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List of Indonesian Nouns: 100 Words You Need to Know


When it comes to parts of speech that you ought to know, you never see nouns ranked super high. If you don’t know a verb, the conversation might grind to a halt as you figure out how to talk around that.

If you don’t know a noun, though, it’s not the end of the world. You can probably say something similar, or maybe even the English word.


That philosophy might work for some things. But try describing an electrical outlet, or your knee, without resorting to pointing. Tough work!

This is a no-fluff list of common Indonesian nouns, and lots of them. Fill up those lexical gaps and hit the ground running!

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Table of Contents
  1. What Makes Indonesian Nouns Tick?
  2. Time
  3. The Body
  4. The Family
  5. Working Life
  6. School Days
  7. At the Restaurant
  8. Food and Drink
  9. Mealtimes
  10. Transportation
  11. Technology
  12. Around the Home
  13. Conclusion

1. What Makes Indonesian Nouns Tick?

Nouns 1

A very quick note before we begin: Indonesian nouns are easy for English-speakers. They never change form, and they don’t even have to mark their plurals.

You can explicitly mark plurals by reduplication. That is, writing or saying the word twice in a row (it’s written with a hyphen). So if anak is “child,” then it can also possibly refer to “children.” To make that pluralization clear, though, you can say anak-anak and leave no room for error.

Now that we’ve cleared that out of the way, here are the most common nouns in Indonesia by category.

2. Time

Man Pointing to Wrist Watch

One of my biggest mistakes when learning languages for travel has been ignoring time. If you hear that there’s “one bus a day” but you don’t know the word for “day,” you’ve got a big task ahead of you figuring that out from context.

Today (hari ini)

Hari apa hari ini?
“What day is today?”

Tomorrow (besok)

Besok saya sibuk.
“I’m busy tomorrow.”

Yesterday (kemarin)

Saya di bioskop kemarin.
“I was at the movies yesterday.”

Day (hari)

Hari mana lebih baik untuk Anda?
“What day is best for you?”

Week (minggu)

Saya sakit sepanjang minggu.
“I’ve been sick all week.”

Month (bulan)

Bulan depan saya di Medan untuk bekerja.
“I’ll be in Medan next month for work.”

Year (tahun)

Rumah saya dibangun bertahun-tahun lalu.
“My house was built many years ago.”

Time (waktu)

Apakah kamu punya waktu untuk berbicara sekarang?
“Do you have time to talk now?”

3. The Body

Nouns 2

At the doctor or at the clothing store, you’ll want to be able to talk about your body. Here are the most useful Indonesian nouns to do so with.

Foot (kaki)

Kaki Anda sudah baik-baik saja belum?
“Is your foot all better now?”

Leg (kaki)

Saya terganggu dengan kaki saya.
“My leg has been bothering me.”

Head (kepala)

Ada laba-laba di kepalamu.
“You have a spider on your head.”

Arm (tangan)

Apa tangan yang satu lebih panjang dari tangan lainnya?
“Is one arm longer than the other?”

Hand (tangan)

Seorang laki-laki dengan tangan yang besar butuh sarung tangan yang besar.
“A man with big hands needs big gloves.”

Stomach (perut)

Hari ini perut saya terasa tidak enak.
“My stomach feels terrible today.”

Back (punggung)

Saya memiliki tato di punggung saya.
“I have a tattoo on my back.”

Chest (dada)

Apakah dada Anda sakit?
“Does your chest hurt?”

Waist (pinggang)

Letakkan tanganmu di pinggang.
“Put your hands on your waist.”

Size (ukuran)

Ukuran berapa sepatu ini?
“What size are these shoes?”

4. The Family

Family Photo for Christmas

How big is your family? That might be a strange question where you come from, but in Indonesia, people love asking and answering questions about their families. If you have kids, get ready for even more questions!

Family (keluarga)

Ada berapa orang di keluarga Anda?
“How big is your family?”

Mother (ibu)

Ibu saya tinggal di Solo.
“My mother lives in Solo.”

Father (bapak)

Bapak saya orang yang baik hati.
“My father is a kind man.”

Parent (orang tua)

Orang tua saya bekerja di rumah sakit.
“My parents work at a hospital.”

Child (anak)

Apakah kamu punya anak?
“Do you have any children?”

Daughter (anak perempuan)

Anak perempuan saya bekerja sebagai supir truk.
“My daughter is a truck driver.”

Son (anak laki-laki)

Anak laki-lakinya mendapatkan penghargaan.
“Her son got an award.”

Aunt (bibi; tante)

Pernahkah dia bertemu dengan bibi saya?
“Has he met my aunt?”

Uncle (paman)

Pamanku dulu bekerja di Tiongkok.
“My uncle used to work in China.”

Husband (suami)

Pria itu bukan suami saya.
“That man is not my husband.”

Wife (istri)

Istri saya punya lebih banyak uang daripada saya.
“My wife makes more money than I do.”

