Every language has idioms and expressions. Idioms are a combination of two or more words which create a completely different meaning from the original words. In general, idioms are natural expression of a language, a group of people, or a person. In English, the common idioms are piece of cake, cry baby, old as the hill, cheapsake, barrel of laugh, and many more. Also learn about Indonesian Proverbs with English Equivalent.
In Indonesia, there are also plenty idioms and expression which mostly used in everyday conversation. Indonesians uses idioms to describe a condition, a person, or a thing.
Take a look at below lists of Indonesian idioms and expression. Also learn about Indonesian romantic quotes.
|Indonesian Idioms||Literal English Translation||Meaning|
|Anak buah||Fruit child||Subordinate|
|Anak bawang||Onion child||The one who always picked out|
|Anak emas||Golden child||The favourite child|
|Angkat tangan||Raise hand||To surrender|
|Angkat kaki||Lift feet||To leave|
|Adu domba||Fighting sheep||To divide and conquer|
|Bintang tamu||guest star|
|Buah bibir||Fruit lips||One that is noteworthy|
|Buah tangan||Fruit hand||Gift, souvenir|
|Besar mulut||Big mouth||Blabber mouth|
|Bunga desa||Flower in the village||The most beautiful girl in the village|
|Besar kepala||Big head||Arrogant|
|Buah hati||Fruit of heart||Beloved children|
|Buang muka||Throw face away||To ignore in purpose|
|Banting tulang||To throw a bone||Hard worker|
|Bau tanah||Smell of soil||Near to death/ old people|
|Berat hati||Heavy heart||Unwilling|
|Banting setir||Swerve||Choose something else|
|Badan dua||Two bodied||Getting pregnant|
|Banting harga||Smash of price||Sell in cheap price|
|Cuci gudang||Warehouse cleaning||Sell all the stock goods|
|Campur tangan||Mixed hands||To get involved in a problem|
Indonesian Idioms and Expression
|Cinta monyet||Monkey love||Puppy love|
|Cuci mata||Washing eye||Window shopping|
|Darah muda||Young blood||Youngsters|
|Darah biru||Blue blood||Aristocrat|
|Datang bulan||Moon coming||Menstruation|
|Gigit jari||Bite hands||To get disappointed|
|Gulung tikar||To roll the mat||Go bankrupt|
|Jago merah||Red roosters||Big flame, fire|
|Lintah darat||leech||The one who rent money out|
|Naik daun||Leaves lift||To get famous|
|Meja hijau||Green table||Court|
|Mata hati||Heart eye||To use your heart/conscious|
|Kutu buku||Book worm|
|Kutu loncat||Jumping flea||A person who love changing job|
|Kepala dingin||Cold head||To think logically|
|Kelinci percobaan||Guinea pig|
|Unjuk gigi||Showing tooth||To perform your skill|
|Unjuk rasa||Utter feelings||Demonstration|
|Kupu-kupu malam||Night butterfly||Prostitute|
|Tuan rumah||House master||Host|
|Silat lidah||Tongue fight||To bicker|
|Jalan tikus||Rat road||Short cut|
|Otak udang||Shrimp brain||Stupid person, doofus|
|Tangan panjang||Long hand||Thief|
|Ringan tangan||Light hand||The one who love to help others|
|Tulang punggung||A backbone||Bread winner|
|Bunga tidur||flower of the sleep||dream|
That’s all common Indonesian idioms and expression.
Besides idioms, there are also common expression most Indonesians used to explain person, a condition, and more. Also check out our latest articles about Indonesian popular phrases.
- Rumahku istanaku – literary translated as my home, my castle. This expression has the similar meaning as home sweet home.
- Orang sabar disayang Tuhan – literary translated as God loves patient person. This means good thing will comes to those who wait
- Buang air kecil – the expression is used when you want to go to toilet or pee
- Buang air besar – the expression is used when you want to pooping
- Lain kali – literary translated as next time. It can be used when you want to say ‘no, thanks’.
Also learn about Indonesian unique words.
- Tidak enak badan – literary translated as ‘the body is not delicious’. It refers to a condition when you are not feeling well but does not want to say that you are sick.
- Tinggal lima watt – literary translated as ‘five-watt left’. This expression is used when you are very tired and sleepy and you look like a light bulb which cannot shine due to low watt.
- Telur mata sapi – in English, we know this expression as sunny side up egg.
- Hitam di atas putih – this expression means in written. In English, we know this phrase as in black and white.
- Sirik tanda tak mampu – refers to a character in which when you are envy of someone, it is the sign that you are unable to be like him/her.
- Orang pelit, rejekinya sempit – stingy person will have narrow blessing
Using Indonesian idioms and expression conversation shows that you have mastered Indonesian language quite well. Continue to use expression and idioms to make you sound more like Indonesian. Also learn Funny Jokes in Indonesian Language.