250 Basic Words in Indonesian For Beginner

There are  many words in Indonesian with its different  meaning. Basic words in Indonesian for beginners is easy to learn because one word usually has its own meaning, which means it has one meaning. It is a bit different  from from prefix or suffix in Indonesia. If there are many suffix and prefix in one word, it has different meaning each other. However, in this section, we are not going to learn prefix or suffix in Indonesian. What we learn is Basic words in Indonesian for beginners.

The previous section explains about formal and informal situation. In basic Indonesian words for beginners, we also have to know the differentiation between formal  and informal basic words. It is just the same as English.There must be informal and formal basic words. For new beginners, it is necessary to know basic words in Indonesia that mostly used by Indonesian people in daily activities. In basic Indonesian words for beginners, we also need to learn compound words. English has compound words, then Indonesian also has compound words.

However, the most important thing is you have to know all basic words whether it is formal or informal even compound words. First of all, for beginners, we are going to learn and read basic words in Indonesian whether they are formal or informal even compound words. In this  section, we don’t have to make a different between them. We only need to read and memorize some lists of basic words.

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  1. Basic Greetings in Indonesian

Basic greetings in Indonesian are basic greetings in words which are used in situation based on informal or formal situation. When you are going to meet or congratulate someone, you can apply these list of words.

  • Semoga berhasil!
    Good luck!
  • Get well soon!
    Semoga cepat sembuh!
  • Selamat pagi!
    Morning!/ Good morning!
  • Selamat malam!
    Good evening or Good night!
  • Selamat!
    Congratulations!
  • Selamat tidur!
    Sleep tight!
  • Selamat Natal!
    Merry Christmast!
  • Selamat Idul Fitri!
    Eid Mubarak/ Happy Eid!
  • Selamat bersenang- senang!
    Have fun!
  • Mimpi indah!
    Have a nice dream!
  • Hai!
    Hi!
  • Halo!
    Hello!
  • Apa kabar?
    How are you?
  • Lama tidak berjumpa!
    Long time no see!
  • Apakah kamu baik-baik saja?
    Are you okay?

All words above are also called as ‘’basic greetings’’ in Indonesian. Usually, they are used by  people in all ages in Indonesia and they understand what its meaning in some situations.

  1. Food and Drink in Indonesian for Basic Words

Food and drink in Indonesian for Basic Words are used to express and say what kind of food look like. There are some food that can be translated into English, but also there are some food that cannot be translated into English because Indonesians have their own language to say kind of food. Here are the lists:

Indonesian Food and Drink That Can be Translated into English

Some food and drink in Indonesia have its own meaning in English. It means, they can be translated into English because there are some food like the following food in UK.

They are:

  • Nasi – Rice
  • Mi – Noodles
  • Nasi goreng – Friedrice
  • Gula – sugar
  • Madu – Honey
  • Susu – Milk
  • Teh manis – Sweet tea
  • Kopi – Coffee
  • Keju – Cheese
  • Roti – Bread
  • Ayam Goreng – Fried Chicken
  • Saus – Sauce
  • Coklat – Chocolate
  • Air – Water
  • Sayur – Vegetables
  • Jus – juice
  • Daging – Meal
  • Kue – Cake

Indonesian Food and Drink That Cannot be Translated into English

In Indonesia, there are food that cannot be translated into English because there are no food like that in Europe or America. However, we are going to explain what the food look like in English. Here are the lists:

  • Sate or Satai – A kind of Indonesian food consists of frozen rize and small meals watered by thick condiment with a hot taste
  • Ketoprak – A kind of Indonesian food consists of frozen rice along with noodle watered by spicy peanut sauce or water
  • Rendang – A typical Indonesian meat formulated  with spice herb of Indonesia
  • Seblak -A typical Indonesian spicy food and very hot to be tasted
  • Bandrek – A typical Indonesian beverages created from  Indonesian spices. It can be usefull to warm your body and make you feel better
  • Bajigur – A typical Indonesian beverages that almost the same as bandrek. The different is bajigur is sweeter than bandrek
  • Soto – An Indonesian food consists of chicken, noodles, and water with Indonesian spices
  • Martabak – An Indonesian food consists of cake and milk along with frozen blackrice inside of the cake. It is steamed so the food can be consumed

See? Those words are Indonesiaan food and drink which exist in Europe or America. However there are also Indonesian food that is not exist in both. They only exist in Indonesia

