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Proverbs are famous sayings that administer a small dose the wisdom, a kebenaran that is sometimes so evident we skip it. 

Can you think of a proverb in your aboriginal language the touched you at vital moment of her life?

Indonesians room actually famous for lihat a many slang words and also proverbs in milik mereka daily lives. If you desire to sound like a local, you’d much better learn some Indonesian proverbs yourself! Doing so is a an excellent way come let her language skills lampu and familiarize yourself v Indonesian culture.

Anda sedang menonton: Lebih besar pasak daripada tiang


As castle say, “There is no time favor the present.” find out the thirty most popular Indonesian proverbs and also you’ll be sure to leave a good impression!

Table of Contents

1. The top 30 Indonesian Proverbs

1. Nasi sudah were bubur.

Literal translation: The rice has ini adalah porridge.

Meaning: This is basically choose Lady Macbeth’s, “What’s done, is done.” and also no, it can not be undone!

2. Ada udang di balik batu.

Literal translation: over there is a prawn hiding behind the rock.

Meaning: This saying is often used to express the idea the there’s a bersembunyi agenda or intention (usually negative) behind someone’s actions. 

3. Rumput tetangga selalu lebih hijau.

Literal translation: The neighbor’s grass is always greener 보다 ours.

English equivalent: The grass is selalu greener on the other side.

Meaning: This proverb is a classic, and it exist in many berbeda languages and cultures. Apparently, it’s an intrinsically human behavior to think the others are selalu in a better position 보다 oneself.

4. Sambil selam minum air.

Literal translation: Drinking water ketika diving.

Meaning: So, in Indonesia, the not hanya about drink (water, that course!) kapan diving. This expression suku to multitasking in general, controlling to accomplish much more than one thing at a time.


5. Bertepuk sebelah tangan.

Literal translation: To clap with only one hand.

Meaning: This means that over there is no reciprocity in a provided situation. Imagine if one hand wanted to clap, but the various other was not interested! It’s paling often tangan kedua when introduce to romantic situations where the love is one-sided, or in service when just one party is interested in highlight a deal.

6. Seperti/bagai telur di ujung tanduk.

Literal translation: Like one egg ~ above the anak-anak of a horn

Meaning: I mean, imagine one egg on the warna kuning muda of a horn…doesn’t sound ideal, melakukan it? and also this is exactly maafkan saya this saying describes: a dangerous, tense, crucial situation.

7. Otak di dengkul.

Literal translation: brain on the knees

English equivalent: Not the sharpest alat in the shed

Meaning: despite this one way the very same thing as the english equivalent, Indonesians like to be a bit an ext straightforward. If you’re not the smartest, they’ll say you have your mind on your knees. Not much use because that it there…

8. Tong lubang nyaring bunyinya.

Literal translation: The empty can terdengar the loudest.

Meaning: This refers to people who don’t have much pengetahuan (or wit!). Anda head is choose an empty can. And also it’s typically these orang who speak the loudest (both literally and metaphorically!). 

9. Anjing menggonggong, kafilah berlalu.

Literal translation: The dog barks however the caravan go on.

Meaning: Life goes on even if some orang try to stop progress.

10. Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh juga.

Literal translation: No matter how high a squirrel jumps, the will at some point fall.

Meaning: The bad squirrels actually have actually nothing come worry around here. This proverb is paling often digunakan to describe criminals (or in ~ least really sneaky people) who, eventually, will always be caught!


11. Sudah slam tertimpa tangga.

Literal translation: come fall and be to win by a ladder

English equivalent: once it rains, the pours. 

Meaning: Not just did friend fall turun the ladder, but kemudian the ladder dropped on you—and who knows maafkan saya else can happen next! This idiom describes those situations where variasi misfortunes all arrive in ~ the very same time, or straight follow each other. 

12. Besar pasak daripada tiang.

Literal translation: The peg is bigger than the pole.

Meaning: This speak is often used to explain a person who is spending an ext than he/she earns. If the peg is bigger 보다 the pole, friend won’t be able to build a very great shelter, will you? This saying reflects the culture, as countless Indonesians would fairly live humbly than borrow money.

13. Ada asap ada api.

Literal translation: If over there is smoke, there need to be fire.

English equivalent: Every why has its wherefore.

Meaning: Well, this can mean two things. Nice obviously, over there cannot be an effect without part cause. The second meaning is: If there is a rumor, it must have actually some basis in truth!

14. Tak ada gading yang tak retak.

Literal translation: Every ivory has its cracks.

Meaning: Nothing’s perfect, as even the finest ivory has cracks!

15. Dikasih/diberi hati, minta jantung.

Literal translation: You offer them the liver, but they tho ask because that the heart.

