. The goddess of lightning and, especially in Khmer mythology, also the goddess of the waters and sea. She is the opponent of Ramasoon, the thunder god (fig.). She is a beautiful nymph who was born from the frothing white foam of the sea. She can fly at her will and she often amuses herself playing about in the air and in the clouds carrying a crystal ball, her weapon of protection. If she turns this crystal ball, she can by her willpower cause it to shoot out fearful flashes of blinding light. The beauty and crystal ball of Mekala (fig.) attracted Ramasoon, so he persuaded his friend Rahu, the god of darkness (fig.), to create a murkiness of black and ominous clouds to help conceal himself, in order to capture the lovely nymph and carry her away to his den. Ramasoon who always carries an axe, threw his deadly weapon to entrap Mekala, thus causing a deafening sound and a thunderous crash of clouds. Mekala however, who could see through his cover with her celestial eyes, brought out her crystal ball and made it send out blinding flashes. The blinding light made Ramasoon miss his mark, making him try over and over again, nevertheless missing his mark time and again. Occasionally Ramasoon tries again to capture Mekala by throwing his axe, whilst she keeps on protecting herself by sending flashes of blinding rays into Ramasoon’s eyes. This celestial spectacle is the violent thunder and lightning that is witnessed on earth, followed by heavy rainfall, being Ramasoon’s withdrawal under his cloak of rain. This deity also appears in the Mahajanaka Jataka. Sometimes transcribed Mekhala.

Mekhong (แม่โขง)

See Mae Khong.

Melodious Laughingthrush

Another name for the Chinese Hwamei.

melon pear

Common name for a fruit with the scientific name Solanum muricatum. It originates from South America, but is widely distributed and often found on markets in China, where it is known as ren sheng guo (人生果), which freely translated means ‘fruit of life’, though it is often misspelled as ren sheng guo (人參果) and consequently translated as ‘ginseng fruit’. Its form and size may be oval, somewhat similar to that of an elongated tomato, whilst the structure and taste of the yellowish flesh are reminiscent of those of the persimmon (fig.), though they are sometimes described to resemble a pear or cantaloupe, hence the name. Like the persimmon, its skin is thin and rather tough and may be yellowish in colour, similar to that of the sahlih or Chinese sand pear (fig.) and some kinds of sweet mango (fig.), or yellowish with brownish streaks (fig.). However, its form may also be more bulbous. If the skin of the latter variety also has a streaked pattern, it is somewhat reminiscent of the crisp eggplant (fig.), which –together with the tomato– actually is a close relative. Also known as pepino dulce (sweet pepino) or simply pepino.

melon pears

melon tree

See malako.

Memorial Bridge

Popular name for the Phra Phutta Yotfa Bridge, that connects Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district with the Thonburi side, across the Chao Phraya River (fig.). The bridge was opened in 1932 the year of the commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Chakri Dynasty (fig.), and hence named after Rama I, the founder of this dynasty, whose statue now stands in front of the bridge at the Phra Nakhon side of the river (fig.). Legend has it that before his execution, King Taksin cursed General Chakri (the later Rama I), saying that his power would come to an end if Thonburi, the ancient capital under Taksin, would ever be connected with Rattanakosin, the part of town where king Chakri established his government, i.e. present-day Phra Nakhon. When in 1932 the Memorial Bridge was built to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the Chakri dynasty, and thus connected both places, that very same year also the absolute monarchy came to an end, and many read in this a fulfillment of the curse of Taksin. The bridge is made of steel and concrete, and used to have a moving mechanism, which is nowadays in disuse. In Thai, the official name of the bridge is Sapaan Phra Phutta Yotfa (สะพานพระพุทธยอดฟ้า), but it is also referred to as Sapaan Pathom Borom-ma-raj-anuson (สะพานปฐมบรมราชานุสรณ์), meaning ‘First Great King Memorial Bridge’, a name derived from Phra Pathom Boromaha Kasatriyatiraat, a title usually given to any of the founding kings of a dynasty and meaning the First Great King [of the dynasty].

men (เม่น)

Thai for ‘porcupine’, a rodent with head that reminds to that of a beaver or a capybara, but with a body and tail covered with erectile spines, used to defend itself from predators. There are only a few subspecies that occur in South and Southeast Asia, with those endemic to Thailand being the Malayan Porcupine (fig.) and the Asiatic brush-tailed porcupine, both belonging to the family of Hystricidae, i.e. Hystrix brachyura and Hystrix macrourus. Its English name is related to the words ‘pork’ and ‘spine’.

Meng Po (孟婆)

Chinese. ‘Grandmother Meng’. The Lady of Forgetfulness in Chinese mythology, who serves in Diyu, the realm of the dead (fig.), where it is her task to ensure that the souls, who are ready to be reincarnated, do not remember their previous life or their atonement in hell. To this end Meng Po gathers various herbs from ponds and streams, from which she brews a tea known as the Five-flavoured Tea of Forgetfulness, which is given to each soul to drink, causing instant and permanent loss of memory (fig.). Though, it is said that sporadically some souls are able to avoid drinking the tea or that its effect is incomplete, resulting in past life memories.

Mengrai (เม็งราย)

Founder and king of Chiang Rai (fig.) and Chiang Mai, with the title of Poh Khun. In 1281, he (fig.) conquered the northern empire of Haripunchai on the Mon and placed it under his rule, as part of the northern empire of Lan Na (fig.), a kingdom that flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries AD with Chiang Mai at its centre. He consolidated his power by making a pact with the neighboring kings Ramkamhaeng and Ngam Meuang (fig.) from the kingdoms of Sukhothai and Phayao. See also list of Thai kings. MORE ON THIS.

men hang phuang (เม่นหางพวง)

Thai name for the Asiatic brush-tailed porcupine.

men yai phaeng kho yao (เม่นใหญ่แผงคอยาว)

Thai. ‘Long-maned large porcupine’. Name for the Malayan Porcupine.

mermaid

Name for a legendary creature with a woman's head and torso, and a fish's tail (fig.). The word is derived from mere, meaning ‘sea’, and maid, archaic for ‘girl’ or ‘young woman’. They often occur in Southeast Asian legends. In the Ramayana, Suphanamatcha, the daughter of Totsakan, is a mermaid. In Thai called ngeuak or nang ngeuak.

Meru (मेरु, เมรุ)

1. Sanskrit-Thai. Mythological and sacred golden mountain, the centre of the universe in both Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. At its pinnacle is Tavatimsa heaven, the abode of the god Indra and the 33 gods. It is located in the Himalayas and from its summit the Ganga river flows to earth, divided into four streams each directed towards the four cardinal points. In architecture generally represented as a quincunx. During the churning of the Ocean of Milk by the gods and demons Mt. Meru was placed upside-down in the ocean, whilst Vishnu incarnated as a tortoise -his second avatar- to support the mountain with its shell, thus preventing it from sinking in the soft mud of the sea floor (fig.). Usually Mt. Meru, but also called Phra Meru or Sumeru. Compare with Krailaat.

