All words and phrases in every languages if used in wrong time and wrong place are very possible to turn out as insults. Therefore, in Bahasa Indonesia too, you should understand the Sacred Communication Etiquette and the Manners, beside mastering the Indonesian Grammar Rules. However, we also should know and understand about Indonesian Insult Phrase, so you would not make the mistake just because you do not understand. I hope you use it very wisely because it is very important.
There are many insults phrases in Indonesia. Some is specifics like Balinese Swear Words, others are more general Bad Words and discriminative. However, some of it just the words that do not match with the context and culture of Indonesian (mostly Indonesian Pronouns). Now, take a look of the list!
Indonesian Insults Phrases
- sialan lu = f*ck you
- anjing (Bahasa Indonesia), asu (Javanese), cicing cai (Balinese) = (you’re a) dog!
- Agamanya apa? = What is his/her religion?
*It is very sensitive, but commonly found
- Dia sudah tidak perawan = She is not a virgin anymore
*A woman that is not virgin anymore before her marriage is considered shameful
- Babi lu = You’re pig!
- Haram jadah = (something like) sh*t people
- Sampah masyarakat = society’s trash (literal meaning), useless people
- Anak tak tau diuntung = useless child
- Suami/istri tak berguna = useless husband/wife
- Matamu = your eyes (it is very rude and disrespect for Javanese)
- ndasmu = your head (it is very rude and disrespect for Javanese)
*Pointing someone’s eye/head is very rude in Javanese culture
- perempuan jalang = b*tch
- perempuan murahan = b*tch, like prostitute
- pelakor = husband theft
- mata keranjang/mata duitan = basket-face/money-face (literal meaning) — gold-digger
- jual diri = selling him/herself (people who use their body/seduction to get what they want)
- pansos/panjat sosial = social climber
- alay = cheesy person
- bodoh, goblok, bego, geblek = stupid, moron
- gila, sedeng, otak miring = mad, crazy
- autis = autistic (for someone who has childish/unusual behavior) – very discriminative
- anak di luar nikah/anak by accident = b*stard (child who was born outside the marriage)
*it is against the strict rules of religions in Indonesia, which has major influence in people life
- anak yatim = fatherless child (and/or motherless) or people who acts like uneducated person
- pace/mace = it’s a title for Papua mid-age man (pace) and (mace), but most Indonesian use it for Papua youth to (which is incorrect as well as stereotypically discriminative)
- muka plastik = plastic face (literal meaning), people who had surgeon plastic for beauty purpose, or to insult someone because they are prettier/handsome (especially if they had ugly duckling period).
- muka boros/tampang tua = wasteful face (literal meaning), older face or for people (usually public figure) that looks older than their age
- kayak tante-tante/ibu-ibu = like mid-age woman (literal meaning) — for girls that looks older than their age, possibly because their makeup
- jual tampang = selling face – people who use their looks to get what they want
- mampus = dead (a phrase for wishing someone to die)
- gelandangan, pengemis = homeless people, also for a person who acts/clothes looks like homeless people.
- Kafir = non-believer, infidel (usually use to insult non-Muslim people by the fanatics) – very sensitive
- Aseng = it is an insult for Chinese people as well as Chinese Indonesian – very sensitive
- Keling/hitam = black, dark skin
*Most Indonesian (not all) do not like to get tanned because it is considered unpretty
Notes: there are many Indonesian Insult Phrases which related to gender, race, ethnicity, religion and physical appearance. You mention someone by their ethnicity and religions out of context, you are definitely insulting. I recommend you just to avoid those kind of things because it is very sensitive.
Check also: Understanding the Word ‘Bule’
More of Indonesian Insult Phrases
Moreover, insult phrases are related to context and cultural perspective of Indonesian. Firstly, do not mention older people/stranger/more respected people only by their name. You should add title, like ‘Pak’, ‘Bu’ (Check Indonesian Cultural Words). Secondly, unlike English Indonesian Pronoun has many variation to refer someone. You must understand your position with people who you talk with. It is very important things, especially when you need Asking Questions in Indonesian. Here are the examples of insults
- You (kamu, Anda, [title])
– Kamu mau pergi?
– Anda mau pergi?
– Bapak mau pergi?
Those three sentences means ‘do you want to go?’. But, if you used the first and second to older people, you are not respecting the addressee. So, ‘kamu’ is used for peer or younger people, or to people with higher position to lower position; while Anda is use as ‘you’ in formal situation and to show respect (but has ‘rigid’ and ‘stiff’ sense), you should not use ‘Anda’ as you when talking to your parents or teacher, instead use title lika ‘Bapak/Ibu’ (Sir/Madam) for general, ‘Father/Mother’ (parents).
- I (saya, aku)
Like kamu, there are more than one form to mention ourselves. ‘Saya’ is used as ‘I’ in formal situation (like to our teachers) and when we talk to respected/older people, but to stiff to use when talk to our parents. In contrast, ‘aku’ is used in non-formal situation and with someone we have known for long time (peer, friend in school/work). Using ‘aku’ to older people might also considered insulting
- He/She (dia, beliau)
You should not use ‘dia’ to mention someone’s older than you or respected people such as national hero, public figure and so on. If you want to mention your teacher i.e. Mrs Lita, use Mrs. Lita (or Ibu Lita/Ibu itu), but you could also change it to the word ‘beliau’. It is an equivalent for he/she to someone that very resepected
Now, you have known that Indonesian Insult Phrases are not just about group of words, but also cultural etiquette. Therefore, I would like you to check these articles: