Indonesian Most Common Texting Slang

Indonesian Most Common Texting Slang

Just like any other language, Indonesians use words that don’t exist in an Indonesian-English dictionary. The Indonesian language is constantly evolving and develops differently as the young generation interacts with one another. Many new words or slangs are being created and become viral fast because of massive social media use.

Abbreviations and shortenings are so common because Indonesian can usually be understood without the full set of grammatical prefixes and suffixes. When the meanings get more complex, the affixes come out and the words get longer.

Especially when it comes to texting, an Indonesian has mostly shortened a word or phrase. This culture was formed because back then, in the early 2000’, SMS (Short Message Service) make every message that exceeded 160 characters was sent as two entirely separate texts. And that means you need to pay twice! The strict 160 character limit makes Indonesian very creative with their phrases. From phrases invented by the country’s cool youth to street lingo, here are some popular Indonesian slang words to help you speak like a local.

Click here if you want to know more about how to use Bahasa on a daily basis

wkwk

As Spanish has jajaja and Thai has 555, Indonesian has wkwkwk as the way to express the sound of laughter.

It’s very debatable where wkwk actually came from, some may say that wkwk came from online game communities where haha is too formal, and they started typing huahua instead.

The “huahuahua” word was simplified to be “hwhwhw”. And instead of moving your right hand from your fancy gaming mouse into letter “h”, letter “k” is closer. Hence, the “wkwkwk” word was born.

Gpp

One of the most popular abbreviations in Indonesia is Gpp, which stands for Gak Apa- Apa. Gak means no, and apa-apa is another abbreviation of kenapa-kenapa means something happened, so gpp means it’s nothing.

Example:

A: I am so sorry I forgot your birthday.

B: Gpp, don’t mind!

Baper

Baper is a contraction of the phrase bawa perasaan, which translates to taking everything too personally or getting carried away with your emotions. That you’re being so sensitive to everything, put ahead feelings and emotions to everything, easily touched, easily fall for someone because of small things they did.

But, this day baper is more often used around romantic feelings. It’s when someone is too attentive to you, you can easily get baper!

Example:

A: Oh my God! He remembers my outfit from yesterday.

B: Don’t get too baper!

Lebay

This slang word first sprung around the year 2007 or 2008 and used widely in Indonesia. It’s a slang adjective that means too much, or you’re overreacting. It comes from the Indonesian word lebih which means more.

Example:

A: I think I’m going to die!B: Don’t be lebay! You only got the flu.

Mager

Mager is a short phrase for malas gerak, it literally means ‘lazy to move’. Sometimes it can be used when someone asks you to go outside, and you don’t want to join them because you just want to sleep at home. 

Example: 

A: Let’s go shopping!

B: Sorry bro, I mager.

Kepo

It is a word from Hokkien Chinese and also used in Malaysia and Singapore. Kepo which means “really curious” defines a condition when a person wants to know about everything or to be a busybody.

Example: “You’re always peering over my shoulder to see who I’m texting, can you not be so kepo” or “Dude it’s my problem, no need for you to be kepo.”

Mantul

Mantul stands for mantap betul, mantap means amazing and betul means very. So, mantul means extremely good or awesome! This is a relatively new slang. Therefore, maybe not all Indonesians know mantul

Example:

A: I got a scholarship to study abroad.

B: Wow. Mantul!

BGT

It is an abbreviation for banget, which means very. Bgt only used if you’re texting someone. It actually comes from Javanese. So, if you’re chatting with people from way across the country, they’ll understand but probably won’t use it themselves.

Example: “Makanan ini pedas bgt!” (This food is so spicy!)

PHP

PHP is an abbreviation of Pemberi Harapan Palsu. Sometimes, you will see this written as pehape. Is when you or someone gives false hope. Just like baper, PHP is often used in romantic circumstances.

Example:

A: I thought she loves you.

B: No, she’s just PHP.

Woles

Often used by younger people, woles is a reversed word from selow. It is another slang word derived from the English word ‘slow’. Woles means slow but not literally. Nowadays, woles are usually used to calm a person down or if you’re still don’t getting it, it’s a ‘chill bro’ word in here. 

Example:

A: The queue for the taxi is so long! I can be late!

B: Woles bro. The class is still 1 hour away!

Gw/ Lu

Used in text forms like WhatsApp or SMS, Gw/ Lu means I and You and it’s not formal at all, the formal one is saya and kamu. These slang words most often show up in the texts of Jakarta natives, or people that are adopting Jakarta slang to sound more cosmopolitan.

Example: “Gw suka baju lu” (I like your shirt!)

In practice, you might find more Indonesian texting slang. Most of the time, it really depends on locality and social-cultural development. Don’t be shy to use it! The locals will happy to help you.

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