Origins of the Chabacano Custipao

The word for a common cold in Chabacano is custipao. Have you ever wondered where this word came from?

The Chabacano word custipao has its beginnings most probably in the Spanish language. There are different ways to say to have a cold in Spanish. The most common are estar resfriado and tener catarro. In Chabacano, we use the word custipao. The original word is constipado (or constipao). Estar constipado also means to have a cold in Spanish. This however, becomes estoy constipao with some groups of people who drop the d in -ado words (eg. quemado becomes quemao, etc).

I know it sounds like being constipated but then again, your nose is constipated when you have a cold. Although Spanish has a different word for constipated (as in you’re having difficulty removing bowel) and it is estreƱido. That word though is only used by older Chabacano speakers. I remember using the word constipao on my friend when I told him that I have a cold (instead of custipao) and he thought that I was constipated.

Anyway, here are some examples on how we use the word custipao in Chabacano.

Chabacano: Tiene (Chene) yo custipao.
Spanish: Estoy constipado.
English: I have a cold.

Chabacano: Cosa yo necesita toma para sapa mio custipao?
English: What (medicine) do I need to take to get rid of this cold?

It is also very probable though that the word custipao is of Portuguese origins. We all know that Chabacano began in Ternate, Cavite and based on history books, that town was populated by people who came from Ternate, Indonesia which was a Portuguese colony. Although we have to consider that the Spaniards had a greater influence in the country and it is not unknown that in Spanish, words that end in ado like quemado become quemao.

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