Translate Tagalog Idioms into English
English Idioms into Tagalog

Tagalog Idioms: these are expressions that don’t mean what they say on the surface. For example:


Meaning among the Tagalog

It seemed as if


she or he [were]


a drenched chick

He or she looked pitiful
Mahilig siyang

He or she is fond of

magbuhat ng sariling
lifting his own


He or she is boastful
Aanhin pa
What is the use for

ang kabayo.
the horse..

ang damo

the grass

kung patay na

if dead [already]

Goodwill won’t benefit those who are already dead or gone. (or near the expression “too late the hero”)
Ginigisa ka
You are sautéed
sa sarili mong
in your own
What you have or know is being used against you.
Magpapantay muna
[They will be] levelled first
ang aking


mga paa …


Only when I’m dead or akin to saying “Over my dead body”
Daig pa niya
You are worse than

ang lipad.
the flight.

ang kalapating

the dove



He or she is worse than a prostitute.

Ripening sour-fruit

si lolo.


Grandfather acts or tries to look much younger than his real age.

Capture exact meaning using tagalog idioms


Meaning in English
You are
Ikaw ay
the top
sa ibabaw o itaas
You exaggerate.
Sobra ka naman (popular use)
You have got

Ikaw ay mayroong

too many irons

napakaraming bakal

in the fire

[na hinihinang?] sa apoy

You are involved with too many different things at the same time.
Isa-isa lang, mahina ang kalaban (nearest colloquial idiom)
I think we are

Sa palagay namin kami ay

over the hill

lampas [na] sa burol



We’re past the most difficult part.
Nalampasan na namin ang pinakamahirap na bahagi (formal)
We were calm and quiet

Kami ay payapa at tahimik



he rocked the boat.

niya inuga ang bangka.

We were calm and quiet before he spoiled it all.
Tahimik sana kami at walang gulo kung di siya dumating.
(dynamic equivalence: changed emphasis)
She decided

Nagpasiya siyang

to take


the bull by the horns.

ang tamaraw sa sungay nito.

She decided that she will face her problems squarely.
Nagpasiya siyang harapin ang problema.


don’t be a

huwag maging isang

doubting Thomas

nagdududang Tomas

Please don’t be skeptical
Pakiusap (lang), huwag sana kayong magduda katulad ni Tomas (literal)
He knew

Alam niya

his alibi

na ang kanyang dahilan (nearest equivalent).

Didn’t hold water.
ay hindi makakahawak (malalagyan?) ng tubig.
He couldn’t prove that what he’s saying is true.
Hindi niya kayang patunayang totoo ang kanyang sinabi. (dynamic equivalent).

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