5. Working Life

Nouns 3

We briefly touched on jobs in the last section, but let’s look now and see some names for job titles in Indonesian.

Salesman (penjual)

Penjual datang ke rumah saya setiap hari.
“A salesman comes to my house every day.”

Teacher (guru)

This term is used for school and kindergarten teachers, as well as music and language teachers. In contrast, dosen refers to college or higher-education teachers.

Dengarkan pidato guru.
“Listen to the teacher’s speech.”

Teacher (pengajar)

This is a more general term for a teacher.

Apa Anda mau menjadi pengajar?
“Do you want to be a teacher?”

Manager (manajer)

Mereka punya terlalu banyak manajer.
“They have too many managers.”

Doctor (dokter)

Dokter saya tidak mengerti masalahnya.
“My doctor doesn’t understand the problem.”

Cook (koki)

Kokinya dari mana?
“Where is the cook from?”

Employee (karyawan)

Siapa karyawan terbaik?
“Who is the best employee?”

Writer (penulis)

Apakah kamu punya penulis kesukaan?
“Do you have a favorite writer?”

Driver (sopir/supir)

Loh, di mana sopirnya?
“Hey, where’s the driver?”

Cleaner (tukang bersih-bersih)

Tukang bersih-bersih akan datang ke kantor besok.
“The cleaner will arrive at the office tomorrow.”

Painter (pelukis)

Siapa pelukis lukisan itu?
“Who was the painter of that picture?”

6.School Days

Woman Sitting in Class

Lots of foreigners are able to find jobs teaching abroad in Indonesia, and quite a few others are able to get scholarships to study abroad there, too. Whichever the case may be, words for school are important!

Book (buku)

Buku apa itu?
“What book is that?”

Pen (pulpen)

Saya punya satu pulpen merah.
“I have a red pen.”

Pencil (pensil)

Kenapa pensilmu?
“What happened to your pencil?”

University (universitas)

Saya lulus dari Universitas Indonesia di Jakarta.
“I graduated from the University of Indonesia in Jakarta.”

Notebook (buku catatan)

Apakah saya harus membawa buku catatan besok?
“Should I bring my notebook tomorrow?”

School (sekolah)

Apakah ada sekolah bagus dekat rumahmu?
“Are there good schools near your house?”

Student (mahasiswa)

Saya punya mahasiswa yang luar biasa.
“I have excellent students.”

Homework (PR [pekerjaan rumah])

Tidak ada PR hari ini.
“No homework today.”

Exam (ujian)

Kemarin ada ujian, di mana kamu?
“There was an exam yesterday, where were you?”

Scissors (gunting)

Saya kehilangan gunting lagi.
“I lost my scissors again.”

7. At the Restaurant

Indonesian restaurants abroad usually only have a sampling of the great cuisine of Indonesia. And as far as I’ve found, nobody does mi goreng properly outside the country.

Plate (piring)

Piring ini kotor.
“This plate is dirty.”

Bowl (mangkuk)

Minta satu mangkuk lagi.
“Could we have another bowl, please?”

Knife (pisau)

Pisau ini berat.
“This knife is heavy.”

Fork (garpu)

Aku menjatuhkan garpuku.
“I dropped my fork.”

Spoon (sendok)

Sendokmu untuk hidangan pencuci mulut.
“Your spoon is for dessert.”

Cup (cangkir)

Saya mau cangkir baru.
“I want a new cup.”

Teapot (teko)

Tekonya kosong.
“The teapot is empty.”

Waiter (pelayan)

Pelayan kami luar biasa.
“We have an excellent waiter.”

Order (pesanan)

Pesanannya salah.
“The order was wrong.”

Bill; check (bil)

Maaf, minta bil.
“Excuse me, the check please.”

8. Food and Drink

The plates are one thing, and the food on them is something else. Here’s what you’ll find yourself eating at restaurants in Indonesia.

Water (air)

Minta satu botol air putih.
“I want a bottle of water.”

Coffee (kopi)

Saya lebih suka es kopi.
“I prefer iced coffee.”

Tea (teh)

Teh di Indonesia biasanya manis.
“The tea in Indonesia is usually sweet.”

Beef (sapi [daging sapi])

Daging sapi lebih murah di Super Indo.
“Beef is cheaper at Super Indo market.”

Chicken (ayam)

Sudah pernah mencoba ayam geprek?
“Have you ever tried ayam geprek (a special kind of fried chicken with peppers)?”

Avocado (alpukat)

Ini pertama kali saya minum jus alpukat.
“This is my first time drinking avocado juice.”

Passionfruit (markisa)

Maaf, markisa sudah habis.
“Sorry, we’re all out of passionfruit.”

Pineapple (nanas)

Pizzanya ada ananas tidak?
“Does the pizza have pineapple?”

Fruit juice (jus buah)

Berapa harga jus buah?
“How much is fruit juice?”

Milk (susu)

Kamu ada susu segar?
“Do you have fresh milk?”

9. Mealtimes

Porridge with Butter & Orange Juice

Finishing up the food theme here, we have a couple of important names for eating meals at different times of the day.