  1. Animals in Indonesian Basic Words

Animals exist in all over the world. Surely, they may also called in different language in different country.  Many animals in Indonesia which can be translated into English. Here are the lists:

  • Kuda – Horse
  • Tikus – Mouse
  • Kucing – Cat
  • Beruang – Bear
  • Burung –  Bird
  • Singa – Lion
  • Harimau – Tiger
  • Ular – Snake
  • Kerbau – Buffalo
  • Buaya – Crocodile
  • Gajah – Elephant
  • Serigala – Wolf
  • Semut – Ant
  • Laba- laba – Spider
  • Cicak – Lizard
  • Nyamuk – Mosquito
  • Lalat – Flies
  • Katak – Frog
  • Cacing – Worm
  • Naga – Dragon
  • Jerapah – Giraffe
  • Musang – Weasel
  • Sapi – Cow
  • Rusa – Deer
  • Domba – Lamb

Those words are animal that can be seen in Indonesia. You need to memorize the vocabulary.

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  1. Equipment in Indonesian Basic Words

Equipment is apparatus that can be used to fix or create something useful. If there are some equipment in Indonesian, they can be translated into English.

Here are the lists:

  • Meja – Table
  • Pensil – Pencil
  • Palu – Hammer
  • Gunting – Scissor
  • Sapu – Broom
  • Sikat – Brush
  • Kain pel – Mop
  • Penggunting kuku – Nail clippers
  • Sisir – Comb
  • Tang – Pliers
  • Paku – Spike
  • Kuas cat – Paintbrush
  • Gayung – Water dipper
  • Sikat gigi – Tooth brush
  • Mesin cuci – Washing machine
  • Saklar – Switch
  • Kabel – Cable
  • Kayu – Wood
  • Kipas angin – electric fan

Those words are common equipment used in Indonesia. You need to memorize those words.

  1. Limbs in Basic Indonesian Words

Limbs are part of human bodies. Let’s learn and read those part of human bodies in Indonesian. Here are the lists:

  • Kepala – Head
  • Mata – Eyes
  • Hidung – Nose
  • Mulut – Mouth
  • Alis mata – Eyebrow
  • Bulu mata – Eyelashes
  • Bibir – Lips
  • Lidah – Tongue
  • Gigi – Tooth (Teeth)
  • Pipi – Cheek
  • Dahi – Forehead
  • Rambut – Hair
  • Telinga – Ears
  • Dagu – Chin
  • Leher – Neck
  • Pundak – Shouldiers
  • Dada – Chest
  • Payudara – Breast
  • Tangan – Hand
  • Jari – Fingers
  • Kuku – Nail
  • Perut – Stomach
  • Pantat – Buttock
  • Paha – Thigh
  • Lutut – Knee
  • Kaki – Foot (leg)
  • Tumit – Heel
  • Kemaluan – Genital

Those are words are part of bodies that commonly used in Indonesian words. Again,you need to memorize those words as your vocabulary.

You may also read: Conversation in Indonesian

  1. Musical Instrument in Indonesian Basic Words

Musical instrument exists in all over the world. Indonesian musical instrument is very unique because so many musical instrument which only exist in Indonesia.

First of all, we are going to lists musical instrument that exists in all over the world which also exists in Indonesia.

  • Gitar – Guitar
  • Dram – Drum
  • Bass –  Bass
  • Lecapi – Harp
  • Piano – Piano
  • Keyboard – Keyboard
  • Terompet –  Trumpet
  • Pianika – Inflatable piano
  • Gendang senar – Drum string
  • Seruling – Flute
  • Gendang –  Tambour
  • Rebana – Tambourine
  • Launch pad – Launchpad (DJ instrumental)

However, sometimes some music instruments in Indonesia is not exist in other countries. ‘’Flute ‘’ for example. Flute in Indonesia is a bit different from flute in other countries. The way in using flute even strains of flute in Indonesia is more local. Once you come to Indonesia, you will notice the different.

There are aslo some music instrumental in Indonesia which not exist in other countries such as ‘’Ketipung (Sundanesse). ‘’Ketipung’’ made by  Sundanesse people in Indonesia.It sounds like  small tambourine but a bit different. There are still many kinds of tambourine that difficult to be classified because they only have names in Indonesian. Again, you need to memorize those words.

