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Indonesian slang language

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Indonesian slang language ( bahasa gaul or bahasa prokem ) is a non-formal language of Indonesia mainly spoken in urban areas.



Indonesian slang language is an informal variety of the Indonesian language .

Its native name, bahasa gaul , means ‘language for socialization’, as gaul means ‘to be socialised’. This term was coined in the late 1990s.

The term bahasa prokem , which was coined in the early 1980s, means ‘the language of gangsters or free-men’; prokem is a slang form of preman , derived from the Dutch word free-man , which means ‘gangster’.

Indonesian slang language is mainly a spoken form, used in social milieus and in popular media (such as radio, TV, and movies), and to certain extent is used in publications such as teen magazines or pop culture magazines. One can deduce that Indonesian slang language is the primary language for oral communication spoken by everybody in daily life, except for formal speeches. It would be very unusual to communicate orally to people using the formal Indonesian language.

Indonesian slang language is an ever-evolving language, as many words quickly become outdated and obsolete because of trends.


There is no formal classification of Indonesian slang language, except perhaps that it is a subclass of the Indonesian language .

Geographic distribution

Indonesian slang language is mainly spoken in urban areas. There are different variations of slang language in different cities, mainly characterised by derivatives of different local ethnic languages. For example, in Bandung, West Java, the slang language contains vocabulary from the Sundanese language (See “Region Specific Slang” below).

Official status

Indonesian slang language is not an official language of Indonesia, although it is widely used for oral communication in daily life.


Indonesian slang language is pronounced the same as formal Indonesian. Words borrowed from other language such as English or Dutch are transliterated in Indonesian orthography. For example, ‘please’ is written as plis , and ‘married’ as merit .

For more examples, see SEASite guide to pronunciation of Indonesian .


Indonesian slang language structure and grammar are not so much different from formal Indonesian language , albeit in many cases sentences are simplified or shortened when necessary. The differences between formal and colloquial Indonesian are mostly ones of vocabulary.


Indonesian slang language structure is derived mainly from formal Indonesian. Its vocabulary is extended by a combination of derivatives or borrowings from foreign languages such as Hokkien , English , and Dutch , or local ethnic languages such as Betawi , Sundanese , and Javanese . In many cases however, new words are invented on the spot, and their origin is obscure.

According to Nyoman Riasa , some of the slang language vocabulary was transformed from formal Indonesian language through several ways:

  • Nasalisation of active verb and adding -in at the end of the word, for example:
    • pikir (to think) into mikir
    • menanyakan (to ask) into nanyain
  • Adding -in at the end of the passive transitive verbs, for example:
    • diajari (to be taught) into diajarin
    • dipukuli (to be beaten) into dipukulin
  • Adding ke- at the beginning of passive intransitive verbs, instead of using ter-, for example:
    • tertangkap (to be caught) into ketangkep
    • terpeleset (to accidentally slip) into kepeleset
  • Eliminating one or few letters of the word, for example:
    • habis (depleted) into abis
    • tahu (know) into tau
  • Contraction of two or more words into one word, for example:
    • terima kasih (thank) into makasih
    • jaga image (to safeguard one’s social image) into jaim
  • Replacing letter a into e in some words, for example:
    • benar (correct) into bener
    • pintar (smart) into pinter
  • Contracting diphthong into monosyllabic letter, for example:
    • kalau (if) into kalo
    • pakai (use) into pake

Some words are transliterations of English ones, for example:

  • Sorry into sori
  • Friend into pren
  • Swear into suer

Many words also emerged without following the above rules at all. Sometime the words have their own unique history or origin.

  • Cuek (to ignore or to take something easy) – popularized by Ruth Sahanaya in her 80s hit Astaga! ; probably derived from the Malay word cuai , that means negligent .
  • 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 .
  • Bokep (pornographic film) – originated from abbreviation BF which means Blue Film . BF is read Be-Ef , which in its pidgin form is read as Be-Ep . The word Bokep obtained by inserting ok in between Be-Ep .
  • Jayus – A joke that is meant to be or sound funny, but it is not. It roughly means corny in English.
  • Jijay – which means disgusting . Sometimes to express a condition of very disgusting , it is used in the phrase jijay bajay . The same rules are valid for najis and najis jaya (sometimes converted to ‘ji-ji’ when speaking to a child).

