Must be fate then. Read on.


Random Tagalog Lesson No. 3: “Gigil”


The Tagalog word “gigil” is becoming popular in large part because it’s been included on lists of words that have no English translation such as this. This list defines it as “the urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.” Because of that, it has also been featured on Quora through this post. The random Tagalog lesson I offer now will teach you how to actually use the word.

One realization I had when I teach foreign friends Tagalog is how hard the grammar is. Practically all Tagalog root words can be made into a noun, a verb, or an adjective—depending on the suffix used. The word “gigil,” for example, will have many conjugations to show tense and situation.

Let’s start with arguably the most useful word in the case of “gigil.”


Nakakagigil = [adj.] used to describe a person/object/situation that evokes the gigil in the speaker

Examples (and rough translations):

  • “Ang cute! Nakakagigil!” = “So cute! Makes me gigil!”

Usually used when the speaker encounters an especially cute baby/puppy/kitten/or any other object of unbearable cuteness

  • “Nakakagigil si Piolo! Ang guwapo!”*

May also be used to refer to men who are extremely cute. Yes, “guwapo” is from the Spanish word “guapo.” Yes, they mean the same thing. This is often accompanied by shrieks if not outright hysteria.


Now we tackle the verbs. There are two sets of verbs for “gigil.”

Tenses When subject does the gigil (for lack of a better term, I shall call this subject-focused) When object causes the gigil (I shall call this object-focused)
Present Nanggigigil Pinanggigigilan
Past Nanggigil Pinanggigilan
Future Manggigigil Panggigigilan


Fair warning, this can be tricky. I will put examples of the subject- and object-focused sets side by side so you can compare.



“Nanggigigil ako kay Piolo.”     //     “Pinanggigigilan ko si Piolo.”

Though both mean essentially “I gigil over Piolo,” the subject “ako = I” in the first sentence is the focus as the one doing the gigil over Piolo. The second sentence, however, focuses more on the object (or the receiver) of the gigil, making the sentence effectively mean “Piolo is the object of my gigil.”



“Nanggigil ako kay Piolo.”     //     “Pinanggigilan ko si Piolo.”



“Manggigigil ako kay Piolo.”    //     “Panggigigilan ko si Piolo.”


And then there’s the noun: panggigigil

  • “Ibang klase yung panggigigil niya.” = “His gigil is quite different/extraordinary.”
  • “Panggigigil ba yun?” = “Is that gigil?”


Finally this, which I don’t even know how to classify:


  • “Hayaan mo na siyang manggigil.” = “Let him/her gigil.”

Possibly to allow the person to allow the “gigil” to run its course.

  • “Grabe ka pala manggigil.” = “You gigil terribly.”

This is usually used to express surprise at the (extreme) manner of gigil shown, [not necessarily negative].


Please note that although “gigil” is usually used as defined above, there are also instances when it means an intense feeling of dislike. You will know when this is the case through context and tone of voice.

  • “Nakakagigil ka na ah.” = “You’re already making me gigil.”

When an especially unruly child causes the parent to lose his/her temper. Usually said through gritted teeth.

  • “Nakakagigil! Ang bagal!” = “Makes me gigil! So slow!”


And you thought Spanish conjugations were bad.**


*I do not particularly find Piolo nakakagigil but apparently, many do.

**There are actually a few more conjugations:

  • pampagigil = [n.] an object/situation intentionally to be used to provoke gigil
  • pagigilin = [v.] usually used to order someone to make someone else gigil
  • pagigigilin = [v.] future tense; to cause someone to gigil
  • kagigil-gigil = [adj.] to describe a quality of an object/person/situation that evokes gigil

I won’t be surprised if I left out a few more.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.