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24 Rarely Used Filipino Words You Need to Know


Precy enjoys helping others learn to speak and appreciate the Filipino language. She also speaks Ilocano.

Learn some so-called old Tagalog words/malalim na salitang Tagalog and what they mean.

Learn some so-called old Tagalog words/malalim na salitang Tagalog and what they mean.

Considered as old Filipino or Tagalog words, these are heard or used less nowadays as Filipinos specially the younger generations prefer using common Filipino words synonymous to these on the list. The Tagalog term for these words is mga malalim na salitang Tagalog which translates to deep Tagalog words. But even though these words had seemingly taken the back seat, they still have that spark that contributes to making the Filipino language more interesting, offering a glimpse of the past through olden words in those times. You might not realize or admit it, but hearing some of these words somehow reminds you of your childhood spent at your grandparents or great grandparents house.

Why Learn Old Filipino Words?

Although time had gone passed these words and their synonyms are preferably used by many, these unique and rarely used Filipino words are still worth knowing. Learning as much as you can is also a good way to immerse yourself more into learning and understanding the language. Aside from being used formally, there are few other reasons why you may want to learn these words and here's why:

These are used by news anchors.

Some old Tagalog words are still being used in Filipino tabloids.

These are still used by the older generations.

With that said, here is a list of over 20 rarely used Filipino words that chances are you will still encounter. I also included the words synonymous to these that are colloquially used along with examples.


A word that although it is seldom used nowadays in casual conversations, there's still a chance that you will hear this word when watching Filipino news.

Nais means want or like though these days the word gusto is much used. But don't say nais to say you like someone, it sounds weird.



Tila means seems like or looks like. The word often used today though to say so is parang. The word parang could also mean meadow and is pronounced just the same.



Maaari means can. Use it sometimes to brush up on your deep Filipino words. The word usually used to say so is pwede which is from the Spanish word puede.



This older Tagalog word means look or appearance. Instead of saying hitsura which is the common word used when asking or describing a person's appearance, try saying wangis instead.



Huwad means fake. Peke is a commonly used word to mean fake which is very much close to its English word isn't it? Huwad is an older Filipino word.



You'll likely hear andito instead of narito, but the word earned its spot. It's one of those deep Tagalog words that chances are you will still encounter.



Use this word once in a while that means know or aware. When it comes to the word colloquially used, the Filipino word would be alam.



Protest and show contrast using ngunit instead of pero which is usually used. Another word synonymous to ngunit is subalit.



Say that your hunch or assumption is correct in a word not commonly used - sapantaha. Indeed, it's a hunch! Akala is the Tagalog word colloquially used.



Sinabi is the word colloquially used to say said or told. And correct, winika is in its past tense and is an older word. It can also be a noun with just its root wika where it means language.



Libro is commonly used as the Tagalog word for book. But make learning fun by learning an older synonymous word - aklat.



Nawa is an older word used to express hopeful or wishful thoughts or desires. The word colloquially used is sana.



A word that means group in Filipino is pangkat if you want to use a different word once in a while than the borrowed Spanish word grupo which is usually used.



Ikubli isn't a word you'll often hear colloquially used in Filipino. Ikubli means to hide, an older word that most likely you'll still hear being used. A word synonymous to ikubli is itago which is commonly used.



Don't do anything illegal or you'll end up here. Yes, if you're thinking this word has something to do with being behind bars, you're not wrong. Piitan means jail but isn't your usual Filipino word. Another word you'll often hear used is kulungan.



A Filipino word that means care. Another word which means just the same that is commonly used is aruga.



Your signature in Filipino. Lagda means signature. A word colloquially used is the borrowed Spanish word pirma.


Pag-iisang Dibdib

Not your everyday word used to say wedding but pag-iisang dibdib is still used these days when referring to being united in marriage. The Filipino word commonly used is kasal.



Kapitapitagan also written kapita pitagan, an older Filipino word that is still heard being used when introducing someone venerable or someone worth of high respect. Kapitapitagan is synonymous to the commonly used Filipino word kagalang galang. Which one to use? The choice is yours.



An older Filipino word you wouldn't hear these days. The word rather used is amoy. Amoy and samyo both means smell or fragrance.



A word worth knowing if you're tired of using the commonly used word to mean money - kwarta and pera. Yes, salapi means money too. You just don't hear it often. It's an older Filipino word you might want to use.



Your Tagalog word for enough. Although another word synonymous to it is colloquially used, there's still chances of you hearing sapat. But would you rather go with the flow and use the commonly used word to say so? Tama is the word. .



Strike a conversation by complimenting someone's voice. This would be your deep Filipino word to mean voice. Let the colloquially used word boses take the backseat once in a while and say tinig instead.



Used to express extremeness or something that was overly done - too/very/so much, a lot and excessively. Looking for the word Filipinos prefer to use? That would be sobra.


Quiz Time!

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Gusto is the common word used for this.
    • Nais.
    • Maaari.
    • Narito.
  2. A word that means can.
    • Huwad.
    • Nais.
    • Maaari.
  3. A deep Tagalog word with the example "Tila masaya ka ngayon."
    • Tila.
    • Batid.
    • Subalit.
  4. This word means look or appearance.
    • Ngunit.
    • Subalit.
    • Wangis.
  5. Sapantaha means here.
    • Correct.
    • No. It means assumption.
    • Nais is the correct answer.

Answer Key

  1. Nais.
  2. Maaari.
  3. Tila.
  4. Wangis.
  5. No. It means assumption.

Poll time

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