List of loanwords in Malay

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The Malay language has many loanwords from Sanskrit, Persian, Tamil, Greek, Latin, Portuguese, Dutch, certain Chinese dialects and more recently, Arabic (in particular many religious terms) and English (in particular many scientific and technological terms). Modern Malay loanwords are now primarily from English, Arabic and Javanese. English is the language of trade and Arabic is the language of religion (Islam), although key words such as syurga (heaven) and the word "religion" itself (agama) reflect their Sanskrit-Hindu origins. Many Javanese words, including those of Sanskrit origin, are being assimilated into Malay because of the influence of Indonesian.

While based on Malay itself, Indonesian is traditionally more influenced by Javanese and Sundanese, as the Javanese are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, with Javanese having the largest number of native speakers. Dutch influence over Indonesian vocabulary also is significant, as the Malay language itself was favored and adopted due to its trading benefit during VOC era over the archipelago, leading to mass loanword and influence over the modern Indonesian language. It is known that at least one third of the Indonesian vocabulary grew under Dutch influence.

There are some words in Malay which are spelled exactly the same as in its other language counterparts, e.g. in English – hospital, format, lesbian, transit etc. In contrast, some Malay words have been loaned into other languages, e.g. in English – rice paddy ("Padi"), Orangutan, rattan, babirusa,[1] cockatoo,[2] compound,[3] gong, tuak, sago,[4][5] cootie,[6] amok, durian, agar, rambutan, keris, Pantoum/pantun,[7] "so long",[8] angrecum (anggrik), cassowary,[9] gingham, caddy, camphor (kapur), Gutta-percha (getah perca), launch, parang, sarong, dammar, gambir.

The Malay language has also heavily influenced the forms of colloquial English spoken in Malaysia, also known as Manglish.

Some examples as follows:

Word English translation From language Word
Abjad alphabet/alefbet Arabic abjad
abolisi abolition Latin abolitia
akta act (law) Latin actus
aktiviti activity English
ad interim temporarily Latin ad interim
Ahad Sunday Arabic al-Ahad
Ahli community, expert Arabic ahlil
Agama religion Sanskrit agama/dharma
Aksara alphabetic letter, key Sanskrit akṣara
Almari cupboard Portuguese armário
almamater revered name for one's university Latin alma mater: wise and nurturing mother
amnesti amnesty, state-granted pardon Latin amnestia
Anggur grape Persian انگور/angur
Angkasa outer space, sky (literary) Sanskrit ākāśa "sky"
Anugerah award, blessing Sanskrit anugraha अनुग्रह "favour"
apam kind of cake or Hoppers Tamil apam அப்பம்
Askar soldier Arabic عسكري /ash'kar
Asmara love, passion Sanskrit smara
Badam almond Persian بادام/badam
Bahasa language Sanskrit, Tamil bhāṣā, pAsai பாஷை
Bahaya danger Sanskrit bhaya भय "risk, peril"
Baki remainder, leftover Arabic baqiyah بقية
Bakti homage, devotion, service etc. Sanskrit bhakti
Baldi bucket Portuguese balde
Bandar port/town Persian بندر/bandr
Bangku stool/chairs Portuguese banco
Bangsa nation, race Sanskrit vaṃśa वंश "lineage, race" - cf. "wangsa"
Bas bus English From the Latin, "Omnibus"
Barat west Sanskrit/Hindi Bharat, the Hindi name for India, which lies west of the Malay archipelago
Bayu (lit.) wind Sanskrit vàyu वायु
Bendera flag Portuguese bandeira
Bendi okra/lady's finger Hindi bhendi हिन्दी/Tamil vendi வெண்டி
Beta I (as used by royalty) the Moluccan dialect[citation needed]
Beca Trishaw Hokkien beh-chia (horse-cart)
Biara monastery Sanskrit bihara
Bidadari fairy, angel Sanskrit vidyàdharī विद्याधरी "fay, sprite"
Bina to build Sanskrit bhinna different, fresh, new
Bihun rice vermicelli Hokkien bi-hun 米粉
Biola violin Portuguese viola
Biskut biscuit English
Bomba fire brigade Portuguese bomba, "pump", or bombeiro, "fireman", lit. "pumper"
Boneka doll Portuguese boneca
Bola ball Portuguese bola
Buat do Sanskrit wuat
Budi reason, virtue Sanskrit boddhi, related to buddhism
Buku book Dutch boek
Bumi earth Sanskrit bhūmi "land"
Cadar bed linen Persian chādar چادر "cloak"
Cawan cup Mandarin chá wǎn () '“tea bowl”
cendana sandalwood Sanskrit candana चन्दन
Cukup enough Mandarin zú gòu 足够
Dacing scales Mandarin tái chèng 台秤
Dakwah sermon Arabic da'wah
Delima pomegranate, ruby Sanskrit dálima दाडिम "pomegranate"
demokrasi democracy Greek demokratia
Dekan dean Portuguese decano
Denda fine, punishment Sanskrit danda दण्ड
Desa countryside Sanskrit deśa देश "country"
Dewan hall Persian دیوان/divan "administration"
Dewi Goddess Sanskrit devi
Dirgahayu "long live" (Dirgahayu Tuanku! - Long live the King!) Sanskrit dirghayu
Dobi Laundry Hindi after the dhobi caste of laundrymen, who used to wash people's clothes in bygone days.
Duka sadness Sanskrit duhkha
Dunia world Arabic dunyā
Durjana evil, wicked, malicious Sanskrit durjana
Erti (Indonesian variant "arti") meaning Sanskrit arta
Falsafah philosophy Arabic (derived from Greek) falsafah
Fitnah slander Arabic fitnah "upheaval, scandal"
forum forum Latin forum
Gajah elephant Sanskrit gaja गज
Gandum wheat Persian گندم/Gandm
Garaj garage English
Garpu fork Portuguese garfo
Gereja church Portuguese igreja
Gratis (mainly in Indonesian usage) for free Portuguese (From Latin) gratis
Guru teacher Sanskrit guru
Had limit Arabic hadd
Halal permitted Arabic حلال / halal
Haram forbidden Arabic حرام / haram
Harta asset Sanskrit/Tamil artta/அர்த்தம்
Hartal strike/civil disobedience Gujarati
Hasta hasta (unit) Sanskrit hásta हस्त
Hina lowly, inferior Sanskrit hīnna
Hisab counting/arithmetic Arabic حساب /hisāb
humaniora humanities Latin humaniora
Huruf word character/letter Arabic Hurf
Ilmu knowledge/science Arabic alm/ilmi
Istana palace Sanskrit ásthána आस्थान assembly/audience hall
Jawab to answer Arabic jawāb