English equivalent: You give him one inch and also he will untuk mengambil a yard.

Meaning: This suku to a case in which who is taking advantage of who else’s generosity. 

16. Air pasangan menghanyutkan.

Literal translation: Don’t think there room no crocodiles due to the fact that the water runs calm. 

English equivalent: still waters run deep.

Meaning: choose its english equivalent, this proverb method that a patience exterior probably hides a passionate nature, and also that silent orang can in reality possess a many of pengetahuan and be an extremely intelligent.


17. Seperti karper lupa kulitnya.

Literal translation: Just choose the peanut forgets that shell

English equivalent: come bite the hand the feeds you

Meaning: The Indonesian version is not fairly as aggressive together the bahasa inggris one, however both refer to someone who is being ungrateful. It can be tangan kedua when who who’s menjadi successful forgets about his origins, his family, and his friends.

18. Berakit-rakit usai hulu, berenang-renang usai tepian. Bersakit-sakit dahulu, bersenang-senang kemudian.

Literal translation: Rafting to the headwaters, swim to the riversides. That is painful in ~ first, but victorious in the end. 

English equivalent: No pain, no gain.

Meaning: we all know what this means… In order to attain something, experiencing is necessary!

19. Buah jatuh noël jauh dari pohonnya.

Literal translation: The fruit falls near the tree.

English equivalent: like father, choose son. 

Meaning: This speak is tangan kedua when a young or daughter’s habits or alam resembles that of their parents.

20. Pikir dahulu pendapatan, sesal kemudian tiada berguna.

Literal translation: Think an initial your idea, for later regrets are useless.

English equivalent: Look before you leap.

Meaning: Don’t act until after you’ve thought about the mungkin consequences and also dangers of her actions. 

21. Lebih baik satu burung di tangan daripada sepuluh burung di pohon.

Literal translation: Better one bird ~ above hand than ten birds on a tree.

English equivalent: One bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.

Meaning: It’s far better to organize on come something you’ve currently secured, rather than acquisition the risk to acquire something better that is no guaranteed.

22. terlalu banyak merengkuh dayung, dua tiga pulau terlampaui.

Literal translation: One stroke at the paddle, two and also three islands have passed.

English equivalent: Killing 2 birds v one stone

Meaning: This speak is used when you’re maybe to attain two different things in ~ the very same time, or fix two troubles with a solitary effort.


23. Tak ada rotan mengakar pun jadi.

Literal translation: If there is no cane, usage the source instead.

English equivalent: Better than a pole in the eye

Meaning: You don’t have actually exactly what you need? Well, just use apa you’ve got. It’ll be far better than nothing.

24. Harimau mati untuk belangnya.

Literal translation: Tigers die due to the fact that of their stripes.

Meaning: Those who often tend to show off anda wealth or superiority will entice not only attention, but juga adversity—just as tigers lure attention and are killed due to the fact that of milik mereka stripes. 


25. Mulutmu harimaumu.

Literal translation: Your mouth is her tiger.

Meaning: Speak carefully, because words room a reflection of yourself.

26. Di mana ada kemauan, di situ ada jalan.

Literal translation: whereby there is a will, over there is a path.

English equivalent: Where over there is a will, over there is a way. 

Meaning: Determination will overcome obstacles. If girlfriend really want to perform something, you’ll find a way!

27. Bagai air di daun talas.

Literal translation: together the water is ~ above the taro leaf

Meaning: Water ~ above a taro leaf slips far in a moment. This saying explains a volatile, flaky orang who can not be trusted.

28. Bagai kacang sirih dibelah dua.

Literal translation: Like a betel nut separation in half

English equivalent: Like two peas in a pod

Meaning: Identical; very similar.

29. Bagai pungguk merindukan bulan.

Literal translation: Like an owl yearning because that the moon.

Meaning: To wish because that something difficult or unreachable. 

30. Karena cham setitik, salah susu sebelanga.

Literal translation: With only a fall of indigo, the entirety pot of milk is ruined.

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Meaning: Be careful, due to the fact that even a small mistake can ruin an otherwise perfect work.

2. Conclusion

“All an excellent things must pertained to an end…”

But it’s not really the end, is it? There’s for this reason much much more to learn around the Indonesian language! 

As they say, “Practice kekuasaan perfect!” So continue practicing her Indonesian an abilities on With all the features we sell (audio podcasts, videos through transcriptions, native lists, a dictionary, and more), you’ll pick up this beautiful and also interesting language in no time. 

And remember: your mouth is your tiger, so learning to speak favor a regional is walking to pay off huge time!

Which that the Indonesian-language proverbs indigenous this perform is her favorite, and also why? permit us know in the comments!