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Updated: 6/16/2018


Austronesian Comparative Dictionary


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Mansaka ambawmouse; rat
Tausug ambawrat, mouse
Tolai kabauUromys rufescens, the mosaic-tailed giant rat, usually about two feet in length

rattan:   rattan sp.

Ilokano bogbógkind of very thick, spiny rattan
Isneg bugbúgkind of large rattan, almost useless for binding purposes
Hanunóo búgbugvery flexible yet sturdy vine; used as a cord for spinning tops
Karo Batak bubukstrong hairy creeper, found especially in new-growth forests


Soboyo wahorattan
Nali wahawahlarge rattan sp.
Ere wahawsmall rattan sp.

rattan:   rattan sp.

Tagalog apískind of rattan
Iban apissmall plaited rotan bag for betel (pinaŋ), etc.

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(Dempwolff: *sulaŋ ‘to reach across’)

reach across

Ngaju Dayak sulaŋrepayment, retaliation
Malay sulaŋparticipation or sharing (in pleasure), of princes and warriors of romance having drinks together
Toba Batak ma-nulaŋ-ito feed someone with the hand
Toba Batak sulaŋ-sulaŋfood that is presented or offered to someone

Dempwolff (1938) proposed *sulaŋ ‘to reach across’ based on this comparison plus Javanese sulaŋ ‘impart, communicate’. However, I am unable to find the latter entry in either Pigeaud (1938) or Horne (1974), and the remaining forms are insufficient to propose a reconstruction with confidence.

(Dempwolff: *sikep ‘ready, prepared’)

ready:   ready, prepared

Karo Batak siŋkemin order, ready, prepared; not lacking, complete
Toba Batak sikkopsufficing, sufficient
Old Javanese sikəpequipment, arms, weapons
Javanese sikep peḍaŋsupplied with a sword
Balinese sikepweapon; be armed
Sasak sikəpweapon
Sasak ñikəpbe armed

Based on forms in Toba Batak and Javanese Dempwolff (1938) posited *sikep ‘ready, prepared’. However, the Karo Batak form shows that Proto-Batak had *siŋkeb, which is phonologically incompatible with the forms in Old Javanese, Javanese, Balinese and Sasak, leaving either a comparison with relatively little time-depth, or a loan distribution.

rear:   rear, back, behind

Aklanon bulíʔrear, back
Aklanon ta-bulíʔturn the rear to
Hiligaynon bulíʔanus, buttocks, rear
Palawan Batak buliʔbutt, end; buttock
Cebuano búliʔpenis of man or animal
Maranao boliʔrear, stern, posterior, bottom
Nias furiback, behind; person in the rear; later; closing, termination, end, the last
Sundanese buribehind, at the back
Old Javanese burito follow
Old Javanese wuriback, behind, rear; leaving behind; that which (or the person who) is left behind, trace
Old Javanese anūt wurifollow behind, from behind
Old Javanese ka-wurileft behind, stay behind, in the rear; leave behind, leave unfinished
Old Javanese wury-anthat which is left behind or is left over from, trace
Javanese buriback, rear; later, after awhile
Javanese wuriback, rear; later on, in the future
Javanese ka-wurilast, past, left behind
Balinese buriback, backside
Balinese tut buribe followed by someone

Aklanon, Hiligaynon, Palawan Batak, Cebuano, Maranao and Sundanese, Old Javanese, Javanese, Balinese form two distinct low-level cognate sets. The similarity of these sets to one another and to Nias furi is attributed to chance.


Kenyah balared
Kenyah anak balainfant
Simalur bala, falaembers; red
Dairi-Pakpak Batak bara-baramenses
Dairi-Pakpak Batak embarared (as eyes)
Balinese bahahswollen and red (as a wound)
Komodo warared (?)
Manggarai warared
Rembong waraember; red; small (babies)
Puluwat paŕ, paŕapaŕred

Kenyah and Puluwat are due to chance. Most others appear to reflect *baRah 'ember' or *baReq 'abscess, inflammation'.


