List of English words of Indonesian origin

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The following is a partial list of English words of Indonesian origin. The loanwords in this list may be borrowed or derived, either directly or indirectly, from the Indonesian language. Some words may also be borrowed from Malay during the British colonial period in British Malaya, or during the short period of British rule in Java. However, unlike loanwords of Malay origin, some of these loanwords may be derived from languages of Indonesia such as Javanese.

Examples of English loanwords of Indonesian origin are those related to Indonesian culture and artforms (e.g. angklung, batik, kris and wayang), as well as words used to describe flora and fauna endemic to the Indonesian archipelago (e.g. babirusa, cockatoo, orangutan and Komodo). Other recently adopted loanwords include food related terms (e.g. agar and tempeh) and specific volcanology terms (e.g. lahar and ribu).


Plants and trees[edit]



Clothes and textiles[edit]

Musical instruments[edit]


  • Junk from jong
  • Proa (also 'prahu' or 'prau') from prahu (Javanese) or perahu (Indonesian) (via Portuguese Proa via Latin Prora).


  • Kris from keris (Javanese)
  • Parang
  • Sjambok from cambuk in Indonesia, where it was the name of a wooden rod for punishing slaves

Person name[edit]


  • Catty from kati, ultimately derived from Chinese unit
  • Picul: traditional Asian weight unit, derived from Javanese pikul
  • Ribu: topographic prominence unit of mountain or volcano more than 1,000 metres, derived from Indonesian ribu (thousand)

Behavior and psychology[edit]



  • Balanda to refer whiteman, from belanda (Dutchman)
  • Camphor, from kapur barus ("Barus' chalk"), which refers to the port of Barus in Sumatra as the source of camphor
  • Damar, plant resin
  • Lahar from lahar (Javanese)
  • Tombac from tembaga
  • Compound from kampung, which is Indonesian for "village".


  1. ^ a b c Lonely Planet, Indonesian phrasebook, Fifth edition, 2006. Page 9. ISBN 1-74059-297-2
  2. ^ gecko, n. Oxford English Dictionary Second edition, 1989; online version September 2011. Accessed 29 October 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1898.