List of Spanish words of Austronesian origin

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This is a list of Spanish words that come from Austronesian languages. It is further divided into words that come from Hawaiian, Javanese, Malay, and Tagalog. Some of these words have alternate etymologies and may also appear on a list of Spanish words from a different language.




  • bambú= bamboo: probably from Malay bambú "bamboo."
  • cacatúa= cockatoo: from Malay kakatua, "cockatoo," from kakak "older sister" + tua "old."
  • casuarina= Casuarina: from Malay kěsuari "," + -ina (diminutive suffix). Named for the similarity in appearance between the little branches of the tree and the feathers of the casuario (see following).
  • casuario= cassowary: from Malay kěsuari.
  • compound= compound (enclosure): from Malay "koapong" meaning fenced enclosure.
  • lancha= launch (boat): from Portuguese lancha, from Malay lancha, lancharan, "boat," from lanchar "velocity without effort," "action of gliding smoothly" (said primarily of boats and turtles).
  • malayo= a Malay person: from Malay Mělayu, of uncertain origin.
  • orangután= orangutan: from Malay ōrang hūtan "person of the jungle," from ōrang "man, person" + hūtan "jungle, forest."


abacá Old Tagalog: abacá abaká abaca
baguio Old Tagalog: baguio bagyo typhoon or hurricane
barangay Old Tagalog: balan͠gay baranggay barangay
bolo Old Tagalog: bolo bolo bolo
carabao Old Visayan: carabáo kalabáw carabao
caracoa Old Malay: coracora Old Tagalog: caracoa karakaw caracoa, a war canoe
cogón Old Tagalog: cogón kogón cogon
dalaga Old Tagalog: dalaga dalaga single, young woman
gumamela Old Tagalog: gumamela gumamela Chinese hibiscus
nipa Old Malay: nipah Old Tagalog: nipa nipa nipa palm
paipay Old Tagalog: paypay or pay-pay pamaypay a type of fan
palay Old Tagalog: palay palay unhusked rice
pantalán Old Tagalog: pantalán pantalán wooden pier
salisipan Old Tagalog: salicipan salisipan salisipan, a pirate ship
sampaguita Old Tagalog: sampaga sampaguita jasmine
sawali Old Tagalog: sauali sawali sawali, a woven bamboo mat
tuba Old Tagalog: tuba tuba palm wine
yoyó Old Chinese Ilokano: yoyó yo-yó Chinese yo-yo

See also[edit]


  • "Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua española" by Guido Gómez de Silva (ISBN 968-16-2812-8)