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Add some calamansi to your bihon at the panciteria: new Filipino words in the Oxford English Dictionary

Add some calamansi to your bihon at the panciteria: new Filipino words in the Oxford English Dictionary


Language is an ever-evolving thing. That’s why dictionaries are always adding new words to keep up with the changing times. The Oxford English Dictionary, the mammoth of a dictionary that aims to collect all the words in the English language and which updates quarterly, is no stranger to that. In an effort to be more inclusive (and well, to be a true historical recorder of the English language), it collects words no matter its origin. In June, it added the word ‘stan’ (a verb and a noun that means to both obsessively fan over someone and be an obsessive fan) to its reservoir of words, a nod to internet culture and hiphop (the term emerged from an Eminem lyric) alike.

In its latest update, the OED took a gander at Philippine English. Twenty words were added to the dictionary, all crowdsourced by Filipino English speakers answering the OED’s online appeal for new words. The list goes:

  • ambush interview, n.
  • accomplish, v.
  • bagoong, n.
  • bihon, n.
  • bold, adj.
  • bongga, adj.
  • carinderia, n.
  • cartolina, n.
  • dine-in, n. and adj.
  • dirty ice cream, n.
  • ensaimada, n.
  • holdupper, n.
  • palay, n.
  • panciteria, n.
  • querida, n.
  • rotonda, n.
  • sorbetes, n.
  • trapo, n.
  • turon, n.
  • viand, n.

It’s been said multiple times over the years that “Filipino food is the biggest new trend” (so much so that Francesca Manto of Eater hates it), but the addition of Filipino food into the OED spells good for the future of our cuisine. It at least means representation, and all rep, even for something called dirty ice cream, is welcome.

Dirty ice cream is another food word that may sound surprising to non-Filipinos, but it’s just another term for sorbetes, the traditional Philippine ice cream that is usually sold by ambulant vendors from colourfully painted handcarts. For the unusual name, we can thank generations of Filipino children who gleefully ignored their mothers’ warnings not to buy ‘dirty’ street food,” the OED opines.

Take a look at the OED website for the full list of words added in the update.

Featured photo courtesy of

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Writer: ZOFIYA ACOSTA © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.