The Chabacano Embesti

This word is spelled as envisti in Camins’ Chabacano dictionary. He defines it as: to stand up to a challenge.

This word is used in several different contexts. An older brother can tell his younger brother: ta embesti ya vos conmigo? He might also say: sabe ya vos conmigo embesti? This usage is a bit difficult to explain to non Filipinos. To those who speak Tagalog, this is equivalent to sumasagot ka na sa akin or marunong ka nang sumagot sa akin?

To some extent, this word can also mean to revenge. When kid A punches kid B, the mother of kid B might say to him (kid B): no mas ya embesti.

The reason why I spelled the word as embesti is because I have an inkling that this word came from the Spanish embestir. The Spanish embestir means to attack, assault, or assail. I can picture out Spanish army officers commanding an indio foot soldier: embiste, embiste!

This word can be pronounced in many ways: imbesti, embisti, and imbisti. I don’t believe I have heard anyone say envisti though (with an n).

This word is curiously not found in Rolando Arquiza Santos’ more recent Chabacano dictionary. He might have spelled the word differently than what I imagined which possibly made me miss finding this word in his dictionary.

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