2. Thai for a ‘crematorium’, named after Mt. Meru, the abode of the Hindu gods and with the same Thai spelling, though in case of a crematorium, the term is pronounced Mehn, often Phra Mehn. Whereas most temples have their own crematorium (fig.), for royalty one is build specially for each royal death, traditionally on Sanam Luang (fig.), in front of the royal palace. After the funeral rites the royal crematoria are decommissioned and dismantled, as they are highly personalized with insignia and symbols of the deceased, as well as having a permanent one would be a continuous reminder of death, which might adversely affect ones karma. See also param phao sop.

Metrai (เมตไตรย)

Thai name for Maitreya. Also transcribed Metraiy.

Metraiy (เมตไตรย)

Thai name for Maitreya. Also transcribed Metrai.

Metteya

Pali name for Maitreya.

meuang (เมือง)

1. Thai. A free state, principality, land or city state. Also spelt muang.

2. Thai popular name for rural and urban districts, or the capital city of a province, i.e. amphur meuang. Also spelt muang.

3. Thai popular name for a country, as in Meuang Thai, Thailand. Also spelt muang.

Meuang Boraan (เมืองโบราณ)

1. Thai. ‘Ancient City’. Name of an open-air museum in Samut Prakan, covering an area of 320 acres, which shape correspondents to that of (a map of) Thailand. It is located along Khlong Seua Tai (fig.) and consists of a contrived domain or land (meuang), with statues from history and mythology, traditional houses and historical (boraan) monuments from all over Thailand. It reportedly has over one hundred attractions.

2. Thai. ‘Ancient City’. Name of a site with the vestiges of an ancient oval-shaped town in Pattani, which was one of the oldest communities in southern Thailand, believed to have been the location of the early kingdom of Langka Suka, which roughly stretched from present-day Songkhla in the South to Ratchaburi in the North, and existed between the 2nd and the 14th century AD.

Mexican Marigold

See dao reuang.

mian (冕)

Chinese. An imperial crown in the form of a horizontal board, somewhat similar to an elongated graduate cap, with hanging decorations, i.e. a flat top with jade or other beads hanging from the front and at the back, and long cords with tassels on the sides, a style that dates back to the very first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Ti (fig.). The mian is a ritual crown (fig.) and was worn at grand ceremonies to offer sacrifices, when praying in ancestral temples, on holy days, etc.

miang (เมี่ยง)

Thai. Name of a savory wrapped in leaves, somewhat like an hors d’oeuvre.

miangkham (เมี่ยงคำ)

Thai. ‘A bite or mouthful of miang’. Name of a sweet consisting of roasted peanuts, slivers of grated coconut, sliced ginger and red onion, pieces of green mango and a glutinous paste made from palm sugar. Sometimes also lemon, dried shrimps and chilies may be added. The ingredients are wrapped in an edible leaf called bai chaphlu (fig.) and wedged on a satay-stick. It is a specialty favoured by the people from Central Thailand and Phitsanulok and is eaten around the beginning of the rainy season as in that time of year the bai chaphlu leaves come out and their softness and flavour are best.

miangwahn (เมี่ยงหวาน)

Thai. ‘Sweet miang’. Name of a sweet wrapped in leaves.

Miao (แม้ว)

The name for the Hmong, and another spelling for Maew.

miao (庙)

Chinese. General term for ‘temple’, but in Chinese folk religion, in particular one that enshrines nature gods and patron gods, against ci, a temple that enshrines ancestry gods, i.e. human beings apotheosized as gods.

Middle Path

In Buddhism, the path of no extremes, avoiding emptiness and an acceptance of things as they are. Also called ‘Middle Way’ and ‘Middle Course’.

Mien (เมี่ยน)

Yao. ‘People’. A Yao-Thai name for Iu Mien. MORE ON THIS.

mih krob (หมี่กรอบ)

1. Thai. ‘Crunchy noodles’. Name for a dish of fried rice vermicelli in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. It is often served in northern style khantoke dinners. Sometimes spelled mee krob.

2. Thai. ‘Crunchy noodles’. Name for fried egg noodles, which are served on top of boiled egg noodles in the northern style dish khao soi (fig.). Also spelled mee krob.

3. Thai. ‘Crunchy noodles’. Name for a dish of fried rice vermicelli mixed with meat and other savoury ingredients. This dish was first introduced to the court and in full it is called mih krob chao wang (หมี่กรอบชาววัง), meaning ‘crunchy noodles of the court attendants’ or ‘crunchy noodles of the court people’. Compare with khao chae chao wang. Also spelled mee krob.

mihrab (ألمحراب)

Arabic. A prayer niche or arched recess in one of the inner walls of a mosque, indicating the direction of Mecca and to which worshipers turn to pray, or an image of it on a prayer rug (fig.).

mih sua (หมี่ซั่ว)

Thai. Name of a kind of thin, yellowish-white egg noodle, famed for its softness.

miht aai krok (มีดอ้ายครก, มีดไอ้ครก)

Thai. Name for a kind of southern-style, curved knife. It is also referred to as miht neb (มีดเหน็บ), i.e. ‘tuck knife’, as it typically worn tucked in a pahkaomah, or carried as a weapon behind the belt, reminiscent of the kris (fig.).

Mi Le Fo (弥勒佛)

Chinese. ‘Full rein in buddha’. Another name for Budai, Huan Xi Fo or Fu Gui Fo (富贵佛 - fig.), the god of happiness and wealth, who is also known as the Happy Buddha, Smiling Buddha, the Loving One and the Friendly One. Known to the Chinese as the ‘Happy Buddha’ (fig.) or ‘Laughing Buddha’, he is considered to be Maitreya, i.e. the buddha-to-be, and his statue is usually placed at the entrance hall of Chinese-Taoist temples, looking joyously towards the entrance.

Milinda Panha (มิลินทปัญหา)

Thai. ‘Questions of Milinda’ or ‘Milinda's problems’. Name for an ancient Buddhist text that records a dialogue on Buddhism between the Indo-Greek king Milinda (Menander I) and the Buddhist sage Nagasena (fig.), dating back somewhere between the first and second century BC. King Menander I (ca. 165-130 BC), king of of the city of Sagala in northwestern India, is the first historical Westerner documented to have converted to Buddhism.

Military

See kong thap.

