European merchants in Canton, in 1858. Gweilo, meaning “ghost man”, refers to the pale skin of Europeans.
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

Where the word gweilo comes from, and other names East Asians have for foreigners

Once considered offensive, the Cantonese slang for white man is now generally accepted, even embraced, by some expats as a light-hearted epithet

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European merchants in Canton, in 1858. Gweilo, meaning “ghost man”, refers to the pale skin of Europeans.
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