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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 the words on the list. The Tagalog term for these words is mga malalim na salitang Tagalog, which translates to "deep Tagalog words."

Although these words have seemingly taken the back seat, they still have that spark that makes the Filipino language more interesting and offers a glimpse of the past through older words used in those times. You might not realize or admit it, but hearing some of these words may remind 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 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:

  • 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 synonyms 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.

deep-tagalog-words

2. Tila

Tila means seems "like" or "looks like." The word more commonly used today, though, is parang. Parang also means "meadow."

deep-tagalog-words

3. Maaari

Maaari means "can." Use it on occasion to brush up on your deep Filipino words. The more commonly used word 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 about or describing a person's appearance, try saying wangis instead.

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5. Huwad

Huwad means "fake." Peke is the more commonly used word, which is pretty close to the English equivalent, isn't it? Huwad is an older Filipino word.

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6. Narito

You'll likely hear andito instead of narito, but it's one of those deep Tagalog words that you will still encounter.

deep-tagalog-words

7. Batid

This word means "know" or "aware." The more commonly used Filipino word is alam.

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8. Ngunit

Protest and show contrast using ngunit instead of pero, which is the more commonly used word. Another word synonymous with ngunit is subalit.

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9. Sapantaha

Say that your hunch or assumption is correct with an uncommon word—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." Winika is past tense and is an older word. It can also be a noun with just its root, wika, which 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.

deep-tagalog-words

13. Pangkat

The word for "group" in Filipino is pangkat; if you want to use a different word once in a while, try the commonly used borrowed Spanish word grupo.

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14. Ikubli

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

deep-tagalog-words

15. Piitan

Don't do anything illegal, or you'll end up here. Yes, if you think this word has something to do with being behind bars, you're not wrong. Piitan means "jail," but the more commonly used word is kulungan.

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16. Kalinga

Kalinga is a Filipino word that means "care." Another more commonly used word with the same meaning is aruga.

deep-tagalog-words

17. Lagda

Lagda means "signature." A word colloquially used is the borrowed Spanish word pirma.

deep-tagalog-words

18. Pag-iisang Dibdib

It's not the most commonly used word for "wedding," but pag-iisang dibdib is still used these days when referring to the union of marriage. The more commonly used Filipino word is kasal.

deep-tagalog-words

19. Kapitapitagan

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

deep-tagalog-words

20. Samyo

Samyo is an older Filipino word you don't often hear these days. The word more commonly used is amoy. Amoy and samyo both mean "smell" or "fragrance."

deep-tagalog-words

21. Salapi

Salapi is a word worth knowing if you're tired of using the commonly used words for "money"—kwarta and pera. Yes, salapi means "money" too, but you don't hear it often. It's an older Filipino word you might want to use.

deep-tagalog-words

22. Sapat

Sapat is the Tagalog word for "enough." Tama is synonymous and more commonly used.

deep-tagalog-words

23. Tinig

Strike up a conversation by complimenting someone's voice. Tining is your deep Filipino word that means "voice." Let the colloquially used word, boses, take the backseat once in a while and say tinig instead.

deep-tagalog-words

24. Labis

Labis is 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.

deep-tagalog-words

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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