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200+ Basic Indonesian Words for Beginners

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Before Google Translate and online dictionaries, we had to browse through a massive dictionary to find the meaning or translation for a single word.

Nowadays, physical dictionaries have become obscure.

That has made learning languages way easier.

But with all these resources at our fingertips, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus. Sometimes, aspiring language learners end up just translating a bunch of words without learning any.

This is why we’ve compiled a masterlist of 200+ basic Indonesian words for beginners. 

Memorizing these words will help you to accurately build sentences, ask questions, express emotions, and much more.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Someone Holding a Pen and Paper
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Indonesian Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Conjunctions
  7. Others
  8. Conclusion

1. Pronouns

The first set of words you should add to your Indonesian vocabulary are pronouns. These are the words we use to refer to a person, place, or thing without actually saying its name:

  • Tom is mad. = He is mad.

We’ll cover three types of Indonesian pronouns today: personal, demonstrative, and interrogative. 

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are critical for building most basic sentences. It would be hard to speak a language and get by as a beginner without mastering the pronouns below, especially the first seven.

EnglishIndonesian 
Iaku
youkamu (singular) / kalian (plural)
hedia
shedia
ititu
wekita (including the 2nd person) / kami (excluding the 2nd person)
theymereka
meaku
himdia
herdia
uskita (including the 2nd person) / kami (excluding the 2nd person)
themmereka

Demonstrative Pronouns

Woman Pointing to a Couple

Demonstrative pronouns are used to make it clear what the speaker is referring to. You’ll find these useful when asking for directions or trying to explain something specific to a stranger.

EnglishIndonesian 
thisini 
thatitu 
theseini
thoseitu

Interrogative Pronouns / Question Words

A Man Holding a Rope Tangled Up into a Question Mark Shape

Asking questions is crucial in our day-to-day interactions. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you can’t even ask for help when you need it. 

EnglishIndonesian 
whosiapa 
whomsiapa
whosesiapa
whatapa
whichyang mana

Speaking of questions, it’s also worth learning these interrogative adverbs…

EnglishIndonesian 
whenkapan
wheredi mana
whymengapa
howbagaimana

2. Numbers

Random Numbers on a Screen

When you first start learning Indonesian numbers, you should focus on mastering the first ten digits plus zero. This will make it easier for you to understand the rest of the numbers.

NumbersEnglishIndonesian
0zeronol
1onesatu
2twodua
3threetiga
4fourempat
5fivelima
6sixenam
7seventujuh
8eight delapan
9ninesembilan
10tensepuluh

3. Nouns

As a beginner in Indonesian, you should probably focus most of your attention on memorizing as many basic nouns as possible. When used together with verbs, they form a complete thought—in a pinch, you can even use nouns by themselves to get an urgent point across! 

Time

A Man Checking the Time on His Watch

If there’s one thing everyone would agree on, it’d be the fact that time is king. Time is an important element in our conversations and interactions, and knowing how to express it is crucial.

EnglishIndonesian 
hour jam
minutemenit
morningpagi
afternoonsore
eveningmalam
dayhari
monthbulan
yeartahun
MondaySenin
TuesdaySelasa
WednesdayRabu
ThursdayKamis
FridayJumat
SaturdaySabtu
SundayMinggu

People

If you travel or live in Indonesia, these people-related words will be important for your daily interactions. You never know when you’ll need someone to call a police officer or when you’ll need directions to the nearest butcher.

EnglishIndonesian 
butchertukang daging
woodmantukang kayu
police officerpolisi
doctordokter
nurseperawat
firefighterpemadam kebakaran
teacherguru
fatherayah
motheribu
sistersaudara perempuan
brothersaudara laki-laki
Mr.Tuan / Bapak
Ms.Nyonya / Ibu

Places Around Town

Indonesia is a beautiful country with beautiful cities. Your experience traveling or living in this country will be even more interesting once you know the names of places you see around town. These words are especially crucial when you’re taking public transportation or a taxi and want to make sure you’re dropped off at the right spot.

EnglishIndonesian 
hospitalrumah sakit
supermarketsupermarket
schoolsekolah
downtownpusat kota
universityuniversitas
city hallbalai kota
main squarealun-alun
bankbank
museummuseum
restaurantrestoran
cafékafe
police stationkantor polisi
train stationstasiun kereta
bus stationterminal

School/Office Essentials

If you happen to study or work in Indonesia, the list below will be of great use as you learn to express yourself in the office or at school.

EnglishIndonesian 
penpena
notebookbuku catatan
computerkomputer
pencil casetempat pensil
headphonesheadphone
mousemouse
keyboardkeyboard
wifiwifi
chargercharger
cablekabel
backpackransel
deskmeja tulis
copybookbuku tulis

Body Parts

EnglishIndonesian 
eyemata
nosehidung
eartelinga
facemuka
armlengan
chestdada
cheekpipi
foreheaddahi
mouthmulut
chindagu
armpitketiak
abdomendaerah perut
legkaki
toejari kaki
fingerjari tangan 
anklepergelangan kaki
hippanggul
forearmlengan bawah
elbowsiku
wristpergelangan tangan

Food

Ever heard of the Indonesian dishes satay, sambal, or beef rendang? These dishes are popular in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore, as well. Food plays a large role in Indonesian culture, and learning food-related words can come in handy for your next shopping spree or restaurant visit.

