Don’t be confused with these two words – “sawikain” and “salawikain“. They sound almost the same but they have totally different meanings.
Sawikain are idiomatic expressions. They are composed of two or more words that have an entirely different meaning when joined together or hyphenated.
Some examples of SAWIKAIN:
1. Anak-pawis. The literal translation of “anak” is son; pawis” is sweat. The idiom really means “blue-collar worker” to signify sweat and hard work are exerted.
2. Balat sibuyas. It’s the Tagalog translation for “onion-skinned” which means a sensitive person.
3. Makapal ang bulsa. In English, it’s a person with a thick wallet, which means lots of money = wealth.
4. Magaan ang Kamay. In English it’s a light-handed person, which means one who is easily provoked to hit another person.
5. Di makabasag-pinggan. Literal translation is “someone who can’t break a plate” to mean a very demure, gentle or shy person.
More idiomatic expressions or sawikain are found in this website.