Jelata the masses Sanskrit janatá जनता "community"
Jendela window Portuguese janela
Khamis Thursday Arabic al-khamis
Kaca glass (material) Sanskrit kāca काच "glass, lens"
Kamus dictionary Arabic qāmūs
kantata song Latin cantata
kapal boat Tamil kappal கப்பல்
Kaunter "counter" or "desk" English
kedai foodstall Tamil kadai கடை
Keju cheese Portuguese queijo
Kelas class English class
Kemeja shirt Portuguese camisa
Kepala head Sanskrit kapāla कपाल "skull"
Kerana (Karena in Indonesian) because Sanskrit karaṇena करणेन
Kuli coollies/ port workers English Coolie (itself derived from an Indic language)
Karton carton (classifier for packaging) English Carton
Kartun cartoon (animated movie) English cartoon
Kereta carriage, car Portuguese carreta
Khemah tent Persian/Urdu خیمه/Kheymah
Kuil temple/shrine Hindu koil
Kismis raisin Persian کشمش/kishmish
Kolam Pool of water Tamil kulam குளம்
Kompromi Compromise The pronunciation (lack of the "s" phoneme) suggests that this was borrowed from French (perhaps via Dutch) compromis
Komputer computer English
Koma-koma saffron Sanskrit kuṅkuma कुङ्कुम
Kongsi share Hokkien kong-si 公司
Korban sacrifice Arabic Qur-ban
Kota fort Tamil Kottai கோட்டை
kredo creed Latin credo
Kucai chives Hokkien gu-chai 韭菜
Kuda horse Sanskrit kudda
Kuih cake Hokkien goe 粿
kualitas quality Latin kualitas, through Dutch: kualiteit
Kurma date Persian خرما/Khurma
Lanca rickshaw Hokkien lang-chia "human drag cart"
Lancar launch Portuguese lançar
Limau lemon/orange Portuguese limão
Lobak carrot Cantonese lubba 萝卜/蘿蔔
Longkang drain Hokkien longkang 龙江/龍江
Maaf sorry Arabic Maff
Maha great Sanskrit maha
Makmal laboratory Arabic
Mangga mango Tamil mangkai மாங்காய்
Mani Sperm, semen Sanskrit maṇi मणि "bead, jewel, gem"
Manusia human being Sanskrit manuṣyá मनुष्य
Masjid mosque Arabic masjd
Maya illusion (religious) Sanskrit maya
Mentega butter Portuguese manteiga
Mee/mi noodles Hokkien mi 面
Meja table Portuguese mesa
Melati jasmine (jasminum grandiflorum) Sanskrit mālatī मालती
Merana suffering, wasting away Sanskrit māraṇa मारण "death"
Merdeka rich, prosperous and powerful Sanskrit Maharddhika
Merdu melodious, tuneful Sanskrit mṛdu मृदु "soft"
Mesej message English message
Minggu week Portuguese domingo (domingo means Sunday, "dominus" meaning "Lord" in Latin and "die dominicu" meaning "day of the Lord")
Miskin poor Arabic miskeen
misi mission Latin misi
mitos myth Greek mythos
Muflis bankrupt Arabic mufls
Mula to start, to begin Sanskrit mūla मूल origin
Munafik hypocrite Arabic munafq
Mungkin maybe, perhaps, possibly Arabic mumkin "ممكن" possible
Mustahil impossible Arabic Arabic مستحيل (mustaHiil).
Muzium museum English (Derived from Greek, the "um" suffix is Latin)
Nadi pulse, lifeline Sanskrit nāḍī नाडी "artery"
Najis excrement Arabic njis
Nama name Sanskrit naam
Negara country Sanskrit nagara नगर "city"
Nenas pineapple Arabic Ananas
Neraka hell Sanskrit naraka
nihil nil, nothing, zero Latin nihil
nota bene actually, after look carefully, also Latin nota bene: examine closely
Nujum astrologer Arabic al-njum
Nila indigo dye Sanskrit nīla नील "blue"
Nilam sapphire Sanskrit nīla नील "blue"
Nobat royal ensemble music Sanskrit compound nau-, nav(a)- "nine" + bah "combination" = "combination of nine (musical instruments)"
Nusantara archipelago (esp. the Malay Archipelago) Javanese
oknum authority figure (police, soldier, prosecutor, judge) that perform unlawful or corrupted deed Latin ocnum: name personal
Paderi priest (Christian) Portuguese padre
Pahala divine reward Sanskrit phala
Pahlawan hero/warrior Persian پ‍ﮩ‍لوان /bahlwān
Pancaragam musical band Sanskrit pañca पञ्च "five" + rāga राग "melody/tune/musical note"
Pau steamed bun Portuguese pão (bread). This word is also behind "pau"/"pav" in Indian languages or "bao" 包 in Chinese)
Perkasa mighty Sanskrit prakáśa प्रकाश "enlightened"
