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Common Tagalog Adjectives to Describe People, Places, and Things

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

Learn how to describe the things around you with Filipino adjectives!

Learn how to describe the things around you with Filipino adjectives!

Filipino Adjectives

When learning phrases in another language, adjectives are essential for being able to describe everything from the things you see to the people you meet to the food you eat. Whether you want to describe a beautiful view or compliment a tasty dish, adjectives are important to know.

Facts About Tagalog Adjectives

  • Adjectives are known as pang-uri.
  • They are typically placed before nouns.
  • Most—but not all—start with the prefix -ma.
  • There is no rule for which adjectives start with -ma or not. The best approach is to familiarize yourself with which ones have the prefix.
  • For the -ma adjectives, dropping the -ma prefix will give you the noun form. For example, maaraw means sunny, whereas araw means sun.
The Tuna Festival is held annually in General Santos City, Philippines

The Tuna Festival is held annually in General Santos City, Philippines

Common Filipino Adjectives

Let's begin with some of the most commonly used adjectives that you will hear being used. These are the ones you will hear most in typical, day-to-day language.

Commonly used Filipino/Tagalog adjectives

TagalogEnglish

pogi

handsome

matangkad

tall (as in a person's height)

maliit

short

maganda

beautiful

masarap

delicious

malinis

clean

mainit

hot

malamig

cold

maarte

fussy

malakas

strong

mahal

expensive

maingay

noisy

mabait

kind/nice

mura

cheap/affordable

mataas

tall/lofty/high

mabigat

heavy

magaan

light

malalim

deep

mababaw

shallow

mahina

weak

mabenta

salable, easily sold

marumi

dirty

How would you describe the waters of El Nido?

How would you describe the waters of El Nido?

Simple Adjectives

Examples of simple Tagalog adjectives. Notice that not all have the ma- prefix.

TagalogEnglish

basa

wet

tuyo

dry

lanta

withered (plants)

gusot

wrinkled (clothes)

singkit

chinky eyes

hilaw

raw, uncooked

inosente

innocent

bastos

rude

arogante

arrogant

seksi

sexy

kaakit-akit

attractive

kampante

complacent

lukot

crumpled/wrinkled

kyut

cute

gwapo

handsome

bakante

unoccupied/vacant

kupas

faded

kuripot

stingy

wais/mautak

wise

bilasa

raw fish that's no longer fresh; stale

kulot

curly

sikat

popular/famous

luma

old (used with things and not with age)

bago

new

kulubot

wrinkled (used when referring to the skin, leaves of plants as well as fruits)

Describe the flavors and textures of your meal.

Describe the flavors and textures of your meal.

Adjectives That Describe Taste and Smell

TagalogEnglish

malutong

crunchy

malasa

flavorful/tasty

malinamnam

tasty

matabang

tasteless/bland

maalat

salty

maanghang

spicy

matamis

sweet

mapait

bitter

panis

spoiled

mapakla

an astringent taste, like from raw or unripe fruits and veggies

mamantika

oily/greasy

maanglo

pungent (like the smell of goat cheese)

mabango

fragrant

mapanghi

the smell of urine

kulob

the smell associated with covered-up things; often wet/damp clothes

Just another beautiful day in paradise!

Just another beautiful day in paradise!

Weather Conditions

Describe your current weather with these adjectives. Is it sunny today?

TagalogEnglish

maaraw

sunny

maulan

rainy

mahangin

windy

makulimlim

gloomy

maulap

cloudy

maalinsangan

hot and humid

What emotions do you see on the faces of these children?

What emotions do you see on the faces of these children?

Feelings and Emotions

TagalogEnglish

masaya

happy

malungkot

sad

galit

mad

gulat

startled

inis

annoyed/pissed

bugnutin

cranky

inggit

envious

payapa

calm

takot

frightened/scared

determinado

determinded

Can you describe the shopkeepers in this photo?

Can you describe the shopkeepers in this photo?

Appearance, Character and Personality

TagalogEnglish

simple

plain/simple

elegante

elegant

payat

skinny/thin

mataba

overweight

kalbo

bald

maskulado

muscular

maliit

small/little

matikas

well built (body)

bugnutin

grumpy

madaldal

talkative

tahimik

quiet

ambisyosa

ambitious (female)

ambisyoso

ambitious (male)

agresibo

agressive

arogante

arrogant

ulyanin

forgetful

isip-bata

childish

masipag

hard-working

maaasahan

reliable

pihikan

picky

maputi

fair-skinned

walang galang

disrespectful/impolite

tanga

stupid/idiot

magalang

restpectful/polite

tuso

cunning

matyaga

patient

responsable

responsible

tamad

lazy

matigas ang ulo

stubborn

masigla

lively

pranka

frank/straight forward

pilya

naughty (female)

pilyo

naughty (male)

mahinhin

demure

maalalahanin

thoughtful

matangos (ang ilong)

having a pointy nose

masagwa

immodest/obscene

maingat

cautious

burara

a person who is disorganized and careless with things

maputla

pale

mahinahon

calm/soft spoken

malandi

flirty

malihim

secretive

Sentence Examples

Let's look at an example from the table above. We will use the proper name marker si.

