List of English words of Indonesian origin

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The following is a partial list of English words of Indonesian origin; they are English language loanwords (kata serapan) that can be found in Indonesian, but many of them were borrowed directly from Malay during the British colonial period in British Malaya, or during short period of British rule in Java. However, unlike those of Malay origin loanwords, some of loanwords from Indonesian are derived from others Indonesian languages, such as Javanese.

Many of English Indonesian-origin loanwords describes "things Indonesian", such as Indonesian culture and artforms (e.g. batik, kris and wayang), while some are adopted to describes flora and fauna endemic to the Indonesian archipelago (e.g. babirusa, cockatoo, orangutan and Komodo). The recent English adoption of Indonesian words are concerning science and technology, for example food-processing terms (e.g. agar and tempeh) to 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


  1. ^ a b c Lonely Planet, Indonesian phrasebook, Fifth edition, 2006. Page 9. ISBN 1-74059-297-2