Military Parade of the Royal Guards

Annual Military Parade of the Royal Guards at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok on December 4th. In English usually referred to as Trooping the Colour (which in Thai is Phittih Sabaan Tong), but by the Thais rather called Phittih Suansanam Thahaan Rachawanlop.

milk fruit

Name for the fruit of a tropical tree in the family Sapotaceae and with the botanical names Chrysophyllum cainito and Achras cainito. The tree's shiny oval leaves are green above and golden-brown on the underside, whilst the fruit has a green or purple skin (fig.). The flesh of fruit is whitish, edible, sweet, and has anti-oxidant properties. It can be eaten in slices (fig.), or squeezed into pulp while in the skin, which is then sucked-up directly from the hole where its stem once sat (fig.). In Thai, it is called look nahm nom (ลูกน้ำนม) and in Vietnamese vu sua.

Milky Stork

Common name for a type of stork with the scientific name Mycteria cinerea. This wading bird grows to a height of about 97 centimeters, has a naked red face and a yellow to orange bill, similar to the Asian Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and the in Africa living Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis). The difference between the above species is best visible from their plumage, which in the Milky Stork is overall white with black flight-feathers and tail; rather pinkish-white in the Yellow-billed Stork with pink and white scapular bars and extensive black colouring on the lower wings, lower back, rump and tail (fig.); and dull white in the Painted Stork, with grey to black and white bars on the scapulars and some pink colouring on the wingtips and tail (fig.). The Milky Stork has a restricted distribution in Southeast Asia and is usually listed as living in Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia and on many of the Indonesian islands, though some sources also list it as occurring in Thailand. This species is listed as vulnerable with an estimated world population of about 5,500 birds. In Thai it is called nok krasah pahk leuang, which confusingly translates as ‘Yellow-billed stork’, the name which in English is used for the Mycteria ibis.

millepede

See millipede.

millet

See khao fahng.

millipede

Name for a small crawling invertebrate arthropod with a rounded, long segmented wormlike body with two pairs of legs on each segment. It belongs to the genus Diplodata and its name is derived from Latin, meaning thousand (mille) foot (pes ped). Thailand has many different species, yet one kind seems particularly prevalent, and though it is generally referred to as rust-coloured millipede, its body colour may vary from fawn and tawny to black (fig.), with legs in the same or a different colour from that of the body. The brown species, known by the scientific designation Trigoniulus corallinus, is about 15 cm long. They live in damp, dark places, feeding mainly on rotting vegetation, such as decaying leaves, fruits (fig.) and other dead plant matter,  as well as on mushrooms. When they are or feel threatened they will curl up into a spiral and stay still (fig.). Whilst most species are harmless, some have a poisonous sting or bite, whilst some can excrete an offensive odour. In the mating season, they come out of their hiding places, often in large quantities, in order to find a partner to mate (fig.), and in the process can even be found climbing obstacles they would normally rather avoid, such as trees (fig.), termite mounts, etc. Also milliped, millepede and milleped. In Thai named king keuh. Millipedes are similar to centipedes (fig.), but centipedes are insect eaters, whereas millipedes are vegetarians, and while centipedes have just one set of legs per segment, millipedes have two sets of legs per segment, as well as more segments. See also dragon millipede and WILDLIFE PICTURES.

minaret

Tall, usually round spire belonging to a mosque, frequently adorned with an ornament in the form of one or more, often onion-shaped, spheres with on top a crescent, the symbol of Islam. The minaret is either a free standing structure or attached to the mosque, but always much taller than the rest of the building. It is used five times a day for the azaan, the calling to prayer. The term derives from Arabic and the root of the word minaret is manara, which translates as ‘lighthouse’ and refers to some of the older mosques whose minarets originally served as watchtowers illuminated by torches. In Thai called ho asaan (azaan tower).

Mineral and Rock Museum

Museum in Bangkok located  on Rama VI Road, adjacent to the Department of Mineral Resources, and which is hence also referred to as the Mineral Resources Museum. It consists of three sections of presentations, i.e. geology, mineral resources, and special exhibits. The geology section features showcases, such as rock, earth, and fossils, found in Thailand, while the mineral resources section features mining in Thailand. The special exhibits section displays a variety of different presentations on many related topics, and changes about every three to six months. Though established in around 1924, initially as an information centre of mineral resources and geology found in Thailand, the museum first exhibited in 1937. In Thai known as Phiphithaphan Rae Lae Hin (พิพิธภัณฑ์แร่และหิน).

ming bi (冥币)

Chinese. ‘Obscure currency’ or ‘hell money’. Name for a special form of joss paper called jin zhi and takes the form of hell banknotes, a currency for afterlife usage. There are banknotes with real money value (fig.), whilst others are of a very large denomination. All show a portrait of Yu Huang, the Jade Emperor and the seal of the Bank of Hell (fig.). There are banknotes of both foreign and Thai (fig.) allusion. They are sold in stacks of around 30 bank notes and the backside of one -the last- bank note in each stack will be of a different colour, indicating it is the last banknote of the stack. They are offered by the relatives of the deceased by burning (fig.) them in specially built joss ovens (fig.) during certain traditional Chinese ceremonies, such as funerals, to escape punishment or as as a tribute to Yama, the god of hell. They are often burned together with other paper items, such as replicas of material goods, in order to ensure that their spirits have all things necessary. Hell banknotes are taken seriously and are for ceremonial burning only. They should never be kept around in the house as that is considered bad luck and one should never give a hell banknote to a living person, not even as a joke, as it is considered as wishing that person's death, a grave insult. Before burning hell money the person offering it will first make a vow called athitahn, in which the hands are brought together above the head, making a wai. In Thai transcribed as meng pih. Sometimes called ghost money and in Thai known as baenk gong de.

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

See Krasuang Theknohlohyih Sahnsonthet Lae Kahn Seusahn.

Ministry of Defence

See Krasuang Kalaahome.

Ministry of Transport

See Krasuang Khamanakhom.

Min Kyawzwa (မင်းကျော်စွာ)

Burmese. Name of a spirit that belongs to the official pantheon of 37 nats worshipped in Myanmar.

Min Mahagiri (မင်းမဟာဂီရိ)

