Indonesia Inquiry

Witty Word – Mata

June 14, 2011 Language Learning Travel & Living Abroad 0



Mata itself means “eye.”  Variations of the term create an interesting play on words.  For example…

Mata ayam refers to being “near-sighted” in vision.  “Mata” is “eye” and “ayam” means “chicken,” so being near-sighted is like having the sight of a chicken.

Mata buaya is “someone who is constantly on the lookout for women.”  This clever term is broken down into “mata” is “eye” and “buaya” is “crocodile.”

Matahari is the “sun.”  “Mata” means “eye” and “hari” on its own refers to “day.”  The sun is the eye of the day.

Mata-mata refers to a “spy” or “detective.”  When an Indonesian word is repeated twice, it typically is the plural form of the word, so in this case it would have been “eyes” except the plural form is not applied here.

Mata sapi is a “fried egg.”  Again, “mata” is “eye” and here “sapi” refers to a “cow.”  Think of the fried egg looking like a cow’s eye.