31 Effective But Rarely Used Tagalog Words

Rarely Used Tagalog Words - A photo of two woman talking

Sometimes, we have that urge to express ourselves with euphemistic and profound, compelling words to convey what we truly feel. Many Filipinos today want to uncover deep Tagalog words to add to their vocabulary. If you’re ready to join the fun, let’s check out rarely used Tagalog words.

Rarely used Tagalog words will not just make you a master of the Tagalog language but also give you better insights into why you need a language per se! It’s not going to be a long ride, but you’ll feel like you’re at C2 level for Tagalog with some of these rare Tagalog words.

Rarely Used Tagalog Words Worth Knowing

When I was younger, I used to open a dictionary or thesaurus to memorize foreign words. It helped me a lot when I was studying English. Now that I’m fluent in English and want to expand my knowledge, I used the same technique when learning Japanese and Korean skills. Although it’s not just reading that will take you to the next step, you’ll need to write, speak, and listen.

Yet, having a list of these rarely used Tagalog words will inspire you to look back on where the Filipino language came from and how it has evolved. You can also learn Tagalog with the Ling app, a gamified language-learning app available for free on Google Play and the App Store.

For a better experience in learning Tagalog words with you, we’ve included the audio and the English translations of these profound words in Tagalog. Besides, you’ll need to repeat these words daily, and you’ll definitely impress your Filipino friends. I bet you that many Gen Z kids don’t know these words anymore! Pumped? Let’s get started!

1. Yakis

Yakis English Translation: To sharpen (an object). Make something sharper.

Buy a 30 peso knife, and you’ll most likely use a hasaan (knife block) to make that knife sharp again. Yakis may look and sound like wangis, but they’re definitely not the same word. Wangis means likeness in English, but Yakis means to sharpen an object.

Example sentence: Mukhang marupok na ang kutsilyo. Kailangan na ng pagyayakis para magamit ulit. (The knife looks fragile. Needs to be sharpened to be used again)

2. Bilnuran

Bilnuran English Translation: Arithmetic (Math)

Many subjects in school have Tagalog or Filipino words as their counterpart. However, you wouldn’t hear any professor say Bilnuran so commonly while teaching. Yes, Bilnuran is coined as sinaunang Tagalog, which means Arithmetic or Math.

Example sentence: Paborito kong aralin ang Bilnuran sa paaralan. (Arithmetic is my favorite subject in school.)

3. Initsigan

Initsigan English Translation: Thermodynamics

Another deep Tagalog word that is rarely used nowadays. It’s something I admit I haven’t learned myself since we only use its English counterpart. Initsigan means Thermodynamics, a study of the relationship between heat, work, and temperature. Not to mention, this subject is not common for universities but only for Physics students.

Example sentence: Marami ang mga studyanteng kumuha ng Initsigan para sa kanilang bachelor’s degree. (There are many students that took Thermodynamics for their bachelor’s degree.)

4. Sulatroniko

Sulatroniko English Translation: E-mail

Do you love how modern words get a little twist into your native language? Look at electronics, AI, virtual reality, or futuristic words. Most of them are already in English or their lingua franca. It’s hard to translate it into your national language. But in Tagalog, many words have been adapted to suit Filipino’s communication. Another technology-based deep word that you wouldn’t think of the definition of right away. Sulatroniko means E-mail in English.

Example sentence: Ipinadala ko na ang sulatroniko na kinakailangan niya para bukas. (I sent my email that he really needs for tomorrow)

5. Eklipse

Eklipse English Translation: Eclipse

Who doesn’t love looking at the bright stars? But what makes it even more remarkable is seeing a full eclipse. If you caught the total eclipse, or Blood Moon as they call it, on the 28th of October 2023, then you were in luck. Eklipse, or Eclipse, is a scientific phenomenon.

But in the Tagalog context, eklipse often means a rare occurrence in one’s life, and it’s often similar to the English idiom “once in a blue moon.” It may be an insult or a slight jab at you by your Filipino friends.

Example sentences:

  1. Nakita mo ba ang eklipse sa balita? Ang ganda di ba? (Did you see the eclipse on the news? Doesn’t it look beautiful?
  2. Parang tuwing eklipse mo nalang siyang nakikitang lumalabas ng bahay. (Only once on a blue moon will you see him go outside his house.)

6. Lakambini

Lakambini English Translation: Beautiful Princess/Muse

The older generation is very straightforward in professing their love for someone using Harana or a courting song that will woo their loved one. Along those words, you’ll commonly hear the term lakambini.

Example sentence: Ang aking kasintahan ay ang aking lakambini. (My girlfriend is my muse.)

7. Lungkag

Lungkag English Translation: Bulky. A person who is large in size but not heavy.

