We find it quite amusing when our students specifically ask us to teach them Indonesian cursing words. What for? We’d ask. For fun! They’d reply. Because we often find this as one of most requested topics, believe it or not, we thought to compile the basic ones and post them here, just for your information.
Let’s face it. Every language has its own version of cursing words, Indonesian included. Just like any other cursing words, we would not recommend you to say any of these words to anyone. One big advantage of learning these swear words is so that you KNOW when someone is swearing at you, so you wouldn’t respond to the person with saying “Terima kasih” – when if anything you should be feeling offended really – unless if being said as a joke between friends.
In this blogpost, we will discuss top 8 most common cursing words in Indonesian.
Bangke is an Indonesian swear word that is commonly used amongst teenagers. Bangke is taken from the word “Bangkai” which means “carcass”. But, when it is put in a sentence or expression, Banke is a word that shows disappointment and regret that is quite similar to the word “d*mn” or “sh*t” in English. For instance, you can put it into an Indonesian sentence, “bangke, mobilku rusak lagi” which means “Sh*t, my car has broken down again.”
Bangsat is a cursing word that is similar to “Bangke.” This word also derives from the word “Bangkai” which means “carcass. So similarly to the swear word “Bangke,” you can use this word to express your disappointment over a situation. For example: “Bangsat, mesin ATMnya tidak bisa dipakai” which means “Damn, this ATM machine cannot be used.”
What’s slightly different with “Bangsat” to “Bangke” is that you can use this “Bangsat” expression to express your anger towards someone. In a way “Bangsat” can be deemed as an equivalent with the expression “son of a b*tch” or “bastard” in English. For example, you can say “Aku akan bunuh kau, bangsat” which means “I will kill you, SOB”.
Though literally the word “Anjing” means “Dog” in Indonesian, but the same word “Anjing” can also be used as a swear word. As you dig more into Indonesian cursing word topic, you will realize that Indonesians like to use animal related word as a swear word. That includes: Babi (Pig) , Cumi (Squid), and Monyet (Monkey). How can you tell if someone say the word “Anjing” as a curse word vs referring to (an animal) dog? If referred as swearing word, the tone used to say this word will have a raised tone to emphasize its harsh meaning. As swearing word, the use of “Anjing” is similar to “Bangsat.” It is equivalent to say “SOB”, “b*stard”, or “sc*m” swear word in English. Another variation of the word “Anjing” is “Asu,” which also means “Anjing,” but in Javanese (local dialect of Java).
- Anjir / Anjrot / Anjrit
The word “Anjir” originates from word “anjing.” As compared to “Anjing,” the curse word “Anjir” is considered to be milder (read: less rude) and slightly has a different application and use, hence the reason why we put these into a separate section. Other variations of the curse word “Anjir” is “Anjrot” and “Anjrit.” They can be used interchangeably. You use the swear word “Anjir” or “Anjrot” or “Anjrit” to express shock or disbelief at a situation or at someone. Sometimes, also with a hint of desperation or disappointment. For example “Anjir, bensin gue abis” which means “oh sh*t, I run out of gas”. Another example the use of “Anjir” with a hint of desperation or plea: “Anjir, jangan bilang gue yang kasih tahu lu” which means “oh sh*t, don’t say (to anyone) that I am the one who told you.”
This swear word deserves a specific explanation, considering how commonly used this one is. “Monyet” or monkey (in Indonesian culture) is considered to have an ugly face, hence you only use this word at someone that you really dislike. This swear word is often used to express your frustration at someone who causes you feeling hurt and disappointment. In English, this expression is equivalent to saying “Assh*le.” Most often that not, this expression can be interchangeable to “Anjing.” For example: “Ke sini lu kalau lu berani, monyet” which translates to “(You) get here if you dare, assh*le” in English. Another variation of wear word of “Monyet” is “Bodat,” which also means “Monkey,” but in Batak (local dialect of Northern Sumatera).
Sialan is the common cursing word that refers to “d*mn it” or “sh*t”. By degree of rudeness, this word will be considered mild, about the same degree as “Anjir / Anjrot / Anjrit.” There is a hint of disbelief that something happened to you when you use this swear word in your sentence. An example of how you’d use this swear word: “Sialan, dompetku ketinggalan di rumah” which means “damn it, I forgot to bring my wallet” or “Sialan, aku kecopetan” which means “damn it, I got pickpocketed.”
The word “Keparat” is equivalent to swear word “Bangsat” “Anjing” and “Monyet”. In English, it is equivalent to an expression “SOB” and “sc*mbag.” It is used to direct your hatred or despise towards someone. An example: “Keparat, lu bohong ke gue,” which more or less translates to “SOB, you lied to me” in English.
Kampret is another Indonesian cursing word that is derived from an animal related vocabulary. Kampret means “bat” in English. When you look up in Indonesian dictionary, you will find that another word for “bat” in Indonesian is “kelelawar.” Somehow when cursing, Indonesian will use this version “Kampret” instead of “Kelelawar.” Using the word “Kelelawar” is unheard of. You use this expression when you feel annoyed that something happened to you. So by category, this cursing word is also considered ‘mild’ or not as profane as the rest in this list.
So that’s it, friends. 8 Most common Bahasa Indonesia swear words you may hear in Indonesian conversations. You may have known that displaying respects especially towards someone who’s older than you is part of Indonesian core cultural values (if you haven’t known, please take note!). So try to not say any of these cursing words in front of someone older than you by age (i.e. your friends’ parents). They will be horrified when they hear!