Noli Me Tangere: Glossary


abá: A Tagalog exclamation of wonder, surprise, etc., often used to introduce or emphasize a contradictory statement.

abaka: “Manila hemp,” the fiber of a plant of the banana family.

achara: Pickles made from the tender shoots of bamboo, green papayas, etc.

alcalde: Governor of a province or district with both executive and judicial authority.

alferez: Junior officer of the Civil Guard, ranking next below a lieutenant.

alibambang: A leguminous plant whose acid leaves are used in cooking.

alpay: A variety of nephelium, similar but inferior to the Chinese lichi.

among: Term used by the natives in addressing a priest, especially a friar: from the Spanish amo, master.

amores-secos: “Barren loves,” a low-growing weed whose small, angular pods adhere to clothing.

andas: A platform with handles, on which an image is borne in a procession.

asuang: A malignant devil reputed to feed upon human flesh, being especially fond of new-born babes.

até: The sweet-sop.

Audiencia: The administrative council and supreme court of the Spanish régime.

Ayuntamiento: A city corporation or council, and by extension the building in which it has its offices; specifically, in Manila, the capitol.

azotea: The flat roof of a house or any similar platform; a roof-garden.

babaye: Woman (the general Malay term).

baguio: The local name for the typhoon or hurricane.

bailúhan: Native dance and feast: from the Spanish baile.

balete: The Philippine banyan, a tree sacred in Malay folk-lore.

banka: A dugout canoe with bamboo supports or outriggers.

Bilibid: The general penitentiary at Manila.

buyo: The masticatory prepared by wrapping a piece of areca-nut with a little shell-lime in a betel-leaf: the pan of British India.

cabeza de barangay: Headman and tax collector for a group of about fifty families, for whose “tribute” he was personally responsible.

calle: Street.

camisa: 1. A loose, collarless shirt of transparent material worn by men outside the trousers.

2. A thin, transparent waist with flowing sleeves, worn by women.

camote: A variety of sweet potato.

capitan: “Captain,” a title used in addressing or referring to the gobernadorcillo or a former occupant of that office.

carambas: A Spanish exclamation denoting surprise or displeasure.

carbineer: Internal-revenue guard.

cedula: Certificate of registration and receipt for poll-tax.

chico: The sapodilla plum.

Civil Guard: Internal quasi-military police force of Spanish officers and native soldiers.

cochero: Carriage driver: coachman.

Consul: A wealthy merchant; originally, a member of the Consulado, the tribunal, or corporation, controlling the galleon trade.

cuadrillero: Municipal guard.

cuarto: A copper coin, one hundred and sixty of which were equal in value to a silver peso.

cuidao: “Take care!” “Look out!” A common exclamation, from the Spanish cuidado.

dálag: The Philippine Ophiocephalus, the curious walking mudfish that abounds in the paddy-fields during the rainy season.

dalaga: Maiden, woman of marriageable age.

dinding: House-wall or partition of plaited bamboo wattle.

director, directorcillo: The town secretary and clerk of the gobernadorcillo.

distinguido: A person of rank serving as a private soldier but exempted from menial duties and in promotions preferred to others of equal merit.

escribano: Clerk of court and official notary.

filibuster: A native of the Philippines who was accused of advocating their separation from Spain.

gobernadorcillo: “Petty governor,” the principal municipal official.

gogo: A climbing, woody vine whose macerated stems are used as soap; “soap-vine.”

guingón: Dungaree, a coarse blue cotton cloth.

hermano mayor: The manager of a fiesta.

husi: A fine cloth made of silk interwoven with cotton, abaka, or pineapple-leaf fibers.

ilang-ilang: The Malay “flower of flowers,” from which the well-known essence is obtained.

Indian: The Spanish designation for the Christianized Malay of the Philippines was indio (Indian), a term used rather contemptuously, the name Filipino being generally applied in a restricted sense to the children of Spaniards born in the Islands.

kaingin: A woodland clearing made by burning off the trees and underbrush, for planting upland rice or camotes.

kalan: The small, portable, open, clay fireplace commonly used in cooking.

kalao: The Philippine hornbill. As in all Malay countries, this bird is the object of curious superstitions. Its raucous cry, which may be faintly characterized as hideous, is said to mark the hours and, in the night-time, to presage death or other disaster.

kalikut: A short section of bamboo in which the buyo is mixed; a primitive betel-box.

kamagon: A tree of the ebony family, from which fine cabinet-wood is obtained. Its fruit is the mabolo, or date-plum.

kasamá: Tenants on the land of another, to whom they render payment in produce or by certain specified services.

kogon: A tall, rank grass used for thatch.

kris: A Moro dagger or short sword with a serpentine blade.

kundíman: A native song.

kupang: A large tree of the Mimosa family.

kuriput: Miser, “skinflint.”

lanson: The langsa, a delicious cream-colored fruit about the size of a plum. In the Philippines, its special habitat is the country around the Lake of Bay.

liam-pó: A Chinese game of chance (?).

lomboy: The jambolana, a small, blue fruit with a large stone.

