One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A South East Asian woman of mixed ethnic descent, especially (in Singapore) a woman with a Malay mother and Chinese father.
2mass noun (in Malaysia and Singapore) a spicy Singaporean cuisine consisting of a combination of Malay and Chinese ingredients and techniques.as modifier ‘a Nonya dish’
- ‘The exciting blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian and Nonya was brought out by the food festival at the Matchpoint at the Hotel Taj Coromandel, which was the venue, for the colourful show on Thursday.’
- ‘Chillies, coconut milk and belachan [a dried shrimp paste] are what make Nonya food special.’
From Malay, Javanese nyonya, probably from Portuguese senhora ‘lady’ (see senhora).
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