Indonesian Slang


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’; 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, 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.

The slang language is an ever-evolving language, as many words quickly become outdated and obsolete because of trends.


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.




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.

Some of the slang language vocabulary was transformed from formal Indonesian through several ways

»  Nasalisation of active verb and adding -in at the end of the word, for example:


    •  (to think) into mikir



     (to ask) into nanyain

»  Adding -in at the end of the passive transitive verbs, for example:


    •  (to be taught) into diajarin



     (to be beaten) into dipukulin

»  Adding ke- at the beginning of passive intransitive verbs, instead of using ter-, for example:


    •  (to be caught) into ketangkep



     (to accidentally slip) into kepeleset

»  Eliminating one or few letters of the word, for example:


    •  (depleted) into abis



     (know) into tau

»  Contraction of two or more words into one word, for example:


    •  kasih (thank) into makasih



    image (to safeguard one’s social image) into jaim

»  Replacing letter a into e in some words, for example:


    •  (correct) into bener



     (smart) into pinter

»  Contracting diphthong into monosyllabic letter, for example:


    •  (if) into kalo



     (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 Boss Kakap literally means big boss
»  Bonyok – (Formal: Orang Tua) Parents. Originated from a combination of Bokap and Nyokap
»  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 Nyonya Kakap 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
»  Ding
»  Kan
»  Lah
»  Lagi
»  Sih
»  Nyah


Sexual slang


»  Bencong, Banci, Binan, Bences – Transvestite, Cross Dresser, feminine male, sometimes says to a coward person
»  Wadam (Wanita Adam), Waria (Wanita Pria) – shemale with dominant masculine look. Wanita = female, Adam = male, Pria = male.
»  Hombreng, Homo, Homodimuko (originally means ‘gay face’), Homsex – Gay
»  Biji – Testicles
»  Kontol, To’ol, Batang, Burung (=bird), Peli, Peler, Kacuk, Zakar – Penis
»  Titit – childish term of “kontol”
»  Jembut, Gambris – Pubic hair
»  Lines, Les Biola (originally means ‘violin course’), Lesbong, Lesbi – Lesbian
»  Memek, Puki, Pepek – Vagina
»  Ngentot, Ngewe, Ngehe, To’i, Kenthu, Ngencuk, Martole – fornication, Fuck (also a swear word)
»  Coli, Cokil – Masturbation. Originated from a combination of ngocok and peli. Literally means ‘shaking the penis’
»  Tete, Toket, – Breast
»  Kulup – uncircumcized male person, lit. means “preputium”
»  Biji Peler – Testicles
» Ngocok – masturbation (for men), literally means “shaking”
»  Sepong – oral sex, a woman do fellatio to a man, literally means ‘sucking’
»  Karaoke – same as “sepong”, refers to the similarity of a woman singing with a microphone
»  Njilat – oral sex, a man do cunnilingus, literally means ‘licking’
»  Itil, Kelentit – clitoris
»  Palkon (kepala kontol) – dickhead, or the top (headpart) of the penis.
»  Putol (pucuk kontol) – same as Palkon
»  Onani, Masturbasi, Ngloco – masturbation (self service)
» Puting, Pentil – breast nipple, lit. means ‘nipple’ in any form.
»  Ngaceng – penis erection, lit. means ‘pointing up’
»  Ngecrit, Ngecrut, Ngecret, Ngecrot, Muncrat – male cum shot, lit. means ‘squirting’
»  Pantat – very rude term of ‘the bottom part’, buttock.
»  Memantat – doing anal sex
»  Oom Senang – Gigolo, lit. means “happy uncle”
»  Tante Girang – a woman who likes to having sex with younger man, lit. means “happy auntie”
»  ABG (Anak Baru Gede) – teenagers, usually says to a person between 12 and less than 17 years old


Swear words


»  Anjing, Jing, Asu, Kirik – Bitch. Literally means dog, and it is often used as an interjection.
»  Kampret – Jerk, literally means bats.
»  Ngentot, ngewe – Fuck
»  Cibai – Vagina
»  Tai – Shit, lit. means ‘faeces’
»  Lonte, Perek, Pelacur, Jablay, Cabo – Prostitutes
»  Bangsat – means Damn in a harsh way, literally means bed bugs
»  Bego, Goblok, Tolol – stupid, usually says to a person who perform an idiotic way
»  Berengsek – you suck! or ‘scumb you are!’, also “damn it”
»  Sialan – damn it
»  Monyet Luh, Bedes Kon – you’re a monkey.
»  Isep kontol gua – suck my dick
»  Cukimai, pukimak, bujang inam – motherfucker
»  Babi, Genjik – pig
»  Gila, Sinting, Edan, Gemblung – nuts, insane, lit. means ‘an unhealthy mental person’
»  Setan – damn it, lit. means “devil”
»  Jancok – Same as fuck (not a sexual matter)


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
»  Saik – Acronym of Asik


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
»  Sob-Buddy
»  Sotoy, Sotz – Pretend to know something he/she doesn’t really know.
»  Sumpe lo? – Are you sure?
»  Sutra – Done