General words and phrases

This entry will list words and phrases from Indonesian slang, which are not region-specific (see below), and which are never considered as outdated.

  • Banget – (Formal: Sangat, Amat) Very
  • Bokap – (Formal: Bapak, Ayah) Father, developed from Bo ss Ka kap literally means big boss
  • Bonyok – (Formal: Orang Tua) Parents. Originated from a combination of Bo kap and Nyok ap
  • Gua, Gue, Wa – (Formal: Aku, Saya) I. Originated from Hokkien Wa which means I
  • Garing – A joke that is not funny. Literally means dry or crispy
  • Lu, Lo, Elu, Elo – (Formal: Engkau, Kau, Kamu) You. Originated from Hokkien Li which means You
  • Nggak, Gak – (Formal: Tidak) No
  • Nyokap – (Formal: Ibu, Bunda) Mother, developed from Nyo nya Ka kap literally means big mistress
  • Akika or Eike – (Formal: Aku) I; Kawanua – (Formal: Kamu, Kau) You and * Diese – (Formal: Dia) He/She. Usually these term are used by the transvestites. Eike was originated from Dutch Ik which means I


  • Deh
  • Dong (sometimes spelt as Dunk )
  • Ding
  • Kan
  • Lah
  • Lagi
  • Sih
  • Nyah (in some teritory of North Sumatera)

Sexual slang

  • Belok – Gay
  • Bencong, Banci, Binan – Transvestite, Cross Dresser
  • Hombreng – Gay
  • Biji – Scrotum
  • Kontol, To’ol, Batang, Burung (=bird), Peli, Peler – Penis
  • Jembut – Pubic hair
  • Lines, Les Biola (originally means ‘violin course’), Lesbong – Lesbian
  • Memek, Meki, Puki, Pepek – Vagina
  • Ngentot, Ngewe, Kentu – fornication, Fuck (also a swear word)
  • Coli – Masturbation. Originated from a combination of ngo cok and pe li . Literally means shaking the penis
  • Tete, Toket, Susu (=milk) , – Breast

Swear words

  • Anjing, Jing, Asu – Bitch. Literally means dog, and it is often used as an interjection.
  • Goblok – Stupid
  • Geblek – Stupid
  • Kampret – Jerk
  • Jangkrik – Damn
  • Ngentot – Fuck
  • Tai – Shit
  • Lonte – Prostitutes

Vocabulary evolution

Before 1980s

List of words and phrases commonly used in the 1980s:

  • Kumpul Kebo – Living together but not married, as in domestic partners
  • Bau Tanah – Old, Dying, Close to the end of use


1980s is the era of bahasa prokem . In this era, slang language vocabulary was formed by inserting ‘-ok-‘ after the first consonant of a word, and deleting the last syllable, creating a totally new word.

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

The word Sekolah (School) is transformed into Skokul , but this word is slowly become outdated and by 1990s the word is not used anymore. (currently transformed into simply: skul )

Notable words like memble , kece , the sentence attribute Nih ye , andh the exclamation Alamakjan! emerged in the same decade.

List of words and phrases commonly used in the 1980s:

  • Do’i / Doski – Girlfriend / Boyfriend
  • Kece – Cute
  • Kuper – Acronym of Kurang Pergaulan which literally means not well socialised
  • Memble – Ugly, Sombre, Sad, Disappointed
  • Ngokar – To smoke
  • Ngegele – To smoke pot
  • Ogut – Me, I or Mine
  • Spokat – Shoes
  • Rokum – House or Home
  • Bo’il – Automobiles
  • Rese or Resek (both pronounced the same way) – Annoying, Intrusive
  • Gara – say to No or Not (7N)
  • Saik – Acronym of Asik (7N)

Dokat – money Chimenk ? pot


List of words and phrases commonly used in the 1990s:

  • Bete – Bad mood, upset (from English BT = Bad Temper; the abbreviation is later ‘translated’ into Indonesian as Bosen Total = Totally Bored)
  • Bo! – Exclamation word of no meaning
  • Dugem – Nightlife, an acronym of Dunia Gemerlap literally means Flashy World
  • Gile! – Exclamation word equals to crazy
  • Lagi – Exclamation word that is used at the end of a sentence as emphasis
  • Ngebo’at – To use drugs
  • Tajir – Rich
  • Jomblo – Single, no boy friend/ girlfriend.


