Malay & Tagalog Words

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Asian loan words in English

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni

Asian Loan Words

Words derived from:

Malay (Malaysia and Indonesia)

  • amuck (or amok)
  • batik
  • cockatoo, from Malay kakatua, via Dutch.
  • gingham, borrowed from Malay into Dutch (ginggang), and from Dutch into English.
  • gong
  • ketchup, from kicap, meaning "fish sauce."
  • launch, a type of boat.
  • orangutan, from orang, meaning "man" and hutan, "wilderness, jungle."
  • paddy, from padi, meaning "rice, rice field."
  • rattan
  • sarong

Tagalog (northern Philippines)

  • boondocks, from bundok, meaning "mountain." During the U.S. occupation of the Philippines, the word was adopted by American soldiers, who used it to refer to any far-off or wild place. Later it passed into the general vocabulary.

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