50+ Adjectives in Tagalog That Every Language Enthusiast Should Learn

by Laura C. Jones

Tagalog is becoming more and more popular amongst linguists and language learners, and for a good reason! The entire culture of the Philippines is a rich one, with impressive details and meanings in the country’s history, music, and, of course, language.

Even though there are more than 120 languages spoken in the Philippines, Tagalog is the official language of the country.

Now, if you know some basics and are ready to speak or write full sentences, I think it’s about time for you to learn how to use an adjective in Tagalog, right?

In this article, I’ll describe what a Tagalog adjective is and where it falls in a sentence, but that’s not all. I’ll also provide you with a list of adjectives that Filipinos use on a daily basis and give you a few example sentences.

Are you ready to dive in?

What Is a Tagalog Adjective?

As a learner, it’s important to first define an adjective before beginning to use one. Well, this is what this section is all about!

Much like English, Tagalog adjectives are words that you can put in sentences to describe nouns or pronouns. If you’re curious about the word for “adjective” in Tagalog, it’s (pang-uri).

As for the placement of an adjective in a sentence, it usually sits right before the noun or pronoun that it’s describing. Again, that’s another thing English and Tagalog have in common.

Another interesting thing about most, but not all, Tagalog adjectives is that they tend to start with the prefix –ma. This prefix will be followed by the noun form. Here’s a good example of what I mean:

Magulang means “mature”. But, if you drop the –ma, you get gulang, which means “age.”

Not only is that quite fascinating to know, but I also like how adjectives with the –ma prefix can teach you different Tagalog nouns at the same time!

Of course, it would’ve been a treat to learn Tagalog if all the adjectives followed the same rule, but that’s not the case. Therefore, the best way to master Tagalog adjectives is to make yourself familiar with as many descriptive words as possible.

Generally, Tagalog adjectives are divided into four categories when it comes to type or structure. You’ve got:

  • Plain adjectives: panay (constant) and mali (wrong)
  • Root words with prefixes or suffixes: masigasig (full of zest) and pasaway (difficult)
  • Repeated roots words: Basang-basa (“wet-wet” meaning very wet)
  • Compound adjectives: Abot-kamay (“reach-hand” meaning near or accessible)

As you can see, Tagalog adjectives have many structures, and I’m being honest when I say it might be a bit confusing in the beginning. Yet, when I practiced regularly and added some patience to the equation, it turned out that memorizing Tagalog adjectives isn’t that tough!

Now that you have some basic knowledge of how an adjective in Tagalog usually appears, I can safely assume you’re ready to learn a few more descriptive words.

Lists of Tagalog Adjectives to Describe Everything in Your Life

Whether you’re going on and on about the delicious pizza you’ve had or how cold the weather is, you must be armed up with a wealth of Tagalog adjectives to do that.

Here are a few everyday adjectives classified into categories so that you can find the perfect word to express yourself in a heartbeat.

Tagalog Adjectives to Describe Emotions

  • Determinado – determined
  • Masaya – happy
  • Inis – annoyed
  • Malungkot – sad
  • Payapa – calm
  • Nasasabik – excited
  • Walang magawa – bored
  • Inggit – envious
  • Takot – scared
  • Galit – angry
  • Pagod – tired
  • Nerbyos – nervous

Tagalog Adjectives to Describe Personality, Behavior, and Appearance

  • Tahimik – quiet
  • Madaldal – talkative
  • Isip-bata – childish
  • Elegante – elegant
  • Masigla – lively
  • Maalalahanin – thoughtful
  • Maingat – cautious
  • Mahinahon – soft-spoken
  • Malihim – secretive
  • Maliit – little
  • Maskulado – muscular
  • Matikas – well-built
  • Mataba – overweight
  • Payat – thin or skinny
  • Maputla – pale
  • Kaakit-akit – attractive
  • Gwapo – handsome
  • Wais/mautak – wise
  • Kulot – curly

Tagalog Adjectives to Describe the Weather

  • Maulap – cloudy
  • Maaraw – sunny
  • Mahangin – windy
  • Maulan – rainy
  • Makulimlim – gloomy

