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30 Filipino Words With No English Equivalent

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Jeanh, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. (Part 3)
    We Pinoys are not only creative, descriptive and sappy, we’re constantly adding words to the world’s lexicon.

    Google says Please or Register to view links, but one website says Please or Register to view links. While they’re trying to make up their minds, these 30 Filipino words have yet to find their direct word correspondence in English.

    And for the final installment, we give you these bizarre but often funny and endearing words that speak tons about our culture and beliefs.

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    “Hoy! Pang-ilang kanin mo na ‘yan, ha?”

    This word has been Please or Register to view links by the inquisitive, the purists and the helpful. But pang-ilan has remained elusive, always needing to be translated in the context of the sentence it came in.

    The question “Pang-ilang presidente ng Pilipinas si Erap?” has been exhausted, exploited and worked around, but no one could translate it word-for-word without making it sound awkward and unnatural.

    Ah, pang-ilan. You shall remain a favorite topic for discussion and banter among barkadasof every age and size.

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    “Ibili mo nga ‘ko ng panghilod at ang dami ko ng libag!”

    It’s one of those things we’d rather keep private. And rightly so. As Pinoys we’re prissy about bathing and scrubbing ourselves pink so we have a natural aversion tolibag.

    Its’ pretty serious business: scrubbing off these skin dirt is a must according to ournanays, and no decent Pinoy bathroom is deemed good enough without a panghilod. In fact, we’re so obsessed about removing these things that Please or Register to view links just to differentiate them from one another. Yes, we’re suckers for specifics that way.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Wag mong isumbat sa akin ang mga ginawa mong tulong.”

    Sumbat happens when someone you’re indebted to chides you about the favors he/she has done for you.

    Often said in an angry, reproachful manner, sumbat has hints of regret about the favors given. Our teledramas are replete with sumbatan, and when that couple next door fights, it’s Please or Register to view links until they stop.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Nagsisi ako na kumain ako ng ice cream, nangilo tuloy ang ngipin ko”

    Sure, ngilo is teeth sensitivity. But ngilo is really more about the sensation: that lightning-like, searing, excruciating, palpable pain that your teeth gets when you bite into your ice cream.

    However, this isn’t the only definition. The other one is that teeth-gritting feeling that you get when you hear the sound of Please or Register to view links, or (the more local example) of tansan against concrete.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Galing akong Hong Kong at namili ako ng maraming pasalubong.”

    This old Filipino tradition of bringing gifts every homecoming is expected of balikbayanloved ones and friends. Those who travel overseas, even those who travel to another city even within the country are somewhat expected to bring gifts home, no matter how small, as “souvenirs”.

    But there’s no English word that is commensurate to this Pinoy culture. Michael Tan probably nailed it with this description: “ Please or Register to view links

    Please or Register to view links

    “Itira nyo sa akin ang kaning tutong, paborito ko yan”

    In a country where rice is the staple food, of course we needed a word to describe that brown to golden (sometimes burnt) crusty rice that sticks to the bottom of our rice pot when we overcook our kanin.

    Some Pinoys like the crunchy texture and burnt taste of kaning tutong and would even go as far as to intentionally toast the rice and write a recipe on Please or Register to view links.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Ang kulit naman ng batang ito!”

    Some would argue that kulit actually Please or Register to view links. Quite, but not quite.

    You see, pesky (negative) is annoying. But kulit is not only used in the negative “Tigilan mo ‘ko sa pangungulit mo!”, there’s also hint of positive playfulness about it especially in this context: “Kinukulit ako ng anak ko kung kelan daw ako uuwi”.

    It is also used to fondly describe somebody who is funny “Ang kulit talaga ni Ryzza Mae, natawa ako sa jokes nya!”. Kulit may also be used to describe something that’s unique, new or cool “Grabe ang tugtog na ‘to, ang kulit!”.

    Please or Register to view linksImage source: Please or Register to view links

    “Nangalay ako at nangawit kakahintay na magsimula ang palabas.”

    Ngalay is the numbness that one feels when you’re motionless and in the same position for a time. The closest translation for ngalay is numb, although that lacks in definition for what ngalay really means.

    Ngalay could also happen after strenuous physical activity like carrying or Please or Register to view links. It’s that fatigued, dull ache on your muscles that numbs over time.