Burmese. ‘King of the Great Mountain’. A nat whose name derives from the Pali words maha and kiri, with the latter being related to the term for mountains as used in southern Thailand, i.e. khiri (คีรี). Min Mahagiri was born the son of a blacksmith and given the birth name Maung Tint De. He was purportedly extremely strong, without difficulty able to break the tusk of an elephant. His incredible strength worried the king of Tagaung, lest he might usurp his throne. As a consequence, the blacksmith's son went into hiding. In order to trick him out of his hiding place, the king married Maung Tint De's sister Hnamadawgyi or according to another report Shwe Nabay (fig.), and persuaded her to ask her brother to come out of hiding, in order that the king could give him a high office. However, as soon as Maung Tint De came out of hiding, he was arrested on the king's orders and burned alive, tied to a Michelia tree. Trying to save him, his sister leapt into the fire and died with him. Both returned as evil nats to reside in the Michelia champaca (jampah) tree, every so often feasting on people passing by. Hence, the king ordered the tree cut down and cast into the Irrawaddy River. The trunk floated to Pagan (fig.), where it stranded. The nats offered to watch over the city if they were given a place to dwell and Thinligyaung, the king of Pagan, consequently had them enshrined on either side of the city's Tharabha Gate, whilst he ordered the trunk be cut in two and each part carved with human features. Those were carried to Mount Popa (fig.) and from that day forward Maung Tint De became known as Min Mahagiri. He is one of the 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits revered in Myanmar, and is worshipped by adherents hanging a decorated and perfumed coconut inside their houses, while visitors and pilgrims to Mt. Popa will offer bottled Michelia flowers (fig.) that are kept fresh in water and can be purchased from shopkeepers on the way up. He is usually depicted with a golden complexion, a golden crown adorned with leaves and a red middle shaped like an elongated bowler hat, whilst holding one of his attributes, i.e. a palm fan that is attached horizontally to a long stick. Like his sister Hnamadawgyi, he is sometimes nicknamed Shwe Mje Hna, i.e. Gold Face.

Min Sithu (မင်းစည်သူ)

Burmese. Name of a spirit that belongs to the official pantheon of 37 nats worshipped in Myanmar.

mint

See saranae.

Mintara (မင်းတရား)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar.

Mintha Maungshin (မင်းသား မောင်ရှင်)

Burmese. Name of a spirit that belongs to the official pantheon of 37 nats worshipped in Myanmar.

Minye Aungdin (မင်းရဲအောင်တင်)

Burmese. Name of a spirit that belongs to the official pantheon of 37 nats worshipped in Myanmar.

Misara Panyi (มิสารปันหยี)

Another name for Inao (fig.), i.e. the protagonist of the Javanese-Thai story of the same name, in his disguise as a forest bandit (fig.). The name Panyi is the same as in Koh Panyi (fig.), an island in Phang Nga Bay, which is home to the Chao Le, i.e. Islamic sea gypsies that originate from Java, as the legend does. Also spelled Misahra Panyee.

Mitra (मित्र, มิตร)

Sanskrit-Thai. ‘Friend’ or ‘companion’. Name of one of the Adityas and the associate of Varuna. He is the equivalent of the Iranian sun god Mithra, whose cult was also popular in the Roman Empire.

Mlabri (มลาบรี)

Name of a small ethnic hill tribe minority group found in Thailand and Laos, and of whom it is estimated that there are only a few hundred people left, though they are closely related to the much larger group of the Khmu. They are a nomadic people of hunter-gatherers with a primitive lifestyle and they never tend to stay in any given place for very long. Hence, they live in simple bamboo huts thatched with leaves. Due to their speedy nomadic lifestyle, of which it is said that they abandon their homes as soon as the leaves turn yellow, they are nicknamed Phi Tong Leuang, i.e. ‘Ghosts of the Yellow Leaves’.

Mnong (M'nong)

Vietnamese. Name of an ethnic minority group, that lives in the Central Highlands of southern Vietnam and that has an estimated population of around 100,000. They live in concentration in the southern part of Dak Lak Province, and parts of Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc Provinces. A number of Mnong also live in the eastern Cambodian province of Mondulkiri. Their language belongs to the Mon-Khmer group.

mod (มอด)

Another name for duang nguang.

mod khao san (มอดข้าวสาร)

Another name for duang nguang khao. Also transcribed mot khao sahn. See also mod and khao san.

Mogallana (โมคคัลลานะ)

Pali-Thai. One of the main disciples of the Buddha, and more often than not represented in a pair with Sariputta (fig.). Of all the Buddha's disciples, he was the most accomplished in supernatural powers. According to legend these included mind-reading, speaking with ghosts and the deceased, walking through walls and on water, flying through the air, moving with the speed of light, and out-of-body conveyances into the various realms of existence. He was killed brutally when travelling, according to some stoned to death by religious cultists, according to others by robbers. In either way he refused to protect himself, thus accepting his karma. In Burma he is usually portrayed as a seated wooden sculpture, decorated with lacquer and sometimes with eyes made of glass. In Thailand more likely seen in a phranommeua standing pose, in front of Buddha images. Also transcribed Maudgalyayana and Moggallana.

mogul

European name for the ancient mogul emperors of the Mughal dynasty in Hindustan. Also great mogul.

moh (หม้อ)

Thai for ‘pot’.

Mohanikay (មហានិកាយ)

Khmer for Mahanikaai.

moh fai (หม้อไฟ)

Thai. ‘Fire pot’. An earthen or more often an aluminum pot with a chimney in the middle for serving soup-like foods whilst being kept hot. Below is an opening where a fire is kept burning whilst the soup is contained in a basin around the funnel. The popular dish ‘tom yam’ is usually served in this manner.

Mohinih (मोहिनी)

Sanskrit. ‘Enchanting woman’ or ‘fascinating woman’. Name of the only female avatar of Vishnu, from the myth in which he disguises himself as a beautiful woman in order to distract Shiva from a dangerously deep meditation. The name comes from the root moha (मोह), which besides ‘to enchant’, also means ‘infatuation’, and she is sometimes referred to as ‘delusion personified’, as her main modus operandi is to entice all those she encounters. Also Mohini.

mohk man (โมกมัน)

Thai. Name for a species of tree with the botanical designation Wrightia arborea, which shiny wood has an ivory colour and is used to carve fine artifacts, such as dolls, known as ivory wood dolls and in Thai called tukkatah mohk man.

mohng (โหม่ง)

Thai. Name for a type of gong made of bronze, with a thick rim and a protuberance in its centre, which is sometimes surrounded by a series of smaller protuberances. It is usually painted black, whilst the centre is generally decorated with a floral, kranok or other motif in a golden colour (fig.).  It can be played by hitting it on the centre's protuberance using a soft-end mallet or by rubbing it with the hand, in which case it will produce a deep reverberating sound. Smaller gongs of this type are used as a percussion instrument in musical ensembles, such as the pih phaat (fig.) and with bands that accompany zat pwe performances (fig.), often to set the rhythm. It is played  either hanging from one hand, whilst holding the mallet and beating the mohng with the other, or arranged in a frame, sometimes as a set of several gongs (fig.). Larger mohng are often found at Buddhist temples, usually at the entrance of the ubosot. When worshippers leave the ubosot, they beat the gong three –or alternatively nine– times, in order to notify to the thevada (angels) that they have finished making tamboon at the ubosot, yet then again some worshippers beat the gong on arrival, thus notifying the thevada of their arrival at the bot in order to make tamboon. Whereas the number three in Buddhism often represents the Three Jewels, the number nine (i.e. 3 x 3), is considered to be a lucky number. Although the term mohng is pronounced with a low tone, it is somehow reminiscent of the Thai term chua mohng (ชั่วโมง), which is pronounced with a mid-tone and means ‘hour’, and does raise the question if this type of gong was in the past perhaps used to indicate time. Sometimes referred to as kong mohng. Certain types of gong are also used in Buddhist ceremonies (fig.). See also kong.

mo hom (ม่อฮ่อม)

See seua mo hom.

