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LIST: Filipino words and phrases that made it to the Oxford English Dictionary

By Reigne Mangon and Aubrey Lim Published Aug 25, 2023 2:58 pm

Can you try translating "kilig" into English? How about "bahala na"?

Some Pinoy terms are best expressed in their mother tongue. They are so distinct that they deserve to be heard and used by other people as is. Interestingly, over 200 of them have been recognized in the Oxford English Dictionary—and there are more to look forward to.

"The OED is committed to widening its coverage of words from different varieties of English around the world, including Philippine English, so Filipinos can certainly expect to see more of their unique vocabulary included in future OED updates," Dr. Danica Salazar, World English Editor for the OED, told PhilSTAR L!fe.

From "bongga" to "kikay," here are the Filipino words and phrases that have made it to the Oxford English Dictionary as well as their definitions.

  • abaca: a kind of banana plant
  • accomplish: to add the required information to (a form or questionnaire); to fill in, to complete
  • adobo: a spicy stew, typically consisting of pork, poultry, or seafood cooked in a vinegar-based sauce
  • advanced: of a clock or watch: indicating a time ahead of the correct time; = fast
  • aggrupation: an association or grouping, esp. a political organization
  • aling: a title of courtesy or respect prefixed to the first name of an older woman
  • anting-anting: a supernatural influence having the power of protecting its possessor from harm
  • arnis: any of various forms of self-defense and martial arts traditionally practiced in the Philippines, characterized by the use of sticks, bladed weapons, and bare hands in combat
  • ate: an elder sister; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an older woman
  • availer: a person or organization that makes use of or employs something; a user
  • bagoong: a sauce or paste made from fermented or salted fish
  • bahala na: expressing an attitude of optimistic acceptance or fatalistic resignation
  • Bajau: a member of a nomadic maritime people distributed throughout the islands and coastal areas from the Malay peninsula and Indonesia to the southern Philippines
  • bakla: a person registered as male at birth who identifies with or presents a feminine gender expression, typically through behaviors, occupations, modes of dress, etc., that are culturally associated with femininity
  • baku: a fine kind of straw grown in the Philippines and woven in China
  • bakya: a type of backless sandal with a thick wooden sole and a strap of rattan, plastic, or some other material; lacking in refinement or sophistication
  • balibuntal: a fine straw of a very close weave, used for hats
  • balikbayan: a Filipino visiting or returning to the Philippines after a period of living in another country
  • balikbayan box: a carton shipped or brought to the Philippines from another country by a Filipino who has been living overseas
  • balisong: a folding pocket knife having a handle consisting of two parts that divide and pivot round to enclose the blade
  • balut: a fertilized duck's egg boiled and eaten in the shell while still warm
  • baon: money, food, or other provisions taken to school, work, or on a journey
  • barangay: a village, suburb, or other demarcated neighborhood; a district forming the most local level of government
  • barkada: a group of friends
  • baro't saya: a traditional Philippine costume for women
  • barong: barong tagalog
  • barong tagalog: a lightweight, embroidered shirt for men
  • Batak: people on the island of Palawan
  • Batangas knife: a folding pocket knife with a handle consisting of two parts that divide and pivot round to enclose the blade