A genre of slang language in the 2000 originated from the Indonesian gay community, and popularized by Debby Sahertian in her Kamus Bahasa Gaul or ‘Slang Language Dictionary’. The method of transforming a word is to use a different word which has a similar sound. For example, the word mau ( want ), is replaced by the word mawar which originally means rose . Hence the sentence became quite complicated to understand:

Akika tinta mawar Macarena originated from Aku tidak mau makan which means I do not want to eat

List of words and phrases commonly used in the 2000s:

  • Akika – I, me, myself
  • Borju – Rich, Pampered, Spoiled, or Show Off, a shorter form of the word Borjuis which came from the French word Bourgeois
  • Cupu – (Culun punya) Literally means lame
  • Dugem – (Dunia gemerlap) something or someone which is identical to nightlife activities or hedonism (ie. night clubs, rave parties )
  • Ember – (Emang Bener) Exclamation word to confirm something, means It is true or Indeed
  • Gak asik – Literally means uncool or not fun
  • Gak penting – Literally means not important or trivial
  • Geje – (GJ: Gak Jelas) Literally means not obvious
  • Gitu loh! – Exclamation word that is used at the end of a sentence as emphasis, or means, “That’s it!” (eg. “So what, gitu loh!”)
  • Jayus – A joke that is meant to be or sound funny, but it is not. It roughly means corny in English.
  • Kacian deh lo! – Pity you!
  • Pembokat – Literally means maid or servant
  • Plis dong ah! or Plis deh! – Oh, Please! or Gimme a break!
  • Secara – Literally means a la , but is used to substitute karena which means because
  • Sumpe lo? – Are you sure?
  • Sutra – Done

Region specific slangs

The region specific slangs are arranged in alphabetical order.

Bali slang

Bali language have 4 placement. 1. ASI 2. AMI 3. ASO 4. BK

Bali have special letter, 18 character. a, na, ca, ra, ka, da, ta, sa, wa, la, ma, ga, ba, nga, pa, ja, ya, nya.

Java letter have 20 character, Bali letter only have 18 character. it’s lost 2 letter.


Bandung slang

Bandung, is the city in west java with predominantly Sundanese culture. Sundanese language has three levels: High (polite), Normal, and Low (rough and impolite). Bandung slang mostly uses derivative of Low Sundanese words such as Aing, Maneh, etc.

One distinct characteristic in Bandung slang grammar is generous insertion of the word Anjing in a sentence. The word Anjing means Dog or Bitch , but its usage in Bandung slang is merely for emphasis and not as swearword.

For example: Nasi goreng Jalan Madura ngeunah pisan, anjing! which means Fried rice in Madura Street is really delicious, gosh!

However, Anjing is also used as swearword if used independently in a sentence. For example: Anjing Siah! means You Bitch!

  • Aing – I
  • Anjing, Anying, Njing – Bitch, generously used by inserting it in sentences NOT as swearwords but only as emphasis (see above)
  • Maneh – You
  • Goreng – Ugly
  • Heunceut – Female genital
  • Ngeunah – Nice
  • Ngewe – To fuck
  • Siah – You

General Central Java slang

These slangs are shared across central Java (Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, and so forth)