Mokhasak (โมกขศักดิ์)

Thai. Name of a magical spear with four blades that appears in the epic Ramakien. It belongs to Phra Phrom (fig.) and was used by Kumphakan (fig.) to struck down Phra Lak (fig.). However, on requesting Phra Phrom to use the spear, it turned out that it had become quite rusty and thus before using it, Kumphakan needed to perform a spear-sharpening ceremony. In order not to be disturbed, he ordered a pavilion set up at the bank of a river near Mount Meru, i.e. Mt. Sumeru. When Phra Ram learned of this, he knew that after the ceremony Kumphakan would become invincible. Phiphek (fig.), aware of Kumphakan's meticulousness with cleanliness, came up with a plan in which Hanuman (fig.) and Ongkhot (fig.) transformed themselves into the corpse of a rotting dog and a crow pecking at it, whilst floating by on the river where the ceremony took place. This successfully disturbed the ceremony, which was called off half-way through, but it did not prevent the spear from eventually wounding Phra Lak and striking him unconscious. Because of its powers, the spear could not be removed, unless the spell was broken. However, Phra Lak would not die until he was touched by the sunlight. Hence, to gain time, Phra Ahtit, the god of the sun (fig.), was asked to slow down the seven horses that pull his chariot, but this request could not be granted as it would disrupt the natural flow of things, yet Phra Ahtit agreed to temporary hide himself behind the clouds. This allowed Phra Ram enough time to send Hanuman to collect the required herbs and water from a specific river in Ayutthaya, that would break the spell. After those were applied to the wound, the spell was immediately broken and the spear could be removed, instantly reviving Phra Lak, without the trace of even a scar.

moksha (मोक्ष)

Sanskrit. ‘Liberation, perfection’. In both Hinduism and Buddhism, the term refers to the liberation from karma and freedom from the endless chain of time, death and rebirth. In Thai known as mokkha (โมกข). See also nirvana.

mo lam (หมอลำ)

Thai. ‘Expert singer’ or ‘expert song’. A singer, as well as a style of music from Laos and Northeast Thailand.

molih (โมฬี)

Thai. ‘Tuft of hair’, as in tat molih. The custom can betraced back to the brahmins (brahman priests), who grow a small tuft of hair at the back of their head, in the bindu chakra (‘circle of drops’), a part where it is believed that a fluid is produced which can become either amrita, the elixir of immortality, or the poison of death. See also krajuk, kwan, poi, juk, pomjuk and kle.

mom (มอม)

Northern Thai term for a makara (fig.).

momchao (หม่อมเจ้า)

Thai title for the grandson of a king. For a granddaughter the title momchaoying is used.

momchaoying (หม่อมเจ้าหญิง)

Thai title for the granddaughter of a king. For a grandson the title momchao is used.

momluang (หม่อมหลวง)

Thai title for the son of a momratchawong. For a daughter of a momratchawong the title momluangying is used.

momluangying (หม่อมหลวงหญิง)

Thai title for the daughter of a momratchawong. For a son of a momratchawong the title momluang is used.

momratchawong (หม่อมราชวงศ์)

Thai title for the son of a momchao. For a daughter of a momchao the title momratchawongying is used. Also transcribed Momrajawongse and abbreviated with the initials M.R., though in Thai 3 initials are used, i.e. M.R.W. (...).

momratchawongying (หม่อมราชวงศ์หญิง)

Thai title for the daughter of a momchao. For a son of a momchao the title momratchawong is used.

mon (มนตร์)

Thai for mantra.

Mon (มอญ)

Descendants of the Mon-Khmer race, now an ethnic group in southern Burma with limited numbers in Thailand, mainly refugees (fig.). They were part of the Dvaravati empire in Central Thailand between the 6th and 11th centuries AD. They originally come from Pegu (Hongsawadih), their capital before annexation by Burma and which in Pali is known as Hamsavati, a name related to their national symbol, the sacred goose Hamsa. See also Raman.

mondap

Another pronunciation for mondop, in Sanskrit known as mandapa.

mondop (มณฑป)

Thai. A generally open, square building with four arches and a pyramidal roof (fig.), with receded walls built well beyond the pillars of the arches, thus creating a roofed platform along the side of the building, which is used to house revered religious objects or manuscripts, or as an open hall in front of the entrance of a sanctuary (fig.). Also pronounced mondap, and derived from the Sanskrit word mandapa.

money tree

A banana trunk, small tree or branch with little or no leaves used at Buddhist ceremonies as an original way to collect money. This ‘tree’ is carried through the local community and anyone who wants to make a donation (tamboon) can attach a banknote to a branch of the tree or put it in between two sticks typically decorated with coloured cellophane or paper, that are pricked onto the banana trunk. When the tree is full or on a specified date, the tree is taken to the local temple in a procession (fig.) and offered to the monks. Sometimes a money tree is placed at a business or in the temple itself, allowing devotees to make donations right there. This happening was initially practiced during the kathin or thod kathin ceremony, but nowadays more often also on other occasions.

mongkon (มงคล)

1. Thai. ‘Auspicious’ or ‘garland’. A festoon of white yarn used during wedding ceremonies. Two are made connected by a sai sin and are placed on the heads of the bride and groom, and held by a witnesses. It symbolizes the pact of marriage. Also called mongkonfaed and mongkonchak. It derives from the Sanskrit word mangala (मंगल) and is sometimes transcribed mongkol. See also Ashtamangala and pan chang.

2. Thai. ‘Auspicious’ or ‘garland’. Name for a loop-shaped headband (fig.) that muay thai boxers wear on their head during the ram muay (fig.) and wai kruh (fig.) just prior to a fight, to keep them free from danger. In the past boxers had to wear this circlet at all times during the fight, but at present that is no longer required. The tradition of wearing a mongkon comes from the past when soldiers used to wear a kind of headband on their forehead when going to battle. Sometimes transcribed mongkol. See also prachiad.

mongkonlasut (มงคลสูตร)

Thai. White string or sai sin leading to a bowl of holy water which is held by monks chanting mantras, or which is linked with the important Buddha images in a bot. Also called mongkonsut.

Mongkut (มองคุท)

Thai-Western name of the fourth monarch from the Chakri Dynasty, with the crown title Rama IV. In Thai known as Chom Klao. MORE ON THIS.

