45 Interesting Tagalog Homonyms You Should Learn

Are you confused about Tagalog words with the exact spelling (baybay) but have different meanings (kahulugan)? Worry no more! Master these Tagalog homonyms today by reading this post!

Have you heard the word ‘mahal’ in Tagalog? Suppose you have been watching Filipino movies or listening to Filipino songs. In that case, you already know that this word also means ‘expensive.’ If you’re a non-native speaker, there’s no way that you can quickly learn the other meanings.

Sometimes, you need to consult a Filipino dictionary to look for the meaning of a word. But, it’ll be confusing sometimes because there are words that have the same spellings but different meanings and pronunciations. In English, we call them homonyms.

A homonym is each of two or more words having the same spelling or sound but different meanings and origins. There’s no exact Filipino translation of homonyms. It is usually translated as “mga salitang magkaparehas ng baybay ngunit magkaiba ang bigkas at kahulugan.” But why do we have to learn homonyms?

First, it can avoid misunderstanding and confusion. Knowing the meanings of a word will help you understand how the word is used in specific contexts. It will also widen your vocabulary and will develop your language skills. You can relate a particular word to its synonyms and antonyms. Lastly, you can also learn the origin and cultural contexts of these words. In short, it can open doors for knowing a lot about the Tagalog language and Filipino culture.

Now, let us learn if these spelled or pronounced words are the same but have different meanings. I will also give sentence examples to understand how they are used contextually.


Filipino Words With The Same Spelling But Have Different Meanings

The Filipino language is a language that is a product of history, variety, foreign influences, and modernization. This affects the meaning of words. The tricky thing here is that different factors affect the definition of a word in the Filipino language.

The first one is pronunciation. In Filipino, they have four different pronunciations of the words or “bigkas ng mga salita.”Filipino words are pronounced in four different ways: malumay, malumi, mabilis, and maragsa.

Other factors that affect the meaning of the word are:

  1. Dialects
    • Example: The word also in Tagalog means dog, but in Cebuano, it means smoke.
  2. Foreign language influences
  3. Modernization, globalization, and social media
    • Examples: The word awit means song, but Filipinos also use it today to describe a bad circumstance. Another one is Marites which is used for people who love to gossip.

Here are some common words in the Filipino language with the same spelling but different pronunciations and meanings. If you have questions, feel free to share them in the comment section.

1. Para

First Meaning: For

Example Sentence: Ang regalong ito ay para sa iyo. (This gift is for you.)

This word came from the Spanish word para, and it is still used by the Filipinos today.

Second Meaning: Please stop!

Example Sentence: Para po! (Please stop!)

This word is used to ride public transportations like jeepneys, tricycles, and buses.

Third Meaning: To

Example Sentence: Nag-iipon ako upang makapaglakbay.(I am saving to travel.)

This is the common way that Filipinos use para in a sentence.

Fourth Meaning: As

Example Sentence: Patawarin mo kami sa aming mga sala, para nang pagpapatawad namin sa nagkakasala sa amin. (Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.)

You’ll seldom hear Filipinos use this in daily conversation, but you’ll often hear it in prayers and religious songs.

2. Ayos

First Meaning: Order/In Good Condition/Good

Example Sentence: Maganda ang ayos ng kuwarto. (The room is in good order.)

The first meaning of the word “ayos” in Tagalog is used to describe something or someone in good condition or when something is done beautifully like hairstyle, clothes, and makeup.

Second Meaning: Ok

Example Sentence: Ayos lang gumastos para sa pagkain basta’t ako’y busog. (It’s okay to spend for food as long as I’m full.)

You can also say “ayos” when you’ll be asked, “How are you?” you can simply say, “Ayos lang (I’m okay.)

3. Tayo

First Meaning: Stand

Example Sentence: Tayo! (Stand up!)

Another common word that you’ll usually hear among Filipinos is “tayo.” You can solely use “Tayo!” to order or ask somebody to stand without using other words.

