5 Easy Tips On How To Say Goodnight In Malay

Traveling and staying in different countries could be less meaningful if you don’t know their most common expressions. If you wonder how Malaysians pronounce good night in their native language, make sure to stick around. Like English, saying goodnight in Malay can be a piece of cake especially if you’re an English speaker as the phrase is somewhat similar to English in terms of its structure and meaning. So, stay put because, by the end of this blog, you’ll be acquainted with the fundamental phrases that the locals use in addressing and saluting each other.


Saying Good Night In Malaysia – Is It Significant?

First and foremost, the good night phrase in Malay is often used by its speakers in both formal and informal settings; it’s an expression that they generally employ. So, if you’re contemplating whether knowing this part of the language is significant or not, by now you’d acknowledge its importance. It’s an expression that you can’t miss when learning a language; greeting is one of the most essentials categories you must learn when acquiring another language, like Malay, apart from its pronouns, basic vocabulary, and pronunciations.

Good Night In Bahasa Malaysia

In Malaysia, the phrase good night is one of the most basic components of Malay greetings. If you have Malaysian friends, colleagues, or family members, you’d most probably hear a lot of “selamat malam” at night.

Yes, that’s the phrase for a good night in the Malaysian culture. Here’s how it’s spelled and sound:

Selamat malam (good night) = /sɜlɑmʌt mʌlʌm/

The two words, selamat and malam reflect their equal meaning in English. Selamat, is originally an adjective and commonly associated with the meaning ‘safe’. However, when used in greetings and combined with another word to form a phrase, its meaning changes to ‘good’, as the one in the phrase good morning or good afternoon.

The word malam, on the contrary, means night – exactly like English. As the words join together, you’ll get the translation of good night in Bahasa Melayu, which is selamat malam!


Let’s learn some other Malay phrases or expressions that use the word malam:

1) Pasar malam – Night market

2) Tengah malam – In the middle of the night/midnight

3) Kelab malam – Nightclub

4) Makan malam – Dinner

5) Malam minggu – A day before the weekend

6) Lewat malam – Late at night

Goodnight In Malaysia – When Is It Used?

Now we’ve known the common phrase people in Malaysia use during nightfall, you may wonder when exactly Malaysians practice it? Do they say selamat malam like how they express good evening? If not, what is the exact time that’s most proper for us to utter the expression in Malaysia?

Tip #1

First of all, the Malaysian citizens do not utter selamat malam like how the good evening is used. Simply put, we don’t go around saying goodnight when greeting someone in the evening.

Tip #2

The same goes for Malay greetings; a local would typically pronounce selamat malam when the day has shifted to hours of darkness. So, in Malaysia, whenever there’s no adequate sunlight or natural light that hinders your vision and it appears between 8:00 pm until 12 midnight, a local would then greet someone with a selamat malam.

Tip #3

In short, if you want to articulate the words to any Malaysian acquaintance, friend or colleague, feel free to do so after the clock strikes 8:00 pm.

Tip #4

Also, these Malay words are uttered when people want to part ways. It can be said as a way to greet, say hello and signify goodbye simultaneously. So, if you’re in Malaysia, a local might greet you using selamat malam when it’s dark outside (and past 8:00 pm) and utter the same phrase when he wants to part ways and say goodbye.

Tip #5

Here’s a list of examples for you; try to observe how the phrase is used.

Jumpa esok OK, selamat malam. Babai! See you tomorrow OK, good night. Bye!
Selamat malam semua. Maaf kerana terpaksa adakan mesyuarat mengejut malam ini. Good night everyone. I’m sorry that we had to have an urgent meeting tonight

*Local tip – though the phrase can be used to greet someone, it’s not really practiced by the local community. In the Malay language, most of the time, the speaking community will just utter hi and articulate selamat malam once they want to signify goodbye.

Other Essential Malay Phrases

Just so you know, there’s another blog post written about Malay greetings, so feel free to check it out. Additionally, here’s a list of useful, basic phrases in Bahasa Melayu to spice up your Malay vocabulary:

1) Selamat pagi (Good morning)

2) Selamat tengah hari (Good afternoon)

3) Selamat petang (Good evening)

4) Selamat tinggal/Babai (Goodbye/Bye)

5) Selamat datang (Welcome)

6) Selamat menjamu selera (Please enjoy your meal)

7) Selamat maju jaya!/Semoga berjaya! (Good luck!)

8) Semoga selamat perjalanan (Hope you have a safe journey)

9) Selamat jalan (Goodbye *mostly said to people with long travels/journey)

10) Nanti saya telefon semula (I’ll call you back later)

11) Boleh kita jumpa nanti? (Can we meet later?)

12) Maaf, saya tak faham (Sorry, I don’t understand)

13) Maaf saya terlewat (Sorry, I’m late)

14) Jumpa esok (See you tomorrow)

15) Jumpa lagi (See you again)

Want To Learn More About Bahasa Melayu?

As you’ve acquired the knowledge of Malay greetings, feel free to proceed with your learning of the Malay language with us. Learn the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and other related language lessons with Ling App today. This mobile app can definitely help you acquire the most important words and key phrases in Bahasa Melayu – it has the best, interactive features that will get you speaking Malay in a jiffy!

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