10 Untranslatable Indonesian Words You Need to Know!

Have you ever tried to translate a word, and realized it has no replacement, or lack corresponding concept in any other languages? If you answer ‘yes’, do not worry! It is perfectly normal. These 10 unique Indonesian terms also don’t have equivalent in English!


1. Gemas

Gemas or gemes is a term to describe the feeling when we see someone/something adorable until we want to pinch, squeeze, hug, or even bite them. It can be a girl, a boy, pet, doll, or anything cute.


2. Masuk Angin

Masuk (enter) angin (wind) means “wind enter the body”. In fact, it is a phrase for feeling unwell, such as catch a cold, chilled, indigestion, and so on. For your information, the wind can enter your body if you expose to too much wind, skip a meal, or even stay up late 😉


3. Kerokan

Source: www.instagram.com/sobat__hangat/

When you masuk angin, you will need kerokan in order to release the wind. Indonesian people use oiled coin/spoon to scrape on your body, again and again, until it leaves the reddish mark.


4. Jambret

Imagine this: You are walking along the street. Out of nowhere, a motorcyclist passing by and snatching your belongings away. You will scream: “Jambret, jambret!”


5. Ga Enak

Literally translated as “not delicious”, ga enak is a phrase to express “I’ll feel bad” or “I don’t want to give a burden to others”. When someone offers help, you can reply: “Don’t do this, I’ll feel ga enak.” to reject them in a polite way.


6. Cuci Mata

If an Indonesian told you that he is going to cuci (wash) mata (eyes), he will not go to wash his eyes. Surprisingly, you will see him going out for a window shopping or maybe looking for a cute girl or guy.


 7. Jayus

Jayus is a word to reply a joke which is so poorly told that one cannot help but laugh.


8. Kan

English: “See? I told you right. That was a horrible idea. You never listened to me. Look what you have done.”

Indonesian: “Kan.”


9. Latah

Latah is a behavior of someone after experiencing a shock, including mimicking, cursing, dancing, screaming, and even uncontrollably laughing. As an example, a person will say “Ayam, ayam, ayam, ayam, ayam” (Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken) as a result of shock.


10. Anjir

Probably one of the most famous words for young Indonesians, anjir is more like a swearing word with no particular meaning. It works in all situations.

Damn: “Anjir!

That’s shocking: “Anjir!

When you’re sad: “Anjir sedih

When you’re happy: “Anjir seneng

When you’re mad at someone: “ANJIR!!!”

When you see someone handsome: “Anjir cakep

When you’re being chased by a dog: “Anjir, anjir, anjir!”


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