Tagalog Adjectives to Describe Food

  • Malinamnám – tasty
  • Masaráp – delicious
  • Di-masaráp – not delicious
  • Matabáng – bland
  • Maangháng – spicy
  • Matamís – sweet
  • Maásim – sour
  • Maálat – salty
  • Mapaít – bitter
  • Maínit – hot
  • Malamíg – cold
  • Mamantika – greasy
  • Malutong – crunchy
  • Makúnat – chewy
  • Panis – spoiled
  • Saríwa – fresh
  • Matápang – strong (coffee)
  • Mabango – fragrant

Tagalog Adjectives to Describe Shape and Size

  • Parihaba – rectangular
  • Espera – spherical
  • Bilog – round
  • Habilog – oval
  • Mahaba – long
  • Maikli – short
  • Malak – large
  • Maliit – small
  • Matigas – hard
  • Malambot – soft
  • Magaspang – rough
  • Makinis – smooth
  • Baluktot – bent
  • Tuwid – straight

The Names of Different Colors in Tagalog

  • Itim – black
  • Puti – white
  • Kulay abo – gray
  • Asul/bughaw – blue
  • Pula – red
  • Berde – green
  • Rosas – pink
  • Dilaw – yellow
  • Dalandan – orange
  • Murado – purple
  • Kayumanggi – brown

Common Examples of the Use of Tagalog Adjectives

You have a huge collection of Tagalog adjectives up your sleeve now, right? How about we see some of these new words in action?

Here are a few sentences that include Tagalog adjectives to use when talking about appearance, character, smell, taste, or the weather.

  • Ako ay hindi masaya ngayong umaga – I’m not happy this morning
  • Siya ay maganda and matangkad! – She’s beautiful and tall!
  • Maging masayá sana ang araw mo! – Have a nice day!
  • Napakasaráp nitó! – It’s very delicious!
  • Nakakatawá siyá – He’s funny
  • Gutóm na akó – I’m hungry
  • Ang aking bahay ay puti – My house is white
  • Siya ay may tatlong maliliit na aso – She has three small dogs
  • Meron akong isang maliit na kulay berdeng bahay – I have a small, green house

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some rarely-used Tagalog adjectives?

The aforementioned Tagalolg adjectives are pretty common in the daily lives of Filipinos. Still, if you’re as curious as I am, you might want to learn some words of the rarer variety.

  • Mangmang – illiterate
  • Mabusisi – time-consuming
  • Makipot – narrow
  • Lampa – clumsy
  • Imoral – immoral
  • Maalwan – easy
  • Malabnaw – thin (used with soups or sauces)
  • Matatas – fluent in a certain language
  • Makinang – shiny
  • Presteryoso – prestigious

How to describe an object that has a tinge of color?

In English, we say reddish, bluish, or greenish. So, how exactly does this go in Tagalog?

In Tagalog, you only need to add the prefix –ma to the beginning of a word of a color to let someone know that an object is tinged with it. Let’s take berde (green) for an example.

If you want to say “greenish,” all you’ll have to do is attach the prefix to the beginning of this adjective and then repeat the word a second time. As a result, we should now end up with maberde berde, which translates to (slightly green in color).

This technique also applies to the colors pula, puti, dilaw, itim, and asul. You learn something new every day, huh?

What should I do if I want to use a Tagalog adjective that ends in a vowel?

Adjectives that end in a vowel get special treatment when they take their place before a noun in Tagalog. In this case, you must add –ng to the end of the word to help it fit in before the noun you’re ready to describe.

Let me give you an example, and I’ll use berde again because I just love the color green!

If I want to say “green ball,” it should be written like this: berdeng bola. See what I did there?

In some cases, you might prefer to use the noun before the adjective, and it’ll give the same meaning, too. To say “green car” in Tagalog, it’ll be kotseng berde.

As you’ve noticed, there was no need to add –ng to the end of the adjective because it came after the noun. On the other hand, the –ng was attached to the noun kotse instead because it ends with a vowel.

Looking back at all these strange yet unique rules, I like to think that, as challenging as they can be, they make language learning even more fun!

To Wrap It Up

Tagalog may not be as famous as French or Spanish amongst language learners yet. But it sure attracts more and more people every day with its remarkable grammar and easy-to-memorize vocabulary.

Hopefully, after reading my article on how to use an adjective in Tagalog to describe feelings, objects, and people, you should be one step closer to learning this fun language.

I know it can be a bit tricky in the beginning, especially since many adjectives look so similar to each other. However, I’m sure that with one or two hours of practice every day, you should have these words memorized in almost no time!

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