15 Indonesian Slang Words You Must Know: A Guide to Speaking Like a Local

Indonesia, with its rich culture and diverse communities, has an interesting slang vocabulary that is unique to the region. Knowing Indonesian slang words is not only a fun way to expand your vocabulary but also essential for connecting with locals and understanding their daily conversations. 

In this article, we've compiled a list of 15 Indonesian slang words that you must know to speak like a local. Let's dive in!

1. Mager: 

A popular slang word in Indonesia, mager means lazy or lacking motivation. Use it to describe your friend who doesn't feel like doing anything today.

2. Gelo: 

Derived from the Javanese language, gelo is an expression of surprise or disbelief. It is often used in casual conversation and can be translated as 'wow' or 'amazing.'

3. Anjay: 

Anjay is a versatile slang used to express excitement, surprise, or agitation. It's often used in social media and chats, and the meaning can vary depending on the tone and context.

4. Ngehe: 

Ngehe is a slang term used to describe things that are terrible, awful, or just downright bad. Use it to describe a lousy movie or a terrible meal.

5. Cemungudh: 

Meaning 'good luck' in Javanese language, cemungudh is a slang term commonly used by Indonesians, particularly in Central Java.

6. Otw: 

Short for 'on the way,' otw is a popular slang used in chats and messages to indicate that the person is on the way or en route to a particular destination.

7. Wong Jowo: 

A slang term used to describe people from Java, particularly those who still embrace traditional Javanese culture.

Ngedate is a slang term used to describe a romantic date or a get-together with someone you're interested in. It's a casual term that can also be used when making plans with friends.

9. Ngenes: 

Derived from the Javanese language, ngenes describes a situation that is regrettable, unlucky, or unfortunate.

10. Bokek: 

Bokek is used to describe someone who is broke, or short on cash. Use it when your friend can't hang out because they're bokek this week.

11. Bucin: 

Short for 'bukan cinta biasa,' bucin is a slang term used to describe someone who is deeply in love, almost to the point of obsession.

12. Gaul: 

Gaul means cool, hip, or trendy. Use it to describe someone's fashion sense or the latest hot spot in town.

13. Bikin Heboh: 

Bikin heboh means to create a commotion or make a sensation. It's commonly used to describe events or incidents that have caught the attention of the public.

14. Jomblo: 

Jomblo is a slang term used to describe someone who is single or not in a relationship. It's a lighthearted term and often used to poke fun at friends who can't seem to find love.

Bet is a slang term used to express approval or agreement. It's similar to saying 'okay' or 'got it.'


Indonesian slang words add color and depth to the local language, and knowing them can help you connect better with locals and understand their culture. From expressing excitement with anjay to describing an unfortunate situation with ngenes, these 15 Indonesian slang words are a great way to speak like a local. 

So, the next time you're in Indonesia, try incorporating some of these slang words into your vocabulary and immerse yourself in the local culture.
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