Kadazan Dusun agaŋto blush, redden
Javanese abaŋred; ripe (of red produce)

(Dempwolff: *biRaŋ)


Malay béraŋrising anger, fury, passion
Toba Batak beraŋanger, rage, indignation
Javanese wiraŋembarrassment, loss of face, mortification

The Toba Batak word is borrowed from Malay; the similarity of the Javanese form is due to chance.

reiterate:   repeat, reiterate

Maranao oŋkitask for repetition, ask for further explanation
Malay (h)uŋkitrake up, lever up (of picking at old sores and digging up old grievances)
Bahasa Indonesia meŋ-uŋkit-uŋkitbring up old grievances


Sa'a aleleto be jubilant
Arosi arereto be joyful, a word used only in songs
Raga tarereto crow (rooster)

This comparison was proposed by Geraghty (1990:73), who reconstructed *taReRe ‘rejoice’, based on data from only four specific languages: Palauan merrós ‘to crow (rooster)’, Tolai rore ‘to rejoice, be happy, as when joining in a dance’, Nggela ulele ‘triumphant, rejoicing’, and the Sa'a form given here. However, of these only Sa'a alele regularly reflects *taReRe, and the claim that Central Pacific languages reflect Proto-Central Pacific *taē has not been confirmed through independent checking of published sources on Rotuman, Fijian or any Polynesian language.

(Dempwolff: *kucup ‘relationship between the sexes’)

relationship between the sexes

Malay kucupto kiss
Fijian kucuv-ato rape or attempt to rape; to force a woman

Dempwolff (1938) used this comparison to propose *kucup ‘relationship between the sexes’, but it contains nothing to distinguish it from a chance resemblance.

repeat:   repeat, reiterate

Maranao oŋkitask for repetition, ask for further explanation
Malay (h)uŋkitrake up, lever up (of picking at old sores and digging up old grievances)
Bahasa Indonesia meŋ-uŋkit-uŋkitbring up old grievances

(Dempwolff: *sapin ‘replenishment, restoration’)

replenishment:   replenishment, restoration

Tagalog sapínpad, padding
Malagasy safi(ni)a dish cover; an edge, a border

Dempwolff (1938) posited *sapin ‘replenishment, restoration’ on the basis of these two terms, but there is no obvious connection between them, and the Tagalog form is better assigned to PPh *sapin ‘lining, insulation, padding’.

resounding:   dull resounding sound

Itbayaten m-aʔbeŋresounding (of low-pitched tone)
Bidayuh (Bukar-Sadong) abuŋswish of horsefly, gnat; buzz of flies, mosquitos or bees

Probably convergent innovation from a common root *-beŋ₃ 'dull resounding sound'.

(Dempwolff: *sapin ‘replenishment, restoration’)

restoration:   replenishment, restoration

Tagalog sapínpad, padding
Malagasy safi(ni)a dish cover; an edge, a border

Dempwolff (1938) posited *sapin ‘replenishment, restoration’ on the basis of these two terms, but there is no obvious connection between them, and the Tagalog form is better assigned to PPh *sapin ‘lining, insulation, padding’.

(Dempwolff: *adi(q))

result:   yield, result

Tagalog áriʔproperty
Malagasy áryexisted, formed, produced; being
Toba Batak adito rest

Chance. Dempwolff (1934-38) cited Toba Batak adi with the German gloss Ruhm ('glory, renown, fame'), but his source (Warneck 1906) actually gives adi 'ruhen' ('to rest').


Manobo (Western Bukidnon) endudback up, move backwards
Malay undurretirement; retreat; falling back


Itbayaten viliidea of returning or restoring
Itbayaten i-vilireturn, restore, remand
Sangir biliturn around, go back

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rice:   growth stage of rice

Casiguran Dumagat basbasa stage in the transplanting of rice
Dairi-Pakpak Batak basbasflowering of the rice plant before the grain appears

ridge:   edge, ridge

Bontok ʔíŋitgo near the edge, as of a cliff
Chuukese iŋ-edge, ridge

rim:   edge, rim, flat container

Ngaju Dayak tambir-anan annex in either the front or rear of a house
Malagasy tavia washing basin
Javanese tambirwooden or bamboo extension of the deck space of a barge or sampan
Fijian i-tabea small oval basket without handles

This is an example of a type of comparison that is unfortunately rather common in Dempwolff (1938), namely one in which the semantics of forms that would allow a higher-level reconstruction are extremely forced and artificial (the Ngaju Dayak and Javanese forms, which are semantically compatible, cannot safely support a reconstruction, given the longstanding Javanese influence on Banjarese and Ngaju Dayak). Unlike most of the chance resemblances for which Dempwolff proposed PAn reconstructions this one also shows an unacknowledged phonological irregularity, since he cites Fijian i-tabi ‘flat basket’, while Capell (1968) instead gives tabe ‘to hold or carry with the hands under’, i-tabe ‘a small oval basket without handles’.

