Bahasa Melayu, if you haven’t known it yet, is one of the easiest languages to learn. Apart from knowing its most popular Malay slang words in 2021, as Malay language learners, you need to know the basic stuff too.
In this blog, you’ll be learning how to say beautiful in Malay. Essentially, beautiful in Bahasa Melayu is cantik – it’s the most common adjective used by native speakers to describe something beautiful. If something is wonderful, it translates to sangat cantik. Let’s learn and see all the 10 words that are used to depict beauty.
How To Say Beautiful In Malay
Let’s see what are the 10 words Malay speakers use to address one’s beauty, along with examples and translations.
1) Cantik (chant-tik)
If you ask any Malay locals, “how to say beautiful in Malay?” trust me, this will be the most common answer. Cantik is the typical word Malay native speakers use to describe something beautiful – a person, a type of weather, a phenomenon, an animal, a plant, or a scenery. Try listening to your Malay friends or acquaintances – what adjective they use to point out one’s beauty. I’m absolutely sure you’ll find them using the word cantik very frequently.
What does cantik mean in English? It means beautiful, pretty, stunning, and everything alike. It’s very common to find a Malay native using this word in spoken conversation day-to-day. Due to that, I would like to highlight that this particular word can be used in both formal and informal situations. So, feel free to use the word cantik with your Malay friends.
Aina, kamu nampak sangat cantik hari ini!
Aina, you look very beautiful today!
Wah Ali, ni ke kereta baru kau? Cantik gila!
Wow, Ali, is this your new car? It’s so gorgeous!
2) Lawa (la-wa)
This is another word to add to your Malay vocabulary – lawa. Lawa, when translated to English, simply means pretty. Like cantik, the locals also frequented this word when they want to state that a person is beautiful. Yup, lawa is mostly used to describe an individual’s beauty.
3) Jelita (dje-lee-tə)
Jelita is my personal favorite word when it comes to beauty – it’s a word that equally means beautiful if I were to translate it into English. But this word is quite remarkable – the depth of “beauty” in its meaning, according to the Malay linguistic culture, is one of the highest levels. If you can categorize beautiful into three levels, this would be the number 1.
If people claim you’re cantik, that means you’re beautiful. But if people describe you as jelita, that equates to being stunningly gorgeous or exquisitely ravishing. Yes – that means that you’re super-duper gorgeous. And yes, like lawa, the word jelita is only used to describe a person’s beautiful image.
Also, if you take a close look since this adjective holds an elevated degree of beauty, it is pretty rare to hear people use it. We don’t use it casually here in Malaysia, nope. However, you can find this word so many times on Malaysia’s local newspaper, magazine, or any local website.
Penyanyi jelita itu berasal dari Sarawak.
That gorgeous singer is from Sarawak.
4) Menawan (mə-na-one)
What else do Malay speakers use to assert that something is beautiful? We use the word menawan – the translation still remains the same; it means beautiful. However, as a native speaker, I would like to assert the fact that there’s more than just beauty in the meaning of menawan.
To the locals, this word, in particular, emanates a sense of loveliness, delicacy, and gracefulness. There is that added touch of gratefulness in one’s beauty. Simply put, the former three adjectives, cantik, lawa, and jelita, are essentially used to illustrate one’s physical appearance.
Menawan, entails something more than just physical beauty; it considers one’s mannerism and character. Having that said, when a local expresses that someone is menawan, it is generally understood that the person is beautiful and possesses beautiful, virtuous traits as well.
And just like jelita, you won’t hear the native Malay speakers use this as much as cantik or lawa in Malaysia. It’s not a word we use casually, but it is widely used in Malay writing.
Alia dikenali dengan wajahnya yg menarik dan budi bahasanya yang menawan.
Ali is known for her attractive face and charming manners.
5) Elok (aye-loʊk)
The translation for elok in Malay is nice and pretty. This adjective is often used when we want to compliment someone’s look, handwriting, or the weather. Also, this word fits into another context and can be translated into good, fine or functional.
Tulisan Aiman sangat kemas dan elok.
Aiman’s handwriting is very neat and beautiful.
Ayah, charger tu elok tak? Nak pinjam boleh?
Dad, does that charger work/function? May I borrow it?
6) Comel (chore-mɛl)
One question for you before we dive into this one – what else do you use to address someone’s lovely charms in English? Yes, we use the word cute, which simply emphasizes that a person is attractive in an adorable or lovely manner. Well, the translation for that word in Bahasa Malaysia is comel.
This word is favored among the local boys – it’s what they usually use to refer to a cute, beautiful girl. Typically, people will refer to you as a cute person in the Malaysian context if you’re small in size. And just like its usage in English, comel can be used for both males and females – or anyone you find attractive. In addition, this one adjective, in particular, can be used to describe animals, unlike the previous five adjectives mentioned before.
Bayi itu sangat comel!
That baby is so cute!
7) Anggun (ʌŋg-goon)
Another way to say beautiful in Bahasa Melayu is anggun. Like the adjective menawan, anggun means more than merely beautiful – in Malay spoken context, anggun conveys a distinguished degree of elegance and high-class beauty.
It’s pretty rare to hear the locals use it casually. On a daily basis, we do not use conversationally because it’s a noteworthy attribute. Still, you will come across this word, especially in the local fashion news and magazines.
Dia kelihatan begitu anggun berpakaian begitu.
She looks so elegant in that dress.
8) Menarik (mə-na-rick)
If you find someone attractive and want to translate that into Bahasa Malaysia, it is menarik. It’s the word natives use to address a beautiful, interesting, and attractive person. This adjective is also used when you find anything that captivates or fascinates you. If you’ve been to Malaysia, you’ll notice how locals commonly utter this word on a daily basis.
Tajuk: 5 Fakta Menarik Tentang Hari Raya Aidilfitri di Malaysia.
Title: 5 Interesting Facts About Eid Celebration in Malaysia.
Untuk kelihatan cantik dan menarik, kita mestilah berpakaian kemas.
To look beautiful and attractive, we must dress neatly.
9) Cun (choon)
Cun is also a local favorite! Yup, many people use it, even today. It’s the word that straightaway means beautiful, hot, or stunning. You would know this by reading my post on Malay slang. Apart from using it to depict beautiful persons, cun is also articulated to convey one’s agreement (OK), tell good weather, or describe anything that’s on point. And to let you know, this word is highly informal, so it’s better if you use it with your close friends.
Bertuahnya kau dapat awek cun!
Your girlfriend is hot, you’re so lucky!
Halim, nak ikut aku pergi memancing tak? Cuaca cun hari ni.
Halim, do you want to go fishing with me? The weather is great today.
10) Indah (in-dʌh)
I’m sure you had come across this word when you were doing your online search. Indah is an adjective that describes the beauty, magnificence, and eye-catching excellence of something. Other than a beautiful person, indah is often chosen by the locals when describing a feeling, natural scenery, or anything that touches the heart. As a Malay native, I mostly use indah to describe whenever I see some scenic view or feel a heartfelt song. You are free to use it on both formal and informal occasions.
Ini ialah pemandangan yang sangat indah.
This is a very beautiful view.
Indahnya lirik yang kau tulis ni, Aina.
The lyrics you write are so beautiful, Aina.
Other Related Adjectives In Malay
As usual, these are some other basic words and adjectives in Bahasa Melayu you should know:
Know More About The Malay Language
From the examples, translations, and explanations provided, I hope you understand and learn the words Malaysians use to say beautiful. Click these 10 best tips to speak Malay quickly to see another language content and understand more about my mother tongue.
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