Tagalog Compound Words

Tagalog compound words have meanings that are different from the original meanings of the individual words combined. For example, balat (skin) and sibuyas (onion) when joined together (balat-sibuyas) means "sensitive" or literally, "onion skinned". Spot some Tagalog compound words in your translated text. Below are some of these words used in English-to-Tagalog translation for a more idiomatic transfer.

Abot-kaya- (reach;capable) [adj., adv.] affordable, within the budget

Abot-langit - (reach/up to; sky) [adj.] too much, superlative degree, very deeply felt [abot-langit ang hinanakit]

Abot-tanaw- (reach;view) [adj.] near

Akyat-bahay - (climb;house) [n.] burglary, burglar [with "gang" - Akyat-bahay gang] an organized group of robbers.

Bahay-bata - (home;child) [n.] the womb; where a fetus develops

Bantay-salakay - (guard;attack) [n., adv., adj.] opportunist; to steal or seize something by force and in a surprising manner, after the victim has long been manipulated to believe that the perpetrator can do nothing wrong.

Basag-ulo - (break;head) [n.] A fight

Basang-sisiw - (wet; chick) [adj., n.] pathetic; vulnerable; poor and powerless; wanting for mercy

Hawak-kamay - (hold/held;hand) [adj., adv.] helping each other, as support or hedge to withstand difficult situations

Hampas-lupa - (slap/whip;earth) [n., adj, derogatory] very poor

Matang-lawin - (eyes; eagle) [adj., n.] critical, observant, circumspect

Pasang-krus - (carry;cross) [n., adj., adv] cause of undeserved heaviness, unwanted burden

Sampay-bakod - (to hang on a line;fence) [n., adv., adj.] unwanted regular guest, vagabond imposing oneself on others

Sangangdaan - (branch road) [n.] crossroad

Salong-guhit / Salungguhit - (catch;line) [n.] underline

Teyngang-kawali - (ears; frying pan) [adj., adv.] playing deaf, indifferent


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