Meaning: hazy, blurred, unclear, run off, flee
Application: kabur, mengaburkan, dikaburkan(passive form)

Kalau sudah gelap penglihatan saya menjadi kabur.
Buronan itu sudah kabur(melarikan diri) ke luar negeri.
Dia kabur karena takut.
Kaca mobilnya dibuat kabur.
Jangan mengaburkan fakta.
Once it’s dark my vision becomes unclear.
The fugitive has fled the country.
He ran off because he’s afraid.
His car windows are frosted.
Don’t obscure the fact.


Meaning: maybe, perhaps, possibly, it seems to be, I think
Synonym: barangkali
Application: Kali is short for barangkali. Barangkali is formal Indonesian form while kali is colloquial Indonesian. It can occur together with ‘mungkin’. It can also follow adjectives.

Dia juga rada gila kali.
Bulan depan mungkin gue musti ke Jakarta kali.
Mereka bingung kali ngeliat orang bule main gamelan.
He is a bit crazy I think.
Next month I maybe have to go to Jakarta, perhaps.
They must have been puzzled to see a Caucasian plays gamelan.


Meaning: ‘kalo’ is a complement cause in colloquial Indonesian that follows verbs which report something that happened or report what someone said. It corresponds to ‘that’ in English. It can also mean ‘if’ – in this case sometimes occurs as ‘kalau’.
It can function as a conjunction; indicate a shift of attention; or to mark the topic.
Synonym: bahwa, kalau

Kalo gelap mata gua jadi kabur.
Gua nggak tau kalo itu cowoknya.
Dia mau ikut kalo tujuannya jelas.
Kalo bunga anggrek, bagus nggak?
Kalo dulu, jaman gue kecil, jalanan sepi.
Kalo yang pinter, pinter banget.
Kalo menurut gue, dia itu sombong.
If it’s dark my vision becomes unclear.
I didn’t know that that was her boyfriend.
She’ll join if its aim is clear.
What about orchids, are they nice?
In the olden days, when I was little, roads are quiet.
The clever ones are really clever.
In my opinion, she’s arrogant.


Meaning: room, chamber
Synonym: ruang

kamar makan/ruang makan
kamar mandi
kamar kecil
ruang kecil
kamar tidur/ruang tidur
kamar anak
kamar tamu/ruang tamu
kamar dagang
kamar mayat
kamar operasi/ruang opearsi
kamar dokter/ruang dokter
kamar hotel
ruang kelas
kamar rapat/ruang rapat
dining room
small room
lounge room
chamber of commerce
operating theatre
hotel room
class room
meeting room


Meaning: give
Synonym: kasih, beri, berikan
Application: In formal Indonesian ‘memberikan’ is the general word for ‘give’. In colloquial Indonesian the more common word is ‘kasi’. Sometimes it is written or pronounced ‘kasih’.

Pelayan di restoran sering dikasi tip.
Dia harus kasih tanda supaya saya bisa parkir.
Saya mau kasih tau kamu.
The waiter in that restaurant is often given a tip.
He has to give me sign so I can park.
I want/need to tell you.


Meaning: look like, resembling
Synonym: seperti
Application: ‘Kayak’ is a colloquial term. Sometimes it is pronounced ‘kaya’. ‘Kayak’ can follow ‘sama’, i.e. sama kayak meaning ‘just like; the same as’. It also occurs frequently with ‘gitu’ or ‘gini’, i.e. kayak gitu and kayak gini meaning ‘like that’ or ‘like this’. Another combination is kayak gimana or kayak apa meaning ‘what (is it) like? like what?’

Tampangnya sama kayak bapaknya.
Adat istiadatnya kayak gitu.
Gue nggak tau masa lalu dia kayak gimana.
He looks like his father.
Their customs are like that.
I don’t now what his past life like.



  1. It is based on the word ‘kayak’ with the suffix -nya.
  2. It can be a stalling device, giving a tone of vagueness to the statement or question meaning ‘sort of, like, you know‘.
  3. It frequently acts as a comment on what follow and can variously be translated as ‘I think, I mean, I suppose, it looks like, it’s as if, it seems‘ depending on the context.
Kayaknya elu suka banget main basket.
Kayaknya kurang garem nih.
Kayaknya gue pernah cerita deh sama elu.
It seems that you really like playing basket ball.
I think there’s not enough salt in here.
I suppose I’ve told you a bout this.


Meaning: to speed, drive at excessive speed, spped up, dust off
Application: kebut, ngebut, dikebut, kebut-kebutan

Dilarang ngebut di jalan.
Saya musti ngebut nih, kerjaan numpuk.
Ayo kebut!
Meja ini berdebu, harus dikebut.
Mobil mobil di jalan saling kebut-kebutan.
Speeding is prohibited.
I have to speed up, my work is piling up.
Let’s speed up!
This table is dusty and must be dusted off.
Cars on the streets are racing each other.


Meaning: why, what’s the matter with
Synonym: mengapa
Application: Mengapa is hardly ever used in colloquial Indonesian. Kenapa may occur in formal Indonesian but is highly used in colloquial Indonesian. The reduplicated form ‘kenapa-napa’ has a meaning ‘something will happen’.

Kenapa tangan lu?
Saya takut dia kenapa-napa.
Saya nggak kenapa-napa.
What’s wrong with your hand?
I’m worried something’s happened to him.
Nothing’s wrong with me.


Meaning: awkward, clumsy, strange, selfconscious
Synonym: kagok(informal), canggung

Waktu pertama kali ketemu calon mertua rasanya kikuk juga.
Kagok rasanya waktu pertama kali naik panggung.
Kok kikuk amat bawa mobilnya?
I felt self-conscious when I first met my mother-in-law to be.
It felt awkward when I first went on stage.
Why you drive clumsily?

*) Reference: Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian by James Neil Sneddon, 2006

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