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    A sigurista is somebody who makes sure that everything goes according to plan. It doesn’t exactly translate to being a perfectionist. Perfectionists are more on the meticulous side of things, ensuring that everything is done to the letter.

    A sigurista is somebody who will not do something unless the outcome is what he/she exactly desires. There’s a very gangster ring to the word that’s somehow reminiscent of old tagalog action flicks and Please or Register to view links.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Naalimpungatan ang maton nung nag-away ang dalawang babae sa labas”

    Tread carefully now. The word in subject is something that all Pinoys know could either make or break a person’s mood.

    Please or Register to view links is that state when your sleep has been rudely interrupted leaving you half-asleep and half-awake. In this state of half-awareness, you’re probably unsure about being awake or asleep.

    The closest English translation to the word is “rude awakening”, but it doesn’t describe the stupor, or the state of consciousness.
  2. (Part 2)

    Pinoys are emotional. That’s why we have apt words for even the littlest emotion. If we’re feeling it, we gotta be able to name it, and if we don’t, we’re thinking up names for it.

    It’s small wonder that most of the Please or Register to view links in our list that can’t be translated to English relate to emotions. We’re naturally wired to be sappy! And now for the second part of our list:

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    “Ewan ko kung saan sya nagpunta, hindi ko alam.”

    Ask Apo Hiking Society. They’d tell you that Please or Register to view links. Were they being cocky? Maybe.

    But that’s the beauty of the word ewan. It’s so vague it doesn’t give away anything. It could mean a lot of things at once: I don’t know, I don’t remember and I don’t care. It could also mean the person is of two minds at the moment (undecided).

    Maybe you just don’t have anything to say so you toss ewan just to say something. Depending on the context, ewan could be full or devoid of meaning.

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    “Ayokong umihi sa CR ng opisina, ang panghi!”

    Of course, we needed a word to describe what urine smells like. But there’s no exact English word for panghi.

    Sources say it’s the Please or Register to view links. But it’s really more of smelling like piss or smelling like ammonia. That’s the closest translation you can get and even these fail to evoke what panghi is really like: it’s stale-smelling urine. Urine left for sometime emanating a very strong ammonia smell.

    The first Pinoy who coined the word probably wasn’t satisfied with amoy ihi; it had to be panghi. What a connoisseur!

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    “Ayoko ng kumain ng manok, nakakaumay na!”

    When Depeche Mode sang “Just Can’t Get Enough”, Umay was probably the farthest thing from their mind.

    Umay is when you’ve had enough. When you’re satiated to the point of not being able to take in anymore. However, this isn’t limited to food and Please or Register to view links.

    We’ve managed to incorporate this into emotions. “Ayaw na kitang makita, nauumay ako sa pagmumukha mo” is a not-so-subtle way of telling somebody to get lost, with an insult to boot.

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    “Bakit ka nagsuot ng rubber shoes at naka-bestida ka? Ang baduy mo!”

    A slight to a person’s fashion sense, baduy has a negative connotation. And this word is also used to describe somebody who is Please or Register to view links, “Nagsulat ka pa ng love letter eh text na ang uso ngayon, ang baduy mo talaga.”

    You could call somebody a fashion mess, or the worst-dressed, but baduy can mean much more than that; it’s more of an insult to the person, and not just his/her fashion choices.

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    “Ayokong makipaglaro dyan, napipikon kapag natatalo.”

    Ha! We’re naturally pikon as Pinoys. Balat-sibuyas. Sore losers. And our Please or Register to view links when our pambansang kamao took a right and fell asleep in the boxing ring for two minutes last year.

    See, we’re pikon like that: hotheaded, easily angered, touchy and easily offended. And there isn’t a word in English that’s a catchall for all these, as Devina Dediva must have found out.

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    “Nakalimutan kong bilhin ‘yung pinabibili mong kwan.. perdible!”

    We use kwan in place of an object’s name we’ve temporarily forgotten. And while we’re trying to recall it, we use kwan instead.

    But kwan is also used to say things we couldn’t say out loud, and hope that the other person would read into it, “Di ba sya ‘yung kumwan dun sa kwan ni aling Nena?” and those in earshot would have to figure out what kwan really means.