  • batchmate: a member of the same graduation class as another
  • bayanihan: a traditional system of mutual assistance in which the members of a community work together to accomplish a difficult task
  • beno: in the Philippine islands: = aguardiente
  • bihon: very long, thin noodles made with rice flour
  • blocktime: a unit of airtime sold by a television network or radio station to an independent broadcaster or production company
  • blocktimer: an independent broadcaster or production company that purchases airtime from a television network or radio station
  • bold: of a film, scene, etc.: having sexual content
  • bolo: a kind of cutlass used in the Philippine Islands for agricultural and domestic work and as a fighting weapon
  • bongga: extravagant, flamboyant
  • boondock: rough country; jungle; an isolated or wild region
  • boondockers: shoes suitable for rough outdoor use
  • breadnut: a variety of the breadfruit Artocarpus altilis (family Moraceae), native to New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines
  • buko: the gelatinous flesh of an unripe coconut
  • buko juice: a drink made from the clear watery liquid inside unripe coconuts
  • buko water: buko juice
  • buntal: a straw prepared from the fibers of the petioles, or leaf stems, of the talipot or buri palm
  • buri: the talipot palm
  • butter fruit: a tropical persimmon tree native to the Philippines and Sri Lanka
  • calamansi: the fruit of the calamondin
  • calamondin: more fully calamondin orange
  • calangay: a kind of white parrot, a native of the Philippine islands
  • caracore: a sort of vessel used in the Philippine Isles
  • carinderia: a food stall with a small seating area
  • carnap: to steal a motor vehicle
  • carnapper: a person who steals a motor vehicle
  • carretela: a type of light two-wheeled carriage
  • cartolina: a type of thick, stiff, colored paper used for making models or posters and in other craftwork
  • central: a mill for processing cane into raw sugar
  • cogon: more fully cogon grass
  • colugo: either of two species of small arboreal mammal
  • comfort room: a room in a public building or workplace furnished with amenities such as facilities for resting, personal hygiene, and storage of personal items; a public toilet
  • corrido: a poem narrating historical or legendary events and composed in octosyllabic lines
  • dato: a landowner or chief in the Philippine Islands, Sulu, and other Malayan countries
  • Datuk: a landowner or chief; title of respect.
  • despedida: a going-away party
  • dine-in: the serving or consumption of food on the premises of the shop or restaurant in which it was bought
  • dirty ice cream: ice cream of a type that is typically made from coconut milk, sold from handcarts
  • dirty kitchen: a kitchen where everyday cooking is done by household staff, as distinct from a kitchen that is purely for show or for special use by the owner of the house
  • dita: the bark of a forest tree found in the Philippine Islands
  • ditaine: the characteristic amine or alkaloid of dita-bark
  • duende: a supernatural being or spirit, typically short in stature and resembling a pixie or imp
  • dugong: a large aquatic herbivorous mammal inhabiting the Indian seas
  • ensaimada: a spiral-shaped pastry made with sweet yeast dough
  • estafa: criminal deception, fraud; dishonest dealing
  • Filipinize: to convert to operation by Filipinos
  • Filipino: a native or inhabitant of the Philippine islands
  • gimmick: a night out with friends
  • go down: to alight from a vehicle
  • gurjun: the name for a large tree of the East Indies and Philippine Islands
  • gurjunic: in gurjunic acid
Over 200 words have made it to the Oxford English Dictionary.