  • Ndak — No, not. Javanese rather use this word to say tidak in Bahasa Indonesia
  • Isa — used by the javanese to indonesianize isa (pronounced as /is@/) which means bisa (=can, be able to) in Bahasa Indonesia
  • Mudheng — Understand
  • Bojo – Boy friend/ girl friend. Originally in standard Javanese means spouse
  • Mbadok, Madang, Njeglag — Eat, Having breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Ora nggenah, Ora nggadeg – do not seems good / does not make sense
  • Piye, jal?, – Semarang term, means How about it?
  • Njur piye? – Kedu term, means How about next?
  • Yo mesti! – Semarang term, means Exactly, certainly
  • Semeh, sebeh – Semarang slang for Mother (Javanese= ibu) and Father (Javanese= bapak)
  • Iyo,no! – Solo term, means Of course
  • Yo, Karepmu – Same meaning with it’s up to you or whatever
  • Isin — Shy
  • Uelek tenan – very ugly
  • Gembelengan – moving around without any certain direction
  • Njuk ngopo?, – so what?
  • Pekok – Moron, idiot
  • Koplak – Idiot, but in fun meaning

Jakarta slang

  • Akamsi — stands for a nak kam pung si ni (kids on the block)
  • Apong — variation of sepong (to do oral sex to male)
  • Bang — Call for male elder people
  • Bego — Stupid
  • Berapa duit? or Berapaan? — How much money?
  • Bokis — Cheapskate in English.
  • Cokin/Cinko/Cinin — Chinese Indonesian (derogatory term)
  • Doang — Only
  • Dodol — Stupid
  • Emang — So / it is so. ( Emangnya kenapa? / Emang Gue Pikirin = “So what?”; the latter literally means “Like I care”)
  • Gue or Gua or Gw — I, me, myself
  • Jablay — Whore
  • Jeb? — person with thick ugly lips
  • Jotos — Punch
  • Kacau — Mess (the usage is a little different from formal language)
  • Kenceng — Fast (speed), fastened
  • Kipak — cripple
  • Lempeng — Straight (direction)
  • Lu or Lo or Elu or Elo — You
  • Sip — Okay
  • Siyok — shocked, as in ” Aduh siyok! ” (” Oh, I am shocked! “)
  • Tiko — Indonesian native (derogatory term)
  • Yoy — Same as Yo’i or Yo’a. It almost have no meaning, but you can use it as an OK answer.
  • Gokil — Crazy or Insane (can be implied both in a positive or negative way)
  • Monyong — big and hard lips

Malang slang

Malangese slang typically done by swapping syllables.

  • Kera — Arek (= “men / boys”)
  • Ngalam — Malang (the city)
  • Arodam –Madura (Madurese)
  • Raijo — derived from ojir (money)
  • Ngoceb — derived from bencong (transvestite)
  • Nolab — derived from balon (it means ‘prostitute’)
  • Kunam — derived from manuk (bird or ‘penis’)

Manado slang

Manado slang, also known as Logat Manado , is widely used throughout the North Sulawesi province. It is used casually in everyday life and sometimes used in formal occasions.

Many words are similar to the Indonesian language. See: Manado Malay .

Some of the simple words that visitors should know when they travel to Manado are:

  • oto ; car
  • doi ; money
  • kous ; t-shirt
  • calana ; pants
  • koi ; bed
  • slop ; sandals, flip flops
  • spatu/capatu ; shoes
  • maitua ; girlfriend, a girl friend
  • paitua ; boyfriend, a guy friend

Some words and phrases that are more temporary mostly used by young people:

  • ba jao jo ; go away!, get away!
  • ba ilang jo ; get lost!
  • so gila stou ; are you nuts!?
  • ajus ; mother (used among peers, not to parents)
  • sebe ; father
  • Tambio ; Hustler, Prostitute or Call Girl
  • oi to po? ; right dude?
  • Sepang ; Setan Panggilan (Evil, Devil)
  • Ichat ; Iblis Catok (Devil Boy)
  • Alot ; Anak Lonte (Son/daughter of Hustler/Bitch)
  • Budo ; Budak Dosa (Slave Of Sin)

Some cuss words are:

  • pemar , pemai , cuki , cuki mai , pendo ; there are no specific meanings to these words, they’re just straight up cuss words
  • lonte ; slut, hoe, whore
  • keode ; damn!

