Gigil refers to the trembling or gritting of the teeth in response to a situation that overwhelms your self-control. It’s been commonly described as an irresistible urge to squeeze something cute.

When a Filipina sees a cute baby, she feels a barely controllable desire to pinch the baby’s cheeks and has a hard time controlling herself. What she’s experiencing is called panggigigil.

Nakakagigil talaga ang bata.
That child is so frickin’ adorable! (So cute I have to grit my teeth to keep myself from pinching his cheeks off.)

Nakagigigil ka. / Nakakagigil ka.
You’re so frickin’ cute I can’t help myself.
You’re so frustrating I can’t help myself.

* It is not necessarily cuteness that provokes this response. Sometimes, when you get frustrated with someone, you can have the gigil reaction to the person as well.

Having a hard time controlling oneself because of frustration.

Nanggigigil ako.
I am having a hard time controlling myself because of cuteness, etc.

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