31 Essential Khmer House Vocabulary: Cambodians’ Safe Space

Last updated on November 16th, 2022 at 10:03 am

There is no place like home, they say. Learning Khmer house vocabulary and words related to the house would give you a glimpse of a traditional Cambodian house. Cambodia is known for its wondrous sites. But, lies beneath these beautiful sites are the homes of the Cambodians that truly symbolize their rich culture.

A traditional Cambodian house has simple structures. It is typically made of wood and built on stilts, raising them from the ground. With modernization and foreign influences, we cannot deny that houses in urban places like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are developing rapidly. But, it doesn’t mean that they forget about their culture. Everyone needs a place to be comfortable with, to rest, and most of all, to be called home. So, as a language learner, you must learn some Khmer House vocabulary. This will be very useful in case you are invited to a Cambodian’s house.


Traditional Cambodian House

  1. House and Settlements
  2. Royal Residence
  3. Buddhist Monk’s Residence



Khmer House For Ordinary People

  1. Pteas Pit- It has 4 small roofs combined. 
  2. Pteas Rongdorl- It has open spaces beneath the roof to provide natural ventilation.
  3. Pteas Rongdeung – It has a big roof and a pedestal near the front
  4. Pteas Kontaing – The roof is a triangular portion of roof pitches facing each other. 
  5. Pteas Khmer – It has two roofs, making a sloping slope.
  6. Pteas Koeng – It has two rooftops overlaid with two heads in front and rear.  It is also built for senior officials.


Rooms In The House

The word ផ្ទះ (phteah) means house in Khmer while បន្ទប់ (bantob) means room. Every room in a house is essential to our daily needs. An interesting thing about Cambodians is they generally live communally in one large room. They have different views on privacy compared to western culture. If you are reading Khmer posts for a while now, you will see how important family is. That is why they love to maintain each room in their house as comfortable as possible for everyone living there.

The words you will find below the rooms in the house in the Khmer language. This is a must-learn Khmer house vocabulary which will be helpful in case you are invited into one.

1. បន្ទប់ដេក (bantobdek)

English Translation: Bedroom

First, of course, is the bedroom បន្ទប់ដេក (bantobdek). The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. This is where you sleep and rest after a long tiring day or just a typical lazy day. This is a very personal space for most of us, and we do not usually allow visitors inside. The បន្ទប់ដេក (bantobdek) can sometimes be a reflection of one’s personality. They will put everything that relaxes them and everything that they value because it is a room where they relax, sleep, and of course, dream.

2. បន្ទប់បរិភោគអាហារ (bantob briphok ahar)

English Translation: Dining Room

Next is the ផ្ទះបាយ (phteahbay). For food lovers and people who love to cook, this might be their favorite place. Who would not love a kitchen with plenty of food to eat? However, for some, kitchen ផ្ទះបាយ (phteahbay) and dining room បន្ទប់បរិភោគអាហារ (bantob briphok ahar) are in two separate rooms. You can do a lot of stuff in the kitchen. Aside from the living room, this is usually the room where you take guests to socialize, eat, and even cook together.

3. បន្ទប់ទទួលភ្ញៀវ (bantob ttuolophnhiev)

English Translation: Living Room

The Khmer word for living room is បន្ទប់ទទួលភ្ញៀវ (bantob ttuolophnhiev). In Khmer’s New Year, guests are welcome to eat inside their house even if they do not know that person. That is how good Cambodians hearts are. So, it is necessary to keep them nice, presentable, clean, and comfortable for guests. It is really important that when you open the door, everything is organized and clean to make visitors at home.

4. បន្ទប់ទឹក (bantobtuk)


English Translation: Bathroom

Khmer House Vocabulary | Bathroom
Khmer House Vocabulary | Bathroom

The Khmer word for bathroom is បន្ទប់ទឹក (bantobtuk). This room in the house is essential to maintain your hygiene. If you have a guest, this is probably the first room they want to find if they have to use it. Since its primary purpose is to maintain hygiene, it is really important to maintain its cleanliness.


Other Khmer House Vocabulary

Khmer Pronunciation English Translation
គ្រែ kre bed
កម្រាលគ្រែ kamreal kre bedsheet
ខ្នើយ khnaey pillow
ស្រោមខ្នើយ sraomokhnaey pillowcase
ភួយ phuoy blanket
តុសរសេរ tosarser desk
តុ to table
កៅអី kawei chair
ទូទឹកកក toutukakk refrigerator
ចង្ក្រាន changkran stove
ចាន chan plate
កញ្ចក់ kanhchok glass
ស្លាបព្រា slabaprea spoon
ម៉ឺនុយ meunouy menu
កម្រាលព្រំ kamrealoprom carpet
ពិដាន pi dan ceiling
ទ្វារ tvear door
គ្រឿងសង្ហារឹម krueng sanghea rum furniture
ទូរទស្សន៍ tourotossaa television
ដំបូល dambaul roof
បង្អួច bangauoch window
បង្គន់ bangkon toilet


Some Phrases To Use The Khmer House Vocabulary

Khmer Pronunciation English Translation
ខ្ញុំ​កំពុង​មើល​ទូរទស្សន៍។ khnhom​ kampoung​ meul​ tourotossaa I’m watching TV.
ខ្ញុំត្រូវប្រើបង្គន់។ khnhom trauv brae bangkon . I need to use the toilet.
តើអ្នកអាចបិទទ្វារបានទេ? tae anak ach betotvear ban te? Can you close the door?
តើអ្នកអាចបើកបង្អួចបានទេ? tae anak ach baek bangauoch ban te? Can you open the window?
បន្ទប់គឺធំណាស់ bantob ku thom nasa The room is very big.

Even in the dictionary, home and house have different meanings. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a house is a building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families. On the other hand, home is defined as one’s place of residence. This difference only implies that you can call any place your home, even if it is just a tiny room. But, not all house is home.

Learning the different Khmer house vocabulary is a step closer to knowing more about the place they call home- Cambodia. It is not only their language that you will learn but also the values they build inside their home. No dictionary can define the comfort we feel from our home. Every room in the house is filled with memories, values, and love from one another.


Want To Learn More Than Saying House In Khmer?

Cambodia is a place that you can call home because of the genuine hearts of the locals. If your next trip is to Cambodia, make sure to learn to speak their language. You can start with the basic greetings, common Khmer phrases for travel, and even Cambodian food. Learning languages may be hard at first, but everything is possible with the use of the Ling App.

If you are looking for a language learning app that will make it easy and fun for you to learn languages, Ling App is what you are looking for. Learning languages, not just Khmer, will be exciting since Ling designed it like a game. You learn in every step, but you enjoy it. You will be able to know the meaning of foreign words in just a few clicks.




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