  1. Fruits in Basic Indonesian Words

Everybody knows fruits, some people eat fruits and make them into juice. People allover the world must be know what fruits look like. Now, we are going to list some fruit in Indonesian basic words along with English translation. Here are the list:

  • Mangga – Mango
  • Apel – Apple
  • Jeruk – Orange
  • Jambu biji – Guava
  • Anggur –  Grape
  • Pisang – Banana
  • Semangka – Watermelon
  • Pepaya – Papaya
  • Pir – Pear
  • Kurma – Date (Palm)
  • Sirsak – Soursop
  • Nanas – Pineapple
  • Markisa – Passion fruit
  • Melon – Melon
  • Bengkuang – bengkoang (only exist in Indonesia)
  • Salak – salak (only exist in Indonesia)
  • Stroberi – Strawberry
  • Durian – Durian (only exist in Indonesia)
  • Lengkeng- Litchi

Those words are common fruits that can be seen in Indonesia. You must try some fruits that only exist in Indonesia. They are nice and sweet.

8. Numbers in Indonesian 

Here are the translation of numbers in Indonesian

  • Nol – zero
  • Satu – one
  • Dua – two
  • Tiga – three
  • Empat – four
  • Lima – five
  • Enam – six
  • Tujuh – seven
  • Delapan – eight
  • Sembilan – nine
  • Sepuluh – ten

Indeed, You need to practice this basic words in Indonesian again and again.

9. Informal Indonesian Words 

Basic Words (Informal)  Meaning
Aku I
Kamu You
Kita We
Do’i She/He
Jutek Arrogant
Kepo Curious
Laper Hungry
Gokil Funny
Kocak Funny
Galau Restless, anxiousness combined with sadness

Meanwhile, to make you fluent in Indonesian, you need to remember this basic words in Indonesian everyday.

10. Formal Basic Words in Indonesia

Formal  Basic Words in Indonesia are basic words which are used in formal situation or common words that can be used in formal or informal situation. However,  they are often used in formal situation. Here are the lists:

Basic Words (Formal) Meaning
Saya I
Anda You
Kami We
Dia He/ she
Sombong Arrogant
Lapar Hungry
Lucu Funny
Rumit Complicated
Mudah Easy
Lelah Tired
Imut Cute
Tampan/ cantik Handsome/beautiful
Besar Big
Bodoh Stupid
Kesal Fed up
Hanya Only/ just
Memang Indeed
Sepertinya It seems like
Sekali Very/ so
Tidur Sleep
Santai Relax
Mengapa? Why?
Tidak No
Canggung Awkward
Pindah Move
Pakai Use
Benar Right!
Teman Friend
Sahabat Friend
Malas Lazy

All words above actually can be used in formal or informal situation because it is accepatable in Indonesia. They are common basic words often used in daily activities. People in all ages can use those words whether in formal situation or informal situation. However,  they are mostly used in informal situation. You can choose by yourself.

11. Indonesian Compound Words 

Here are the lists of basic compound words in Indonesian for beginners

Basic Words (Compound Words) Meanings
Kacamata (kaca+ mata) Glasses
Matahari  (mata+ hari) Sun
Rumah sakit (rumah+ sakit) Hospital
Meja makan (meja+ makan) Dining table
Orang tua (orang+ tua) Parents
Keras kepala (keras+ kepala) Stubborn
Mahasiswa (maha+ siswa) University student
Tanah air (tanah + water) Homeland/ mother country
Kamar tidur (kamar+ tidur) Bedroom
Air terjun (air+ terjun) Fallen Water
Kantor pos (kantor+ pos) Post office
Naik daun (naik+ daun) Famous
Terimakasih (terima+ kasih) Thank you
Rendah hati (rendah+hati) Humble
Saksi mata (saksi +mata) Eyewitness
Mata mata (mata+ mata) Scout
Rumah tangga (rumah+ tangga) Household
Hutan belantara (hutan+ belantara) Wilderness
Kurus kering (kurus+ kering) Haggard

Indeed, let’s check out this video about how to pronounce Indonesian common words and phrases:


From the explanation above, we can conclude that Indonesian basic words are easy as long as you can memorize all words with its meaning. Basic words in Indonesian above are basic words that commonly used in Indonesia. For beginners, you need to know the meaning and some things that only exist in Indonesia. The more you learn Indonesian culture along with their food and other things, the more you will interested in living in Indonesia for now and ever. Try hard and work hard!