President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected officers of the League of Provinces of the Philippines at the Malacañan Palace on Aug. 6, 2019.
King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo
Fake, corrupt and crooked? Palace disagrees with Urban Dictionary's definition of 'duterte'
Alexis Romero ( - August 20, 2019 - 4:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Tuesday sought to counter the meaning of "duterte" in a crowdsourced online dictionary, where the president's surname was defined as fake, scam, and treacherous, among other negative words. 

The definition of "duterte" was uploaded last month by an internet user in the Urban Dictionary, which posts definitions of slang words based on votes it gets from volunteer editors.

READ: Bongga! What having Philippine English words in the Oxford English Dictionary means

"Duterte" as a verb was defined as "to scam, trick, con, or use unscrupulous means to an end; to betray." As an adjective, it was defined as deceptive, sly, fake, corrupt, crooked; treacherous; of low quality."  

The word, as a noun, was defined as "a scam, sham, or rip-off; a traitor." Another Internet user went as far as defining "duterte" as "that leftover sh** that you wipe off your anus after pooping." A neutral user of the website defined it as "a colloquial word for anything that relates to Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte."

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the definitions of "duterte" are "exact opposites" of the traits of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

"Well, if that dictionary definition refers to the president, then we have our own definition of the man which is exactly the opposite of what that dictionary means," Panelo said in a press briefing.  

"'Duterte' to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things...and other synonymous terms," he added. 

READ: Duterte touts 'another Marcos' as cure for corruption

Panelo suspects anti-Duterte groups may be behind the negative definition. He admitted that he has not heard of Urban Dictionary before. 

"We do not even know if Duterte refers to the president or to the family’s name," the presidential spokesman said. 

READ: Duterte to rise, fall on issue of corruption

Pressed what he would do if the definition indeed refers to the president's surname, Panelo replied: "I’ll make my own dictionary also with that kind of meaning."

"We will say that for us, the meaning of 'duterte' is the opposite," he added. 

It was not the first time a president's name was given a negative meaning online. 

READ: 'No sacred cows': Duterte renews vow to fight corruption

During the time of former President Benigno Aquino III, his nickname "Noynoy" was used to denote inaction on important matters. According to Wikipedia, "Noynoying" involves "posing in a lazy manner, such as sitting idly while resting their heads on one hand and doing nothing."

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with