Second Meaning: We

Example Sentence: Tayo ay pupunta sa Pilipinas. (We are going to the Philippines.)

Tayo is also a pronoun that is used in first-person speech. This is translated as “we” in English.

4. Kita

First Meaning: Visible

Example Sentence: Kita ko sa kaniyang mata ang kalungkutan. (I can see the sadness in his/her eyes.)

The first one indicates the visibility of something or someone. This is the most straightforward word you can use if you’re looking for something or somebody.

Second Meaning: Income

Example Sentence: Maliit ang kita ng magsasaka ngayon dahil sa dumaang bagyo. (The farmers’ income nowadays are low due to the recent typhoon.)

This refers to the income you get in doing business. When talking about job salaries, Filipinos often use “sahod.”

Third Meaning: A Pronoun For Two People

Example Sentence: Mahal kita. (I love you.)

One of the unique things in the Filipino language is that they have pronouns intended only for two people, kita.

5. Kaibigan

First Meaning: Friend

Example Sentence: Itinuturing kong pamilya ang aking mga kaibigan. (I consider my friends family.)

The word kaibigan is one of the basic words you’ll learn because it simply means friend.

Second Meaning: Lover

Example Sentence: Buwan ng Disyembre nang sila’y naging magkaibigan. (It was December when they became lovers.)

This other meaning of the word kaibigan is proof of how beautiful the language is. By just changing the antala or delay of the pronunciation of a word, the word ka-i-bigan (friend) becomes ka-ibigan (lover).

Other Common Tagalog Homonyms

  1. baba
    • chin
    • lower level/down
  2. baga
    • before
    • new
  3. bago
    • new
    • before
  4. bait
    • kindness
    • sense
  5. baka
    • cow
    • maybe
  6. baon
    • buried or deeply involved
    • pocket money/packed items (e.g., food, clothes, etc.)
  7. basa
    • read
    • wet
  8. daan
    • road/way
    • hundred
  9. dating
    • arrival
    • impression/came across as
  10. gabi
    • night
    • taro
  11. hamon
    • challenge
    • ham
  12. huli
    • late
    • last
    • catch
  13. klase
    • class
    • type/kind
  14. lamang
    • advantage/with greater quality
    • ahead of points
    • only
  15. likas
    • evacuation
    • inherent
  16. lobo
    • balloon
    • inherent
  17. mahal
    • expensive
    • love
  18. pako
    • fern
    • wolf
  19. pala
    • a way to say what you’ve discovered or realized
    • shovel
  20. palabas
    • show
    • outbound
  21. paso
    • burn
    • pot
  22. pito
    • seven
    • whistle
  23. puno
    • tree
    • full
  24. saka
    • farming
    • then
    • moreover
  25. sama
    • bad
    • go with
  26. sawa
    • fed up with or tired of something or someone
    • snake
  27. saya
    • joy
    • skirt
  28. sipa
    • kick
    • a traditional Filipino sport
  29. siya
    • he/she (third-person singular)
    • saddle
  30. suso
    • breast
    • snail
  31. sulat
    • write/writing
    • letter
  32. tabla
    • tied (score)
    • plank/board
  33. tala
    • star
    • list
  34. talon
    • jump
    • waterfalls/falls
  35. tanda
    • sign
    • old age/age
  36. tapat
    • faithful/honest
    • in front of
  37. tasa
    • cup
    • pencil lead
  38. tubo
    • pipe
    • interest
    • growth
  39. tuyo
    • dry
    • a type of dried fish
  40. upo
    • sit
    • bottle gourd

Interested In Learning Tagalog?

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With all these exciting things about the Tagalog language, wouldn’t you want to learn more? Learning Tagalog can be beneficial, especially if you love to travel, because the Philippines is a beautiful country. With this, there’s no better app for learning it than Ling App. This app will give you fantastic language learning that will help you develop your language skills in record time. Just go to the website or tap/click the links found in this blog. So, don’t wait any longer and start your first Tagalog lesson with Ling App now!

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