Malacañang: The palace of the Captain-General in Manila: from the vernacular name of the place where it stands, “fishermen’s resort.”

mankukúlan: An evil spirit causing sickness and other misfortunes, and a person possessed of such a demon.

morisqueta: Rice boiled without salt until dry, the staple food of the Filipinos.

Moro: Mohammedan Malay of southern Mindanao and Sulu.

mutya: Some object with talismanic properties, “rabbit’s foot.”

nakú: A Tagalog exclamation of surprise, wonder, etc.

nipa: Swamp-palm, with the imbricated leaves of which the roots and sides of the common Filipino houses are constructed.

nito: A climbing fern whose glossy, wiry leaves are used for making fine hats, cigar-cases, etc.

novena: A devotion consisting of prayers recited on nine consecutive days, asking for some special favor; also, a booklet of these prayers.

oy: An exclamation to attract attention, used toward inferiors and in familiar intercourse: probably a contraction of the Spanish imperative, oye, “listen!”

pakó: An edible fern.

palasán: A thick, stout variety of rattan, used for walking-sticks.

pandakaki: A low tree or shrub with small, star-like flowers.

pañuelo: A starched neckerchief folded stiffly over the shoulders, fastened in front and falling in a point behind: the most distinctive portion of the customary dress of the Filipino women.

papaya: The tropical papaw, fruit of the “melon-tree.”

paracmason: Freemason, the bête noire of the Philippine friar.

peseta: A silver coin, in value one-fifth of a peso or thirty-two

peso: A silver coin, either the Spanish peso or the Mexican dollar, about the size of an American dollar and of approximately half its value.

piña: Fine cloth made from pineapple-leaf fibers.

proper names: The author has given a simple and sympathetic touch to his story throughout by using the familiar names commonly employed among the Filipinos in their home-life. Some of these are nicknames or pet names, such as Andong, Andoy, Choy, Neneng (“Baby”), Puté, Tinchang, and Yeyeng. Others are abbreviations or corruptions of the Christian names, often with the particle ng or ay added, which is a common practice: Andeng, Andrea; Doray, Teodora; Iday, Brigida (Bridget); Sinang, Lucinda (Lucy); Sipa, Josefa; Sisa, Narcisa; Teo, Teodoro (Theodore); Tiago, Santiago (James); Tasio, Anastasio; Tiká, Escolastica; Tinay, Quintina; Tinong, Saturnino.

Provincial: Head of a religious order in the Philippines.

querida: Paramour, mistress: from the Spanish, “beloved.”

real: One-eighth of a peso, twenty cuartos.

sala: The principal room in the more pretentious Philippine houses.

salabat: An infusion of ginger.

salakot: Wide hat of palm or bamboo and rattan, distinctively Filipino.

sampaguita: The Arabian jasmine: a small, white, very fragrant flower, extensively cultivated, and worn in chaplets and rosaries by the women and girls–the typical Philippine flower.

santol: The Philippine sandal-tree.

sawali: Plaited bamboo wattle.

sinamay: A transparent cloth woven from abaka fibers.

sinigang: Water with vegetables or some acid fruit, in which fish are boiled; “fish soup.”

Susmariosep: A common exclamation: contraction of the Spanish, Jesús, María, y José, the Holy Family.

tabí: The cry of carriage drivers to warn pedestrians.

talibon: A short sword, the “war bolo.”

tapa: Jerked meat.

tápis: A piece of dark cloth or lace, often richly worked or embroidered, worn at the waist somewhat in the fashion of an apron: a distinctive portion of the native women’s attire, especially among the Tagalogs.

tarambulo: A low weed whose leaves and fruit pedicles are covered with short, sharp spines.

teniente-mayor: Senior lieutenant, the senior member of the town council and substitute for the gobernadorcillo.

tikas-tikas: A variety of canna bearing bright red flowers.

tertiary brethren: Members of a lay society affiliated with a regular monastic order, especially the Venerable Tertiary Order of the Franciscans.

timbaín: The “water-cure,” and hence, any kind of torture. The primary meaning is “to draw water from a well,” from timba, pail.

tikbalang: An evil spirit, capable of assuming various forms, but said to appear usually in the shape of a tall black man with disproportionately long legs: the “bogey man” of Tagalog children.

tulisan: Outlaw, bandit. Under the old régime in the Philippines the tulisanes were those who, on account of real or fancied grievances against the authorities, or from fear of punishment for crime, or from an instinctive desire to return to primitive simplicity, foreswore life in the towns “under the bell,” and made their homes in the mountains or other remote places. Gathered in small bands with such arms as they could secure, they sustained themselves by highway robbery and the levying of blackmail from the country folk.

zacate: Native grass used for feeding livestock.






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