Indonesian slang

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Indonesian slang (Indonesian-Betawi: "basa gaul" or "basa prokem"), or informal Indonesian language (Indonesian: "bahasa informal", "bahasa sehari-hari") is a term that subsumes various vernacular and non-standard styles of expression used throughout Indonesia that are not necessarily mutually intelligible. Regional slang from the capital of Jakarta, based on Betawi language, is however heavily exposed and promoted in national media, and considered the de facto Indonesian slang.[citation needed] Despite its direct origins, Indonesian slang often differs quite significantly in both vocabulary and grammatical structure from the most standard form of Indonesia's national language. These expressions are neither standardized nor taught in any formal establishments, but rather function in daily discourse, usually in informal settings. Several dictionaries of "bahasa gaul" has been published. Indonesian speakers regularly mix several regional slangs in their conversations regardless of origin, but depending on the audience and the familiarity level with the listeners.


Its native name, bahasa gaul (the 'social language'), was a term coined in the late 1990s where bahasa means 'language' and gaul means 'social', 'cool' or 'trendy'.[1] Similarly, the term bahasa prokem (a more out-dated name for Indonesian slang) created in the early 1970s means 'the language of gangsters'.[2] Prokem is a slang form of the word préman and was derived from the Dutch word vrijman (English: freeman; lit. gangster).[2][3]

Indonesian slang is predominantly used in everyday conversation, social milieus, among popular media and, to a certain extent, in teen publications or pop culture magazines.[2] For those living in more urbanized regions of Indonesia, Indonesian slang language often functions as the primary language medium for communication in daily life.[2] While it would be unusual to communicate orally with people on a casual basis with very formal Indonesian, the use of proper or 'good and correct' Indonesian ("bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar") is abundant in the media, government bodies, schools, universities, workplaces, amongst some members of the Indonesian upper-class or nobility and also in many other more formal situations.[3]

Indonesian slang has evolved rapidly. This is, in part, due to its vocabulary that is often so different from that of standard Indonesian and Malaysian and also because so many new words (both original and foreign) are quite easily incorporated into its increasingly wide vocabulary list. However, as with any language, the constant changing of the times means that some words become rarely used or are rendered obsolete as they are considered to be outdated or no longer follow modern day trends.[3]


At present, there is no formal classification for Indonesian slang language as it is essentially a manipulated and popularized form of the Indonesian (the national language of Indonesia).

Indonesian is part of the Western Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages. According to the Ethnologue, Indonesian is modelled after Riau Malay, a form of Old Malay originally spoken in Northeast Sumatra.[4]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Indonesian slang language is mostly spoken in urban regions of the Indonesian archipelago. Variations of slang language can be found from city to city, mainly characterised by derivatives of the different local ethnic languages. For example, in Bandung, West Java, the local slang language contains vocabulary from the Sundanese language while the slang found in Jakarta tends to be heavily influenced by English or the old Batavian dialect (i.e. the language of the original inhabitants of Jakarta or Batavia as it was known during the Dutch colonial period). For more information relating to the geographics of Indonesian slang and regional influences, please see "Region Specific Slang" below.

Official status[edit]

Indonesian slang language is not an official language of Indonesia. However, it is a modified form of the Indonesian language and is widely used for everyday communication and in informal situations. Sometimes it is mixed with formal Indonesian in formal situations, except during state ceremonies, business meetings, and sacred prayers. A number of Indonesians sometimes speak a mixture of Indonesian slang and formal Indonesian in everyday conversation and informal situations.


Indonesian slang generally uses the same pronunciation as standard Indonesian, although there are many influences from regional dialects on certain aspects such as accent and grammatical structure. Loan words adopted from foreign languages (especially European) such as English or Dutch are often transliterated according to the modern Indonesian orthography. For example, 'please' is often written as plis. Another closely related phenomenon to arise in recent years is the formation of complex nouns or phrases created using a combination of English and Indonesian (slang) in the one sentence. A prime example of this is the phrase "so what gitu loh!", meaning "who cares?!" or quite simply "so what!" with added emphasis from the phrase "gitu loh". "Gitu" is an abbreviated form of the Indonesian word "begitu" meaning "like that/ such as", while "loh" (also spelt lho) is a particle commonly used in slang or conversational Indonesian to show surprise or instigate a warning. In these cases of combined, interlingual phrases, the original spelling (and quite often the pronunciation) of the foreign word(s) are retained. Hence, the English component of the Indonesian slang phrase "so what gitu loh!" remains relatively unchanged as far as spelling and pronunciation are concerned.


