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Filipino vs. American vs. British English Words and Examples

Errah is a writer and educator from the Philippines. He enjoys writing about politics, mythology, culture, and more.

What are the differences between American, British, and Filipino English?

What are the differences between American, British, and Filipino English?

English in the Philippines

In addition to American and British English, numerous other types of English are spoken around the world. One of them is Filipino English. In fact, English is one of the official languages of the Philippines.

But just as there are many important differences between American and British English, Filipino English has some unique characteristics, as well. Let's take a look at some of the differences between these three dialects of English.

Filipino English Words With British Origins

These words are the same in British and Filipino English, but different in American English.

American EnglishBritish EnglishFilipino English

ameba

amoeba

amoeba

drape

curtain

curtain

cookie

biscuit

biscuit

starter

appetizer

appetizer

broil

grill

grill

mitt

glove

glove

acetaminophen

paracetamol

paracetamol

muffler (car)

silencer

silencer

scallion

spring onion

spring onion

Filipino English Uses These Words Interchangeably

American and British English use different words, but Filipino English uses both words interchangeably.

American EnglishBritish EnglishFilipino English

line (of people)

queue

line/queue

fall (season)

autumn

fall/autumn

soccer

football

soccer/football

tie (score)

draw

tie/draw

zip code

postal code

zip code / postal code

coffee with cream

white coffee

coffee with cream / white coffee

railroad

railway

railroad/railway

All Three Are Different

American, British, and Filipino English all use different words.

American EnglishBritish EnglishFilipino English

bathroom

loo

comfort room

soda

fizzy drink

soft drink

sneakers

trainers

rubber shoes

gasoline

petrol

gas

closet

wardrobe

cabinet

drugstore

chemist

pharmacy

wading pool

paddling pool

swimming pool

refrigerator

fridge

ref/frigidaire

main office

headquarter

main branch

Standard English Words That Mean Something Different in Filipino English

Advanced:

  • Standard: ahead in development or progress
  • Filipino: ahead of standard time (on a clock)

Commute:

  • Standard: travel between one's home and place of work
  • Filipino: to travel by public transportation

Entertain:

  • Standard: to provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment
  • Filipino: to help or assist someone

Gimmick:

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  • Standard: a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business
  • Filipino: an unplanned night out with friends

High blood:

  • Standard: hypertension (blood pressure)
  • Filipino: extremely angry or agitated

Hostess:

  • Standard: a female host; or a woman employed at a restaurant to welcome and seat customers
  • Filipino: a prostitute

Middle name:

  • Standard: a person's name (typically a personal name) placed after the first name and before the surname
  • Filipino: maternal surname or maiden name

Napkin:

  • Standard: small piece of cloth or paper, usually square or rectangular, for use in wiping the lips and fingers and to protect the clothes while eating
  • Filipino: sanitary towel or sanitary pad

Plastic:

  • Standard: polymeric material that has the capability of being molded or shaped
  • Filipino: a fake friend; a friend who pretends to be nice to you but in reality spreads rumors or says bad things about you behind your back (also called "toxic" or "pollution")

Rotunda:

  • Standard: round building or room, especially one with a dome
  • Filipino: roundabout or traffic circle

Unique Filipino English Words

  • Ambush interview: an unscheduled interview that occurs because someone has been forced or tricked into on-the-spot participation
  • Batchmate: A person's classmates at school who graduate in the same year. It can also refer to co-workers who applied, got hired, and started work at the same company at the same time.
  • Hold-departure order: criminal travel injunction
  • Green-minded: having sexual thoughts
  • Lucky me with eggs: refers to beautiful gay or trans woman
  • Nosebleed: To have serious difficulty conversing in English with a fluent or native English speaker. It can also refer to anxiety brought on by a stressful event such as an examination, job interview, or being afraid to be judged by others for not using proper grammar.
  • Nursery school: school for children between 3 to 6 years old
  • Remembrance: souvenir
  • Sando: a shirt without sleeves or whose sleeves have been cut off
  • Washday: the day when an employee or student can wear casual clothes

Learn More!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Errah Caunca

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