Breakfast; to have breakfast (sarapan)

Saya biasanya tidak sarapan.
“I don’t usually eat breakfast.”

Lunch (makan siang)

Apa kamu makan untuk makan siang?
“What did you eat for lunch?”

Dinner (makan malam)

Sudah makan malam belum?
“Have you eaten dinner yet?”

Snack (kudapan)

Saya seharusnya tidak makan banyak kudapan.
“I shouldn’t eat so many snacks.”

Feast; party (pesta)

Ayo makan di pesta.
“Let’s have food at the party.”

10. Transportation

By far, the most common mode of transportation is the motorbike, followed closely by the car. You might be surprised to find how easy it is to ride a motorbike in Indonesia, but if you rent one, be sure to follow the rules of the road!

Street (jalan)

Aku tidak suka menyetir di jalan-jalan kecil.
“I don’t like driving on small streets.”

Car (mobil)

Dia tidak suka membersihkan mobilnya.
“He doesn’t like to clean his car.”

Bus (bus/bis)

Apakah kamu suka naik bis?
“Do you like riding the bus?”

Motorcycle for hire; motorbike taxi (ojek)

Apakah kamu punya nomor telepon ojek?
“Do you have the number of a motorbike taxi?”

Bus station (halte bus)

Apakah ada banyak terminal bus di kota ini?
“Are there a lot of bus stations in this city?”

Plane (pesawat)

Pesawat saya tidak sampai tepat waktu.
“My plane didn’t arrive on time.”

Bicycle (sepeda)

Di sini boleh menyewa sepeda?
“Can I rent a bicycle here?”

Motorcycle (sepeda motor)

Apakah sepeda motor mahal?
“Are motorcycles expensive?”

Taxi (taksi)

Boleh Anda membantuku memanggil taksi?
“Can you help me call a taxi?”

Train (kereta api)

Kereta api saya jam delapan.
“My train is at eight o’clock.”

Train station (stasiun kereta api)

Apakah ada stasiun kereta api di Bandung?
“Is there a train station in Bandung?”

11. Technology

Woman on Tablet

Time for all the gadgets we see around us. For a lot of these words, Indonesian simply uses the same word as English, but pronounce it according to Indonesian rules. So if you don’t see “laptop” or “wi-fi,” well, congratulations, you already know them!

Television (televisi) [device]

Sekarang televisi lebih besar dan lebih murah.
“Televisions are now bigger and cheaper.”

Password (kata kunci)

Apa kata kunci WiFi-nya?
“What’s the wifi password?”

Phone (telepon / HP / ponsel)

Kamu merusakkan HPku!
“You broke my phone!”

Camera (kamera)

Kamera ini lebih murah di Jepang.
“This camera is cheaper in Japan.”

Keyboard (papan ketik)

Bagaimanacaranya mengganti papan ketik?
“How can I change the keyboard?”

Button (tombol)

Tekan tombol merah untuk keluar.
“Press the red button to quit.”

Screen (layar)

Warna-warna di layar aneh.
“The colors on the screen are strange.”

12. Around the Home

Nouns 4

It’s good to know about different appliances in Indonesian, particularly if you’re visiting someone else’s home or considering renting a flat.

Refrigerator (kulkas)

Apakah itu makananmu yang di kulkas?
“Is this your food in the refrigerator?”

Washing machine (mesin cuci)

Mengapa Anda tidak punya mesin cuci?
“Why don’t you have a washing machine?”

Water heater (pemanas air)

Apakah pemanas air mahal?
“Is a water heater expensive?”

Fan (kipas)

Saya hanya punya sebuah kipas.
“I only have one fan.”

Air conditioner (AC)

Kapan kita bisa membeli AC yang lebih bagus?
“When can we buy a better air conditioner?”

Stove (kompor)

Ya ampun, kompornya kotor.
“Goodness, the stove is dirty.”

Table (vmeja)

Kapan kamu membersihkan meja ini?
“When did you clean this table?”

Chair (kursi)

Dia tidak punya kursi apapun di apartamennya.
“He has no chairs in his apartment.”

Shoe rack (rak sepatu)

Rak sepatu kosong.
“The shoe rack is empty.”

Door (pintu)

Apa warna pintu depannya?
“What color is the front door?”

Window (jendela)

Bagaimana kejadiannya jendela Anda pecah?
“How did your window break?”

13. Conclusion

Congratulations, you’ve just read 100 sentences (or about five book pages) of Indonesian! That’s quite an accomplishment, but you shouldn’t stop here. Instead, come back to this article as you keep practicing your Indonesian, and you’ll notice that you’ll start being able to come up with example sentences for these words with little or no effort.

This isn’t our only vocab-heavy lesson, either. Although it’s important to get input from a variety of sources when you learn any language, you can’t ignore vocabulary. At, you’ve come to the right place!

Are there any nouns in Indonesian you still want to know that we didn’t cover here? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy learning!

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