Deepest Cebuano Words nearly forgotten in modern times

Bisaya/Cebuano/Visayan is a dialect spoken as their mother tongue by more Filipinos in the country than the actual national language, more particularly in Visayas and Mindanao.

And though this still holds true, it has quite evolved during the years that some of the old words spoken are slowly being forgotten or entirely lost. A great reason for it is it may have been replaced by new words or a slang by the present generation.

As the world change so does the language spoken, may it be new words or mixed words. Now, there are just a few who knows or remembers these old words and not surprisingly most of them are the old folks.

Come take a scan on our list and see if you can recognize them. Some of them you might have encountered reading or on the news, some you may have heard from your parents or grandparents.

Photo from website

1. Tukma (adjective)

It is an adjective used for ideas, images, representations and expressions. It is characterized by the perfect conformity to fact or truth and I remember always hearing this on the local news.

Example: Sa tukmang panahon, maka uyab ra lage ka.

2. Talidhay (noun)

It is a noun that is described as a prolonged laughter. Like that infectious seemingly unending laughter from that one friend in every group.

Example: Grabe ug talidhay kay nakadaog sa Lotto.

Photo from by Leon

3. Tagubtob (noun)

It is characterized by resonance or resonating. It’s likened to a sound or energy that is deep and full and can be felt by the other person. You might have heard this as a lyric to a Bisaya song.

Example: Ang tagubtob sa iyang dughan.

4. Kulbahinam (adjective)

It is an adjective describing a surge of emotion, or of excitement. It’s english synonyms are sensational and thrilling. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but it reminds me of the common Cebuano word “kulba” meaning fear or nervousness which is also some kind of surge of emotion.

Example: Kulbahinam kaayo ang duwa bai.

5. Alimyon (noun)

It is a pleasant sweet olfactory property. It means a pleasant smell in layman’s term. “Humot” may have replaced it or it’s a different word on another level if that makes sense.

Example: Ang buwak nangalimyon sa ka humot.

Photo from by Ruslan Zh

6. Kasikas (noun)

It is characterized as a slight noise, like the noise of silk clothing or leaves blowing in the wind. You may have heard this word in radio dramas way back when it was the hype of entertainment in provinces.

Example: Hala may kasikas man sa gawas, ako daw gawson.

7. Kahidlaw (noun)

It is a feeling of deep longing. This longing may refer to romantic feelings or a simple craving. This might also be can be heard in a song or a Balak Bisaya.

Example: Ge hidlaw najud ko ug manga.

8. Huyuhoy (noun)

It is a cooling breeze from the sea. This one is being used more commonly than the others. You can hear them from older folks and even some younger ones. Maybe because there’s still no Cebuano word that can replace it.

Example: Kalami sa huyuhoy diri sa baybay.

9. Sagmuyo (verb)

It is an action word that means being depressed or deject and cast down. Being downhearted caused by loneliness or other things that can cause the lowering of your spirit. This is definitely being replaced by “naguol” or its English terms but sagmuyo feels like a little deeper than naguol.

Example: Sus na sagmuyo jud ko kay na disgrasya akong kauban.

10. Hamtong (adjective)

It is an adjective which means an adult. A period of time in your life after believed to be your full development or state of maturity.

Example: Si Marlon kay usa na ka hamtong nga ulitaw.

To be able to successfully write this article, I had to consult with my mother on these words and how to use them. I was a bit shocked really as she is familiar with all of them, kudos to my mom. Maybe there is still hope to these deep and beautiful old words, they might not be forgotten entirely if we appreciate them more.

Marel Baluyos
Marel Baluyos
"Cebu is my always."

Chemical Engineer / Associate Editor | Bantayan Island, Cebu

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  1. Nindot unta ang imong Cebuano words pero pasaylo-a ko, good vibes lang ta ha, professional talk ni, daghag sayop ang grammar, etc.

    Tanan nga affixes (prefix,infex,suffix) sa Cebuano kinahanglan i-attach sa root word, like maka+VERB, GIHIDLAW, NASAGMUYO,etc. ayawg ibuwag.
    Understand the difference between UG and OG- ug is AND and og is like “a” but many times walay equivalent translation sa English.
    Do not use letter J LIKE JUD except for proper noun like Jose, and even E prefix + verb like ekuha, except if it really a word not affix.
    Review your meaning of TALIDHAY because in actual conversation it means missing the mark, as opposite to bullseye.
    I think you still need more time to learn grammar in Cebuano or an expert, certified language coach(before you post something) to make your vlog in Cebuano more scholarly.

  2. Ang Sugbu-anun’g Binisaya dili usa ka dialect lamang kun dili usq gyud siya ka language.

    It is a language because it has its own linguistic system which includes its phonology, morphology, and syntax.

    Additionally, it has a big speaking community – big portions of Visayas and Mindanao, and it has its own newspapers which uses the said language.

    • Pastilan is also another old cebuano dialect that I seldom heard uttered by both the olds and the not so olds. its a word to to give more emphasis to a feeling of either appreciation or disgust towards a person. Example: 1) Pastilan pagka gwapa gyud sa akong pag-umangkon. 2) Pastilan pagka badlongon gyud nimo Dong.


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