Tagalog synonyms


The Tagalog language has a vast number of synonyms.

Synonyms can be created in a number of ways. One interesting way synonyms are made is by introduction of vocabulary from other languages. For example in English, because of England’s history of being a conqueror and being conquered by foreign kingdoms, the language has absorbed vocabulary from the languages of the conquerors or conquered. When England was ruled by the Normans from France, the elite spoke Norman French, which was Latin-based while the peasants spoke Old English, which was Germanic-based. The lower classes of England would later absorb the French words into their own language. England was also part of the Roman Empire. These are reasons why English has so many vocabulary from Latin, French and Germanic languages.

Tagalog and other languages in the Philippines, on the other hand, had a history of influences from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and from the Chinese. Then the language/s would be radically changed again when the Spaniards conquered the archipelago for 300 years and then by the Americans for 50 years. So within that time, Tagalog (and other Philippine languages) absorbed vocabulary from Malay, Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese languages, Spanish and English among others.


This article will be listing the various synonyms found in the Tagalog language. The list of synonyms would usually compare each Eastern/Original synonym, which is from either Malay, Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, other Asian languages or even an original Tagalog word with synonyms from Spanish and English.

It should also be noted that in spoken Tagalog, the Spanish or English equivalent is usually preferred. The words in the Eastern/Original column are mainly used in formal written articles especially for Filipino classes in school.

NOTE: If there are any errors, please inform me.

Eastern/Original Spanish-based English-based Translation
pluma* bolpen pen
banyo* CR (comfort room) bathroom
agham siyensiyes science
aklat libro book
aklatan laybrari library
ama tatay ** father
awit kanta song
baka siguro maybe
barangay barrio* village/suburb
bisig braso arm
bughaw asul blue
dalaw bisita visit
damit kamisa shirt
dingding pader wall
guro maestro* titser teacher
halaga presyo price
ina nanay ** mother
kinakabahan nerbiyoso nervous
lunti berde green
mag-aaral estudiyante student
mahalaga importante important
paaralan eskuwela(han) school school
padjak bisikleta bicycle
pamahalaan gobiyerno government
pamantasan unibersidad university
pamaypay abaniko fan
parisukat kwadrado square
pinggan plato plate
pogi gwapo handsome
salimbabaw eroplano airplane
sandata armas weapon
saya palda skirt
tabak/kalis espada sword
talatinigan diksyonaryo dictionary
tinig boses voice
ube biyoleta purple/violet
unggoy tsonggo monkey
upuan, salumpuwit* silya* chair
watawat bandila flag
wika lingwahe language

*Not used as much anymore in spoken conversations
** Actually originated from Nahuatl, introduced via Mexican Spanish

This is not a complete list of synonyms as there is literally a longer list. This is just a list of some of the more common words spoken in everyday usage.

Synonyms may refer to the same thing but with different characteristics. For example, pader may refer to a stone wall while dingding may refer to a wall made of wood or plaster. Or how unibersidad refers to a university while a pamantasan is an institute.

Nowadays, when using numbers, days of the week, months or colours, Filipinos majority of time use either the Spanish but increasingly popular, English.


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