The overall structure of Indonesian slang is not all that different from formal Indonesian, although in many cases sentences are simplified or shortened when necessary. The differences between formal and colloquial Indonesian are most evident in vocabulary and grammatical structures (e.g. affixes).


The structure of the Indonesian slang language is mostly derived from formal Indonesian, however, its vocabulary is a different story altogether. Indonesian slang vocabulary is enriched by a combination of derivatives or loan words/ structures from foreign languages such as Min Nan commonly referred to as Hokkien, English, and Dutch, as well as local ethnic languages such as Batavian, Sundanese, and Javanese. However, in many cases, new words are simply created at random, their origins often quite obscure.

• A large proportion of the vocabulary used in Indonesian slang language was developed from formal Indonesian through several methods,[5] most of which are listed below:

  • Nasalisation of active verbs, shortening the original prefix meN- and adding -in at the end of the word. For example:
    • memikirkan (pikir) ("to think") into mikirin
    • menanyakan (tanya) ("to ask") into nanyain (exclusion of me-), often with a glottal stop between the a and the i, thus nanya'in
  • Adding -in at the end of volitional passive verbs. For example:
    • diajari ("to be taught") into diajarin
    • dipukuli ("to be beaten") into dipukulin
  • Adding ke- at the beginning of non-volitional passive verbs instead of using ter-. For example:
    • tertangkap ("to be caught") into ketangkep
    • terpelèsèt ("to accidentally slip") into keplèsèt
  • Elimination of s or h from a word. For example:
    • habis ("depleted/finished/emptied") into abis
    • tahu ("know") into tau
    • sudah ("already") into udah/udèh
  • Contraction of two or more words into one word. For example:
    • terimakasih ("thank") into makasih
    • jaga iméj ("to safeguard one's social image") into ja'im, with a glottal stop between the a and the i
    • percaya diri ("confidence") into PD or pédé
    • tidak jelas ("not clear") into gajé or gajébo (gak jelas bégo)
    • malas gerak ("lazy to move") into mager
  • Altering the pronunciation of a in final closed syllables to e (Javanese and Sundanese influence). For example:
    • benar ("correct") into bener
    • pintar ("smart") into pinter
    • malas ("lazy") into males
    • segar ("fresh") into seger
  • Contracting a diphthong into a monophthong (monophthongization). For example:
    • kalau ("if") into kalo
    • pakai ("use") into paké
    • sampai ("until") into sampé
  • Addition and exclusion of silent consonants and glottal stops to the beginning/ends of words:
    • pakai ("use") into paké or even pakèk (final -k being a glottal stop)
    • tidak ("no, not") into nggak or ngga or even gak/ga/kaga/ogah/wegah (enggak itself is also a slang word.)
  • Contracting the beginning three letters with the infix -ok- after the first letter (ended with closest consonant if the third letter is a vowel), for example:
    • bapak ("father") into bokap
    • ibu ("mother") into nyokap
    • jual ("sell") into jokul
    • bérak ("defecate") into bokèr
    • bapak-ibu ("Father and Mother") into bonyok or bokap-nyokap
    • siapa ("who") into sokap
    • sini ("here" or "come here") into sokin. This word was popularized by celebrity Gofar Hilman[6]
  • Add the prefix nge- before voiced consonants, or ng- before vowels and k to signify active verbs. For example:
    • ngabarin ("to tell")
    • ngabur ("blur")
    • ngacir ("fleeing")
    • ngadain ("holding")
    • ngakak or ngikik ("laugh out loud")
    • ngalah ("give up")
    • ngalamin ("experience")
    • ngalangin or ngadang ("to obstruct")
    • ngambang ("floating")
    • ngambil or ngentit ("take it")
    • ngasah ("to hone")
    • ngasih ("to give")
    • ngawal or ngawasi ("controlling")
    • ngebul ("evaporate")
    • ngebut ("to go fast")
    • ngecit ("cheat")
    • ngegèbèt or ngejambrèt ("to pick up")
    • ngejelasin ("to explain")
    • ngélák ("avoid")
    • ngelamar ("married")
    • ngelawak ("give a joke")
    • ngelayat ("to mourning")
    • ngeliat ("look")
    • ngelon ("give a hug")
    • ngembang ("expand")
    • ngentot or ngèwè ("having sex")
    • ngerasain or ngalamin ("to feel")
    • ngibul ("to lie")
    • ngikut or ngintili ("to follow")
    • ngilang ("disappear")
    • ngilangin ("remove")
    • ngiler ("drooling")
    • ngimbangi ("balance")
    • ngimpi ("dreaming")
    • ngisi ("fill in")
    • ngising ("defecate")
    • ngiteri ("to turn")
    • ngomong, ngocèh or ngobrol ("to speaking")
    • ngotot ("stubborn")
    • nguap or ngantuk ("sleepy")
  • Reversing its pronunciation or syllable order from another word with the same meaning, for example:
    • éngas (sangé = "horny")
    • jingan (anjing = lit."dog", in this case, it means fuck)
    • nayamul (lumayan = "not bad")
    • ogèb (bégo = "stupid")
    • takis (sikat = "to take something")
    • wolès (selow = "relax" or "take your time", selow is taken from English for "slow")
    • ngab (bang = "older brother")[7][8]
    • kobam (mabok = "drunk")
    • sabi (bisa = "can/be able to")
    • kuy/skuy (yuk/yuks = "let's go/come on")
    • libom (mobil = "car")
    • kané (énak = "delicious/tasty")