Medan slang

  • Selow – Came from the word Slow, means relax, cooling down, or calm down (e.g. “Selow” lah sikit pakcik.”)
  • Sikit – Came from the word Sedikit, means a litle.
  • Sokam – A slang word for Dji Sam Soe Ciggarete
  • Bodat – Primate
  • Bondon – Whore
  • Tuncit – To fuck
  • Totong – Penis

Jambi & Palembang slang

  • Kau – You
  • Dak – No/Incapibilities , e.g : ‘Dak Jaleh’ (Jaleh mean can) which mean say ‘Cann’t’ to other people but in rude way
  • Cak – How
  • Pler – Came from word ‘Peler’ means ‘Pennis’
  • Kentot, Ngentot – To Fuck
  • Pulak – Just additional word normally added at the end of sentences , e.g “Cak Mano Pulak” mean ‘how it can be’

Mostly Jambi & Palembang slang language just change the letter at the end of the word with letter ‘o’ (but not all of the word can changed with o, mostly word which ended with ‘a’ letter can changed with ‘o’ Example :

  • Mana –> ‘Man o’

Pontianak slang

Pontianak slang is influenced by Malay , Teochew and Dayaknese . It is spoken in malay dialect.

  • oto ; literally means auto which is car
  • bujur ; (pronounced bujo) means straight (as in direction)
  • kam sia ; derived from Teochew which means thank you
  • plaza ; means the verb slap
  • tadak ; (Bahasa Indonesia form tidak ) which means no
  • lempok ; (Bahasa Indonesia means dodol ) which means cakes from cooked fruit
  • kalak ; (Bahasa Indonesia means nanti ) which means later .

Surabaya slang

Some of the well known Surabayan slangs:

  • Dancuk, dancik, cuk, dancrit, jancuk — fuck
  • Ndak — No
  • Kenceng — Fast (but not fasten, like Jakarta slang)
  • Banter — Fast (speed)
  • Montor — Car
  • Lontong — Stupid, useless (lontong = name of traditional food made of rice, compare to Chinese “fan tong”)
  • Congok — Stupid
  • Gaplek — Very annoying (gaplek = cassava)
  • Bokong — Buttocks
  • Bujuk — Lie (compare to the formal meaning: To persuade)
  • Budheg — Deaf
  • Korak — Thugs
  • Dableg — Keep coming for more
  • Dolen — To play
  • Reken, ngreken — Attention, pay attention
  • Lonthe — Prostitutes
  • Ngelonthe — To sell ourselves
  • Matamu — means Watch Your EYE! Usually used to express anger or unhappy feeling or situation
  • Ngencuk — same as Ngentot or Fucking
  • Asu — same as Anjing

Another characteristics of Surabayan slang is to add “u” before a vowel and stressed the word in a unique way to indicate superlative forms:

  • Buanyak — Very very very much (banyak = much)
  • Buanjir — Flood very very bad (banjir = flood)
  • Bueda — Very very different (beda = different)
  • Buanget — Very very very something ( e.g. “Buanyak buanget” is much much more than just “banyak”)

In the 1990s, there are a bunch of slangs that combines “lo” and the first syllable of a word, such as

  • Leken — Motorcycle (originally from ‘kendaraan’ = ‘vehicle’)
  • Lomon — Car (originally from ‘montor’)
  • Logob — Stupid (from ‘goblok’)
  • Lokcong — Stupid (from ‘congok’)
  • Lustup — Stupid (from ‘stupid’)

Yogyakarta slang

Yogyakarta slang is also known as Basa Walikan , literally means ‘Reverse Language’ [1] . It is a transformation from Javanese, in which Javanese traditional character sequences are being switched with one another, using the formula below:

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

Using the above manner, the exclamation word Matamu! (which means: ‘Your Eyes!’) is transformed into Dagadu! .

See also

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • rin July 5, 2006, 3:15 am

    what about”s?m?l?k?t?”for java slang?

  • Wayan January 18, 2008, 1:13 am

    Lucu banget websitenya bo !!!

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