Mongkut (มงกุฎ)

Thai. Name of the son of Phra Ram and Sida, who was born in a forest. He later fought with Phra Ram, not realizing it was his father, until he learned that their weapons couldn't harm one another. When at some point it was thought that Mongkut had disappeared, a hermit created a look-alike, who was named Phra Lob. Like his father, he is in murals depicted with a green or a white complexion (fig.).

mongkut (มงกุฎ)

1. Thai for ‘crown’. Also makut, which derives from the Sanskrit word mukuta.

2. Thai. ‘Crown’. Ornamental finial or spire on the top of a stupa, tower or dome.

Mongkutklao (มงกุฎเกล้า)

Thai name for Rama VI, the sixth monarch from the Chakri dynasty.

mongkut rachakumaan (มงกุฎราชกุมาร)

Thai. The heir to the throne. Also radjataayaat.

mongoose

A small, about 51 to 67 centimeters long, carnivorous, civet-like mammal (fig.), of which there exist several species in various parts of the world. The species found in the wild in South and Southeast Asia is commonly known as Small Asian Mongoose, as well as Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, or Javan Mongoose, and has the scientific name Herpestes javanicus. In oriental mythology, especially in Tibetan Buddhism, mongooses are often described as creators of wealth. As such, they are referred to as treasure mongooses and sometimes found as the attribute of certain wealth gods, such as Jambhala, i.e. wealth gods in Mahayana Buddhism, that include Kubera (fig.) and Vaisravana, who dispense riches and are sometimes depicted holding a mongoose that disgorges precious jewels from its mouth, in the left hand (fig.). The wealth bestowing mongoose is also an attribute of the arahat Bakula, to symbolize his generosity. Other wealth gods, such as he informal wealth god Liu Hai (fig.), may be depicted with a mongoose at their side (fig.), often whilst holding Chinese gold ingots (fig.) and stringed fang kong qian coins (fig.). The origin of the treasure mongoose (fig.) is probably related to the Central Asian custom of using a purse or treasure bag made from mongoose skin. In Thailand, where the mammal is by some hunted and eaten (fig.), it is called phangphon. or phangphon thammada, i.e. ‘mongoose’ and ‘common mongoose’, respectively. In addition, there also exists another species called Crab-eating Mongoose (Herpestes urva), which in Thai is called phangphon kin poo (พังพอนกินปู). Whereas the Small Asian Mongoose is diurnal, the latter species is nocturnal and an excellent swimmer, that spends a fair amount of time in or near water, where it feeds on crabs, but also eats other aquatic animals, insects, and small mammals. With a length of about 36 to 52 centimeters, it is somewhat shorter than the Small Asian Mongoose and is mostly greyish in colour, with a broad white stripe on its neck, that extends from the cheeks to its chest. See also Cai Shen and Nakula.

mon ing (หมอนอิง)

Thai. ‘Lean-on-cushion’. Another name for mon khwahn.

monitor lizard

Name of an over two meters long, semi-aquatic, tropical reptile with a rough hide, a forked tongue and sharp, curved claws (fig.), making them able climbers (fig.) and some foreign species, such as the Emerald Tree Monitor (fig.), are almost completely arboreal (fig.). They belong to the family Varanidae, of which there are many different species, including the Indonesian Komodo Dragon, the largest living lizards on the planet, that can grow up to 3.1 meters long and weigh as much as 166 kilograms (fig.). Species commonly found in Thailand include the Water Monitor (Varanus salvator - fig.), of which there are several subspecies, such as the Black Water Monitor (Varanus salvator komaini - fig.), and the Bengal Monitor or Common Indian Monitor (Varanus bengalensis - fig.), as well as other species, such as the Rough-necked Monitor (Varanus rudicollis - fig.). Monitor lizards use their snake-like tongue to detect taste by smelling scent particles in the air, i.e. evaporated molecules, and for navigation in the dark. To interpret the scent particles they posses a sensitive organ on the roof of their mouth, called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ, and which allows them to determine which direction a scent is coming from and which can pick up scents for over a kilometer away. By sticking out its tongue, scent particles will stick to it and when retracting it, the tongue will brush against the cavity with the Jacobson's organ. By regularly sticking its tongue in and out the scent particles are taken in time after time again and after analyses by the brain recall a certain memory, whether of carrion, food or prey, or of the breath of an enemy, enabling the animal to react more alert. Their nostrils are for breathing only, not for smelling, and towards the back of their head are two large holes for hearing (fig.). They are carnivores to the full, feeding mainly on carrion but also on fish (fig.), crabs, insects, mollusks, eggs, snakes and even other lizards and garbage. Since they are cold blooded creatures they make more efficient use of food allowing them to get by with less. Because, unlike warm blooded animals, they don't need to burn fuel all the time to keep their body temperature constant. When they feel threatened they start hissing, open their mouth and inflate their throat. They are commonly seen all over Southeast Asia especially in habitats near fresh water, as well as brackish and salt water (fig.), where they proof to be excellent swimmers, driving themselves through an undulating motion of the tail that also acts as a rudder whilst keeping the limbs to the side of their body (fig.). A good place to observe them is near canals and more conveniently in the ponds of Bangkok's Lumphini Park and the park of Dusit Zoo (fig.). Also called water lizard and in Thai takuad and hia or tua ngun tua thong, depending on the variety. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

monk

See Phra, Phra pikku, bhikku, bhiksu, Phrasong and Phrasong Ong Chao.

monkey

The ninth animal of the Chinese zodiac (fig.). It represents playfulness, imaginative, curiousness, humor and wit, but the monkey is also sneaky. The monkey appears in many mythological stories of Asia, such as the Ramayana or Ramakien (fig.), Journey to the West, the Four Harmonious Friends (fig.), etc. Many of these stories' protagonists are monkeys, like Hanuman (fig.) and Sun Wukong (fig.), to name just a few. The monkey also features on many a Thai postage stamp, including the Zodiac Year of the Monkey Postage Stamp issued in 2004 (fig.) and the Songkraan Day Postage Stamp issued in 1992 (fig.).

Monkey Grasshopper

Common name for a species of short-horned grasshopper, with the scientific designation Erianthes, and known in Thai as takkataen lang ngo, meaning ‘crooked-back grasshopper’ and  referring to its curved abdomen. It has brown eyes and wings, and its head, body and legs are yellowish-green, spotted and barred with black, and in some places with a little pale blue shine. See also takkataen.

Monkey King

See Sun Wukong.

mon khit (หมอนขิต)

Thai. ‘Khit pillow’. Name for a rectangular pillow, made with pah khit, i.e.  an ancient type of hand-woven cloth from Isaan. Ocassionally khit cloth is also used for triangular cushions known as mon khwahn and mon ing, which may then also be referred to as mon khit (fig.).

Mon-Khmen (มอญเขมร)

Thai for Mon-Khmer.