• Some words are simply loaned from English, for example:

  • sorry into sori
  • friend into prèn
  • swear into suèr
  • brother into bro
  • sister into sis
  • by the way into btw or bétéwé

• Some words are also loaned from Chinese languages (mainly Hokkien and Mandarin), for example:

  • Angpau / Angpao - means literally 'red packet'. It is used to describe the monetary gift given during holidays or special occasions, such as the Chinese New Year or weddings or birthdays. It is a practice done by Chinese community throughout the world, the banknote/paper money is placed inside a red envelope before it is given out. It can also be used to define bonus payment.
  • Au Bǎn / Aubǎn (stubborn)
  • Bo (no, don't have) - it is often used with another descriptive noun/adjective, for example:
    • Bo Huǎt - means literally "no ability" or can be translated to "no way, no method" or 'I can't' (from English internet slang). It is to express a situation/feeling when you are giving up on something/someone because you can no longer find any way/idea/method/approach to solve something.
    • Bo Kǎm Guǎn ("not sincerely willing to let go of something")
  • Cèng Li / Cèngli ("fair, make sense")
  • Cuǎn (earn, profit)
  • Hǎo Chī into Hǎu Ce / Hǎuce (delicious, tasty) - adopted from Mandarin Chinese word (好吃)
  • Hǎo Chī Shen Jīng Bìng into Hǎu Ce Sên Cin Ping / Hǎuce Sên Cin Ping (extremely/overly delicious) - 好吃神經病 (in Traditional Chinese characters) or 好吃神经病 (in Simplified Chinese characters) - Shen Jīng Bìng (神經病 or 神经病) literally means 'crazy or insane'. It is derived from Indonesian popular slang expression énak gila (from énak "delicious, tasty" and gila "crazy, insane"), translated to Mandarin Chinese version of it yet it is written in Indonesian spelling. Similar to "Shiok" of Singlish.
  • Ho Cīak ("delicious" or "tasty") - adopted from Hokkien language. Hokkien version of "Hǎo Chī" (好吃).
  • Képo ("busybody, nosy person; really curious") - adopted from Hokkien language. It defines a condition when a person wants to know about everything, sometimes to the point that he/she is interfering other people's affairs. It is also used in Singlish as kaypoh and Taiwanese Hokkien.
  • Toké / Tauké ("boss")

• Some words originated from the LGBT community (especially among transvestites) usually adding the nasal-sounded suffix -ong in the end of the base word. This was also an attempt among LGBT community to alter the words to become more "French-sounding", thus sounding more sexy, for example:

  • Déndong from dandan ("to dress up" and/or "apply make-up")
  • Gédong ("big, extra large, monstrous") from Javanese gedhé ("big"). But sometimes also means ged (from gedhé) + dong (from dongo "stupid; silly"), thus meaning " a person who's only big in posture, but have a small brain (stupid)"
  • Grétong from gratis ("free")
  • Hémong ("homosexual") from homo
  • Kléwong ("to ejaculate/cum") from keluar ("out; eject")
  • Lékong ("man, men, male") from laki-laki ("men")
  • Méong (could means either "want" or "sexual activity") - derived from mau ("want") and also the sound of the cat, refer to the moaning sounds during sexual activity.
  • Sékong (homosexual) from sakit ("sick")
  • Sépong - ("fellatio" or "blow job") from isep (formal Indonesian: Hisap) which means "to suck".
  • Tèmpong or tèmbong - ("anal intercourse") from tèmbak ("shoot") and bokong ("ass" or "butt").

