FILIPINISMS: Language Felonies Pinoy Style is a category for those peculiar ways Filipinos use the English language. Here's one of them.

The Ocular Inspection

How many times have you heard this term? It's also sometimes phrased as Ocular Visit. We've heard it so many times that it has started to sound right. But, think about it - what does ocular mean?

Ocular refers to the eye. Visit to verify. So when your HR Coordinator says he's going to a junket er uhm ocular visit to some resort your company is considering as a venue for the summer outing, you better tell him to leave his ears, tongue, nose, and epidermis in the office. He's not going to need those. Because he's only going for an ocular visit. He can only look. He cannot smell, touch, or hear. And a taste test of the resort's cuisine would also not be possible. Because it's only an OCULAR visit.

I don't know when, where, how, or why this term started being used and how it became popular. And we don't have to maim or poke the eyes of the person who started it all. But we can stop using this rather silly term and say instead, "We, (meaning you and the cute office practicumer - another Filipinism) are going to take the day off from our boring desk jobs to visit Ragged Rock Resort to check out the place for our company outing." That means you don't have to leave your other sense organs on your desk.

And your boss will say, "Ah magoocular kayo. Wear sunblock!"

Image borrowed without permission from:


  1. Ed Ebreo said...
    I googled "ocular visit" and "ocular inspection" and guess what. The top search results are from Filipino sites. The other search results for ocular inspection refer to tools for examining the ear...NOT!

    Anyway, I just had the thought that this expression becomes part of Filipino English, just like some Australian English cannot be understood by Americans. Maybe eventually the Americans will catch up and use ocular inspection to mean check out the place. :)
    gege said...
    Well, when Australians say Barbie to refer to barbecue, that's not very far off. But ocular just seems very wrong and limiting to me.

    But if the point is to be understood in the Philippine context, then the term would do. I just don't like it.

    I'm all for a dynamic, evolving language, but I'm not voting for this meaning variation to be plugged into Merriam Webster just yet. But that's just me. :)
    Ed Ebreo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Ed Ebreo said...
    Its probably going to miss the Meriam and Webster train by a thousand of miles. its most likely to be included in the English-Tagalog-Cebuano Dictionary... or other dialects, i don't want to discriminate
    American Institute for English Proficiency said...
    Thank you for this post. I have heard this from my real estate agent: Let's have an ocular inspection. They also say, "Let's have a viewing of that unit today."

    A viewing? Did that unit die?
    blackbody said...
    Agreed. "Ocular inspection" is redundant, tantamount to saying, "We're going to look at the place with our eyes". Sheesh!

    By the way, Gege, your font color for this article is black. I had to highlight the text to read them.

    I also think that eyeballs picture is so gross. :P
    Charlie Rivera said...
    I suspect it's because 'Ocular Inspection'sounds so darned official. Instead of just staring mindlessly at something, if government does it, it's an ocular inspection.
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