Definition of Tagalog in English:



  • 1A member of a people originally of central Luzon in the Philippine Islands.

    • ‘Recruiting efforts after 1909 centered on the Visayan Islands, Cebu in particular, and Luzon's Tagalogs.’
    • ‘The major ethnolinguistic groups that have shaped politics in the Philippines were the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, and Pampangans of Luzon, the Cebuanos of the Visayas, and the Muslim Maranaos and Tausugs of Mindanao.’
    • ‘Men were recruited from as far away as Albay in the Bicol region and even Panay in the Visayas though the majority of workers were Tagalogs, Pangasinans, Pampangans, Igorots and increasingly Ilocanos.’
  • 2mass noun The Austronesian language of the Tagalogs, with over 17 million speakers. Its vocabulary has been much influenced by Spanish and English, and to some extent by Chinese and Arabic, and it is the basis of a standardized national language of the Philippines (Filipino).

    • ‘While the common language is Tagalog, almost everyone has a good grasp of English.’
    • ‘The languages in which we interviewed were Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Spanish, and English.’
    • ‘Discounting English, he's fluent in French, Spanish, Chinese and Tagalog, a Filipino language.’
    • ‘The opera is sung mostly in Japanese, and some parts in English, Tagalog and Spanish, with the Filipino soloists also singing in Japanese.’
    • ‘Now, my Tagalog isn't strong enough for me to have responded in kind, but I did cast her a withering glance.’
    • ‘Church services in San Francisco, as in most major urban areas, are offered in many languages, including Tagalog, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Korean, Polish, Mandarin, and Cantonese.’
    • ‘He learned enough Thai to get by, to add to his fluency in Tagalog (his native tongue), English and Spanish.’
    • ‘I took an exam for Tagalog, the language I learned to speak in the Philippines, and earned 10 credits for passing that exam.’
    • ‘All 3 nurses were college graduates, had experience translating English into Tagalog, had been raised in the Philippines, and now reside in the United States.’
    • ‘At the time of Philippine independence, about 25 percent of Filipinos spoke Tagalog, the language of central Luzon.’
    • ‘In 1937, the government decided to promote the use of Tagalog as the national language.’
    • ‘He speaks in slow English with some Tagalog, although most would prefer Ilocano.’
    • ‘The libretto is mainly written in English with some parts in Tagalog, Japanese and Spanish.’
    • ‘And since I'm from the Philippines, I speak Tagalog.’
    • ‘She has a good ear for dialogue and represents the sound of Filipino speech well with a judicious use of phrases and words in Tagalog and Spanish.’
    • ‘Chinese was the mother tongue of just under 25 percent, while Arabic, Punjabi, Tagalog, Tamil, and Persian together accounted for about 20 percent.’
    • ‘It's not Canadians’ fault he lapsed into his native Tagalog for a while there at the end.’
    • ‘That could be Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, or Tagalog.’
    • ‘It was a joy to sit amid thirty or so girls and give a devotional talk as two of the housemothers translated my English into Tagalog.’
    • ‘Orders to the units would come down in English, but they still needed to be translated into Spanish, Tagalog, or any of the other dialects used by commonwealth troops.’


  • Relating to the Tagalogs or their language.

    • ‘Is it true that you and your brothers have all pure Tagalog names?’
    • ‘I couldn't think of the Tagalog word for ‘brave’.’
    • ‘As I've mentioned before, I wrote a paper on Tagalog semantics.’
    • ‘The Tagalog text of the poem revisits the Balangiga incident.’
    • ‘As a child, Lina watched, enthralled, as old Tagalog movies flickered on the schoolhouse wall.’


The name in Tagalog, from tagá ‘native’ + ilog ‘river’.