    Another use for the word is when we can’t think of anything to say. Kind of like an Please or Register to view links moment.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Wag mo ng pasalihin sa laro yan at tirang baldog lagi ‘yan.”

    Baldog in the context of Pinoy basketball means Please or Register to view links. The NBA has yet to come up with a term for a bad play like this.

    On the other hand, baldog could also mean a sudden, bad fall usually with the head hitting a hard surface “nabaldog ‘yung ulo ng anak mo sa semento”. In both context, an exact English word is unavailable.

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    “Gusto kong nilalambing ako kapag galit ako.”

    While Please or Register to view links, it fails to adequately define whatlambing is. It’s like this: tenderness + sweetness + being affectionate + wanting to be caressed = lambing.

    Nobody says no to a lambing. Filipino children have this down to an art. They know when to lambing nanay especially when they’re in for some scolding. And tatay gets some of thelambing when the chikitings are asking for a new toy.

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    “Uminom ka ng maraming tubig para mawala yang balisawsaw mo”

    Please or Register to view links is a collective term for the following symptoms: lingering desire to pee, frequent peeing and pain in the bladder.

    It’s not always associated with Urinary Tract Infection and dysuria, although the symptoms are similar. As kids, our lolas would scold us about sitting on a hot surface (like a stone bench exposed to the heat of the sun) because we’d experience balisawsaw after sitting on it.

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    “Dati ako ang nagpapakahirap, ngayon sya naman.”

    This word practically defies translation: it’s a word affixed to a sentence to either give emphasis, highlight contrast or give gentle coaxing (for requests).

    For emphasis: “Hindi ko naman sinasadya.”

    For contrast: “Yung isa, umuwi na. Yung isa naman, nagpaiwan pa.”

    As gentle coaxing: “Tulungan mo naman akong magbuhat.”

    But this amusing word isn’t done yet. Naman could also be used to mean again. “Ikaw nanaman?!” and a more recent use for the word means “of course!” as only Please or Register to view links.
  3. (Part 1)

    We Pinoys have words for everything.

    Somebody who butts in somebody’s business to get attention is called epal, short forpumapapel. We feel bitin when we run out of rice in the middle of eating. Andnawiwindang is how we feel after seeing Yolanda’s aftermath: it’s shocking, unbelievable, unexpected and hard to wrap your mind around (Yes, we got all that in oneword).

    Hell, we’re so creative we have words that defy exact translation into English.

    We’ve compiled thirty such words. While they’ll make sense to Pinoys and baffle foreigners, they’re entertaining just the same.

    So brush up on your lolo and lola’s vocabulary (as most of these words found use during their era) and get your henyo caps on; we’re exploring untranslatable Please or Register to view links.

    Please or Register to view links

    “Wag kang matulog ng busog kung ayaw mong mamatay sa bangungot!

    Nope, it doesn’t translate to nightmare. Please or Register to view links and doesn’t cause death, so that’s not an accurate description of our bangungot. It’s like this: going to bed + full stomach + bad dreams = never waking up (death).

    Scientists call it acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis but that doesn’t explain the paralysis or the bad dreams. Some call it Sudden Unexpected Death During Sleep (SUDS) but what’s interesting is, this phenomenon was first described in a Please or Register to view links.

    Our lolos and lolas knew what they were talking about, after all.

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    “Kilig na kilig ako nung hinawakan nya ‘ko sa kamay.”

    While its earlier form was Please or Register to view links to read kilig to the bones, we’ve come to accept kilig as a standalone word.

    It could mean trembling in English, but not quite. See, what trembling doesn’t describe is the excitement and the romantic feeling that comes with kilig.

    It’s like this: I’m on cloud 9 + I’m so happy I could burst + I’m so electrified I can’t think straight = kilig. And even these words couldn’t adequately explain how kilig truly feels.

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    “Pipitikin ko yang tenga mo pag ‘di ka sumunod sa inuutos ko!”

    Pitik could either mean Please or Register to view links by using the fingers. However, the word could also mean something that isn’t confined to what the fingers can do.

    “Pumitik ‘yung ilaw” (flicker) and “Nawala cellphone ni Tonyo, may pumitik yata” (stole) are two very different uses for the word pitik.