Perpustakaan library Sanskrit base word "pustaka" is the Sanskrit word for "book"
Pesta party Portuguese festa
Pasar market, bazaar Persian bāzār بازار
Peta map Telugu/Tamil Paṭaṁ (పటం)(படம்)
Perdana menteri prime minister Sanskrit pradhānamantri प्रधानमन्त्रिन्
Pertama first Sanskrit prathama प्रथम
Pertiwi native soil, motherland Sanskrit pṛthivī पृथिवी/pṛthvī पृथ्वी "Prithvi", mother goddess of the earth
Piala cup (in the sense of a trophy) Persian piyāla (پیاله)
Pita tape Portuguese fita
Puasa fasting Sanskrit upavasa
Puja idolize, worship Sanskrit pūjā पूजा
Pura Hindu temple, city Sanskrit pura city/walled enclosure
Punya possessive verb Sanskrit punya पुण्य merit, deserving
Purnama (of the moon) full Sanskrit root pūrṇa पूर्ण - cf. "sempurna"
Putera prince Sanskrit putra "royal son"
Purba ancient Sanskrit purva/poorv meaning past
Rahsia secret Sanskrit rahasya रहस्य "mysterious"
Raja king Sanskrit rādja
Raksasa monster Sanskrit rākṣasa राक्षस demon
Rasa taste Sanskrit rasa रस
Ratna jewel, gemstone Sanskrit ratna रत्न
Renda lace Portuguese renda
Risiko risk Dutch risico
Roda wheel Portuguese roda
Ronda verb, to patrol Portuguese verb, rondar or noun, ronda
Rokok cigarette Dutch roken "to smoke"
Roti bread Sanskrit rutti
Rupa shape, form, appearance Sanskrit rūpa रूप
Sabda (of Muslim prophets) quote, say Sanskrit śabda शब्द "word"
Sabun soap Portuguese sabão
Sahaja casual, relaxed (e.g. duduk bersahaja "seated casually") Sanskrit sahaja सहज "natural"
Sains science English
Sama same Sanskrit/Tamil samma/samam சமம்
Samseng gangster Hokkien saⁿ-seng 三牲
Sakti miraculous power Sanskrit Shakthi
Salji snow Arabic thalji
Sekolah school Portuguese escola
Seks sex English, from Latin
Selamat safe, well-being Arabic salamat, used for greeting phrases as 'selamat pagi', etc.
Sempurna perfect, complete Sanskrit sampūrṇa संपूर्ण complete(d) - cf. "purnama"
sengsara Suffering Sanskrit samsara
Sepanduk banner Dutch spandoek
Sepatu shoe Portuguese sapato
Serigala wolf Sanskrit śṛgāla शृगाल "jackal"
Seteru adversary, enemy Sanskrit śatru शत्रु
Singa lion Tamil singam சிங்கம்
Sejarah history Arabic syajarah/tawarih
Soldadu (obsolete) soldier Portuguese soldado
stadion stadium Greek stadion (after the running race in the Ancient Olympics)
status status Latin status
Supir (dialectal/Indonesian) driver French chauffeur
Syariah Islamic law Arabic shāri`ah
Syukur thankful Arabic shukr
Syurga heaven Sanskrit swargam[1]
Sistem system English
Suci clean, pure Sanskrit śuci शुचि clean
Suka happiness Sanskrit sukha
Sula to impale Sanskrit śūla शूल stake, spear, pike
Syor recommendation Mandarin shuō 说/說
Suria sun Sanskrit surya
Takhta throne Persian takht تخت
Tali string Sanskrit talli
Tangki tank Portuguese tanque
Tanglong lantern Hokkien tanglong 灯笼
Taugeh bean sprouts Hokkien tao-geh 豆芽
Tauhu bean curd Hokkien tao-hu 豆腐
Tarikh date Arabic at-tārih
Teh O black tea Hokkien tê-o 茶乌/茶烏
Teja (archaic) magnificence, splendor, radiance Sanskrit tejas तेजस्
Teksi taxi English
Teko teapot Hokkien te-ko 茶壶
Televisyen television English, from Greek and Latin
Tembaga copper possibly Sanskrit or Spanish tāmra ताम्र (Sanskrit) or tumbaga (Spanish). The Spanish word rather refers to a copper-gold alloy.
Tempoh period Portuguese tempo (time, in English)
Topi hat Sanskrit tuppi
Tuala towel Portuguese toalha
Tukar to exchange Portuguese trocar
universiti university Latin universitas
Unta camel Sanskrit ushtra
Utama main Sanskrit uttama उत्तम "principal" (adj.)
Utara north Sanskrit uttar(a)
Waktu time Arabic waqt
Wangsa dynasty Sanskrit vaṃśa वंश "lineage, race" - cf. "bangsa"
Wanita women Tamil/Telugu vanithai (Vanita in Telugu, also thought of came from Spanish word Juanita means women)
Warna colour Sanskrit varna
Warta news Sanskrit vārttā वार्त्ता
Zirafah giraffe Arabic zarafah / زرافة

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]