Top Ten Portuguese Loanwords in Malay and Indonesian Language

Both Malay Language (Bahasa Melayu) and Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) are closely related because both of them are Austronesian Languages. Indonesian Language is just a standard language that is based on standard Malay. On the other hand, Bahasa Melayu is a variant of Malay that serves as the national language of Malaysia.

Both the two languages look similar but have some differences especially by their colonizers. Indonesia was a Dutch colony while Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore were under British Rule. Which means that Bahasa Indonesia borrows a lot of Dutchwords while Malay borrows a lot of English words. This situation makes the two languages different.

However, they have a similarity when it comes to Portuguese language. Portuguese is an official language of Portugal and Brazil. There are some Portuguese words that have been absorbed into the vocabulary of two different languages. That's a result of Portuguese trade in the archipelago particularly on Moluccas island or Spice Island as well as the control of a state of Malacca. In fact, Indonesia was a Portuguese colony before the Dutch stole the land after the Portuguese defeat in the war. Only half of Timor Island was under Portuguese rule.
Because of that, there are some Portuguese words that have been used in Malay language but not as much as Dutch and English.

In this list, it will focus about the Portuguese words that are been used in Malay and Indonesian language.

Some of the words are only used in one variant while the other variant uses another term.
The Top Ten
1 Natal (Natal)

Both of the words mean Christmas. The word was mainly used in Indonesian as a term for Christmas. The Malay language sometimes uses that word for the greeting "Selamat Hari Natal" means Merry Christmas. However, the Malay language uses the word "Krismas" instead. It came from an English word.

2 Keju (Queijo)
3 Pesta (Festa)

By its name, it means "party". It has the same cognate with a Spanish word "Fiesta" and English "feast". Both the two variants use the term for party.

4 Almari/Lemari (Armário)

The Indonesian term is "lemari" while the Malay term is "almari". Both the two words come from Portuguese "armário" for cupboard or closet. Having the same meaning in two languages.

5 Bola (Bola)

Both the three languages use the word bola for ball. It came from a Portuguese word of the same name.

6 Sepatu (Sapato)

The word sepatu means shoes in Indonesian language. It has the same cognate as Spanish "zapato". However, the Malay language uses the term "kasut" instead.

7 Kemeja (Camisa)

Both Indonesian and Malay language use the word for shirt. Both of the words came from Portuguese "camisa" for shirts. It has the same cognate as Spanish "camisa".

8 Meja (Mesa)

Both the Indonesian and Malay language use the word for table. Both of them came from Portuguese "mesa" and has the same cognate as Spanish "mesa".

9 Sekolah (Escola)
10 Rosario (Rosário)
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