100 Balinese Swear Words You Shouldn’t Say

Selamat datang kembali di Mastering Bahasa! Welcome back!

We have explored much knowledge about Bahasa Indonesia, from Indonesian Pantun to Indonesian Phonetics, until finally know about Giving Directions in Indonesian. Of course, when you learned about another language, one of the most interesting parts is the Bad Words and Its Meaning. Even though, bad words or swear words may be a sign of friendliness or tight bonds between people, you need use it wisely. We could swear to our closest friends as jokes, but it usually becomes sensitive, especially if you do not understand the context. Moreover, in this opportunity, we will one specific local language swear words, which is about Balinese swear words. Please use it wisely as well as enjoy the lesson!

Before we start, I recommend you to check these following articles

Without a doubt, Bali island is the most popular tourist attraction from Indonesia. It is not just because its beach or scenery, but also its cultures, including Balinese. Beside Javanese and Malay, Balinese (also its dialects) is one of the popular local language in Indonesia. But, right now, let’s focus to the swear words. Therefore, you could understand, especially when it said toward you (but hopefully not use it). Take a look!

Notes: because Bali is such a diverse society and big islands, it could be different with one and another

  • cicing (dog, may refer to dog’s characteristic)
  • kuluk (similar to ‘puppy’, in Javanese is similar to ‘kirik’ and will give less harsh impression)
  • cicing cai = anjing kamu (You’re a dog)
    *Indonesian surely had something with dogs (cicing) because in Javanese and Bahasa Indonesia, it is the most popular and common swear words!
  • Ndas Keleng = similar to ‘son of a b*tch/b*stard’
    *Ndas = head (also a swear word in Javanese), keleng = penis. Just interpret it by yourself. I believe you have got the big picture.
    It also has another form as naskleng (ndas becomes nas, keleng become kleng)
  • Amah be to = makan dah tu (similar with sarcastic for “enjoy the consequences”)

Other swear/bad words:

  • belog = stupid
  • bangsat = it has similar meaning with ndas keleng (non-Balinese people also use it)
  • lengeh/dengeh = moron
  • belog sajan = stupid moron
  • celeng = pig
  • jelek saja nyayi = you’re (female) ugly
  • bojok = monkey
  • bongol = deaf
  • banyak pete = ‘too much talk’ (in Bahasa Indonesia, usually people use ‘bacot’ )
For your information, some of Indonesian local language are honorific, similar when you learn Korean. On the other words, it has some language stages that mark respects, status, and/or politeness for your addressee. Maybe it is hard to imagine for non-native speaker about the ‘informal unwritten rules’, even for Indonesian themselves.  One of it signifier is there are at least two classification: bahasa kasar (harsh, or usually for peers) and halus (soft, usually to show respect, status; mostly when we talked to older people). In addition, there is also third classification (usually the ‘middle’ because sometimes the highest one is difficult and rarely used in recent society, especially youth).
Therefore, in Bali there are several words that could means really disrespectful, not just about the meaning, but also the socio-cultural aspects behind it. Take a look of these words! 
  • Pirata = nenek moyang (Balinese ancestors)
    Because the Balinese are very respectful to their ancestors (also others Indonesian), it is forbidden to use the words because it gave a negative purpose and sounds like a goofs to their sacred part of life.
    *Maybe in other places in Indonesia, sometimes you will found the similar words (moyang lu or nenek moyang lu – your ancestors), but it is usually used to swear someone that acts selfish, especially in something that related to other people, such as team project; public transportation; or even as simple as not being on time)
  • Nani/Siga = You
    Even tough it is not sounds harsh, some pronoun in Indonesia (local and Bahasa Indonesia) are forbidden in certain situation. Both ‘nani’ and ‘siga’ are have more harsh sense than other pronoun for ‘you’. But, in Buleleng, Bali, most people might find no problem of it. This condition similar when you compare Javanese in Yogyakarta/Center Java dialects to East Java. Some words may be considered harsh in a place, but not less than normal in another. Therefore, adapt and understand the society!

Those are a little bit more knowledge about one of Indonesian local language. They may be lots more out there, you could dig deeper. I hope you use it very wisely and not be reckless. I hope you enjoy this little lesson about Balinese Swear Words. Furthermore, here are some recommended articles for you. Good luck and keep practice your Bahasa Indonesia! See you at the next opportunity.

Break a leg!