EnglishIndonesian 
ٍٍvegetablessayuran
fruitbuah
meatdaging
milksusu
eggtelur
coffeekopi
yogurtyogurt
breadroti
bacondaging babi asap
piepai
hamham
chickenayam
juicejus
sausagesosis

4. Verbs

Memorizing some basic Indonesian verbs alongside the most common nouns is a great way to start learning how to form sentences. Here, we’ll cover verbs you might use to describe your day-to-day life and a few other key action words you should know. 

Daily Routine Verbs

If you’re a writer who likes to journal, keeping your diary in Indonesian is a brilliant language learning hack. Mastering the words in the list below will make that easier for you.

EnglishIndonesian 
to get upbangun
to eatmakan
to drinkminum
to gopergi
to workbekerja
to studybelajar
to drivemenyetir
to rideberkendara
to sleeptidur
to wake upbangun
to hangmenggantung
to do laundrymencuci pakaian
to naptidur siang
to work outberolahraga
to go outpergi keluar
to prepareuntuk mempersiapkan
to cookmemasak
to clean membersihkan
to washmencuci
to tidy upmerapikan
to connectmenghubungkan
to communicateberkomunikasi
to wearmemakai
to take (something) offmelepas
to grabmeraih
to mixmencampur
to holdmemegang
to freezemembekukan
to changemengganti
to movepindah

Other Common Verbs

Here are some common verbs that you’ll need in your day-to-day interactions.

EnglishIndonesian 
to givememberi
to getmenerima
to domelakukan
to makemembuat
to letmembiarkan
to askmeminta
to smiletersenyum
to findmenemukan
to usemenggunakan
to takemengambil
to comedatang
to lookmelihat
to hearmendengar
to smellmencium
to talkberbicara
to exitkeluar
to callmenelepon
to feelmerasakan
to answermenjawab
to laughtertawa
to crymenangis
to stealmencuri
to runberlari
to walkberjalan
to meetbertemu
to createmenciptakan
to finishmenyelesaikan

5. Adjectives

Adjectives allow us to describe things and better express ourselves. Learning even just a few easy Indonesian adjectives can help you add spice to your conversations and flair to your writing! 

Describing Objects

As a beginner Indonesian learner, you might find yourself struggling to describe the objects around you. This list will help you do just that.

EnglishIndonesian 
bigbesar
smallkecil
longpanjang
shortpendek
quirkyunik
smoothhalus
roughkasar

Describing People

Knowing how to describe people can work wonders for your social life in Indonesia! Here’s a list of common adjectives for doing that.

EnglishIndonesian 
prettycantik
handsometampan
talltinggi
shortpendek
disgustingmenjijikkan
sociablemudah bergaul
funnylucu
beautifulcantik
lovelymenyenangkan
caringperhatian
selflesstidak mementingkan diri sendiri
arrogantsombong
humblerendah hati
courageousberani
weaklemah
strongkuat

Describing Emotions

Indonesia has a very warm culture that’s vivid with emotions and feelings. Learning to express your emotions and understand people’s self-expressions will make you more local friends than you might think!

EnglishIndonesian 
happybahagia
sadsedih
joyfulgembira
traumatizedtrauma
depressedtertekan
anxiouscemas
stressed outstres
jollyperiang

Describing Weather

EnglishIndonesian 
sunnycerah
rainyhujan
wetbasah
humidlembap
drykering
frigiddingin
foggyberkabut
windyberangin
stormyberbadai
breezysemilir
windlesstanpa angin
calmtenang

6. Conjunctions

What separates a beginner from a fluent speaker is how fluidly they can speak. Conjunctions help you connect sentences and speak smoothly, which will make it easier for natives to understand you. 

EnglishIndonesian 
and dan
buttapi
thenkemudian
becausekarena
sojadi

7. Others

Below is a list of some Indonesian filler words. You’ll find that these are just as important as conjunctions.

EnglishIndonesian 
Am I wrong? / Am I right?Kan? 
So, it’s like this… / Well… / Look…Begini… (informal: Gini…) 
What is it… / What’s its name…Apa tu… / Apa tu namanya… 
See…Tu kan… 

8. Conclusion

Congrats! Now you’re 200 words in, and believe it or not, you’re just about 800 words away from fluency.

That’s right. 

Statistically, 1000 words is the amount of vocabulary you’ll need in order to understand 85.5% of conversations.

Crazy stat, right?

That means that if you memorize four other sets of lists like this one, you’ll practically be a fluent Indonesian speaker.

Wondering what the most efficient system is for learning more words?

Enter IndonesianPod101.

IndonesianPod101 provides thousands of well-categorized lessons that are organized and structured to make learning easy. 

The audio, video, and text lessons incorporate the most effective language learning tools: a pronunciation comparison feature, line-by-line breakdowns, slowed-down audio, vocabulary flashcards and slideshows, and more.

Even better, you can seek the help of a language expert on the same platform! With our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members, you can reach out to a personal tutor with questions or even have them develop a personalized learning program that fits your goals. 

You can access IndonesianPod101 via your mobile or desktop by signing up for free on the website.

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