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Filipino Idiomatic Expressions

Idiomatic expressions are words and phrases that are said but are intended to mean something else. English and Spanish have their own way of implementing this technique. Tagalog also has a lot of these expressions in its vocabulary. I have listed a few of them and I will read each of these and use it in a simple sentence.

Audio: Click on the Play button below to hear the native
Filipino speaker read the sentences correctly.

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naglahong parang bula - disappeared without a trace
Ang taong pinagkatiwalaan niya ng pera ay naglahong parang bula. The person to whom he entrusted the money disappeared without a trace.

basang sisiw - woeful or pitiful
Nagmukhang basang sisiw ang mga heneral sa harap ng hari. The generals looked woeful in front of the king.

walang humpay - sustained
Ang walang humpay na buhos ng ulan ay nagdulot ng matinding pagbaha. The sustained pouring of rain caused severe flooding.

pagtahak sa mundong ibabaw - on one's journey in life
Hindi tayo dapat mawalan ng pagasa sa ating pagtahak sa mundong ibabaw. We should never lose hope in our life's journey.

di magkamayaw - everything is pandemonium
Di magkamayaw ang mga tao nang dumating ang hinihintay na idolo. Everything was pandemonium when the idol being awaited arrived.

pumanaw na - had died already
Pareho nang pumanaw ang kanyang mga magulang. Both of his parents had died already.

walang silbi - good for nothing
Mahirap maging isang taong walang silbi. It's difficult for a person to be good for nothing.

nagsaulian ng kandila - friendhip is broken
Nagsaulian na ng kandila ang dalawang magkaibigan. The two friends had broken their friendship.


ilaw ng tahanan - light of the home
Ang ating mga ina ang nagsisilbing ilaw ng ating tahanan. Our mothers are the ones who serve as the light of our homes.

kapit sa patalim - literally clasping the blade, idiomatically means swallowing the bitter pill
Ang taong nagigipit ay karaniwang kailangang kumapit sa patalim. A person in dire need ordinarily has to swallow the bitter pill.

matapang ang apog - immune to criticism by others
Ang hiya ay kadalasang wala sa bokabularyo ng taong matapang ang apog. Shame is often not in the vocabulary of someone immune to criticism.

kalapating mababa ang lipad - prostitute
Naglipana na naman sa lansangan ang mga kalapating mababa ang lipag. Prostitutes are again roaming the streets.

dagok ng kapalaran - misfortune
Ang pagpanaw ng ating magulang ay isang malaking dagok ng kapalaran. The death of our parents was a great misfortune.

nilimas ang bahay - almost everything was taken by the robbers
Nilimas ng mga magnanakaw ang bahay. The robbers took almost everything from the house.

pag pumuti na ang uwak - literally when the crow turns white, idiomatically almost impossible
Maaari lamang kitang ibigin kapag pumuti na ang uwak. It is hopelessly impossible for me to love you.

matilamsikan - to partake of small tokens from someone's great benefit
Hindi man lang tayo natilamsikan ng kanyang panalo sa lotto. We had not even received any token benefit from his winnings on the lottery.


kuskus-balungos - much ado about nothing
Ang dami mo namang kuskos balungos. You have a lot of those nonsensical things.

bantay-salakay - person who cannot be trusted
Bantay-salakay pala ang nakuha niyang katulong sa bahay. It turned out that the person he hired as helper in the house was an untrustworthy person.

bukang-bibig - words or phrase that someone always says
Ang kanyang anak ay lagi na lamang niyang bukang-bibig. She was always talking about her son.

dumaan sa butas ng karayom - to pass through the needle's hole, idiomatically, really very difficult
Dadaan ka sa butas ng karayom bago ka mahirang na bagong kadete. It is really very difficult to be selected as a new cadet.

butas ang bulsa - to lose a lot of money
Mabubutas ang bulsa mo pag siya ay naging nobya mo. You will lose a lot of money when she becomes your girlfriend.

So there you have it, some examples of Tagalog idiomatic expressions and how the expressions are integrated into the Tagalog sentence. Thanks for listening and have a good day.


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