• Many words also emerged without following the above rules at all, many of which have their own unique history and/or origin. For example:

  • ABG / Abégé ("teenagers") - Stands for anak baru gedhé, which literally means "a child who has just grown up". The original Indonesian term is remaja "teen".
  • Alay literally means "low-class boys/kids". It comes from the words anak layangan, which means children who hunt the cut-off kites on the streets because they can not afford to buy themselves the kite (layangan). It is often to associate street children with their typical characteristics: smelly, dirty, rarely bathing or brown/ yellowish hair colour mostly caused by spending too much time on the street during the day. In a more modern context, this term also used to describe people (mostly teenagers) that blindly follow the trend, trying to act trendy yet (usually) failing because they overdid it.
  • Anjay, anjir, anjrit, anjas, and many other variations, to express "wow", disbelief, or surprise.
  • Bang jago, used to end any argument in a passive-aggressive and ad hominem manner.[9]
  • Bangsat - ("Bastard") through Javanese. From Min Nan 木蝨/木虱 ((ba̍t-sat, ba̍k-sat) meaning bedbug) It entered Javanese with the same meaning. However in slang, the meaning has been altered to bastard for cursing.
  • Baper stands for bawa perasaan, which means a person who is really touchy.
  • Bèud comes from banget "very". This word has become popular after Indonesia's fast food chain, CFC coined the word bèud on one of their television advertisement
  • Bokèp ("pornographic film") - Originated from abbreviation BF, which stands for blue film. BF is read 'Bé-èf', which in its pidgin form is read as Bé-èp. The word bokèp obtained by inserting infix -ok- in between 'Bé-èp'.
  • Bo'ol - ("anus") - it literally means "anus" or "rectum". Thus the term dibo'olin (passive) means being the receptive partner in anal intercourse, while ngebo'olin (active) means being the penetrative partner. These terms are popular among the LGBT community and anybody who practices anal intercourse.
  • Cabé-cabéan - ("slutty cheap girl"), cabè means "chilli pepper", but this cabé came from the abbreviation of cèwèk alay bisa dièwè, which means 'low'class/lame girl that can be fucked'. The term derived from teen motorbike gang/underground racing subculture where sometimes the ante was the racers' girlfriends (the winner could sleep with their opponent's girlfriend).
  • Camer - from calon mertua "future parents-in-law".
  • Capcus ("let's go") - from cabut ("pull out; get going"), popularized by LGBT community.
  • Caper from cari perhatian literally means attention-seeker (from cari "searching for, looking for" and perhatian "attention").
  • Ciyus - from serius "serious".
  • Cuèk ("to ignore or to take something easy; to be aloof") - Popularized by the Indonesian singer Ruth Sahanaya in her 80s hit "Astaga"; most likely derived from the Malay word cuai "negligent".
  • Cupu ("out of date, not trendy") - Stands for culun punya. Culun itself is slang with the same meaning as cupu. Punya means "have / possess / belonging". It became popular after Indonesia's beverage brand, Pop Ice coined it in their television advertisement in 2007
  • Do'i ("boyfriend / girlfriend") - Originated from the word dia ("him/her") transformed by inserting letter o in the middle and deleting the last letter a. It is later transformed into doski. This word may also stand for do'a ibu which means "mother's prayers", referring to a person's crush as the person's mother's prayers for him/her.
  • Galau or Galo means in a state of dilemma. It is widely used by Indonesian teenagers today. It is usually used to express the state of feeling brokenhearted or when they're feeling uncertain and down.
  • Gèbètan ("crush")
  • GR from gedhé rasa - means literally "having a big feeling". This phrase is used to show that someone has felt something that actually still unclear whether it can come true or not.
  • Ja'im from jaga iméj - literally means "keeping (a good) image"
  • Jayus/Garing "lame, corny"; meant to sound funny, but it is not. Garing originally means "dry".
  • Jebakan Bètmèn means literally "Batman's trap" or "Badman's trap", which means a planned prank or trap
  • Jijay ("disgusting, grotesque") - Originated from jijik. Sometimes used to express a condition of 'utmost disgust'. Used in the phrase jijay bajay or anjay jijay.
  • Jomblo or jombs ("single") - Originated from Sundanese jomblo "unable to sell (the product)" or "unrequited".
  • Jutèk "sassy; rude".
  • Kenti (similar to "dick" or "cock") - from kontol ("penis") with i suffix addition in the end to make it a cute-sounding name.
  • Kimpoi "sexual intercourse", from kawin "to have sex"
  • Kinclong "shiny; good looking".
  • Kutu Kuprèt "bastard"
  • Indog from Indonesian + dog - a term used to discriminate against Indonesian culture
  • Jamèt, an acronym for jablay/janda mètal (prostitute/widow who dress overly provocative but didn't care about their appearance), jajal mètal (metal poseur), or Jawa mètal (metalhead Javanese)[10][11][12][13]
  • Kuproy, an acronym to kuli proyèk (Construction worker).[11][14]
  • Lebay "overacting", originating from the word lebih "more" by imitating how an English speaker would say it.
  • Lèsbiola ("lesbian women") - the word lèsbi camouflaged within the word lès biola ("violin course").
  • Maho ("gay boy, gay man") - derived from manusia homo ("homosexual man").
  • Mèmèk ("vagina") from Sundanese momok ("vagina" in polite form).
  • Matré "materialistic" (abbreviation of materialistik).
  • Miapa or Miapah - from demi apa "for the sake of what?".
  • Ngondèk ("sissy, effeminate") - in the manner of speaking and body gesture, popularized by LGBT community. Derived from bus kondèktur (public bus attendant) that speaks fast on announcing the destinations while doing waving gesture.
  • Nongkrong or Kongkow - from the Javanese word nangkring "hang out".
  • Pédékaté or PDKT means pendekatan, also a combinations of word pédé (from percaya diri "confident") and katé (kata/berkata-kata/berbicara "talk"), literally "to be confident to talk". Used mainly as the stage of flirting or hitting on someone.
  • Putus aja - break up
  • Sekut means afraid, cool, come on, panic. Popularized by celebrity Gofar Hilman.[15]
  • Segedhé Gaban means "very big" in terms of size, lit. "as big as gaban". Gaban comes from the main protagonist of the Japanese Tokusatsu series called Space Sheriff Gavan. The series become hit in Indonesia in the 1980s. But the term itself started appearing in the 1990s, when an approximately 10 meter tall statue of Gavan was erected in Jakarta's theme park, Dunia Fantasi or Dufan for short. Although the statue itself no longer exist, the term remained.[16]
  • Tajir - filthy rich
  • Térong-térongan - the male counterpart of cabé-cabéan, derived from térong (Eggplant), refer to similarity of an elongated-shaped purple eggplant with a penis. Thus the term térong dicabéin means male to female cross-dresser (Transvestite).
  • Tété'èm or TTM is the acronym of teman tapi mesra, which means friend but with more intimate relation. This term hugely popularized by a Ratu music video. It sometimes also associated as casual sex partner or friends with benefits.
  • Tèlmi from 'telat mikir' (Dutch te laat "too late", Indonesian mikir < pikir "to think") - describes someone who is a little bit slow on the uptake.
  • T-O-P B-G-T or top banget means really cool or awesome


