8 Fascinating Filipino Words that Made Their Way to the Oxford Dictionary
Oct 18, 2018   •   Tim Henares
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Oct 18, 2018   •   Tim Henares
With 2018 recently welcoming even more Filipino words to the Oxford English Dictionary, it begs the question: why is there a need to functionally add these words to the English language, and what does it say about both languages as a whole?
Well, maybe we can understand how these things come to be better if we took a look at just 8 of these Filipino words that have ended up in the Oxford dictionary over the last few years…
While “Bongga” really got its popularity through the Hotdogs song “Bongga Ka ‘Day” in the ‘70s, it’s easy to see that the word is also a nod to a particular dialect in the Filipino language: Swardspeak, or Bekispeak, depending on which era of Filipino gay lingo you’re referring to.
How to use in a sentence: I wanted a more bongga gift for Christmas, but we couldn’t afford it.
How NOT to use in a sentence: The car was running so fast, I got bongga by accident.
It speaks volumes of the culture of patronage in the Philippines that even in a purely transactional relationship such as buyer and seller, we have managed to create affinity via the term “suki.” Loyalty and “utang na loob” are some of the best and worst features of any Filipino relationship, and being a “suki” highlights this in spades.
How to use in a sentence: Because I’ve been going to the same stall for years, I became her suki, and she would always offer me discounts without me asking for them.
How NOT to use in a sentence: Manny has a really difficult time getting past Mayweather’s defenses, su-ki here is to frustrate Floyd by jabbing frequently.
“Bahala na” has often been characterized as hailing from “Bathala na,” but it would appear that the etymology of the word, according to Oxford, is simply “Bahala na ang Diyos,” which pretty much means the same thing, anyways. This only reinforces the belief that Batman is the most powerful superhero in the entire comics universe, DC or Marvel, when we Filipinos have ended up changing the expression to “Bahala na si Batman.”
How to use in a sentence: I’m tired, and I don’t know if I can pass tomorrow’s exams – bahala na!
How NOT to use in a sentence:
Owing to its Spanish origins, despedida as a send-off party is often in vogue with our culture.
How to use in a sentence: Did you attend Mike’s despedida? He’s headed to the United States by tomorrow!
How NOT to use in a sentence: Despedida, quiero respirar tu cuello despedida, deja que te diga cosas al oido, para que te acuerdes si no estas conmigo…
Where the rest of the world know it as hypertension or high blood pressure, we use the words “high blood” to refer to anyone who is angry or agitated, regardless of their actual blood pressure.
How to use in a sentence: She was so high blood, she decided to walk out of the classroom without handing out the test results.
How NOT to use in a sentence: See headline photo above.
Man, we Filipinos really love being the givers of presents, huh? While most other countries would treat the birthday celebrant on their special day, we’re the type who expects the birthday boy or girl to be the sponsor of the celebration.
How to use in a sentence: Did you get your uncle’s pasalubong from when he last visited?
How NOT to use in a sentence: Senator Revilla, catch this, please – pasalu-Bong!
How to use in a sentence: There’s so much kilig to go around in that Carlo Aquino-Angelica Panganiban film!
How NOT to use in a sentence: The only kilig I have in my life is after I take a leak in the bathroom. #foreveralone
“Trapo” is a brilliant nod to the code-switching Filipinos are notorious for, as a mostly bilingual country. While the word “trapo” refers to a rag, based on its Spanish origins, it’s also become a contraction for “traditional politician,” which thus likens the oligarchy to a dirty rag, as they tend to end up acting like.
How to use in a sentence: Did you see that trapo make a fool of himself in the news again?
How NOT to use in a sentence: Did you see that trapo make a fool of himself in the news again! I’m voting him!
Do you have a list of Pinoy words you’d like to see in the Oxford Dictionary? Share them with us below!
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