    The varied use of the word makes it impossible to assign an exact meaning in English to it. Meanwhile, it takes on the meaning we Pinoys want at our convenience. Not bad for a word we’ve come to associate with pain in our childhood.

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    “Nausog ng ale ‘yung anak ko, nagsuka tuloy at nilagnat.”

    It doesn’t matter whether you think the child in question is cute or not. If you’re new to that place and some kid gets sick after you leave, you have hexed the child by usog (also known as balis).

    And now you have to put some of your saliva on the kid’s forehead, tummy and feet while saying the words Please or Register to view links over and over again. Only then will you have appeased the parents, cured the grossed out child and be allowed to leave.

    This usually happens when Please or Register to view links (and adults, occasionally). Talk about coming on too strong.

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    “Nagtatampo ako dahil hindi mo naalala ang anniversary natin.”

    You’re not really angry. But you’re not happy either. And you feel slighted! All those emotions rolled into one would read: tampo.

    How we thought up the word is ingenious. No English word can sufficiently translate this one, and Please or Register to view links.

    Pissed off is too extreme. Disappointed is close, but not quite. It doesn’t even come close to sulking, although silent treatment is a symptom. Try all of that with a dash of sweetness. And that’s the closest translation you’ll probably get.

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    “Basta sundin mo na lang ang inutos ko sa’yo, tapos!

    Although this word may have Please or Register to view links Which means “enough already!” it doesn’t quite cover it.

    When Pinoys say basta, it’s definitive. What was said before basta was uttered is final, valid and true. It is said with the kind of insistence that cannot be challenged or argued upon.

    When our nanays declared basta, we were expected to obey meekly and accept that wisdom without question, even when she said that aswangs have preference for naughty kids. She always just knew.

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    “Ang kyut ng bata, nakakagigil!”

    Some have cleverly defined this as Please or Register to view links and that’s pretty much it.

    However, we also use it in another context: “Nanggigigil ako sa kapitbahay naming napakaingay” . Put this way, it hardly means irresistibly cute; you’re closer to clobbering the neighbor than actually pinching cheeks.

    Gigil therefore is subjective. It’s an uncontrollable urge to pinch or squeeze somebody or something, but it’s not always because of cuteness. You’ve been warned. [Image source: Please or Register to view links]

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    “Pagpag mo muna ang twalya at baka may langgam.”

    Alright, it could mean shake or dust off, but pagpag requires a bit more rigor than that.

    What we often imagine when we hear the word pagpag is holding the object and repeatedly hitting a surface with it to make dirt, dust or something come off the object. Unfortunately, this is the same description which made pagpag synonymous to scavenged food.

    Thus, pagpag could also mean the Please or Register to view links. Disheartening, but true.

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    “Wag ka munang humawak ng tubig pagkatapos mong magplantsa at baka mapasma ka!”

    I was already in college when I learned that the word pasma isn’t even a medical phenomenon. It can’t be translated to English because it doesn’t exist, or so experts say.

    But our lolas would beg to differ. Pasma could either manifest by Please or Register to view links and is brought about by immediate exposure to cold water after a vigorous activity (which warms the body). Therefore body heat + cold water = pasma.

    The origin of the word could be the Spanish Please or Register to view links which means spasm, although our plasma has come to mean much more than that.

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    “Ang hilig mo sa mangga, para kang naglilihi.”

    Although experts limit paglilihi as Please or Register to view links, we define it as something more than that.

    Lihi is when a pregnant woman in her first trimester causes her husband hell. She throws up in the mornings. She’s constantly moody and irritated. She craves the most impossible food to get a-hold of at 2AM. And worse, she could take a liking to something unattractive, causing her unborn child to look like whatever took her fancy during pregnancy.

    If she liked Please or Register to view links while she was naglilihi, her baby would look like a frog. Bizarre, I know, but still widely believed in our culture.
    queencee and demonic098 like this.
  4. This thread was great!. I wonder why there's no comments in here. this will help us alot guys, we can also add some of tagalog words that don't have english translation here. (y)
  5. thank for your kind appreciation demonics..
  6. wow this ok.. ahahaha dami ko tawa sa iba
  7. Thanks for sharing :)
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