Many slang particles are used in the end of a sentence. Usually, these particles do not directly change the sentence's meaning, in the sense that the truth conditions remain the same. However, they can have other effects, such as emphasizing a sentence, or suggesting hesitancy. They can be used to reinforce the social link between speaker and listener.[17]

For example, the sentence Dia datang (she/he comes) could be modified by one of the following particles:

  • Dia datang nih - used as exclamation.
  • Dia datang dong - expresses certainty (She comes for sure), or sometimes obviousness (usually cheekily); dong can be stressed with a long vowel to mean She has to come.
  • Dia datang kok - used to convince someone who might doubt the sentence.
  • Dia datang lah - expresses a high level of certainty.
  • Dia datang lho - could be translated as She comes, you know.
  • Dia datang ah - expresses hesitancy; could be translated as I think she/he comes.
  • Dia datang dooong - expresses hesitancy; could be translated as I wish she'd come or Please let her come
  • Dia datang deng - used to correct what was wrong; could be translated as She came apparently
  • Dia datang deh - used to emphasize that 'finally' the person is coming, or in different intonation and context, it is used to emphasize a condition for proposing a request, for instance in a context of: 'She will come too, so please also come with us'

Particles can also be used to introduce questions. The following examples could both be translated as How could she come?:

  • Kok, Dia datang? - used when the speaker finds the sentence difficult to believe.
  • Lho? Dia datang - indicates surprise or disbelief.

Vocabulary evolution[edit]


  • Kumpul kebo - Lit. means 'water buffalo-style gathering' or 'gather like cattle'. It originated during the Dutch colonial era and was known as koempoel gebouw. Gebouw refers to a building and thus the phrase means to live together under the same roof (as an umarried couple). Confusion has caused this term to be linked with kerbau (buffalo). The slang term for kerbau is 'kebo'. This term basically means that two people in a relationship are living together without being married, i.e. in a domestic partnership/ de facto relationship. To Kumpul kebo in Indonesia is considered immoral and sometimes illicit. For these reasons and also those relating to religion, Asian culture, and general ethics, it is often frowned upon in modern Indonesian society to do such a thing.


The 1980s was the era of bahasa prokem. At this time slang language vocabulary was formed by inserting the infix -ok- after the first consonant of a word, and deleting the last syllable, creating a totally new word. "Prokem" itself is a prokem word, created by adding -ok- to preman and removing the -an.

