Pinoy – How and Why?

When you hear the term Pinoy, maybe the first thing that will pop into your mind is that they are warm and hospitable.

If you have ever met one, then you know what it means to have a friend like them.

So don’t be surprised when they are always eager to share their meal, whether in your lunch room, or at a party.

They are born of this trait and that makes them one of the happiest people on earth.

They are known to even share not only their meals but their entire home with their guests.

So, why are they called Pinoy, and what does it mean?

Pinoy is an informal contracted and abbreviated designation referring to the Filipino people in the Philippines as well as overseas Filipinos around the world.

Filipinos usually refer to themselves with this designation. The word is formed by taking the last four letters of Filipino and adding the diminutive suffix -y in the Tagalog language.

This was used for self-identification by the first wave of Filipinos going to the continental United States before World War II and has been used both in a negative sense as well as a term of endearment similar to Chicano.

It was initially created to differentiate the experiences of those emigrating to the United States but is now a slang term used to refer to all people of Filipino descent.


Mainstream usages tend to center around entertainment and music which has played a significant role in developing national and cultural identity.

Philippine music impacted the socio-political climate of the 1970s and was employed by both Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and the People Power Revolution that overthrew his regime.


Pinoy was coined by expatriate Filipino Americans during the 1920s and was later adopted by Filipinos in the Philippines.

According to historian Dawn Mabalon, the historical use has been to refer to Filipinos born or living in the United States and has been in constant use since the 1920s.

The earliest known usages of the expression in magazines and newspapers date to the 1920s which included taking on social issues, casual mentions of Filipinos at events, while some are advertisements from Hawaii and from Filipinos themselves.

In the Philippines, the earliest published usage known is from December 1926, in "History of the Philippine Press," which briefly mentioned a weekly Spanish-Visayan-English publication called Pinoy based in Capiz and published by the Pinoy Publishing Company.

In 1930, the Manila-based magazine Khaki and Red: The Official Organ of the Constabulary and Police printed an article about street gangs stating "another is the 'Kapatiran' gang of Intramuros, composed of patrons of pool rooms who banded together to 'protect pinoys' from the abusive American soldados. (Jade Sanchez)

Latest Headlines