  • halo-halo: a dessert made of mixed fruits, sweet beans, milk, and shaved ice
  • Hanunóo: a member of a people inhabiting southern Mindoro in the Philippines
  • head-axe: an axe having a head consisting of a sharp metal blade combined with a backward-pointing spike
  • head-knife: a knife or machete having a blade with a backward-pointing spike
  • high blood: angry, agitated
  • Huk: a guerrilla movement in the Philippines
  • Ibanag: the name of one of the peoples inhabiting northern Luzon in the Republic of the Philippines
  • Ifugao: the name of a people of northern Luzon in the Republic of the Philippines
  • Ifugaon: = Ifugao, n.
  • Igorot: the name of a people inhabiting northern Luzon in the Republic of the Philippines
  • Illano: a member of a Moro people of Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines
  • Illanoan: = Illano
  • Ilocano: a member of a Moro people of Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines
  • Iloko: = Ilocano
  • Indian: an indigenous inhabitant of the Philippines
  • jeepney: a jitney bus converted from a jeep
  • jusi: a delicate fibrous fabric woven in the Philippine Islands
  • kamachili: a tree native to tropical America and naturalized in the Philippines
  • Kapampangan: a member of a people of central Luzon island in the Philippines, principally inhabiting its central plain around the Pampanga river
  • kare-kare: a stew of oxtail, tripe, meat, and vegetables, cooked in a thick, peanut-based sauce and colored with annatto
  • kikay: a flirtatious girl or woman; a girl or woman interested in beauty products and fashion
  • kikay kit: a soft case in which a woman's toiletries and cosmetics are stored
  • kilig: exhilaration or elation caused by an exciting or romantic experience
  • KKB: "Kaniya-kaniyang bayad"; used to indicate that the cost of a meal is to be shared
  • kumpit: a trading vessel of the Philippine Islands
  • kuya: an elder brother; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an older man
  • Lacatan: a cultivated variety of banana originating in the Philippines
  • ladronism: organized resistance to law or authority among the native population
  • lauan: the Philippine name for the light hardwood timber produced by trees of the genus Shorea or closely related genera
  • leche flan: a custard made with condensed milk and egg yolks and topped with caramel
  • lechon: a whole pig roasted on a spit, usually over coals
  • lola: one's grandmother; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an elderly woman
  • lolo: one's grandfather; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an elderly man
  • luzonite: a sulph-arsenide of copper
  • mabuhay: an exclamation of salutation or greeting
  • macapuno: a naturally occurring variety of coconut having soft jelly-like flesh and little or no liquid
  • malmag: the spectral tarsier of Sulawesi and other islands of Southeast Asia
  • Mang: a title of courtesy or respect prefixed to the first name of an older man
  • Mangyan: a member of (one of) a number of distinct ethnic groups inhabiting upland Mindoro, an island in the Philippines
  • mani-pedi: a beauty treatment comprising both a manicure and a pedicure
  • Manila: designating any of various goods or commodities produced in or associated with Manila or the Philippines
  • Manilaman: a male native of the Philippines
  • Manobo: a member of a group of proto-Malay peoples of Mindanao in the Philippines
  • Maranao: a member of a Moro people inhabiting the province of Lanao del Sur and parts of central Cotabato province on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, and some areas of northern Borneo
  • Marcosian: of, resembling, or characteristic of Ferdinand Marcos or his (authoritarian) rule
  • medrinaque: fiber made from the sago palm and other trees of the Philippines
  • milkfish: a large, fork-tailed, silver marine fish
  • monkey-eating eagle: the great Philippine eagle
  • Moro: Filipino Muslim
  • Moro National Liberation Front: a paramilitary Moro separatist group founded in 1968
  • narra: a tall, rapidly-growing tree of South-East Asia
  • Negrito: a member of a pygmy people inhabiting an area from south India in the west to New Guinea in the east
Filipinos can look forward to seeing more of their terms and phrases in the Oxford English Dictionary in the future.
  • OFW: Overseas Filipino Worker
  • pacifico: a native or inhabitant of Cuba or the Philippines who, in the 1890s, did not actively support the uprisings against the Spanish government
  • padauk: any of various tropical Asian and West African trees
  • palang: a (usually metal) crosspiece driven horizontally through the penis near its head
  • palay: rice that has not been husked
  • Pampangan: a member of a people of Luzon Island in the Philippines; a native or inhabitant of Pampanga province
  • pan de sal: a yeast-raised bread roll made of flour, eggs, sugar, and salt
  • pancit: noodles; any of various Filipino dishes made with noodles
  • panciteria: an inexpensive restaurant, typically serving noodle dishes
  • Pangasinan: a Northern Philippine language spoken by a people of the Lingayen gulf area of central Luzon island in the Philippines
  • panguingue: a card game of Filipino origin usually played with eight or ten decks
  • paraphernalia: the pieces of equipment or products associated with or necessary for an activity
  • paribuntal: a type of fine straw used to make hats