For example, the word Bapak was broken into B-ok-apak and the last -ak is deleted, and the resulting word is Bokap which, until this day, is used as a slang term for Father.

The word Sekolah (School) was transformed into Skokul, but this word slowly become outdated and by the 1990s the word was no longer used, and changed to Sekul or simply Skul, reminiscent of the English word "school".

Other notable words such as mémblé (ugly, frowning), kecé, (beautiful, good looking) from the words "keren cekali" (very cool), the sentence attribute Nih yé, and the exclamation Alamakjan! all emerged in the same decade.

New Millennium[edit]

Much of the slang language created post-2000 originated from the Indonesian LGBT community. The latest method for transforming a word is to take a different word which has a similar sound. For example, the word mau (want), is replaced with the word mawar originally meaning rose. Despite its creativity and originality, this latest form of Indonesian slang can be quite complicated to understand, even to the native Indonesians themselves. For example: Akika tinta mawar macarena originates from the sentence written in proper Indonesian - Aku tidak mau makan meaning 'I don't want to eat'.

The abbreviations often used to mask insult, such as kamseupay (totally lame) abbreviation of kampungan sekali udik payah (really provincial, rurally lame).

Region specific slang[edit]

Medan slang[edit]

Medan is the capital of North Sumatra Province. Most of the slang from Medan are heavily influenced by Malay, Hokkien and Karo language. For example, "bapa" for "father", "nande" for "mother", "kedé" for "shop", "tutup lampu" for "turn off the light", "buka radio" for "turn on the radio". Another example of Medan slang is by adding "punya" at the end of the sentence. For example, "mobil aku punya" for "my car". They also have the tendency to confuse between e and é.

Jambi & Palembang slang[edit]

Jambi and Palembang slang mostly involves changing the letter at the end of the word with letter 'o'. However, not all words can be modified to include the characteristic 'o', as this rule applies mostly to words ending with the letter 'a'. Sometimes Palembang use shorter-version of word by erase first syllables, like 'segala' in standard Malay-Indonesian to 'galo'.

  • Kito - kita (we)
  • Galo - segala (all, every)
  • Ngapo - kenapa (why or what happened)
  • Jugo - Juga (too)

Another characteristic pattern of Jambi and Palembang slang involves the addition or replacement of the final letter of a word with 'k'.

  • Pulak - pula (too, also, as well)
  • Aek - air (water)

Another classic Malay Sumatran dialect also prevailed in most of Sumatran cities, from Palembang to Bengkulu, Jambi and Pekanbaru. These classical Malay words such as nian is used in Sumatran cities instead of sangat or banget (very).

  • Nian - nian (classical Malay) - sangat (standard Indonesian) - banget (Indonesian slang)

Jakarta slang[edit]

Jakarta including Botabek is the capital city of Indonesia with a population of more than 20 million people. Consequently, such a huge population will undoubtedly have a role in the Jakarta slang evolution. Much of the slang evolved from the Betawi dialect.

Some prominent examples:

  • Ajé (from 'saja') - Only, just, from the Betawi dialect
  • Ayé - I, me
  • Bacot - Talk too much.
  • Bang (from 'abang') - Slang form of address for elder males/ brother.
  • Banget - Very, from the Betawi dialect
  • Bégo (from 'bodoh') - Stupid, from the Betawi dialect
  • Berapa duit? or Berapaan? - How much money/ how much is the cost?
  • Bo'il (with a glottal stop between o and i) - Car
  • Bokap - Father
  • Nyokap - Mother
  • Bonyok - Mother and Father combined, also a slang which means a bruise.
  • Cabé - chili pepper (cabai)
  • Capek - Tired (lelah)
  • Kebon - Garden (kebun)
  • Nyolot - Haughty, arrogant.
  • Doang (from 'saja')- which means only, that's all
  • Émangnya kenapa? - So what? / What does it matter?
  • Gilé! (from 'gila')- An exclamation meaning crazy/insane/obscene, as emphasis to a sentence or phrase.
  • Gua/Gué - I, Me, from the Betawi dialect
  • Jayus (from 'jail, usil') - Ignorant and nosy.
  • Manyun - Someone with protruding lips, usually used to describe when someone is upset.
  • Mécing - From English word matching which means fitting.
  • Busèt - A form of expression which is similar to "Oh My God" or "Alas" or "Holy shit!"
  • Lu/Lo - You, from the Betawi dialect
  • Pengen - Want (ingin)
  • Kondangan - Invitation (undangan), usually a wedding invitation
  • Gan/Agan - Boss, from Sundanese "juragan"
  • Gendut or Gembrot - Fat
  • Gombal - Crazy or, as another term, flirtatious words
  • Sinting - Insane, a freak person.
  • Yo'i - Yes, very cool.
  • Guga - Juga, (also)
  • Ngenlay - Kangen, although "kangen" is slang for rindu.

