12 Malaysian Slang All Malaysians Will “Confirm” Know!

Manglish is something we Malaysians are very proud of and embrace with pride. Check out our list of Malaysian slang and see which you can relate with!4 min

Malaysian Slang

It goes without saying that Malaysia is a hotpot of different cultures and therefore, different languages! Due to our rich multicultural history, most of us can speak at least 3 languages or dialects and easily switch between them mid-way during conversation. While we may speak the standard globalized English, we pepper it with our own words and nuances to the point where most mat sallehs have trouble keeping up! 😅

Of course, our Indonesian and Singaporean neighbors will be able to relate to quite a few of these Malaysian Slang as well! (No more drama, guys!) Doesn’t matter if you’re an expat just fresh off the boat or a local having spent your entire life here, read through our list on some of the slang words Malaysians love to use and see if you’re familiar with all of them! 😁


1. Walao Eh


Sometimes shortened to just “Walao,” this phrase is one of the most commonly used Malaysian slang especially among the local Chinese. Some people also like to say “Waliao Eh.” It manages to portray frustration, amazement and disbelief all at once and is almost exclusively used at the beginning of a sentence! 😆

Walao Eh, say want come last minute never come also!”

Walao…I already told you don’t bring drinks into my car, see what happen!”

2. Paiseh

PaisehPhoto Credit: GIPHY

Paiseh is actually derived from Hokkien, one of the major dialects here in Malaysia.You’ll hear this slang even more in Penang where the majority of the population speak Hokkien or Teochew. It translates to “embarrassed, shy or sorry.” There are two ways it’s commonly used. Either as a direct replacement for shy/embarrassed or as a way of apologizing when you’re at fault and feel ashamed about it. ☺


“I paiseh to ask her out leh, after she reject me.”

Paiseh ah paiseh ah, took your book by accident.”

3. Perasan


Perasan is a Malay word that means “being aware of” or “felt.” But it’s used even more commonly as “flatter yourself” Malaysians love to use it when directed at someone who they feel is vain and think the world revolves around them, so it can be quite embarrassing when someone says this to you! 😅


“Don’t perasan la, I was looking at her not you!”

“He very perasan one, always thinking that other people are talking about him.”

4. Atas

AtasPhoto Credit: GIPHY

Atas is also a Malay word! It literally translates to “above.” but we love to use it to say someone is high-class. (Or at least, behave like they are!) Be careful when wearing your Rolex around your typical Malaysian friends or posting pictures of yourself dining at a 9-course rooftop establishment, you’ll be the butt of all their atas jokes for sure! 😂


“Wah you see the way he dress, like so atas like that!”

“She very atas one, only eat at cafes. You’ll never catch her at a hawker centre!”

5. Got

GotPhoto Credit: Englishjer

While this isn’t a word unique to Malaysia by any means, it’s the way we use it that differentiates us from other countries. We tend to use it in the place of “have” or “has.” You’ll rarely hear foreigners using this word the way we do. I can personally remember my father correcting me when I was young every time I used this word wrongly! 😂


“You got go to his grand launch meh? Don’t remember seeing you there!”

“She got learn kickboxing one leh, don’t underestimate her!”

6. Terror

TerrorPhoto Credit: GIPHY

Terror or Terer is definitely one of those Malaysian slang words that are used by Malays more often. We often use it when we want to express how good or amazing someone is at something. Whether that’s amazingly good or amazingly bad… 😆


“Wah…you banyak terror ah, kena so many saman.”

“His singing damn terror one, he won the local competition last year!”

7. Belanja


Among all the popular Malaysian slang, this might just be the most common one! Although it stems from Bahasa Melayu, all races use this comfortably. No matter how atas the person is, they’ll always use belanja in the stead of “treat.” The word actually means expense, or if you ask google translate – shopping! 😀


“Let me belanja you to a nice meal since you helped me!”

“Aiya, you always belanja me! It’s my turn this time, okay?”

8. Ngam Ngam

Ngam NgamPhoto Credit: Imgur

Now, if you didn’t already know, this is actually a Cantonese word! It’s used exactly like how it’s supposed to be used which is “appropriate” or “just nice.” But the fascinating thing is that here in Malaysia, all races use it! The most common situations you’ll hear it in is when you have the exact amount of change needed to pay for something or when something fits justttt nice! 😍


“Nah! RM12.90 ngam ngam.”

“The laptop just ngam ngam fits into my bag.”

9. Boss/Tauke

BossPhoto Credit: Asian Inspiration

Did you know? Malaysian slang is so powerful that everyone can automatically become a CEO? Tauke translates to boss in Hokkien, or more literally the head of a business. But here, we use it to refer to anyone – waiters, mamak stall workers or taxi drivers! To look at it more anally, perhaps this way of calling someone is an underlying way to relay to them our respect for their work! Just don’t use this in an atas setting! It isn’t the most suitable way to call for staff in a 5-star restaurant. 😅


Boss! One maggi goreng tambah pedas please!”

Tauke, go to Puchong ya.”

10. Macam Yes

Macam Yes

One of my personal favorites and one that I use most often, “macam” is a Malay word which means “like” whereas “yes” is…well…yes! Combined together, this phrase is directed towards wannabes. It means that you look like the part but may not necessarily play the part! 😅


“My friend has been into MLM recently. Her Facebook posts like macam yes like that but she told me she actually she isn’t earning much.”

“He claims that BMW is his, padahal actually his father’s one! Macam yes tapi bukan.”

11. Tapao / Bungkus

TapaoPhoto Credit: DetikNews

This one I trust you all confirm know! Tapao has roots from Mandarin Chinese whereas Bungkus is actually “wrap” or “pack.” We use it where foreigners would generally use “takeaway.” This is one slang that has truly been ingrained into our culture. To the point where most mamak staff will not even understand what you’re saying if you ask them to help you pack your food! 😂


“Boss, help me bungkus this please!”

“Ah girl, go tapao porridge for your brother.”

12. La/Leh/Lor//Hor/Wor/Meh

Leh LahPhoto Credit: MarieClaire

The epitome of Malaysian slang would definitely be these miscellaneous common words that Malaysians love to use! Well…they’re not exactly entire words but more so used to complement a sentence. They may all sound similar, but using the wrong one can alter the entire tone of your sentence! Mastery on this part of our Malaysian slang can prove difficult for people who didn’t grow up locally but once mastered can truly add a lot of flair to daily life! ❤


“I didn’t bring my camera wor, how leh like that?”

“Such a simple thing also need to ask meh?”


Can you relate to each and every one of the slang words on the list? Perhaps there’s one or two you’ve never even heard of! 

Either way, SHARE this article with your friends and see if they feel the same way! 😁

Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

Like Like
Love It! Love It!
Love It!
Yes, Please! Yes, Please!
Yes, Please!
Touched Touched


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *