16 popular words, phrases loved by Filipinos on social media in 2017

Rappler Social Media Team
Never underestimate the werpa of online language, mga lodis

MANILA, Philippines – Social media gives birth to the most unexpected trends. Language, in particular, evolves so organically online that you could easily fill a dictionary with terms that came about on Facebook posts and Twitter threads. From “facepalm” to “jejemon” to “bae,” these words slip into our lexicon without our knowing it, and we end up using them in the real world without a second thought. 

This year saw many new words and phrases surface via social media, and chances are you’ve used at least a few of them recently. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Covfefe 

Several months into Donald Trump’s presidency, we’ve come to terms with the fact that the United States’ Commander-in-Chief isn’t going to stop tweeting off the top of his head anytime soon – national security or global policy be damned. 

But when this unfinished tweet floated around the internet just after midnight of May 31, it felt like The Donald’s Twitter account had reached a hilarious new low. It appears that “covfefe” was meant to be “coverage” and was accidentally sent out to the netiverse before the thought was even completed, but of course, it now means whatever you want it to mean, like a confusing abstract painting. 

Fafda

Months later, a similar gaffe happened to the official account of our own Presidential Communications team, almost as if the Philippines didn’t want to be outdone by Trump’s high-jinks. 

This turned out to be arguably the mildest mistake the team has made in 2017. The government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) used a Wikimedia Commons photo of the Vietnam War in its article about the Marawi siege, used canned pineapple manufacturer Dole Philippines’ logo in an article about the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and even published raw editors’ notes in article titles

The official account of the Presidential Spokesperson also posted a troll-like comment and hastily took it down. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson also took many hits throughout the year for spreading fake news.

Lodi, werpa, petmalu, orbs

 

Move over, astig, repapips, tsikot, dehins, ermats, and erpats – a new generation of flipped-around words is taking over! 

Switching syllables has been a staple of Filipino slang since the ’70s, and it looks like it’s getting a notable resurgence in 2017. Lodi is for idol, werpa is for power, petmalu is for malupit (badass), and orbs is for bro. We’re not entirely sure why these particular words were chosen for the flip-around treatment, but they’re quickly seeping into people’s vocabulary nonetheless. Naturally, some find this new batch of slang confounding and corny, but you can’t underestimate the power of viral words!

Extra

This one’s pretty self-explanatory! Extra is extra is extra.

In the age of Instagram and social videos, a lot of people have learned that it pays to go the extra, extra mile when putting yourself out there. Attending a reunion? Go extra with a pair of gold-sequined high heels. Holding a slideshow presentation? Go extra with a curated Spotify playlist! Taking a vacation? Go extra with a guerrilla fashion shoot at every famous landmark! 

Everyone’s a special little snowflake online these days, so you’d better work it a little bit harder to stand out from the crowd.

Low-key

Trust the internet to lend even the most nuanced of human acts an actual, workable phrase. “Low-key” has always meant subtle, but it’s only in 2017 that people have been using the term on overdrive, and twisting grammar just a touch to let it get slipped into practically any sentence imaginable.

If you think about it long enough, it’s fascinating how much this term has gotten mileage. It seems to be an honest admission that we tend to do silly, secret little things when interacting with others all the time – a sign that we’re all loosening up and not taking ourselves too seriously, perhaps? 

Deadt, cancelldt, attackdt

 

Switching “ed” to “dt” at the end of certain words doesn’t really make sense, but you have to admit that it gives these words an extra bite! 

Deadt and attackdt seem fairly self-explanatory, but cancelldt is notably unusual. Jumping off from its literal meaning, to say that something is cancelldt doesn’t just mean that it’s over and done with. There’s a particularly mean streak about it, like you’re calling something absolute trash, worthless, and reprehensible – and that’s putting it lightly! 

Qiqil, qaqo

 

Hey, if you get tired of a consonant, just replace it with one that looks vaguely like it! We admit it can be a bit jarring to see the letter g replaced with the letter q like this, but that “hard” quality of the q does give these words an extra oomph. 

It can get confusing sometimes, though. Twitter users have posted sentences like, “Grabe, nakakaqiqil si qaqo!” which features the “g” sound but using different letters, which pretty much defies the laws of linguistics and physics many times over. 

Paqod c acoe

 

The g in the guise of a q makes its appearance again in this famous 2017 phrase, uttered by one exhausted Filipino netizen after another. We suppose “pagod ako” (I’m tired) isn’t enough to capture the utter fatigue people go through these days, so drastically respelling “ako” and referring to it in the 3rd person helped to give the phrase more dimension. 

Kyah pembaryah

 

While not exactly the most politically correct phrase this year, it’s definitely one of the most popular. Any Filipino who’s ridden a jeep or walked a city sidewalk has encountered a street child begging for alms, and chances are, their plea sounds a bit like the phrase in question. 

If you want to ask someone online for a favor, or have been feeling like you desperately need to ask the universe for a favor, “kyah pembaryah” is your slogan of the moment. A standalone “kyaaaaaaaahhhhh” could also work if you just feel like annoying your friends too. 

Bih

Want to low-key insult someone but still sound hipper than everyone else? Bih, which is now apparently the new way to say “bitch,” could just be your thing. It doesn’t have the same bite as bitch, but it’s all in the delivery. 

Of course, like any other slang insult, you could soon reappropriate it into a term of endearment!

Whaddup bih? Getting covfefe with the lodi fafda, ’cause petmalu got mad werpa with my orbs down at the shop. Don’t you think my dress is extra? Nah? You think it’s deadt? Not even low-key fabulous? I feel so attackdt! Because what you’re wearing is totally cancelldt. You’re so qiqil na with me ‘no, qaqo? Well, beg for it! Kyah pembaryah! 

Phew that paragraph was hard. Paqod c acoe huhu. 

What other new terms wriggled into your vocabulary in 2017? Give us a list of your own on publishing platform X– Rappler.com