Mon-Khmer

Race that existed in Southeast Asia before the Thai arrived from South China. The modern Mon are descendants of this race. See also Khmer. In Thai Mon-Khmen.

mon khwahn (หมอนขวาน)

Thai. ‘Axe cushion’. A traditional, stuffed floor cushion, consisting of a triangular backrest and sometimes with a stuffed floor mat attached (fig.), giving it the shape of an axe, hence the name. It is mainly used as a support for the back and is typically made using kapok as a filling (fig.). It is an OTOP product from Yasothon province. It is also called mon ing, which translates as ‘lean-on-cushion’. If made with pah khit, it may also be called mon khit, the genearl name for any cushion made with that specific kind of fabric.

Monk's Spade

English name for a Chinese martial arts weapon, that consists of a double-headed staff, with a crescent-moon blade at one end and a spade at the other. READ ON.

Monocellate Cobra

See ngu hao.

Monocled Cobra

See ngu hao.

Montho (มณโฑ)

Sanskrit-Thai name meaning ‘frog’. It is the name of the principal wife of Totsakan who a reusi created from a frog. She used to live near the ashram of four hermits who fed her with milk. One day, she saw a naga secrete her poison into the milk pail, intending to kill the four hermits. Since she couldn't speak and thus couldn't warn anyone, Montho sacrificed her own life by jumping into the milk and drinking it until she died, thus saving the lives of the others. However, curious on what had happened the hermits revived Montho and questioned her. After learning the facts they changed her into a beautiful woman and took her up to heaven to worship the goddess Uma. Later on the god Idsuan gave her to Totsakan as a gift for bringing Mount Krailaat back to its original position. Consequently, she had to leave her husband Bali who was a monkey and soldier in the army of Rama, and of whom she was pregnant. Her foetus was thus cut from her womb and placed in that of a goat before she returned to stay with Totsakan. The child born was named Ongkhot. MORE ON THIS.

monthon (มณฑล)

1. Thai. ‘Precinct’. Name for a former administrative unit, presided over by a royal commissioner or intendant, in Thai known as a samuha thetsaphibahn (สมุหเทศาภิบาล), a position now abolished. They were created as a part of the thetsaphibahn (เทศาภิบาล), literally ‘control over territory’, an administrative system introduced by Prince Damrong (ดำรง), a son of King Mongkut and half-brother of King Chulalongkorn. The system of monthon was officially adopted in 1897, though due to the lack of suitable educated officials, as well as the resistance of some of the traditional local leaders, it took until around 1910 before the system was completely implemented in the whole country. In 1915 there were 19 monthon, containing 72 jangwat. However, due to economic problems several monthon were merged in 1925, whilst the monthon of Phetchabun was already dissolved in 1915. In 1932 another four monthon were abolished and in 1932, when Thailand transformed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy, the whole system of monthon was eventually done away with completely.

2. Thai. ‘Circle’ or ‘mandala (fig.), as in Phra Phutta Monthon.

moo (หมู)

Thai for ‘pork’.

moo daeng (หมูแดง)

Thai. ‘Red pork’. A style of barbequed or roasted pork marinated with red pork seasoning, a seasoning comparable to Japanese teriyaki, equally made on a basis of soy sauce. Red pork seasoning consists of soy sauce powder, sugar, salt, spices and natural colours, without any preservatives. The pork is sliced and used as an ingredient in several dishes, such as bamih (fig.) moo daeng, egg noodles with sliced red pork (fig.) and Chinese mustard cabbage, in Thai called phak kwahng tung; khao moo daeng, cooked rice topped with sliced red pork, an hard boiled egg, a red sauce made of light soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and sesame seeds, and usually served with sliced cucumber; Hong Kong style fried rice (fried rice mixed with dried slices of red pork), etc.

moo foi (หมูฝอย)

Thai. ‘Pork fibres’. Name for thin, fibres of crisp fried, shredded pork meat, somewhat similar to flossy pork, which in Thai is called moo yong (fig.). Once fried, it is usually flavoured, often with palm sugar or salt, depending on the required taste. If sugar is added, it is also referred to as moo foi wahn (หมูฝอยหวาน), i.e. ‘sweet pork fibres’.

moo krathiam (หมูกระเทียม)

Thai. ‘Garlic pork’. Either a dish or a snack made of thin, usually elongated strips of pork cut lengthwise, fried with garlic. As a dish it is mostly eaten with rice, as a snack it is typically eaten with sticky rice.

Moon (มูล)

Name of Thailand's second largest river, after the Mae Khong. It is situated in northeastern Thailand and is around 750 kilometers long. It originates in the amphur Pak Thongchai  in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima (map), where it is called Hub Pla Kang for the first ten kilometers. It flows further eastwards through the provinces of Buriram, Surin, Roi Et and Sri Saket and eventually ends in the Mae Khong river, in the amphur Kohng Chiam, in Ubon Ratchathani province (map).

moo neung khai khem (หมูนึ่งไข่เค็ม)

Thai. ‘Steamed pork with salted egg’. Name of a dish that consists of minced pork (moo), topped or filled -though not mixed- with the yolk of a salted egg (khai khem), and then steamed. Sometimes also sliced shiitake mushrooms are added. It is typically eaten over rice (fig.).

Moon Gate

Architectural term for a circular doorway in a traditional Chinese garden wall, used as a pedestrian passageway. Spiritually, the circular shape represents heaven, a thought in line with the concept of feng shui, which claims that curved lines ward off evil spirits. Conversely, a square shape symbolizes earth and the Moon Gate usually has a square section at the bottom (fig.). In Chinese, the Moon Gate is known as yue liang men, which literally translates as ‘luminous moon gate’. See also fang kong qian (fig.).

moonstone

1. Architectural term for a hemispherical ornamented stone or carving at the foot of staircases or entrances to important buildings. Often decorated with animals, flowers and birds.

2. Semiprecious stone, a gem.

moo pah (หมูป่า)

Thai. ‘Wild pig’. See Wild Boar.

Moorish Idol

A species of triangular-shaped marine fish, with disc-like bodies and with the scientific name Zanclus cornutus. They are black with contrasting white bands and a white face, with additional yellow blushing on the anterior white bars and an orange spot lined with a black edge near the basal top of the tubular snout. Its dorsal fin is white and elongated. In Thai, it is known as pla norih thewaroop (ปลาโนรีเทวรูป). See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

moo sawan (หมูสวรรค์)

Thai. ‘Heavenly pork’. A snack made of deep-fried slices of pork, which have been rubbed in a mixture of sugar and soy sauce, laid aside for a while to soak, and then sun dried for a couple of hours to lose any excess fluids. It is typically eaten with sticky rice. A similar snack made with beef instead of pork is called neau sawan (เนื้อสวรรค์) and has a darker colour.

moo yang (หมูย่าง)

Thai. ‘Grilled pork’. Charcoal grilled pork, served in thin slices, with a dipping sauce similar to that of nahm tok, but usually with less ingredients, made only from fish sauce, tamarind vinegar, lime juice, and pulverized, roasted sticky rice (khao niauw kua). This dish originates from Isaan and is traditionally eaten with sticky rice. 

