Glossary of Balinese Expressions

Glossary of Balinese Expressions

Adat: customary law
Angklung: ancient bamboo percussion instrument, used in orchestra, having only 4 notes
Arak: strong spirit distilled from the sugar palm
Awig-awig: basic constitution of a group, usually written on lontar palm leaf manuscripts

Bade: cremation tower
Bale: open air pavilion
Balian: Balinese herb doctor
Banjar: hamlet
Banten: religious offering
Bebek betutu: smoked duck
Besakih: the chief mother temple on Mount Agung
Betel: nut of areca palm, pink inside, chewed with leaf of sireh vine, damar gum and lime paste
Brahman: the highest of the four castes
Brem: sweet white or pink rice wine

Cokorda: the title of the king or prince

Dadia: preferentially endogamous patrilineal kin group
Dalem: literally, “within” often used to refer to a paramount lord or “king,” his residence, court, or family
Desa: village
Desa Adat: a local community defining a sacred space and governed by one set of customary laws
Dewa: God
Dewi: Goddess
Dugul: small altar, usually of stone, for offerings to the gods

Gamelan: Indonesian generic term for orchestra
Gangsa: metallophone, ie metal keys strung like a xylophone over framed bamboo resonators
Gede: big, large, great, eg, Puri Gede, Jero Gede
Gelgel: 14th century Balinese kingdom, the primary exemplary state of Bali, founded by Javanese lords and priests, and the kingdom from which other major Balinese kingdoms broke off
Gong: literally means orchestra eg Gong Peliatan means the orchestra from Peliatan village; but also gong in the English sense
Gong Gede: full Kebiar orchestra, like a symphony orchestra
Griya: Brahman priest’s residence
Guru: teacher

Halus: refined, civilized, polite, graceful

Jaba: literally “outside”, used to indicate relatively lower status and greater distance from the centre, so a general term for the fourth caste, the Sudras
Jero: literally “inside” used often as a title to indicate a higher status and closeness to the centre and a general term for the three highest castes, for the world of the court and residences and households of lords
Jero Gede residence and household of a major lord; the major lord himself

Kahyangan: great temple
Kahyangan Tiga: the three main village temples: Pura Puseh, Pura Dalem and Pura Desa
Kain: batik cloth, worn by men and women, waist down
Kasar: unrefined, crude, impolite, ungraceful, rough
Kendang: Indonesian word for drum
Kepeng: bronze or lead Chinese coin with a hole in the middle used as a currency formerly and for offerings
Kulkul: wooden drum to summon villagers

Lalang: tall fibrous grass used for thatch
Lawar: Balinese dish of grated, spiced raw meats
Leyak: witch or spirit, generally a blood-sucking, flame-dripping female monster
Lingga: phallic image, symbol of Siwa
Lontar: palm leaf manuscript

Majapahit: 14th century Javanese kingdom considered by the Balinese to be the origin of their civilization and culture
Mecaru: religious cleansing ceremony
Meru: Holy Hindu mountain, the abode of the gods, also a temple pagoda-style roof
Metatah: tooth filing
Moksa: ascending to heaven after death without leaving the corpse
Mudra: sacred hand gesture used in rituals

Negara: state, realm, capital, court

Odalan: anniversary temple ceremony

Padi: rice growing in a field
Paras: sandstone, sold in slabs, used in building temples and for stone carving
Pedanda: Brahman high priest
Padmasana: lotus seat, the throne of the Supreme God
Pemakesan: a temple congregation, responsible for the temple’s upkeep, and worshipping the gods when they descend
Pemangku: a Sudra priest
Penjor: a bamboo pole, highly decorated
Perada: gold paint, liquid or leaf
Punggawa: a lord
Puputan: literally an “ending”, the ritual suicide to mark the end of a dynasty
Pura: temple
Pura Bale Agung: great council templ, village temple dedicated to fertility of the land and people of a customary law community
Pura Dalem: village temple of the dead
Pura Penataran: courtyard temple dedicated to enhancing the unity and prosperity of the area
Pura Puseh: “Navel Temple”; village temple dedicated to founding ancestors
Pura Ulun Carik: “Head of the Ricefields Temple”; irrigation society temple
Puri: lord’s residence, palace, household
Puri Gede: the palace and household of a paramount lord

Rebab: 2-stringed violin

Sad Kahyangan: the six Great Temples; all Bali temples dedicated to the prosperity of the island and its people as a whole
Salak: astringent fruit with a snake-like skin
Sarong: non-batik cloth used for the same purposes as a kain, but the ends are sewn and the wearer steps into it
Satria: the second highest of the four castes
Sakti: spiritual energy, charisma; the dynamic aspect of a deity
Sawah: rice field
Sebel: unclean ritually
Siwa: one of the three most important of the Hindu gods in Bali identified with the Sun
Subak: irrigation society
Sudra: the lowest of the four Balinese castes
Suling: bamboo flute
Surya: the Sun identified with Siwa

Tirta: holy water prepared by Brahman priests
Triwanga: literally the three peoples, the three upper castes, considered as a group against the fourth
Tuak: palm toddy

Wargi: relationship between two kin groups of unequal status established by the giving of a wife from the lower status group to the higher
Wesia: the third ranking of the four castes
Wong: human being

In 1972, there was a change in the spelling of Indonesian words. The most important differences were c for tj (Campuan rather than Tjampuan), j for dj (banjar rather than bandjar) and y for j (Yogyakarta rather than Jogjakarta).