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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.

20+ Deep Tagalog Words

Considered old Filipino or Tagalog words, these are heard or used less nowadays as Filipinos, especially the younger generations, prefer using common Filipino words synonymous with 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' home.

Why Should You Learn Old Filipino Words?

Although the time has passed when these old Filipino words and their synonyms were commonly used, these unique and rarely used words are still worth knowing. Learning as many words as possible is also an excellent way to immerse yourself in learning the Filipino language. Aside from their use in formal communication, there are a few other reasons why you may want to learn these words, and here's why:

  • They are used by news anchors.
  • Some old Tagalog words are still used in Filipino tabloids.
  • These are still used by the older generations.

Here is a list of 20+ rarely used Filipino words you will likely encounter. I also included the words synonymous with these that are colloquially used, along with examples.

1. Nais

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

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

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2. Tila

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.

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3. Maaari

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.

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4. Wangis

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.

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5. Huwad

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.

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6. Narito

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.

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7. Batid

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.

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8. Ngunit

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

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9. Sapantaha

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.

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10. Winika

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.

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11. Aklat

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

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12. Nawa

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

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13. Pangkat

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.

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14. Ikubli

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.

deep-tagalog-words

15. Piitan

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.

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16. Kalinga

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

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17. Lagda

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

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18. 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.

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19. Kapitapitagan

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.

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20. Samyo

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

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21. Salapi

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.

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22. Sapat

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. .

deep-tagalog-words

23. Tinig

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.

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24. Labis

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.

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Deep Filipino Words and Their Meanings

nais

want/like

tila

seems like/looks like

maaari

can

wangis

look/appearance

huwad

fake/imposter

narito

here

batid

know

ngunit

but

sapantaha

hunch/assumption

winika

said/told

aklat

book

nawa

used to express wishful or hopeful thoughts

pangkat

group

ikubli

hide

piitan

jail

kalinga

care

lagda

signature

pag-iisang dibdib

wedding

kapitapitagan

venerable

samyo

smell

salapi

money

sapat

enough

tinig

voice

labis

excessively, extremely, too/so/very

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