moo yo (หมูยอ)

Thai. ‘Lauded pork’. Name for a popular, sausage-like meat product. It is manufactured using rawcooked technology, by finely chopping all ingredients with ice. It is composed of mostly pork, mixed with some sugar, fish sauce, common salt, pepper, and flour is used as a filler. Characteristic for moo yo are its grey to whitish colour and the presence of air bubbles, which are produced during the cooking, due to the high content of flour that is used.

moo yong (หมูหยอง)

Thai. ‘Pig [or pork hairs] that stand erect through fear’. Designation for dehydrated, finely shredded pork meat, also known as flossy pork. There are many varieties, mostly soft though also crispy, as well as salty and more sweet. It is usually flavoured with some sugar, salt, and either fish sauce or light soy sauce, as well as dark soy sauce. It is used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, but is also eaten as filling on a sandwich (fig.). Moo yong is an OTOP product of Singburi. A similar recipe made with fish is known as pla yong. Compare also with moo foi.

morakot (มรกต)

Thai. ‘Emerald’. Oriental gemstone varying in colour from light to dark green. See also Phra Kaew Morakot.

Mosaic Plant

Common name for an aquatic floating perennial plant, with the scientific name Ludwigia sedioides. It consists of rounded, rosette-like clusters of mainly green -and on the outside of the cluster, some brownish red- diamond-shaped leaves, that float on the water surface, and which are connected by submerged, brownish red, root-like stems. In the blooming season it has small, yellow, cup-shaped flowers. In the wild it is found in wet, swampy areas, but in Thailand it is chiefly an ornamental water plant, found in garden ponds. Also known by the name False Loosestrife and in Thai known as krajab kaew (กระจับแก้ว) or krajab yipun (กระจับญี่ปุ่น).

Moses-in-the-Cradle

See waan kaab hoy.

mosque

Muslim temple or house of worship. Thailand has around 2,900 mosques, the largest one being the Pattani Central Mosque (fig.). Also called masayid. See also Islam.

mot (มด)

Thai for ‘ant(s)’. In parts of Thailand, as well as in India and Burma, weaver ants are made into a paste, which is served as a condiment with curry, whilst in Isaan and parts of Northern Thailand, the larvae of red weaver ants (fig.), known in Thai as khai mot daeng (fig.), are eaten as a salad-like dish. Besides this, the sweet sap from so-called honey pots, i.e. the inflated belly or posterior abdomen of honey ants, is also eaten by some. The substance however bears no relation to real honey, but is in fact digestive waste from aphids (plant lice) and contains a high proportion of sugar. The ants collect this sap from the aphids by shoving its belly until it gives up a drop of the liquid. The ants slowly fill up, using their own bodies to store the liquid, becoming like a living jar, able to store up to eight times their own body weight.

Motaka (मोदक)

Sanskrit. A sweet desert made of flour mixed with sugar and coconut and rolled into small balls. It is the favorite food of the Hindu god Ganesha, and he is often portrayed with it. Motaka also symbolizes great wisdom, the wisdom of Ganesha. Also Modaka.

Moth Orchid

Common name for any kind of orchid in the genus Phalaenopsis, that belong to one of the most popular orchids in the orchid trade and of which there are circa 60 species. They are native throughout Southeast Asia, from the Himalayas to the Philippines and northern Australia. The flowers can have a variety of colours, and the White Orchid Moth is the national flower of Indonesia (fig.). The name Moth Orchid derives from the fact that the flowers of these orchids have petals that resemble the wings of certain moths, with the petals that grow the closest to the stem in fact resembling the delta-shaped wings of Hawk Moths (fig.) and of Fruit-piercing Moths (fig.).

mother-of-pearl

Inlay made of the inner shell of mussels, oysters, and other shells. When light is shed on it it will give a beautiful optical reflection, as is also seen in pearls. In Thailand, this art developed in Ayutthaya, in the middle of the 14th century AD, and was initially inlayed against a background of black lacquer. It is applied to both small and large objects, such as the doors of the bot of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok for one, and with furniture in oriental style (fig.). In Thai hoi muk, and objects inlaid with mother-of-pearl are called kreuang muk.

Mottled Emigrant

Common name for a butterfly, with the scientific designation Catopsilia pyranthe. The upper-wings of males are chalky yellowish-white, sometimes slightly tinted with green and with or without a dark spot on the forewing, that varies in size. The underwings are of a similar colour, often with brownish circular marks and small brownish spots. Females are similar, but the forewings of the upper-wings always have a brownish circular mark, that varies in size between individuals. The underside of hind-wings usually have a series of brownish circular marks, habitually filled with white and often also with some smaller completely brownish spots. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

mot yihaw (มอธเหยี่ยว)

General Thai name for hawk moths, i.e. moths of the family Sphingidae. With a wingspan of anywhere between 3.5 to 15 centimeters, they are considered medium to large in size. Their wings are narrow and their abdomens streamlined, allowing them to fly fast, with certain species allegedly reaching speeds of over 50 kilometers per hour, making them some of the fastest flying insects in the world. A few species are also able to hover in midair and have the capability to move swiftly from side to side whilst hovering. Thailand has 176 species of Sphingidae, which is more than any other country of a comparable area. Occasionally, also called maeng yihaw (แมงเหยี่ยว).

Mountain Bamboo-partridge

Name for a species of bird in the Phasianidae family, with the binomial name Bambusicola fytchii, which commemorates Albert Fytche, between 1867 and 1871 the British Chief Commissioner of Burma. It is found in South, East and Southeast Asia, including China, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand, where it is known as nok kratah pah phai, i.e. ‘bamboo forest partridge’ or ‘wild bamboo partridge’. It is long-tailed and has a body size of about 35 centimeters, with a chestnut-streaked neck and breast, and large black markings below. The flight feathers are distinctly chestnut, the short, slightly downward curved bill, as well as the legs and feet, are grayish. It has a beige head, with a chestnut crown, a pale supercilium, and a post-ocular stripe, which is blackish in males and brown in females. Its natural habitats are bamboo forest, grass, scrub and secondary growth. Its call is a high-pitched, explosive chattering, which slows and then fades away. It is one of two species in the genus Bambusicola, the other one being the Chinese Bamboo-partridge (fig.). Also spelled Mountain Bamboo Partridge. See also Chinese Francolin (fig.).

Mountain Peacock-pheasant

Name for a medium-sized pheasant, with the binomial name Polyplectron inopinatum. Males measure up to 65 centimeters and are very chestnut above, with small bluish ocelli, and blackish below, and a whitish-speckled head and neck. They have a long tail, that consists of twenty tail feathers, of which some are marked with large, greenish-blue ocelli. Furthermore, males have two spurs