Salamat in Filipino means “thank you”.

In the Arabic form, the word is in the feminine plural salāmat سلامت from the singular salāmah . Salamat in Arabic is equivalent to peace and blessings (a greeting or plural greeting). In Hebrew, סלמאת is slang for "Goodbye".

It says “Salamat is equivalent to the greet to peace and blessings”, in other words in expressions like “ As-salamu alaykum (Arabic: ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ‎, as-salāmuʿalaykum) “ which is basically “Greetings/blessings be with you”. In most Arabic cultures, they use “Shukran” when thanking someone. It comes from the root verb “شكر” “shakara” meaning “to thank”.

I am just wondering how the Filipinos managed to adopt the form of “salamat” to mean “thank you”.

  • I don't know where you found the indented text, but "feminine plural salāmat سلامت from the singular salāmah" is total nonsense. salāmat and salāmah are two spellings of the same word. They are both singular.
    – fdb
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


It's only in some languages including English that saying “thank you” means “I express gratitude to you”. In many languages something like “be thou blessed” is said instead. For example, in Russian “thank you” is спасибо (spasibo) [spɐˈsʲibə] which is actually a contraction of спаси Бо[г] meaning “save (you) God”.

Arabic سَلَامَات‎ (salāmāt) is plural of سَلَامَة‎ (salāma) “good health”. Generally speaking, there is nothing strange to say “blessings!”, or “good health to you!” or “God save you!” instead of “I appreciate you”, so why wouldn't Filipinos do that? Besides, since those phrases are actually ritual, there's no great difference in what you actually say for something good done to you, the point is to show your respect for that in a way the surrounding culture accepts.

Compare “thank you” in some other languages and note what different things it can in fact mean:

French: merci /mɛʁ.si/ “mercy, grace”, from Middle French merci, mercy, from Old French merci, from Latin mercēdem, accusative singular of mercēs (“wages, fee, price”)
Tibetan: ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ (thugs rje che) from ཐུགས་རྗེ (thugs rje, “compassion”) +‎ ཆེ (che, “great”)
Mongolian: баярлалаа [pairˈɮa] “rejoice”
Turkish (formal): sağ olun from sağ “right, alive, healthy” olun “be you”
• Moroccan Arabic: برْكة الله فيك‎ (bərka llæh fik, literally “God bless you”), الله يبرْك فيك‎ (llæh ibərk fik, literally “God bless you”), الله يرْحم وليدك‎ (llæh irḥəm wəlidək, literally “God have mercy upon your parents”)
Cebuano: salamat
Hiligaynon: salamat

  • The problem is; in English to be blessed and to show gratitude are not the exact same thing, to be be blessed like in the arabic meaning means more like “be healthy; prosperous; wealthy”, I appreciate you / I’m showing gratitude to you has a slightly different nuance to that in modern times. I would expect something like “be thou blessed” to be an inexplicit way of thanking someone in the olden times. I’m thinking more of an Indonesian or indo-malay influence (arabic culture) on the language of the Philippines, as it is an austroneasian language.
    – Ere
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 9:40
  • 5
    @Ere - Again: since those phrases are actually ritual, there's no great difference in what you actually say for something good done to you. Nobody actually thinks about what those thanksgiving phrases actually mean. In Soviet Union where all religion was actually banned from public life, nobody cared to substitute the Russian спасибо for something less religious, because nobody cares and nobody pays attention to how gratitude is expressed, you either express it or not, that's all.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 9:44
  • 1
    I appreciate your answer but since there is no data or supporting evidence to go with it; from a linguistic point of view - I’d say it is based on speculation.
    – Ere
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 9:45
  • you can “thank” someone but not appreciate or be greatful for it and vice-versa. It is essentially a nicety in the former.
    – Ere
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 9:54
  • 4
    @aesking - OP is looking for an etymological relationship, but wrote the etymology of selamat in the question? The etymology is clear, the question is about why selamat meaning “good health” in Arabic came to mean “thank you” in Filipino. In my answer, I explain the connection and cite other languages in order to show that “thank you” can be expressed in very different ways, not necessarily including the words for gratitude.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 12:21

It makes sense to think that SALAMAT is an expression inherited by Filipinos from that time when arabic -islamic driven expressions were common in Luzon. It's like the spanish expression Ojala (May God want) inherited from the muslim occupation of Spain before the 1400's.

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