rind:   peeling, rind

Cebuano pálutpeel skin off; for the skin to get chafed; shave the head bald
Cebuano pálut ságiŋbanana peel (only in certain expressions)
Malay palutenclosed in a rough rind or wrapper, as a jackfruit

Chance. For an alternative etymological connection for Cebuano paflut cf. POc *paro. For an alternative view of the Cebuano:Malay comparison which is now rejected cf. Blust (1970).

rind or peeling

Cebuano pálutpeel skin off (as from an apple); for the skin to get chafed; shave the head bald
Malay palutbe enclosed in a rough skin or wrapper, as a jackfruit

(Dempwolff: *lu[s]aw ‘to rinse off’)

rinse:   rinse wash off

Tagalog lusáwmelted; diluted; liquefied; fluid; liquid
Tagalog ma-lusáwto melt, to become liquefied
Toba Batak maŋa-luso-iclean something by rinsing

Apparently a chance resemblance. Dempwolff (1938) posited ‘Uraustronesisch’ *lu[s]aw ‘to rinse off’ (ausspülen).

rip:   tear, rip

Yami (Iranomilek) bidaŋtear, rip
Buruese bida-hcracked, sprouted; cracked open, as a newly sprouted seed
Buruese fida-hbreak open
Ngadha bizatear up, rip to pieces
Ngadha bhizatorn (as clothing), broken to pieces (as a pot)

rise:   rise (of smoke)

Toba Batak bulbulspiral up, of smoke
Tolai vuvulto rise (of smoke or steam)

rise:   rise (of smoke)

Toba Batak mar-bual-bualrise up, of smoke
Javanese buelbillow upward in clouds
Tolai vualmist, fog, steam; pillar of smoke, cloud; foggy, misty

(Dempwolff: *tanzak ‘kind of ship’s sail’)

rising to a point

Malay tanjaksticking up, of a headdress rising to a point
Javanese tanjakto rise sharply, steeply (as a road)

Dempwolff (1938) reconstructed ‘Uraustronesisch’ *tanzak ‘kind of ship’s sail’ (Name eines Seiles an Schiffen), but no convincing comparison in fact exists.


Isneg bálíwkind of divination practiced by a shaman who attends a sick person
Old Javanese waliritual requisites (offerings, etc.) for ceremonial occasions (wedding, installation, etc.); also: the whole ceremony, feast
Balinese balimake offerings, sacrifice
Manggarai baliconjuring, sleight-of-hand
Tetun balitreat, cure, give or apply a remedy

The Old Javanese and Balinese forms appear to be borrowed from Sanskrit. The resemblance of the remaining items is attributed to chance.

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(Dempwolff: *pulu(rR) ‘roll into a ball’ )

roll into balls

Ngaju Dayak pa-purorbrought together in quantity or heaps
Malay əm-pulurpith [Dpw: wick of plant pith]
Toba Batak pururball of clay that is slung at birds to scare them off
Javanese pulurpith of a tree, soft core

On the basis of this comparison Dempwolff (1938) posited Uraustronesisch *pulu(rR) ‘roll into a ball’ (zusammenballen). However, the divergent semantics of the Ngaju Dayak and Toba Batak forms makes it hard to justify a plausible etymology, and the resemblance of the Malay and Javanese forms is best considered to be a product of borrowing from Malay.

roll together into a ball

Tagalog kibítslight but sudden jerky motion (Dempwolff 1938 gives ‘Runzel’ = ‘wrinkle, pucker’)
Ngaju Dayak kewetthe rising and falling of the chest in breathing
Malay kəbatbinding round; band; wrapper; circlet
Toba Batak mar-hobotto ball together, of clouds
Toba Batak mar-hobot laŋitbe cloudy
Javanese kebet-kebetflap the wings

This is one of many comparisons in Dempwolff (1938) that appear convincing at first sight, but which unravel on closer inspection. His gloss of ‘Zusammenballen’ [make into a ball] seems to be chosen solely from Toba Batak, and completely lacks any kind of comparative support.

roof:   flat roof

Sasak paraflat or level roof
Chamorro fagaslightly sloping roof of house, which is poor for water runoff

Chance. Other comparisons such as *buŋbuŋ(-an) 'ridge pole show clearly that the house in WMP society had a sloping roof.

roof covering

Casiguran Dumagat papaslightly sloping, of a roof that does not have a steep enough slope, so that it leaks when it rains
Tae' paparoof covering, and more specifically one of split round pieces of bamboo

(Dempwolff: *luga(r) ‘sparse, not dense’)

roomy:   loose sparse roomy

Malay loŋgarloose-fitting; loose and shaking (of a that needs a wedge to prevent its wobbling, a kris too small for its scabbard, of breaking up earth
Javanese loŋgarhaving enough room, having leeway
Fijian loŋgasparse, not dense

A product of chance. Dempwolff (1938) posited ‘Uraustronesisch’ *luga(r) ‘sparse, not dense’ (undicht).


