80 Indonesian Popular Phrases to Know – Meaning

I know that you are doing great in learning Indonesian phrases as you are able to pronounce Indonesian words correctly and understand Indonesian grammar exercise. But have you learn Indonesian popular phrases? Well, using Indonesian phrases is not crucial as you can go literal in everyday life, but using the phrase will make you sound so much like Indonesians. Using popular phrases in conversation and writing will take your Indonesian to another level. Take a look at below examples of Indonesian popular phrases along with the meaning.

  • Masih Hidup? – Literary translated as “Still alive”, it is a very informal phrase of “Apa kabar?” (How are you doing?). The phrase is used only when you know the person really well and have not seen he/him in a really long time.
  • Buaya darat – literary translated as ‘land crocodile’ but the rest of the world know the phrase as womenizers/players.
  • Tahi lalat – literary translated as ‘fly poop’; the phrase refers to moles or face moles.\

Also learn Indonesian words of wisdom.

  • Telur mata sapi – literary translated as ‘cow’s-eye eggs’, you may know this as sunny side up egg.
  • Malu-malu kucing – literary translated as ‘shy-shy cat’, it is an expression refers to when you are shy.
  • Tidak apa-apa – translated as ‘no what-what’, it is a popular phrase to say ‘no problem or no hassle’.
  • Sama-sama – translated as ‘same-same’, but it is a similar phrase as ‘you are welcome’ and mostly used when someone say thanks to you.
  • Jalan-jalan – translated as ‘walking-walking’, the phrase is used when you are going for a walk or find some fresh air.
  • Naik darah – literary translated as ‘blood rise’; ‘the phrase is used to describe when someone is getting angry.
  • Bunga tidur – literary means ‘flower of sleep’, but you know this phrase as a dream.
  • Empat mata – translated as ‘four eyes’, in English we know this phrase as face to face communication.
  • Banting tulang – translated as ‘smashing bone’, we know this phrase as bust a gut or a condition when you are working your ass off.

Also learn Untranslatable Indonesian Words with no English Equivalent.

  • Mata duitan – literary means as ‘money’s eyes’, this phrase refers to someone who loves money very much that they always measure up everything to money.
  • Gelap mata – translated as ‘dark eyes’ but in English we know the phrase as ‘burst a blood vessel’. The phrase refers to a condition when you do something unconsciously or when you are furious until the vessel will blow out.
  • Darah biru – literary translated as ‘blue blood’; the phrase refers to someone with high bred.
  • Buah bibir – literary means as ‘the fruit of the lips’, in English we have the same phrase as ‘the talk of the town’. The phrase refers to someone who becomes the hot topic of the town, mostly because of demeanor.
  • Kutu buku – this phrase has the same translation in English as book worm which refers to someone who deeply fond of reading.
  • Cari muka – literary translated as ‘find face’; in English we know the translation as ‘apple polishing’.
  • Meja hijau – translated as ‘green table’, the phrase refers to courthouse in English.
  • Berbadan dua – literary translated as ‘two bodied’; in English the phrase refers to pregnant women. This is because pregnant women have two bodies: herself and the baby.
  • Asam garam – this phrase literary translated as ‘sour and salt’. It refers to someone who has loads of experience (mostly in life). In English, the phrase is similar to ‘thick and thin.
  • Omong kosong – translated as ‘empty speech’, the phrase is used when someone tells only lie or we recognize it as bullshit.  

Also learn Indonesian Unique Words.

  • Naik daun – literary translated as ‘leaves rise’; in English the phrase refers to something or someone currently in fashion or in trend or going famous.
  • Keras kepala – in Indonesia ‘keras kepala is also known as ‘kepala batu’ which means someone with stony character trait. In English, the phrase is similar to bull-headed.
  • Mata-mata – literary translated as ‘eyes-eyes’, In English we say it as spy.
  • Gaji buta – translated as ‘blind wages’, the phrases refers to a condition when you get paid for something you have not done.
  • Main mata – the literal translation is ‘ play eyes’; the phrase refers to someone who flirt in general not only when flirt with winking eyes. In English, we know this phrase as make eyes at.
  • Kabar angin – literary translated as ‘wind news’, the phrase means issues or unconfirmed information. In English, the phrase is similar to idioms through the grapevine.

Also learn Indonesian Useful Expression.

Those are the popular phrases in Indonesian which most people used in everyday conversation. You can also start using the phrases and take your Indonesian comprehension to another level.