14 February 2009

Some Filipino Words

No Q&A for this blog post, folks, just a normal blog entry.

The other night, I was driving home from Manila with a good friend and fellow blogger, Ding Reyes. What started out as a conversation about spirituality and society ended up as a game-of-sorts on the origin or etymology of some Filipino slang words. It turned out to be a very interesting exercise, and I would like to share some of these with you. I realized that a lot of these slang words are portions of the same word in reverse:

Yosi (Cigarette) - from the spanish word cigarillo or SI-garil-YO.

Yotits or Yatits (Uncle/Aunt) - from the spanish word tia or tio, TI-YA or TI-YO

Lonta (Trousers) - pan-TA-LON; It seems that this is an original Filipino word, for the literal translation of the word in english is "For Jumping". I guess it was not appropriate to jump in skirts. Hoho.

Toga (Shoes) - We think that this came from an old brand of shoes, probably Saratoga.

Yoyo (Watch) - In the olden days, most timepieces were pocket watches attached to a small chain, resembling a....yoyo

Jeproks (referring to a cool person in the 60s/70s, like a hippie) - A lot of these hip youngsters came from the government housing communities in Manila which were dubbed Project 1, Project 2, etc....hence, PRO-JEK...

And here is something else I learned that night. I actually thought that this word was just slang, and had no deeper meaning. How wrong I was.

The word "utol" (brother/sister, or aptly sibling) is taken from the word "Kaputol", meaning part of a whole. The formal word for sibling, "Kapatid", literally means part of something cut (ka-patid, "patid" meaning "to cut"), like a rope. Essentially, both refer to being a significant part of the other --- both of the same thread, of the same umbilical cord.

Isn't it nice knowing that the informal word for brother, which is "utol", and which we commonly call our biological brothers, fraternity brothers, close friends and relatives, etc. is actually a very intimate term of endearment?

Have a nice day!


Jobas said...


Nice to hear that there are really some meanings to the slang words that we hear and use everyday.

Ang Kuwago said...

And it is starting to become a queer habit of mine, to figure out the etymology of the words that I say. It is quite a fascination too, when you find similar words with that of the language of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

RhonB (aka Pinkoy) said...

how nice post! Nadagdagan na naman ang karunungan ko haha! You have wonderful blog kuwago! BTW, xlink?

Ang Kuwago said...

Hi RhonB, sure! Thanks for dropping by. When can I DJ at the station? My classic rock and 80s collection is raring to go!