What is Lebay Means in Bahasa Indonesia?

Hello there ! Hope you have wonderful day.

Before i start to explain from the main topic that we will discuss for this edition, i would like to ask you first. Have you ever read or heard Indonesian people says “lebay”?

For the example you could fine the word “lebay” on this sentence “Ah kamu lebay, baru naik 1 kg saja sudah bilang kegendutan.”  (“You’re overacting, you said that you’re overweight when you’re just gained a kilo”).

From the example above we got to know that in English the word “lebay” means overacting. Beside that lebay could be translated into overdo, extravagant, exaggerating.

We could check these meaning by looking up into oxford Cambridge dictionary, in oxford Cambridge dictionary it said that overact is a verb which means to make your voice and movements express emotions too strongly when acting in a play, etc.

For the example:

Just like good actors in the theatre, good politicians should not overact at times of turbulence.

Overacting has almost same meaning with exaggerated/exaggerating which means to make something seem larger, more important, better, or worse than it really is.

For the example:

He has exaggerated the whole event to make it sound rather more dramatic than it actually was.

Now i would like to explain the history of the word lebay itself. According to Rosa on her personal blog the word lebay was came from the bahasa Indonesia word “lebih” which simply means “more” in English. Lebih in KBBI (Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia) means lewat dari jumlah yang semestinya (more than the usual/exact amount). More has a definition a larger or extra number or amount.

The first time the word lebay showed up was on an comedy show on a TV in Indonesia. Then to exaggerated the word lebih, the actor/actress said the word lebih by changed the vowel /i/ with English pronunciation /ai/, and changed the consonant /h/ into /y/.

How to spell lebay in Bahasa Indonesia is by:

-/Le/ which spell the vowel /e/ almost same pronunciation with the vowel /a/ (ei)

-/bay/ which spell the vowel /a/ same pronunciation with vowel /i/ (ai)

The examples of the word lebay:

  • Ngga usah lebay baru diputusin pacar aja sudah mau bunuh diri. (Dont overact, your boyfriend just broke you up and you already want to suicide.)
  • Jangan percaya omongannya, dia itu suka lebay kalau berbicara. (Dont trust her words, she likes to exaggerated her stories.)
  • Dia cuma seorang artis sama manusianya dengan kita, ngga usah lebay. (He’s just an actor, as same as human with us so please dont be so exaggerated.)
  • Silahkan dukung siapa calon presiden mu tapi ngga usah lebay. (Its your choice and your rights to support whose your favorite candidates of Indonesia’s President but dont be overreact.)

The word lebay usually used in daily conversation which is informal and its used among teenager toward their opponents who has the same age or lower than them.

Lebay wont be used in a formal conversation or formal speech like presidential speech, in a board meeting, parents meeting, etc. But the word lebay would have possibility to be used among adults conversation since its became a slang word in Indonesia’s nowdays culture. So its not only could be used by teenager but also adults.

Since the word phrase “lebay” is considered as a slang word so it would be wise if you use this word when you were involved in an informal situation and with younger opponent rather than yourself. If you’re at the age of forties it would be nice if you dont used this word to older people rather than you.

Read about how to say no in Indonesian:

So thats all about what is lebay means in Bahasa Indonesia. I hope this article would help you to understand more about the definition and how to use the word properly and give politeness to your opponents while involves in a conversation.