Indonesian Words with “Mata” (Eyes)

There are some Indonesian words and phrases containing the word Mata, which means “eye” or “eyes”. Some are in the form of idioms and others are just different words. Let’s see what they are.

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Indonesian Words with Mata Part 1
Expressions with Mata (Eyes) Part 2


Kaca means glass, combined with mata (eye), meaning “the eyes’ glass” or simply “glasses”. Hm… Easy one. Quite literal.


Matahari is constructed from two words; mata which means “eye”, and hari which means “day”. To be literally translated word per word it means “the eye of the day”. But holistically, matahari means “the sun”.

Mata Hati

Hati in an abstract context means “heart”. But physically, it refers to the liver organ. To be combined with mata, it means “the eye of the heart”. For example, “Buka mata hatimu” meaning “Open your heart”.

Mata Kaki

Kaki means “foot”. Luckily mata kaki is quite simple, meaning “ankle”.

Mata Air

This word is constructed from mata (eye) and air (water). But you can’t translate it as the water’s eye or the eye of the water, which is meaningless. Mata air means water spring.

Air Mata

Looking at the previous word, it’s prone to get reversed. But air mata doesn’t have any correlation with mata air (spring). Air mata literally means “the eye’s water”, or simply “tears”.


Indonesian has many reduplicated words, which mostly have plural meanings. For example teman (friends) which is reduplicated as teman-teman (friends) to be plural, or gerak (to move) become gerak-gerak which means “moving for multiple times”. But there are some exceptions such as mata-mata which do not apply this formula. Mata-mata doesn’t mean “many eyes”, because mata itself means “eye” both in singular and plural form. Mata-mata is an idiom meaning “spy”. Such a cool word in Indonesian.

Mata pelajaran / Mata kuliah

Pelajaran means “lesson”. So mata pelajaran means “school subject” or “school lesson”. At the university level, we use mata kuliah which means “course subject”.

Mata keranjang

Keranjang means basket. But basket doesn’t have an eye, no way! Mata keranjang describes a person who has greedy eyes as big as a basket. It means “playboy”.

Mata Uang

Uang means “money”. In Indonesian, mata uang means currency. For example, “Mata uang Indonesia adalah rupiah” (Indonesian currency is rupiah).

Mata Duitan

Duit also means “money” in the informal context. Mata duitan refers to someone who only sees money. It means “materialistic”.

Mata Pencarian

Pencarian comes from the word cari, meaning to search. Pencarian itself means the search, which is a noun. Mata pencarian is an idiom which means “earning source” or simply “job”.

Empat Mata

Empat means the number “four”, so empat mata literally means “four eyes”. It refers to the situation where two people should talk privately, just the two of them.

Saksi Mata

Saksi means a “witness”. Saksi mata is the Indonesian term for witness, to emphasize that he / she witnessed the case with his / her own eyes.

Main Mata

Main means “to play”. Main mata is an idiom for “flirting”, because flirters flirt with each others’ eyes.

Cuci Mata

Cuci means “to clean something with soap”. But you can’t translate cuci mata as washing your eyes with soap. It’s an idiom which means “sightseeing”.

Sekejap Mata

Sekejap means “very quickly”. Sekejap mata means “in the blink of an eye”.

Telur Mata Sapi

If you want to say “sunny egg” in Indonesian, never say matahari telur or telur matahari, because no one will get what you mean. Indonesian has its own term for that, which is “telur mata sapi”. Telur means egg, and sapi means cow. So instead of saying “sunny egg”, we say “cow’s eye egg”.

Parts of the Eye

Let’s learn about parts of the eye. Bola mata is eye ball (bola means ball), bulu mata is eyelash (bulu means fur), and kelopak mata is eyelid (kelopak means petal).
That’s all about Indonesian words with “mata”. Keep learning more from the locals to get the most accurate and natural style of Indonesian!

By Jembatan Bahasa

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