The following words are taken from Hokkien (Fukkien) Chinese, and commonly used in transactions.

  • Gocap - IDR 50
  • Cepek - IDR 100
  • Gopek - IDR 500
  • Seceng - IDR 1000
  • Cenggo - IDR 1500
  • Goceng - IDR 5000
  • Ceban - IDR 10.000
  • Goban - IDR 50.000

However, many Indonesians of non-Chinese descent do not know the meaning of the transaction words above, probably with the exception of Goceng due to its usage on KFC Indonesia's advertising on their "Goceng" products, in which all "Goceng" menus are sold at the IDR 5000 price range. Sometimes the word "perak", literally "silver", is used to describe small denominations of currency.

Sundanese slang[edit]

In the West Java region, the main place for Sundanese speakers, there are several words or phrases belonging to the slang language. This diversity of slang has its own peculiarities in each region in West Java Province.

Bandung slang[edit]

Bandung is the capital city of West Java province with a predominantly Sundanese culture. The Sundanese language has three levels or forms, namely: high (polite), middle class, and low (impolite). Bandung slang often uses the Low Sundanese pronouns along with the many other Sundanese translations of popular Indonesian.

Some examples:

  • Uing (from aing) - I/me
  • Didieu (from di dieu, actually mean 'here') - I/me
  • Didinya (from di dinya, actually mean 'there') - You
  • Euy - Sundanese particle in the end of the sentence to express excitement and surprise
  • Da - Sundanese particle in the end of the sentence to express certainty and emphasizes the meaning, somehow similar to Japanese "desu".
  • O'on (from Blo'on) or Oneng (from the name of a slow witted character in Sinetron Bajaj Bajuri) - stupid, dim witted
  • Belegug - stupid
  • Aslina - (from word asli 'real', plus a suffix -na) which is mean 'for real'.
  • Jangar - headache

Bogor slang[edit]

Bogor is a city in the province of West Java with the former Kingdom of Sunda Padjajaran, Bogor slang is Sundanese with its influence from Indonesian language and sometimes uses Sundanese with the word pronounced backwards.

Sukabumi slang[edit]

Sukabumi slang the language is a non-standard variety of Sundanese language that is often used in Sukabumi, West Java in the Tipar area, because Widal itself means Tipar.

This Sani or Widal language can also be called slang or slang in the Sundanese dialect, where the pronunciation of the letters in the consonants changes.

For example, the letter G becomes S, J becomes C, and 'ng' becomes 'ny' and so on.

Javanese slang[edit]

These slangs are shared across Central Java and Yogyakarta where Javanese is predominantly spoken. Like Sundanese which are spoken in Bandung, Javanese also has 3 different set of vocabularies, based on the politeness level. Common people usually talk with a mix between low-Javanese, middle-Javanese, and Indonesian. Some non-Javanese residents added their own dialects to the pot, resulting what is called the Central Java slang


Jogjakarta slang is also known as Basa Walikan, literally means 'Reverse Language' [1].

It is a transformation of Javanese, in which Javanese consonants are switched with one another, as shown below:

  • ha na ca ra ka ↔ pa dha ja ya nya
  • da ta sa wa la ↔ ma ga ba tha nga

With the above rules, the expletive expression Matamu! (which literally means: 'Your Eyes!') becomes Dagadu!. The following website automatically performs this transformation: Walikan Translator


Malang slang is inverted alphabetical word (mostly from Javanese and little bit from Indonesian). Commonly known in Javanese as Boso Walikan Malang (Reversed: Osob Kiwalan Ngalam. Meaning: Malang's Reversed language). The slang started appearing sometime in 1949 when the people at Malang's Gerilya Rakyat Kota (GRK meaning City People's Guerilla) needed a form of communication method that is unknown to the occupying Dutch intelligence (Both to the Dutchman, and the recruited natives) while maintaining typical daily conversation. Thus, the idea to reverse Javanese and Indonesian words was born. The goal of the creation of the language is to maintain plan secrecy, prevent leakage of information, and to confuse the enemy.[18] At First, the language was only known amongst the guerillas. Further adding the language's purpose as an identifier wether that person is a friend or foe. But after the Dutch retreated from the city, the language remained and becoming more widespread amongst the people of Malang and its surroundings. In recent years, the technique of reversing words has become more popular nationwide and played a role in creating modern Indonesian slang. Words such as Ngab (From: Abang meaning 'Older Brother'), Sabi (From: Bisa meaning 'Be able to..' or 'Can') or Kuy (From: Yuk meaning 'Let's go') owes credit to Malang's Reversed Language.


