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wâi

  • Verb
    [to] wai (The 'wai' is a prayer like gesture which is perfomed with a slight bow. It's widely used in Thailand as a standard greeting, and also when apologising, saying thanks and to show respect. Thai people frequently wai towards a Buddha image when passing by one, sometimes even while driving! If there's a perceived difference in status between two people perfoming the wai, then it is usually the junior or 'lower status' person who will wai first. For instance, a student will wai the teacher first, and not the other way around. The more senior will then usually 'wai' back (รับไหว้), although this is unnecessary in certain situations such as being 'wai-ed' to by children or cashiers. The higher the hands are raised and the deeper the bow, the greater the respect being shown to the recipient of the 'wai'. A กราบ is a step up from the wai and is used when worshipping and showing reverence, predominately to Buddha images or the Royal family.)

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