The Meaning of Ibu in Indonesian – Brief Examples

Hi all, how are you doing?

In today’s article, we are explaining about the meaning of the word Ibu in Indonesian. Indonesians culture is very aware of how we address someone based on their age, level of closeness, and other aspects.

Meaning of Ibu in Indonesian is Mother

Here are some illustrations of the use of Ibu as a mother.

  • Ibu saya berusia 58 tahun. (My mother is 58 years old.)
  • Ibu saya sudah bekerja sebagai manajer selama 6 tahun di sebuah perusahaan multinasional di Bandung, Jawa Barat. (My mother has been working as a manager for 6 years in an multinational company in Bandung, West Java.)
  • Ibu dan Ayah saya menikah tahun 1989. (My mother and father were married in 1989.)
  • Bu is short term for Ibu, to make it less formal.
  • Bu, hari ini aku pulangnya agak telat. (Mom, today I went home a bit late.)
  • Usuallly, as a child/chidren, when we talk to our parent(s), we mention our own name instead of Aku. For example: Bu, hari ini Dito pulangnya agak telat.
  • Bu, kapan kita akan pergi ke rumah Kakek lagi? (Mom, when will we go to grandpa’s house again?)
  • We also call Ibu for a married or older woman. Here are some samples.
  • Kapan Ibu Ririn datang dari Solo? Mengapa tidak bilang ke saya?  Saya bisa menjemputnya di terminal. (When did Mrs. Ririn come from Solo? Why didn’t she tell me? I can pick her up in bus station.
  • Ibu Yani akan segera meninggalkan Indonesia untuk belajar di Singapura. Saya ingin mengadakan acara perpisahan untuk beliau.  (Mrs. Yani is leaving Indonesia soon to study in Singapore. I want to hold a farewell party for her.)

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For additional note, the term Beliau means to show that he/she is older than us. Besides, the term is also used to show some respect towards someone.

Further, we add the word Ibu before a woman’s name in order to honor her (for example a teacher). In class, even though the teacher is still young or isn’t married yet, she is still called Ibu.

  • Bu Widya sedang mengajar matematika pagi ini. Ms. Widya is teaching Mathematics this morning.
  • Ibu as an address to call someone we do not know / have never met before, to show politeness. It is also used when we want address customers for example in a hotel, in a restaurant.
  • 1 kg jeruk ini harganya berapa Bu? (How much of this 1-kg orange, Ma’am?)
  • Selamat siang Bu Renita, selamat datang di resort kami. (Good afternoon Mrs. Renita, welcome to our resort.)
  • Hari ini ada restoran kami menyediakan menu spesial, Bu. Apakah Ibu mau coba? (Today our restaurant provides special menu, Ma’am. Would you like to try?

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Or you can change the word Ibu with Anda : Hari ini restoran kami menyediakan menu special, Bu. Apakah Anda mau coba?

On the telephone: Selamat siang, bisa berbicara dengan Ibu Eni? (Good afternoon, can I talk to Mrs. Eni?

In this conversation, we as a caller, doesn’t know the exact age of Ibu Eni.

You might also want to learn about how to address someone younger than you. 

Beside the use of Ibu as a woman, Indonesians use the Ibu word for a noun

  • Ibu jari: Thumb
  • Ibu kota: Capital city
  • Ibu Pertiwi: Motherland

Hope you understand with our description about the meaning of Ibu in Indonesian.

You can also learn about greeting in Indonesia.