Category: Chamorro Vocabulary

Useful Words to Describe Food in Chamorro

An Array of Fruits

In this post, we will take a look at some useful words you can learn to describe the food you eat in Chamorro. Maybe you’re eating a meal and you want to compliment and describe how some of the food tastes. The following are some basic adjectives we use to describe flavors.

This image illustrates some useful words to describe food tastes in Chamorro.

In English, 5 basic tastes we use daily to describe food are: Sweet, Spicy, Bitter, Sour and Salty.

Here’s how to say and use each of these words in Chamorro:


The Chamorro word mames is used describe something “sweet.” You can use this word to describe fruits or desserts.

Mames i kek.
The cake is sweet.


Pika is the Chamorro word used to describe something “spicy.” You can use this word to say that your fina’denne’ is too spicy, because you added too many chili peppers. If you’re not into spicy, you may want to stay from the Chamorro dish kaddon pika.

Kåo pika i karí?
Is the curry spicy?

Ya-ña si Guadalupe pika na kelaguen.
Guadalupe likes spicy kelaguen.


Mala’et is how you say “bitter” in Chamorro. You use it to describe your coffee or maybe certain vegetables.

Ti ya-ña si Lucio mala’et na nengkanno’.
Lucio does not like bitter food.


Ma’aksom is the Chamorro word for anything that’s “sour” or “tangy.” You may use this to describe citrus fruits or pickled foods.

Ti ma’aksom i fina’denne’-ña.
Her fina’denne’ is not sour.


Ma’asen is the Chamorro word for “salty.”

Bula mampos na asiga un na’yi, sa’ gof ma’asen pa’go.
You’ve added too much salt, because it is very salty now.

Ma’asen i hanom tåsi.
Seawater is salty.

Other Useful Adjectives to Describe Food

Here are more useful words you can use to describe how food tastes, smells, feels and more!

månnge’ – delicious

matå’pang – bland, tasteless

paopao – fragrant

mutong – smelly, stinky

maipe – hot

manengheng – cold

ånglo’ – dry

fotgon – wet

fresko – fresh

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Chamorro Vocabulary for Things Around the House

Kuåtton i Gima’ Siha – Rooms of the House

apusento        bedroom
såla                  living room
kusina            kitchen
kommon        bathroom; toilet (when one uses this word they are referring
to  the room with the toilet)
båñu               bathroom
kusinan sanhiyong    outside kitchen

Kosas i Kuåtto – Things of the Room

gi apusento … in the bedroom
kama / katre      bed
alunan                 pillow
såbanas               blanket
aparadot             dresser, closet for clothes   

gi sala…
sofá        sofa, couch

gi kusina … in the kitchen
kåhon ais    refrigerator (lit. “ice box”)
foggon        stove
hotno          oven
labadot      sink
grifu           faucet
na’yan       dishes
aparadot na’yan    pantry, cupboard

gi kemmon … in the bathroom
påppet etgue / påppet kommon**    toilet paper
espehos    mirror

Otro Palabra – Other Words
luga        wall
kisåme   ceiling
åtof        roof
bentåna    window
satge        floor

Betbo Siha – Verbs

maigo’        sleep
fakmåta     wake up
fa’tinas       to make, to cook
na’gåsgas  to clean
båli             to sweep
lampaso   to mop
fa’gåsi        to wash
arekla        to fix, to arrange

Chamorro House

Names of the Rooms in a Chamorro House

Cultural Notes

The kusinan sanhiyong, or outside kitchen, is a common and significant feature of Chamorro homes. The kusinan sanhiyongis a necessary addition to all Chamorro homes for the reason that the traditional kitchen inside lacks the space required to prepare huge quantities of food. A typical Chamorro household will often be required to prepare food for a fiesta, a lisåyu*, or regular gupot** like birthdays or christenings. Preparing food in large quantities takes a significant amount of labor, and oftentimes this requires the help of many family members.

