Pinoy – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to identify a Filipino man? You could say he is a “Pinoy.” Is this a derogatory term? Can you get in trouble for calling a Filipino person a Pinoy or Pinay? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this moniker.


The word “Pinoy” is an identifier for a man of Filipino descent. The person could be living in the Philippines or abroad, but one or both of their parents are Filipino, and they identify as Filipino.

It’s uncommon for Filipinos to refer to themselves as Pinoy or Pinay because they see it as a derogatory term. If you see a Filipino person, it would be rude to call them a Pinoy or Pinay to their face. “Pinay” is the female version of Pinoy.

Example Usage

“Did you know that Filipino men are called ‘Pinoy,’ and the women ‘Pinay?’ It’s a strange difference to the standard Filipino.”

“If you’re saying you’re a Pinoy, then you identify as a man from the Philippines. I thought you were from Malaysia?”

“We are a proud people. The Filipinos are resourceful and hardworking. I call on Pinoy and Pinay across the nation to lift themselves up out of poverty and make more of their opportunities in life.”

“The Filipinos don’t refer to themselves as Pinoy and Pinay people. Don’t call them that because they don’t like foreigners misappropriating their culture.”

“People from the Philippines are called Pinoy or Pinay, not Filipinos. It’s strange, but who are we to judge.”

“I knew this Pinoy guy once. He told me he was Manny Pacquiao’s cousin, but I didn’t believe him.”

Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest boxers of all time. He’s a Pinoy, and he’s also heavily involved in politics during his retirement.”


The word “Pinoy” originates from the first wave of Filipino immigrants arriving in the United States before the onset of WWII. The word has pejorative use, and it suits use as a term of endearment, with a similar use to the word “Chicano” for people with Mexican or Latin heritage living in the United States.

Many Filipinos regard the words Pinoy and Pinay as derogatory since they didn’t invent the term, which was bestowed upon them by US immigration authorities. Both Pinoy and Pinay are terms with global recognition, and they are mainstream identifying terms for Filipino people.

The most common use of the term appears in the music and entertainment industry, where the words became identifiers that built the Filipino culture in the global community. Pinoy music was an important part of the inspiration behind the 1970s socio-political revolution, where the People Power Revolution overthrew the regime of Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos.

Phrases Similar to Pinoy

  • Filipino.

Phrases Opposite to Pinoy

  • Pinay.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Pinoy.

Ways People May Say Pinoy Incorrectly

So people may use the word “Pinoy” to describe Filipino women. However, you would use “Pinay” to describe women, not Pinoy.

Using “Pinay” when addressing a man or vice versa could be highly offensive and land you in trouble with the other person if they think you are doing it intentionally.

Using Pinoy or Pinay to describe people from other southeast Asian countries is incorrect. Some Filipino people may find the term offensive, so it’s best to avoid using it.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Pinoy

You can use the phrase “Pinoy” when referring to people from the Philippines. The expression is regarded as racist by some Filipino people. Since they didn’t create the term and received it as a label, some may find it offensive, and you’re best not to use it to address Filipino people.

The phrase can apply to people born in the Philippines or people that have Filipino parents and identify as Filipino. It can also apply to people identifying as Filipino with one Filipino parent.

You do not have to live in the Philippines to be a Pinoy or Pinay, but you must have some heritage in your bloodline to identify with the Pinoy or Pinay culture.

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