#EngTrivia: Idioms and Expressions with the Same or Similar Meanings in English and Indonesian

What are you doing for the Saturday night? I hope that you are staying safe at home but if you must go outside for essential purposes that cannot be delayed, please exercise safety precautions.

Several years ago, we posted an article about common expressions in English and its Indonesian counterparts. You can check it here: Expressions in English and Their Indonesian Counterparts Part 1 and Part 2. 

The background of these articles was that there are expressions in English that we cannot quite translate into Indonesian; we just know what they mean, thus we were trying to find similar expressions in Indonesian to help understand the English version better.

For this article, we are going to do something similar: we’ll start a series of idioms and expressions that have similar or even the same meanings in English and Indonesian. An example submitted by one of our followers on Twitter:

@fatfukuro: Don’t judge a book by its cover (Eng) and jangan menilai buku dari sampulnya (Ina).

pexels-photo-267669.jpeg
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So here is the list of what we compiled so far:

  1. Backbone (Eng) = Tulang punggung (Ina)
    Meaning: the chief support of a system or an organisation.

  2. Backstab (Eng) = Menusuk dari belakang (Ina)
    Meaning: the action or practice of harming someone’s reputation whilst feigning friendship.

  3. Big-headed (Eng) = Besar kepala (Ina)
    Meaning: conceited or arrogant.

  4. Big-hearted (Eng) = Besar hati (Ina)
    Meaning: kind and generous.

  5. Big mouth (Eng) = Besar mulut (Ina)
    Meaning: a boastful person.

  6. Blue blood (Eng) = Darah biru (Ina)
    Meaning: a person of noble or royal birth.

  7. Bookworm (Eng) = Kutu buku (Ina)
    Meaning: someone who loves reading.

  8. Brainwash (Eng) = Cuci otak (Ina)
    Meaning: force someone to adopt a radically different belief.

  9. Brokenhearted (Eng) = Patah hati (Ina)
    Meaning: overwhelmed by grief or disappointment.

  10. Cold-blooded (Eng) = Berdarah dingin (Ina)
    Meaning: deliberately cruel or violent.

  11. Cool-headed (Eng) = Kepala dingin (Ina)
    Meaning: calm.

  12. Empty-handed (Eng) = Tangan hampa (Ina)
    Meaning: unsuccessful, fruitless effort.

  13. Fall in love (Eng) = Jatuh hati (Ina)
    Meaning: develop romantic feelings towards someone or deep liking for something.

  14. Flesh and blood (Eng) = Darah daging (Ina)
    Meaning: someone related to us by blood.

  15. Get some fresh air (Eng) = Cari angin (Ina)
    Meaning: go outside to take a break from a possibly stressful situation.

  16. Go in one ear, out of the other (Eng) = Masuk kuping kiri, keluar kuping kanan (Ina)
    Meaning: of a piece of information that is quickly forgotten.

  17. Golden child (Eng) = Anak emas (Ina)
    Meaning: a favoured child amongst a group of children.

  18. Half-heartedly (Eng) = Setengah hati (Ina)
    Meaning: not feeling fully committed or engaged to an activity.

  19. Head of the family (Eng) = Kepala keluarga (Ina)
    Meaning: someone who leads a family.

  20. Heavy heart (Eng) = Berat hati (Ina)
    Meaning: with much sadness and regret.

  21. Hot seat (Eng) = Kursi panas (Ina)
    Meaning: being in a position of heavy duty and responsibility.

  22. Iron fist (Eng) = Tangan besi (Ina)
    Meaning: of a government or someone exercising power in a ruthless or oppressive manner.

  23. Law of the jungle (Eng) = Hukum rimba (Ina)
    Meaning: of a world where those who are strong and apply ruthless self-interest will be most successful.

  24. Lift one’s hat to… (Eng) = Angkat topi (Ina)
    Meaning: praise, salute, congratulate, or pay tribute to someone.

  25. Open arms (Eng) = Tangan terbuka (Ina)
    Meaning: a warm welcome.

  26. Open secret (Eng) = Rahasia umum (Ina)
    Meaning: of a secret who is known to many people.

  27. Out of control (Eng) = Hilang kendali (Ina)
    Meaning: of something that’s no longer possible to manage.

  28. Pen pal (Eng) = Sahabat pena (Ina)
    Meaning: someone with whom we develop friendship by sending letters to one another, particularly if we live in different countries.

  29. Put one’s hands up (Eng) = Angkat tangan (Ina)
    Meaning: raise one’s hands to surrender.

  30. Quick on one’s feet (Eng) = Cepat kaki (Ina)
    Meaning: able to think and take quick action.

  31. Right hand (Eng) = Tangan kanan (Ina)
    Meaning: an assistant, the most important position next to someone.

  32. Scapegoat (Eng) = Kambing hitam (Ina)
    Meaning: someone who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others.

  33. Silent witness (Eng) = Saksi bisu (Ina)
    Meaning: an object that displays traces of evidences of a crime.

  34. Stage fright (Eng) = Demam panggung (Ina)
    Meaning: nervousness before or during an appearance before an audience.

  35. Stepping stone (Eng) = Batu loncatan (Ina)
    Meaning: an action or event that helps someone to make progress towards a specified goal.

  36. Take something to one’s heart (Eng) = Memasukan ke dalam hati (Ina)
    Meaning: take criticism seriously and be affected or upset by it.

  37. Tangled web (Eng) = Benang kusut (Ina)
    Meaning: of a situation or a problem that is confusing or difficult to solve.

  38. Throw a towel (Eng) = Lempar handuk (Ina)
    Meaning: stop trying or doing something because lacking of determination or conviction that one can win or be successful.

  39. Turn a blind eye (Eng) = Tutup mata (Ina)
    Meaning: pretend not to notice something is happening, usually something bad.

  40. Two-faced (Eng) = Bermuka dua (Ina)
    Meaning: of someone being insincere or acting one way in certain situations and then in a contrary manner in others.

  41. Walk away (Eng) = Ambil langkah seribu (Ina)
    Meaning: easily, casually, or irresponsibly abandon a situation in which one is involved or for which one is responsible.

  42. Wash one’s hands of… (Eng) = Cuci tangan (Ina)
    Meaning: not wanting to be involved with someone or something, not taking responsibility of someone or something.

  43. Watch one’s mouth (Eng) = Jaga lidah/mulut (Ina)
    Meaning: being careful of what one says.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 11 July 2020.


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