  • Tuso si Connor.
  • Translation: Connor is cunning.

Notice si before the name Connor. Si is placed before proper names. Now, let's use a few more adjectives to describe Connor in greater detail.

  • Tuso, matigas ang ulo at pihikan si Connor.
  • Translation: Connor is cunning, hard-headed and picky.

Now that you know how to use si before proper names, let's use the pronoun "he" for Connor instead of repeating his name for the third time. The Tagalog pronoun for either he or she is siya. It is gender-neutral.

  • Tuso, matigas ang ulo at pihikan siya.
  • Translation: He's cunning, hard-headed and picky.
What colors do you see in this photo?

What colors do you see in this photo?

Colors

Colors (mga kulay) in Filipino/Tagalog

TagalogEnglish

puti

white

asul/bughaw

blue

itim

black

rosas

pink

murado

purple

dilaw

yellow

kulay abo

gray

dalandan

orange

kayumanggi

brown

berde

green

Add a Tinge of Color

The prefix -ma, which was previously mentioned, can be used with some of the colors, as well.

Let's use pula (red) as an example. If we attach the prefix -ma to the beginning of the word and then repeat the word a second time, we have mapula pula. This word now means slightly red or being reddish in color.

The same technique can be applied to the colors berde, puti, dilaw, itim and asul. Now you try: How would you say bluish or greenish?

Here's an example:

  • Manipis at medyo maasul asul and mga talulot ng bulaklak.
  • Translation: The petals of the flower are thin and tinged with blue (or are bluish/slightly blue).
Sleeping Dinosaur Island, Philippines

Sleeping Dinosaur Island, Philippines

Using Adjectives With Nouns

Adjectives in Tagalog are often used before nouns. If the adjective ends in a vowel, we add -ng to the end of the word.

Let's take the color berde (green) as an example. Since this adjective ends in the letter "e," which is a vowel, the -ng will give us a hand connecting it to the noun kotse (car).

Example of an adjective ending in a vowel placed before the noun:

  • berdeng kotse (green car)

Sometimes, however, the adjective can be placed after the noun. Let's take a look at the same example above, but this time we'll switch the order.

Example of a noun ending in a vowel placed before the adjective:

  • kotseng berde (green car)

Although the noun came first and the adjective followed after, the meaning didn't change at all. Let's have another example from another list but this time with an adjective ending in a consonant.

Example of an adjective ending in a consonant placed before the noun:

  • maalat na isda (salty fish)

This time, notice that the word na takes the place of -ng to link the adjective to the noun. This happens when the adjective ends in a consonant, just like our adjective maalat (salty) with the letter "t."

Describe the shape, size and texture of the rambutan fruit.

Describe the shape, size and texture of the rambutan fruit.

Shape, Size and Texture

What's the shape of your table? What about the size? How does it feel to the touch? Is it smooth or rough?

TagalogEnglish

makinis

smooth

magaspang

rough

malambot

soft

bilog

round

parihaba

rectangle

habilog

oval

espera

sphere

maliit

small

malaki

large

maikli

short

mahaba

long

malawak

vast

baluktot

crooked/bent

tuwid

straight

malagkit

sticky

matigas

hard

maikli

short (in length)

Chinese New Year celebrations, Manila

Chinese New Year celebrations, Manila

Rarely Used Adjectives

Examples of adjectives that you will less likely hear being used everyday.

TagalogEnglish

makipot

narrow

maaliwalas

having a good ambiance/roomy

bubot

young and unripe fruit

mailap

elusive

mayabong

bushy

mangmang

illiterate

marupok

breakable/weak

mabusisi

time consuming/fussy

masangsang

having a strong smell/pungent

manyakis

lewd

lampa

clumsy

usisera

prying/a woman who's too inquisitive

usisero

prying/a man who's too inquisitive

imoral

immoral

maalwan

effortless/easy

metikuloso

meticulous

presteryoso

prestigious

malapot

thick (as in the consistency of sauce/soup)

malabnaw

thin (as in the consistency of sauce/soup)

masukal

dense

suwail

disobedient

matatas

fluent (in speaking a language)

matumal

unsalable

makinang

shiny

Synonymous Adjectives

You may have noticed that some English adjectives have more than one Tagalog counterpart. One good example is the English adjective famous or popular. You can either use the Tagalog adjective sikat, which appears in the table of simple adjectives, or you can also use kilala, which appears on the table of rarely used adjectives. These two words are synonymous, but the former one is more commonly used.

Cagsawa Ruins, Legazpi, Philippines

Cagsawa Ruins, Legazpi, Philippines

Happy Language Learning!

This isn't a complete list of Tagolog adjectives, but it represents at least those that are most commonly used, as well as a few that you probably haven't heard of. With these helpful adjectives at your fingertips, you should be able to describe nearly anything you encounter! Best of luck to you.

Learn More Tagalog

Comments

John on August 03, 2019:

Wow these are so helpful

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