The Chabacano Expression 'Mata Hora'

In shopping malls all over Zamboanga city, you might hear people say that what they are doing is ta mata hora. I think by now you've already guessed what this expression means. Mata hora means to while away the time. I'm almost sure that this Chabacano expression was directly translated from the English expression 'to kill time' because there is no similar expression in Tagalog or Spanish.

Here are some sentences using this Chabacano expression:

Chabacano: Cosa tu quiere-quiere hace para mata hora.
English: What do you like doing to kill time?

Chabacano: Anda anay yo mira laptop para mata hora.
English: I'm going to look at laptops to kill time.

Chabacano: Cosa ba bonito hace para mata hora?
English: What's a good thing to do in order for me to kill time?

What about you? Do you use this expression?


  1. Hola de nuevo a todos: Jerome,en espanol existe "matar el tiempo".En una conversacion: "Que haces? Estoy leyendo el periodico,asi mientras espero al profesor,mato el tiempo". El sentido es gastar el tiempo en algo no necesario,por aficion o por transicion a otra cosa.Un abrazo,joaquin

  2. Hahaha, this is a typical slang in Portuguese language. It's quite common to see many people using it every day here in Brazil (and in the other Portuguese speaking countries, of course). Generally we say something like: "Hmm, então, está matando hora?" (Hmmm, so, are you killing the time?). The "ta" (tá, in Portuguese) is also very used in a general way, as it is more easier to use.

  3. Interesting. Maybe the expression "pampatay oras" also comes from English.

  4. Además de "matar el tiempo", "matar horas" existe también en español.