Tingtinglampa, and lungkag are some of the slang words that go hand-in-hand as an insult. Lungkag in English means someone who looks large but actually weighs less or doesn’t have strength. 

Example sentence: Ang lungkag ng lalaking iyon pero mukhang tatangayin siya ng hangin. (He looks bulky but he seems like he’ll be carried by the wind.)

8. Dantay

Dantay English Translation: To put above/over an object

Another meaning: An impulse.

Usually, this rare Tagalog word means to put an object above another object. For example, you’ll put your leg above a pillow. Or you’ll rest your arms on an armchair. But, dantay can also be used to mean an impulse over a trivial issue or situation.

Example sentences:

  1. Nakadantay ang making mga paa sa unan nuong pumalagi ako sa ospital. (I rested my feet on the pillow when I was staying at the hospital.)
  2. Hindi ako mapakali, ang dantay ko sa sitwasyong iyon ay kakaiba. (I feel restless, my impulse about that issue is different.)
A photo of a woman enjoying rarely used Tagalog words

More Deep Tagalog Words

The deeper your knowledge of words is, the more you’ll appreciate their history. The Filipino language has enough words you’ll love to understand.

Some of these deep Tagalog words are not necessarily rarely used Tagalog words. In fact, most of these words are in English and don’t have Filipino counterparts that are still retained today.

Try looking at these words and practice them with your Filipino friend soon. You may even find the Tagalog grammar structure and sentence patterns when speaking in Tagalog consistently. Some Tagalog words may be nouns and can act as a verb, an adverb, or an adjective.

EnglishTagalogSound
DesireNais
Drunk WalkingDuhong
KnowBatid
Heavy feeling when sickAlopakaya
Profanity/DisrespectTungayaw
ResilienceTalaghay
Leaving someone due to being a bad influenceLumpat
Mercury (Chemical Element)Asoge
Appeal/PleadPagsamo
To hideIkubli
Internet BrowserPanginain
Pupil of the eyeBalintataw
Assumption/PresumptionSapantaha
MicrophoneMiktinig
One’s hopes and dreamsHiraya
A close friendKalumangyo
ObstructionBalakid
RecoverBanlis
Emotional outburstSilakbo
Never-ending actions/tasksLukto-Lukto
SorrowDalamhati
Will/Entrust a document to someone for safekeepingHabilin
One’s inner character or attitudeKinaiya
Rarely used Tagalog words - A photo of a deep thinking man

Why Is Deep Tagalog Not Used Anymore?

Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa hayop at malansang isda. (He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and a smelly fish.) – Gat Jose Rizal

Do you know what Gat means in Tagalog? No, it’s not the slang word (갓) that Koreans use for appreciating or praising someone derived from the English word ‘God.’ Although, you’ll be surprised how similar they could be.

What Is Gat In Tagalog?

Gat in Tagalog is an honorific term for outstanding persons during the Philippine Revolution. But what’s the connection of this quote on the premise that deep Tagalog words are rarely used lately? Gat used to be a prominent deep Filipino word. But is its lexicon really declining?

The Winding Down Of Deep Tagalog Words

Deep Tagalog started to wind down after deciding that Filipino was the standard and national language of the Philippines in 1937. The Filipino government agreed to have a unified language that will include not just Tagalog in the vocabulary but also words from Northern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao areas.

However, as soon as the World Wide Web started, slang, shortened words, and standardized Filipino words came to recognition, and soon enough, many deep Tagalog words are now rarely used.

The Mix Of Philippine Language

Yet, curiosity and love for languages don’t end. In fact, an older Filipino word you are using today might not be in Tagalog only! Many Filipinos today also use deep words from Cebuano, Tausug, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, and more. Did you think that Puhon is a rarely used Tagalog word? It’s actually Cebuano for the English word “invest.”

Old Tagalog words are rising again; this time, they’re here to stay. If you want to impress your Filipino friends with more than slang or modern Filipino words or make a speech that will make you look awesome, try some of our examples.

Wrapping Up Rarely Used Tagalog Words

That’s it! You’ve got a few rarely used Tagalog words up your sleeve, and it’s time to apply them in real conversations. Worried? You shouldn’t be any longer! If you still want to know more beautiful Tagalog words, we’ve also prepared a massive list for you. There are many ways to learn Tagalog like a pro, and you may be the next one!

Ang pagyabong ng iyong kaalaman sa Tagalog ay makakadulot ng mabuti sa iyong kinabukasan.

It’s fascinating to see you here, learning more about Filipino words and their English translation. Try translating that sentence for a change and see how much you’ve learned over the past few months. On the other hand, you might be a beginner and don’t know what any of the words mean. Try to find it out, or use the Ling app to learn more rare Tagalog words or the Tagalog language itself! See you there!

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