* a rosary
** a party

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How to say “beautiful” in Chamorro?

beautiful beach

“Beautiful” in Chamorro

When saying that someone is beautiful, you would say bunita for females and bunitu for males.

beautiful, pretty, lovely


NOTE: The word bunitu , from Spanish bonito, is often used as a general term to describe things as beautiful or pretty. When saying that a performance or movie was great or nice, it is often referred to as being bunitu. Chamorro musician K.C. DeLeon Guerrero’s sings how the day is beautiful in his song Bonito na Ha’ane.

Usage examples:

Bunita na palao’an si Maria.
Maria is a beautiful lady.

Bunitu na movie i Braveheart.
Braveheart is a good movie.

Bunitu magagu-ña si Denise.
Denise has pretty clothes.

“You’re beautiful” in Chamorro

Bunita hao.
You are pretty.

Bunita hao na palao’an.
You’re a pretty woman.

Bunita si Maria.
Maria is pretty.

Gof bunita hao.
You’re very pretty.

Na buninita hao.
You’re so pretty.

When describing places or settings, you can also use  gefpå’go, which means the same thing as bunitu. The word itself tends to be used to describe places and things.

Gefpå’go na tåno’ iya Sweden.
Sweden is such a beautiful land.

Ya-hu iya Hawaii, sa’ gefpå’go na lugat.
I like Hawaii, because it is a beautiful place.

Gefpå’go mampos i tinige’-ña si Dolores.
Dolores’s writing is too beautiful.

Gefpå’go na lugåt iya Hawaii.
Hawaii is a beautiful place.

The word atånon means good-looking or attractive. The word is rooted in the word atanmeaning “to look”, and the suffix -on, meaning “to be capable of”. So literally, the word atånon means “capable of being looked at”, implying that something or someone is “pleasing to the eye.”

Atånon na taotao si Juan.
Juan is a good-looking man.


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Ways to say “Yes” in Chamorro

When it comes to speaking Chamorro, most language resources will only include how one should say something. And so this is true for the Chamorro word for “yes”. Most books or even online resources will offer only the formal way to say “yes”, which is hunggan.

While there’s nothing wrong with saying hunggan all the time, a lot of Chamorro speakers tend to use the casual forms of yes in everyday conversation.

The most common response you’ll hear in a conversation will be hå’å, or its variants å’å, ha’a, or a’a. It would be like say yeah or yup.

Another way to say yes would be to say hu’u or u’u. While some speakers may use this as their default, casual response, there are some who interpret and use this to suggest irritation, as in  “Yes, (I heard you!)” or “Yes, (I get it, no need to repeat yourself!)”

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What does “dalai” mean?

What? Dalai!

The expression dalai

The Chamorro word dalai, pronounced dah-lie with stress on the “da”, has no equivalent in the English language. It is an expression used to convey disbelief that something is true due to some existing knowledge about the subject or situation.

Example Sentences

Most of these sentences are completely in Chamorro, while the last few I’ve included to show how Chamorros speaking English continue to use this as it’s an important part of Chamorro conversation.

Dalai ya ti siña un hatsa i lamasa. 
I can’t believe you can’t lift the table.
(You have muscles and look strong! / The table is so small/light/etc.)

Dalai ya ti ha tungo’ manu na gaige Safeway.
It’s unbelievable he doesn’t know where Safeway is.
(He’s lived here for how long? / Safeway is so close to his house!)

Dalai na dinidide’. 
I can’t believe how little.
(Who would be so stingy? / But he has lots!)

Dalai ya ti mafatto si Joe. Ti chågo’ i tenda.
I can’t believe Joe hasn’t arrived yet. The store isn’t that far.
(Joe went to a nearby store and is taking a while to return.)

Denise said she can’t come to the party? Dalai! She doesn’t work tomorrow.
(It is unbelievable because maybe Denise only refuses to go out when she has work the next day.)

Dalai! You cooked so much food!
(You are shocked because you know how many people need to be fed and how much food there is.)

Examples in Chamorro Music

This is Johnny Sablan’s song Dalai Nene. Johnny Sablan is a well-known recording artist from the island of Guam. Part of the song goes:

Dalai nene, ya ti un siesiente, i manaddong siha na inigong?
How is it, baby, that you don’t feel (all) the deep groanings?

Have a question? Email webmagas@chamoru.info.

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