Indonesian Prefix ter- (Formula and Examples)

Many Indonesian words are combination of root words and prefix to create a completely new meaning. There are numbers of prefix used in Bahasa Indonesia including prefix ter-. It can be combined with verbs, adjectives, and sometimes nouns to create a new word. Even though Indonesian ter- is considered as prefix, but not all words starting with the words ter- contains prefix.

Some words with beginning ter- are actually root words such as terbang (to fly), teriak ( to shout), and much more. However, most words with prefix ter- can be categorized as the following. Learn more about Indonesian root words. Thus, let’s learn about Indonesian prefix ter- and its formula.

1. Stative verbs

Stative ter- verbs refer to a state than an action. This is the most common form of prefix ter- words. The general formula is prefix ter- + verbs/ root words. Check out the following example:

Root words Prefix ter- + verbs/root word Meaning
Tulis Buku itu tertulis dalam bahasa Perancis. That book is written in French.
Buat Jaketnya terbuat dari wool The jacket is made of wool.
Letak Koran itu terletak di bawah meja. The newspaper is located under the table.

2. Accidental verbs

Verbs in bahasa Indonesia is divided into deliberate and accidental action. Words with prefix ter- mostly create the type of accidental, unintended, uncontrolled, sudden, and involuntary actions. It can also express passive voice and becomes transitive and intransitive. Learn more about type of adjunct in Indonesia.

Type of actions Root words Sentence Meaning
Accidental Tinggal Bukunya tertinggal di sekolah The book was left at school.


Pengumumannya terhapus oleh murid The announcement is wiped out by a student (accidentally).
Transitive and intransitive Tidur Amin tertidur di kelas Amin fell asleep in class


Obatnya tidak sengaja terminum oleh kucing. The drug is drunk by the cat (accidentally).
Passive voice Injak



Kaki saya terinjak oleh Amin My foot was trampled on by Amin (accidentally).
Bakar Rumah Amir terbakar tadi malam. Amir’s house was burned down last night (accidentally)

Thus, let’s learn about Indonesian prefix ter- to make you fluent in Bahasa.

3. Abilitative verbs

Indonesian words with prefix ter- sometimes also indicate someone’s ability to perform certain action. The words are always passive and transitive even the subject is both first and second person. Usually the words are negated or indicating inability. Learn more about Indonesian written language.

Root words Prefix ter- + root words Meaning
Dengar Suara TV itu tidak terdengar. The TV sound cannot be heard.
Beli Mobil itu tidak terbeli oleh kami We cannot afford to buy the car.
Bawa Paket anda terbawa oleh saya I took your package accidentally.

Thus, let’s learn about Indonesian prefix ter- to make you fluent in Bahasa. 

4. Superlative verbs

Prefix ter- are commonly used to explain the greatest degree of something among two or more things. It is another form to replace the superlative words ‘paling’. The formula for the superlative form using this prefix is Ter- + adjectives. Learn more about Indonesian alphabets list and pronunciation.

Root words Meaning Ter- + root Synonym Meaning
Buruk Bad Terburuk Paling buruk The worst
Panjang Long Terpanjang Paling panjang The longest
Cantik Beautiful Tercantik Paling cantik The most beautiful
Akhir End Terakhir Paling akhir The very last

Also check out about how to Learn Indonesian me- Prefix (Formula and Examples)

5. Explaining subject

The prefix ter- can also be used to explain a subject/actor who does an act and it can serve as noun. To be able to explain certain subject, you can use the general formula of Prefix ter- + verbs.

Root words Prefix ter- + root words Meaning
Sangka Orang itu telah menjadi tersangka kasus korupsi. He has become the suspect for a corruption case.
Pidana Terpidana kasus narkoba tersebut dijatuhi hukumann 10 tahun penjara. The convict of drug abuse has given sentence for 10 years.

6. Additional note:

When prefix ter- meet with words starting with ‘r’, it is only written with single ‘r’. This means no double ‘r’ in prefix ter- formation. Also learn about Indonesian unique words.

Root words Meaning Ter- + root words Meaning
Rencana Plan Terencana Planned
Rampas Capture Terampas Captured
Robek Tear off Terobek Torn off

Overall, there are still loads of other ter- words which are not fitted in these categories. Some of those words do not necessarily serves as verbs. It can be a noun or even root words. Be sure to check out our other posts to hone your skill in Bahasa Indonesia.