Appendix:Indonesian affixes

Words with prefixes and suffixes can be found by looking up their roots. If you do not know the root of a word, you can find it by choosing its prefix on the list below and looking for it there.



Variations: be- (if the root word starts with letter "r").
Forms a verb that often means "being something, having something, having a certain attribute" or "indicating a state of being or condition". For example the root word 'nilai' have a general meaning of 'value', thus the verb bernilai have a meaning of verb 'to have a value' or 'valuable' adjective. The adjective 'bahaya' means 'danger', 'berbahaya' means 'to be dangerous', having a dangerous value.

  • Tumbuhan itu berbahaya untuk dimakan - That plant is dangerous to eat
  • Joko adalah lelaki yang beragama - Joko is a religious (having a religion) man


Forms a verb indicating the passive voice, where the main focus of the sentence is on the action or the object of the action. Almost always translated into -ed suffix in English - often corresponds to to be + verb + -ed, but not necessarily. 'larang' (prohibit), 'dilarang' (prohibited).

  • Dia ditunjuk menjadi kepala sekolah setelah rapat para guru - He is appointed to be principal after teachers' meeting


Only used as a confix. See ke-an under confixes below.


Variations: me-, men-, mem-, meny- (depend on the first letter of the root word):

  1. men-: c (caci - mencaci), d (daki - mendaki), j (jadi - menjadi), t (tepi - menepi, first letter disappears)
  2. mem-: b (beri - memberi), f, p (punya - mempunyai, sometimes the first letter disappears), v (validasi, memvalidasi)
  3. meny-: s (sapu - menyapu, first letter disappears)
  4. meng-: a, e, g, h, i, k, o, u
  5. me-: l, m, n, r, w


Variations: pe-, pen-, pem-, peny- (depend on the first letter of the root word):

  1. pen-: c (cari - pencari), d (daki - pendaki), j (jilat - penjilat), t (tikung - penikung, first letter disappears)
  2. pem-: b (beri - pemberi), f, p (pisah - pemisah, sometimes the first letter disappears), v
  3. peny-: s (sapu - penyapu, first letter disappears)
  4. peng-: a, e, g, h, i, k, o, u
  5. pe-: l, m, n, r, w


It can forms words that indicate a singularity, and the words sometimes are used for measurement (measure words). For example, 'buah' (fruit) becomes 'sebuah' (a fruit, one fruit) which is used for expressing oneness: 'sebuah kursi' (one chair). It's also used to express similarity or being at the same situation as the attached word.


Variations: te- (if the root word starts with letter "r")

  • + adjective: forms a superlative
  • + non-adjective: forms a passive perfect verb or an accidental and unplanned occurrence.















The ke-an confix is used on verbs and adjectives to create nouns. Here are some examples

Root Word Meaning Ke-an Form Meaning
sehat healthy kesehatan health
bersih clean kebersihan cleanliness
sulit difficult kesulitan difficulty
hidup live kehidupan life
datang come kedatangan arrival

the ke-an confix can also be used to indicate one is suffering from or to indicate an excessiveness of the noun created.

Indonesian English
Ia mulai bergetar karena kedinginan. She is starting to shiver because she is freezing.
Kehausan itu cara kematian buruk sekali. Dehydration (suffering from thirst) is a very bad way to die.
Kapan makanan akan siap? Saya kelaparan. When will the food be ready? I'm starving.
Mangkuk ini kebesaran. This bowl is too big.


Variations: pem-an, pen-an, peng-an; penge-an, peny-an (depend on the first letter of the root word)


Forms a noun that often refers to a circumstance referred to by the root word or the result of the action of the verb in the sentence. May also indicate a place or location.

See alsoEdit