Indonesian Slang Words

Have you ever encountered any difficulties understanding Bahasa? Maybe the pronunciation? Or perhaps the spellings? Or possibly, there are words that the locals seem to commonly used but you just don’t know what it means because the language-translation apps cannot translate them for you? Just like in any other language, there are a lot of informal Indonesian words that are made by the citizens, or we can simply say it as slang words.

Indonesian slang word illustration

Slang words will make you speak like the locals. Why? Because the locals use slang words more than the words stated in the dictionary. So, let’s jump right in, here are the slang words you should know to speak just like Indonesian native speakers!

People also read: Indonesian Most Common Texting Slang


You might’ve heard this Indonesian slang word, or you will possibly hear it soon because this word is often used by the locals. When you hear the other Indonesians say “bonyok”, there are two meanings behind this word so you have to make sure that you understand the context they are talking about so there will be no misunderstanding. When you are searching for the meaning of this word in a dictionary or a translation app, what you will find is “hurt”. 

Yes, bonyok formally means hurt. But when your friend says “Aku mau makan sama bonyok-Ku”, then the meaning behind the word bonyok is parents. Bonyok is an abbreviation of bokap (father) – nyokap (mother) and instead of saying orang tua, the locals will say bonyok when they want to talk about their parents. Don’t get confused! Make sure you understand the context of the convos!


Indonesian people love to shorten words. Same as bonyok, mager is also an abbreviation word that comes from the words males gerak. Males gerak literal meaning is “lazy to move”, but when you want to use this word in a sentence, the meaning behind this word is not “lazy to move” but just “lazy”. Yes, instead of saying males which is the literal meaning of the word “lazy”, Indonesian people use the word mager more. So how do you use this word? Let us give an example. When you are not in the mood to go out but your friend invites you to eat outside, just simply say “mager” and your friend will understand that you are not interested to eat outside (also, it sounds 100% like the locals).


Another abbreviation Indonesian slang word the locals regularly used is baper. Coming from the words bawa perasaan, baper is a word to describe the feeling of sensitiveness. Baper can also be used when you want to describe someone who easily gets fluttered, angry, and sad. Usually, people in Indonesia would say that they are “lagi baper” when they feel that their emotions’ are easily affected by their surroundings. When someone scolds the locals, they usually tell their friends about the event. Instead of saying “orang itu gampang banget marah” which signifies that the other person easily gets angry, the locals would say “orang itu baper banget” which means that the person is baper.


Lebay is the literal meaning of exaggeration. You can use this Indonesian slang word in any context when you want to describe something that you think is too much. When you think something is too pricey, you can simply say “Harganya lebay sekali” which means that the price is extremely expensive. When you think someone is being overly happy, or extremely sad, you can describe them as lebay. When you are asked to carry a box and you feel that it is so heavy, you can solely say “boks in beratnya lebay”. Yes, you can use this word in any situation, even you can describe a person using this word. Sometimes, some people get offended when they are described as lebay, so be careful when using this world, so you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings!


What do you call the nosy ones in Bahasa? Kepo! People who are “kepo” mean that they are filled with too much curiosity. The meaning of kepo is not always negative, this word can also be used as a joke with your friends. For example, when your colleague asks you about what you are going to eat for lunch, you can tease your friend by saying “kepo!” which means “Why do you want to know? It’s none of your business”. Kepo is considered a friendly Indonesian slang word, which can also be said when you don’t want to answer a question because the question is too private (don’t forget to chuckle when you say the word!) rather than refusing to answer directly.


This Indonesian slang is usually used by teenagers who want to hang out with their friends or just talking about random things in the cafe or every cozy places. there is no specific purpose for this activity, just for fun and kill the time together. if you are feeling bored and need someone to talk to, you can ask your friend for Nongkrong.


Curahan hati. the moment when you need to talk with someone you trusted, talking about your problems, your experience, or when you just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, people usually need to share the story or need some advice from your friend. we called it curhat.

People also read: Speak Like a Local: 20 Indonesian Phrases You Need to Know

now you have several Indonesian slang words. we hope this article will help you to make conversation like a native speaker. if you like this kind of article, you can also find other recommendations article on our blog

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