Sunday, November 20, 2011

Examples of Filipino Idioms

Tagalog is one of the many languages spoken in the Philippines. The following are examples of Filipino idioms shown as a list of Tagalog phrases, along with the the literal meaning and the colloquial meaning of each.
  • Bungang-araw or sakit sa balat
  •  literally means "fruit of the sun." When used in conversation, the phrase means prickly heat. 
  • Bungang-tulog 
  • is literally "fruit of sleep." But when used in conversation it signifies or refers to dreams.
  • Buto't balat
  •  literally translates to “bones and skin” but is an idiom meaning malnourished (Skin and bones is also an American idiom for someone who is very skinny or malnourished.).
  • Makapal ang bulsa
  •  translates to “thick pocket” and is used to describe a person with a lot of cash in their possession.
  • Butas ang bulsa
  •  is someone with no cash but literally means “hole in the pocket.”
  • Mabigat ang kamay
  •  describes someone who is lazy but is literally translated as "heavy-handed."
  • Magaan ang kamay 
  • literally translates to “light-handed.” The conversational meaning is quite different. It is used to describe someone that is easily provoked and/or easily hits another person.
  • Kabiyak ng dibdib
  •  literally means “the other half of the heart” but is an idiom for spouse.
  • Daga sa dibdib
  •  describes worry or fear. The literal translation is “mouse in the chest.”
  • Bulaklak ng dila
  •  has a literal meaning of “flower of the tongue.” It is used to denote exaggeration.
  • Makati ang dila
  •  describes a chatterbox or talkative person and is literally translated as “itchy tongue.”
  • Maitim ang dugo
  •  translates as “dark-blooded” but, when used in a conversation, signifies an evil or bad person.
  • The Tagalog idiom referring to the father is haligi ng tahanan which translates as the post of the household and the mother is referred to as ilaw ng tahanan, which means "light of the home."
  • Itaga sa bato
  •  refers to remembering forever but holds the literal translation of “cast in stone.” This reference is an English idiom holding the same meaning. 
  • Matigas ang katawan
  •  refers to a lazy person but literally translates to “stiff-body."
  • Makati ang paa translates to “itchy feet,” describing someone that enjoys going places.
As shown in the above examples, many of the idioms make no sense when translated literally, but many have been associated with a particular trait or characteristic that may be exhibited by a person. Some of the idioms, such as the ones for spouse and father or mother are a romanticized view of the person’s status.


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