• Philip Nino Tan-Gatue

What Is “Makulit” in English?

Updated: Jan 17

Makulit in English

Previously, I had written about how to translate the Filipino word “maarte” into English (link).  This time, let’s move on to another difficult to translate word: makulit.

Once I gain, I crowdsourced my friends with this question.  The initial surveys go this way:

“mischievous”

“annoying”

“incessant pestering”

“importunate”

“pesky”

“persistent”

“obstinate”

“precocious”

Now, once again, there isn’t one single word.  Also there are so many different contexts.

Don't you find such pop up forms "makulit?"

Don’t you find such pop up forms “makulit?”


As pointed out by my friend Rommel Martinez, the word “kulit” in malay means “play”.  Hence makulit has a context of being playful.  Indeed, most people who are described as “makulit” are children.  This meaning of being playful is also used in the sense that people who are “makulit” are also usually the people who repeatedly make jokes or liven up a gathering.  In this sense, “mischievous” can also be used.

However, the majority of people who use the word refer to a feeling of being bothered by repeated action of an individual.  Usually, after a person is turned down, they will persistently try to get your attention or get a favor done.  However, I don’t think “persistent” is the most accurate translation, because persistence can be a positive thing in that one is persistent in working hard to achieve a goal despite failure.  Also, the word persistent does not include the context of making a verbal demand.

“Pesky” and “pestering” has the irritating part, but not the context of making a request.  One can be pestering someone else without necessarily asking for something.  Also, the repeating part is de-emphasized.

The winner for me is: importunate.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.46.16 PM

“Making repeated or annoying requests or demands” – perfect!


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“Importunate” captures the modern, most used, meaning of the word “makulit” – the request or demand part, the persistence, and the annoyance.

#english #makulit #translation

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