  • pasalubong: a gift or souvenir given to a friend or relative by a person who has returned from a trip or arrived for a visit
  • peso: any of various coins
  • Philippine: of, relating to, or designating the Philippines
  • Philippine mahogany: the reddish wood of various trees native to the Philippines
  • Philippinite: a tektite from the strewn field of the Philippines
  • Pilipino: of or relating to the language Pilipino
  • pina: pineapple leaf fiber
  • pina cloth: a fine fabric made from pineapple leaf fiber
  • pina muslin: = pina cloth
  • Pinay: a woman of Filipino origin or heritage
  • Pinoy: a person (usually a man) of Filipino origin or heritage
  • población: the principal community of a district
  • pom-pom: general attributive, in relation to prostitutes and prostitution, chiefly in the Philippines, Japan, and adjacent regions
  • president: the chief official of a town or village
  • presidentiable: a person who is a likely or confirmed candidate for president
  • pulutan: food or snacks provided as an accompaniment to alcoholic drinks
  • puto: a steamed rice cake
  • querida: a mistress
  • reconstruct: to win over or reconcile
  • retentionist: a person who advocates the retention of territory
  • rizalite: a tektite of the type characteristically found in Rizal province of the Philippines
  • rotunda: a roundabout or traffic circle
  • sacate | zacate: any of several grasses grown in Mexico, the southern U.S.A., and the Philippines
  • sala: a living room
  • sala set: a set of furnishings for a living room
  • salangane: one of the birds of the genus Collocalia, which make edible nests
  • salvage: to apprehend and execute (a suspected criminal) without trial
  • sampaguita: a local name in the Philippines for the Arabian jasmine
  • sari-sari store: a small neighborhood store selling a variety of goods
  • saya: a long, wide skirt worn as part of traditional dress by Filipino women
  • shereef: a dignitary of high standing having both temporal and spiritual power among the Mohammedans of the Philippine Islands
  • sinigang: a type of soup made with meat, shrimp, or fish and flavoured with a sour ingredient such as tamarind or guava
  • sisig: a dish consisting of chopped pork, onions, and chilies
  • songster thrush: Calornis panayensis, of the Philippines
  • sorbetes: ice cream of a type that is typically made from coconut milk, sold from handcarts by street vendors
  • sparrow: the members of a sparrow unit
  • sparrow unit: any of a number of small guerrilla squads representing the militant sector of the Communist Party
  • suki: a buyer or seller involved in an arrangement whereby a customer regularly purchases products or services from the same provider in exchange for favorable treatment
  • Sulu: = Tau Sug
  • tabo: a dipper used to scoop up water from a pail or bucket while washing
  • taclobo: a bivalve mollusk, of great size, the Giant Clam of the Indian and China seas
  • Tagalog: people living in the neighborhood of Manila in the Philippine Islands; an official language of the Republic of the Philippines
  • taguan: the Malayan Flying Squirrel
  • tamarau: a diminutive black buffalo peculiar to the island Mindoro in the Philippines
  • Tambagut: the Crimson-breasted Barbet of the Philippines
  • tarsier: a small lemuroid quadruped of Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and the Philippines
  • Tasaday: people living on the Philippine island of Mindanao; the Manobo language of this people
  • Tau Sug: one of the Islamic groups inhabiting the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippine Islands
  • teleserye: a television soap opera
  • Tinkling: a Philippine folk dance in which the dancer steps between two long wooden poles held near the floor and drawn together and apart to the rhythm of the music
  • tita: an aunt; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an older woman
  • tito: an uncle; also used as a respectful title or form of address for an older man
  • topnotcher: the highest-placing candidate in an examination
  • toyo: soy sauce
  • traffic: marked by slow movement of vehicles; congested
  • trapo: a politician perceived as belonging to a conventional and corrupt ruling class
  • tuba: In the Malay archipelago, the Philippines, etc., the name of species of Derris from the roots of which an intoxicating juice is extracted
  • turon: sliced bananas or other fruit rolled in a thin layer of pastry and deep-fried
  • ube: a variety of yam
  • unprocedural: one that does not follow ordinary or official procedure; irregular, illegal
  • utang na loob: a sense of obligation to return a favor owed to someone
  • viand: a meat, seafood, or vegetable dish that accompanies rice in a typical Filipino meal
  • vino: an alcoholic liquor distilled from nipa-palm sap, drunk in the Philippines
  • vinta: a kind of canoe used by the Moros in the Philippine islands
  • yaya: a woman employed by a family to look after a child, or a sick or elderly person
  • ylang-ylang: the isomeride of geraniol
  • ylangol: an anonaceous tree of Malaysia, the Philippines, etc., with fragrant greenish-yellow flowers from which perfume is distilled
  • yo-yo: a toy in the form of two conjoined cones or discs with a deep groove between them in which a string is attached and wound, its free end being held so that the toy can be made to fall under its own weight and rise again by its momentum