Sam = Mas (Older brother. Javanese version of 'Abang' or 'Bang')

Ongis Nade= Singo Edan (the nickname of Arema Cronus F.C.)

Helum= Muleh (Go home)

Ublem= Mlebu (Enter)

Utem= Metu (Exit)

Ojob= Bojo (Husband/Wife)

Oges= Sego (Rice)

Rajajowas= Sawojajar (an area in Malang)

Oyoborus= Suroboyo

Ngalam= Malang

Kera Ngalam= Arek Malang (lit. The kid of Malang. Referring to The People of Malang)

Libom= Mobil (Car)

Nawak Ewed = Kawan Dewe (Your own Friend/s)

Silup= Pulis (Police (Although the Javanese word for police is the same as in Indonesian, Polisi. they altered the word slightly to make it less obvious))


As the second largest city in Indonesia and the capital of East Java, Surabaya uses a rougher dialect of Javanese and has a fairly complete list of its own slang. Javanese language originated from the Central Javanese farmland and by the time it reached the coastal area of East Java, it changed from its original polite form into a more impolite version with the creation or further adaptation of many new 'Javanese-style' words and swearwords.

Pontianak slang[edit]

Pontianak slang is influenced by Malay, Teochew and Dayak and sometimes combined with Hakka. It is spoken in the Malay dialect. These slang varieties are spoken throughout West Kalimantan.

Makassarese slang[edit]

Makassarese slang is highly influenced by the native Makassarese dialect and sometimes combined with Chinese accents. The slang, in the end, sounds more informal and 'rude', as going with the tough image of Makassarese people. The possessive word for you (kamu) has three degrees of politeness: -ta (very formal and respectful), -mu (neutral), and -nu (informal). For example:

  • This book belongs to you → Buku ini punya-ta (the - reads as a glottal stop, which makes it punya'ta. In Makassarese dialect, the apostrophe is sometimes added in written form). Buku ini punya'mu is deemed more neutral, while Buku ini punya'nu is only spoken with very close friends.

Meanwhile, the word for you itself is divided into two, the formal ki and the informal ko.

  • 'Di mana maki' (Where are you now) as opposed to informal 'Di mana moko'. The -ma and -mo derives from the -mi which is often added in the end of words, having various meanings. It is hard to determine when to use mi or not, except to learn it by heart.

Ini mi? -> 'This one?' Biarkan mi -> 'Let it go' Ko sudah belajar mi? -> 'Have you studied?'. Ko derives from the informal Indonesian word Kau, which stands for 'you'. Sudah dimulaimi itu ulangan? -> 'Has the exam started?', literally, 'Has-been started-the exam?'

Ji is also often used in the end of words. Most often, it means 'only', or used to give a more assuring tone to a sentence.

  • Sedikit ji -> 'It's only a little'
  • Tidak apa-apa ji -> 'It's okay'
  • Tidak susah ji soalnya -> 'The problem isn't difficult.'

Di functions more like a question tag, read with a glottal stop at the end, which makes it to be 'dik'

  • Tidak susah ji di?? -> It's not difficult, right?

Aside from that, Makassarese more often speak with a heavier accent, mixing many of the Indonesian words with native Makassar words.

  • Tena ku isseng'i apa maksudnya (or even more complicated Tena ku isseng'i apa massu'na ) -> Literally, "No I understand what its meaning", actually meaning, "I don't understand what it means". In places, Makassarese slangs add -i at the end of words, putting a glottal stop before that. Furthermore, the words tend to be shortened considerably, which makes -nya read as -na and words ending with -d or -t gets its ending replaced with glottal stops. Menyusut (shrinking) becomes menyusuk, and vice versa. Native Makassar people usually reads becak (pedicab) as becat.

See also[edit]


  • Harimurti Kridalaksana (2008). Kamus Linguistik (4 ed.). Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama. ISBN 978-979-22-3570-8.
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  13. ^ Gusmulyadi, Hendry (26 October 2020). "Jamet Artinya Apa Sih? Ini Arti Jamet & Bahasa Gaul Lainnya, Ada Bucin, Ambyar, Gabut Hingga Sekut". Tribun News. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  14. ^ Tysara, Laudia (19 October 2020). "Arti Jamet Kuproy yang Gambarkan Sosok Metal Berpenampilan Seadanya". Liputan 6 News. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
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  16. ^ In Indonesian
  17. ^ "Particles". Bahasa Kita. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  18. ^ In Indonesian:

External links[edit]