Photo: John Crux/Shutterstock

19 of the Funniest Indonesian Expressions (and How to Use Them)

Indonesia Student Work
by Yudanta Bramble Aug 20, 2015

1. An Indonesian isn’t called a “playboy” or a “womanizer,” he’s a “land crocodile.” (buaya darat)

2. Indonesians don’t “go to the toilet,” they either “throw a small water” or “throw a big water.” (buang air kecil or buang air besar)

3. There are no speed bumps in Indonesia, only “sleeping policemen.” (polisi tidur)

4. Indonesians don’t spend their time checking each other out, they go and “wash their eyes.” (cuci mata)

5. Indonesians don’t have “faculty” or “staff,” they have “fruit children” and “feet hands.” (anak buah and kaki tangan)

6. Indonesians don’t “throw tantrums,” they “run amok.”

The English phrase is derived from the Indonesian and Malay word “mengamuk.” The traditional belief is that “amok” was an evil tiger spirit that would posses a body and carry out horrific crimes.

7. An Indonesian is never “two-faced,” he’s a “sheep with make-up on.” (kambing dibedakin)

8. Indonesians aren’t “coy,” they are “shy-shy kitten.” (malu-malu kucing)

9. Indonesians don’t “get sick” or “catch colds,” they “enter wind.” (masuk angin)

10. Indonesians don’t have “beauty marks,” they have “fly poos.” (tahi lalat)

11. And an Indonesian will never tell you that he “isn’t feeling well,” he’ll say that he is “not of delicious body.” (gak enak badan)

12. An Indonesian doesn’t “lose interest” in his passion, he gets the ”warm-warm chicken shit.” (hangat-hangat tahi ayam)

13. An Indonesian won’t tell you that he is “tired,” but he will say that he has “five-watt left.” (tinggal lima-watt)

14. Indonesians don’t order their eggs “sunny-side up,” they have “cow’s-eye eggs.” (telur mata-sapi)

15. Indonesians don’t “go out” to dinner or the movies. They go “walking-walking” (jalan-jalan), which can literally mean any leisurely activity you do outside the house.

16. Indonesians don’t “get angry,” they “pig blindly.” (membabi buta)

17. Indonesians won’t say “they’re so cute I could eat it,” they say that they’re “gemas.”
Yes, we have a word for that urge to pinch or squeeze something unimaginably cute.

18. An Indonesian is never “single,” he’s a “jomblo.”

19. Indonesians are never “inept leaders,” they are “toothless tigers.” (macan ompong)

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.