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See also: Anh, Ánh, ảnh, and anh.


Alternative forms[edit]

  • (North Central Vietnam) eng


From Proto-Vietic *ʔɛːŋ (elder brother).

According to Phan Kế Bính's Việt Nam phong tục (1915), apparently the practice of calling each other anh-em for those in relationship originated from the province of Quảng Nam:

1915, Phan Kế Bính, Việt Nam phong tục [Vietnamese customs]:

Vợ chồng con nhà sang trọng, gọi nhau bằng cậu mợ, thầy thông thầy phán thì gọi nhau bằng thầy , nhà thường thì gọi nhau bằng anh chị. Có con rồi thì gọi nhau bằng thầy em đẻ em, nhà thô tục thì gọi nhau là bố cu mẹ đĩ, có người thì gọi bố nó mẹ nó, có người cả hai vợ chồng gọi lẫn nhau là nhà ta. Ở Quảng-Nam thì vợ gọi chồng là anh, chồng gọi vợ là em. Ở Nghệ Tĩnh vợ chồng gọi là gấy nhông.

Spouses from wealthy families tend to call each other cậu and mợ; those employed by the government prefer thầy and ; while in an average household, they call each other anh and chị. Couples with children call each other thầy em [father of the little one] and đẻ em [mother of the little one], while those from low-born families use bố cu and mẹ đĩ; there are also those who say bố nó and mẹ nó and those who both call each other nhà ta. In Quảng Nam, a housewife would call her husband anh and a husband would call his wife em. In Nghệ Tĩnh, "husband and wife" is called gấy nhông.



anh ()

  1. an elder brother
  2. a male cousin who's descended from an ancestor who is/was an older sibling to yours or your spouse's
    Synonym: anh họ
  3. (humorous) a generic thing
    Rồi xếp "anh" này lên trên "anh" kia.
    Then we're gonna put this "guy" (an object or piece) over here over that little "guy" over there.
    "Anh" u vuông góc với "anh" v thì "anh" u cũng vuông góc với "anh" d.
    If "guy" u (a geometric line) is perpendicular with "guy" v then he's also perpendicular with "guy" d.

Derived terms[edit]

Derived terms


anh ()

  1. I/me, a male who's (presumably) slightly older than you, or still young enough relative to you to be your older brother
    Antonyms: em, chú,
  2. I/me, your male cousin who's descended from an ancestor who is/was an older sibling to yours or your spouse's
  3. I/me, your boyfriend older than you
    Antonym: em
  4. (endearing) I/me, your husband
  5. you, a male who's (presumably) slightly older than me
    Synonym: bác
    Antonym: em
  6. you, my male cousin who's descended from an ancestor who is/was an older sibling to mine or my spouse's
    - Tại sao con phải gọi Tuấn bằng anh ? Nó kém con những mười tuổi !
    - Phong tục Việt Nam là vậy. Mẹ nó là chị của mẹ, nên nó là anh của con.
    - Why the heck do I have to call him "big bro"? He's ten years younger than I am!
    - That's how kinship works in Vietnam. His mother's my big sis, that's why he's your "big bro".
    - Ông ấy già vậy mà bố phải gọi bằng anh à ?
    - Ông cố của bố là em của ông cố của ông ấy. Mà con phải gọi ông ấy là bác mới đúng.
    - He looks so old. Why do you call him "big bro"?
    - My great-grandfather was younger brother to his. By the way, you're supposed to call him your "big uncle".
    Thuý gọi mình bằng anh, nhưng Thuý lớn tuổi hơn mình nhiều nên mình ngại gọi Thuý bằng em.
    I'm supposed to be Thuý's "big bro", but I can't bring myself to call her "little sibling" because she's way older than me.
    - Sao anh lại gọi chú ấy bằng "anh" ? Chú ấy dù lớn tuổi hơn như vẫn là em họ của em.
    - Anh quen anh ấy từ trước khi anh gặp em. Anh muốn tôn trọng cái có trước.
    - Why did you call him "big brother" ? He's still my "younger sibling" despite his seniority.
    - I knew him way before I met you. I wanted to respect what came first.
  7. you, my boyfriend
    Antonym: em
  8. you, my husband
    Antonyms: em, tôi
  9. (formal) you, a young adult man
    Antonym: tôi
  10. (humorous or ironic) you, Mr. or young man
    Antonym: tôi
  11. (education) you, the high schoolboy reading this textbook
    Synonyms: chị, em
    Anh (chị) hãy phân tích đoạn văn sau:
    Analyze the following passage:
  12. (literary) he/him, that young adult man

Usage notes[edit]

Textbooks tend to assume grade schoolers and middle schoolers to be young enough to be called em (literally little sibling), but high schoolers to be old enough to be called anh (big brother) and chị (big sister). The "pronoun" choices for high schoolers in these books are strictly binary, and the female chị is always secondary and shown in parentheses.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]