Kapampangan bagukfermented foods
Karo Batak barukinfertile
Balinese bahukrotten

round:   round (holes)

Tiruray ʔibudrounded (holes)
Kadazan Dusun ivodbecome round (holes, eyes)

Chance. Despite the striking formal and semantic similarity of these forms the correspondences are irregular (Kadazan Dusun o points to *e, Tiruray u to *u). The Tiruray form shows irregularities associated with Danaw loans, but a cognate word is yet to be identified in a Danaw language (or, for that matter, any other language).

(Dempwolff: *Ta(r)ik ‘round dance’)

round dance

Tagalog pag-talíkartistic movement of the hands, as in folk dancing
Javanese ṭarik-ṭarikset out in neat rows (as corn in a field)

Chance. Dempwolff (1938) reconstructed ‘Uraustronesisch’ *Ta(r)ik ‘round dance’ (Reigen), but nothing of the kind appears to be justified.

(Dempwolff: *tarap ‘row’)


Javanese tarapaligned in rows
Fijian tarato follow, ensue, immediately precede or succeed
Fijian tara-vato follow (as one day after another)

Based on this comparison Dempwolff (1938) posited ‘Uraustronesich’ *tarap ‘row’.

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(Dempwolff: *ujus)

rub:   rub, scour

Karo Batak ugusrub against something
Toba Batak ugusrub, scrub oneself
Sa'a usu, usu-usurub, daub, wipe, grate

Chance. Dempwolff (1938) compared these forms to Tagalog ulós 'wound caused by a pointed instrument; act of striking with a speaŕ and Javanese urus 'affair, matter; to handle, take care of; administer a laxative' under a proposed etymon *ujus.

rub:   rub, scrub

PMic iri irito rub, scrub, grind, erase
Rennellese igi igito complete final polishing of a canoe

rub:   rub, scrub

Itbayaten isʔisscales
Itbayaten isʔis-anremove scales
Pangasinan isísto scour
Kapampangan isísannual, or bi-annual scrubbing of houses
Tagalog isís, isʔísshrub the leaves of which have a sandpaper-like surface; scrubbing
Puyuma HisaHisof animals, to rub the back
Paiwan clisaciissomething rubbed against (tree, where wild pig scratches)

The similarity of Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tagalog is attributed to borrowing from Tagalog. The similarity of these forms to Puyuma, Paiwan and to Itbayaten is regarded as a product of chance.


Asilulu hutagrass, leaves; fallen leaves, rubbish (on the ground)
Tolai butagarbage, rubbish
Kamarian hutagrass, rubbish, weeds

(Dempwolff: *sa(rR)əp ‘refuse, garbage’)


Ngaju Dayak sahepfallen leaves, both fresh and dry (these quickly rot and turn to soil)
Malay sarapdry rubbish

Dempwolff (1938) proposed *sa(rR)əp ‘refuse, garbage’. However, further supporting evidence has not been found, and the status of this form remains in doubt.

(Dempwolff: *tataR ‘rule’)

rule-governed:   orderly rule-governed

Tagalog tátag, tatágestablishment; security; stability; solidity
Ngaju Dayak tatamanner, way, usage
Ngaju Dayak ba-tatacourteoous
Old Javanese tatāarrangement, ordering; fixed order, rule
Old Javanese a-tatāwell-ordered, well-arranged, in the correct position
Javanese tatamanners, good behavior

Dempwolff (1938) reconstructed ‘Uraustronesisch’ *tataR ‘rule’, adding Fijian i-tata ‘order, command’, a form that I am unable to find in any modern dictionary.

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Austronesian Comparative Dictionary, web edition
Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel
2010: revision 6/16/2018
email: Blust (content) – Trussel (production)
D:\Users\Stephen\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\prjACD\prjACD\bin\Debug\acd-n_r.htm

Austronesian Comparative Dictionary, web edition
Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel
2010: revision 6/16/2018
email: Blust (content) – Trussel (production)