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Bjorn 4th July 2018 10:17 AM

Keris Terminology
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Hello everyone,

As we all know, the keris has it's origin in Java. As such, Javanese is the language used to describe its various aspects.
I am not fluent in Basa Jawa, and I expect this is true for most of us. This, for me, makes it more difficult to correctly remember a lot of the terms, even more so as they are words that have a form but little meaning. By this I mean that we often do not know the meaning of the word. For example, kembang kacang is composed of kembang (flower) and kacang (bean), as this feature can be visually likened to a sprouting bean. This particular example is probably well known to most of us, but I believe many other terms may be less known.

Being able to link a word or phrase to a more concrete meaning makes it easier to commit to memory, and to recollect. While a lot of keris terminology acts as euphemisms or simple visual descriptions likening their features to a well known object, I am of the belief that knowing the meaning behind the words is still valuable because it aids in committing these terms to memory - even if they do not contribute to a deeper understanding of the keris per se.

In this thread, I would like to make a start with listing these terms with their translations. This would be valuable to new members, but could also aid experienced members in quickly accessing terminology that has faded away in their minds.

Below I inserted a diagram containing quite a few terms already as well as some of the terms I still remember (though there may be some errors). I'm hoping we can make a collective effort to expand this list.

Blumbangan = a small pond
Janur = Spine of a palm frond.
Lambe gajah = Elephant lips (lambe = lips, gajah = elephant)
Ri pandan = Thorn of the pandan plant.
Sirah cecak = Lizard's head (sirah = head, cecak = a type of lizard)
Tikel alis = Double eyebrow (tikel = double, alis = eyebrow)

A. G. Maisey 4th July 2018 09:46 PM

Bjorn, I cannot speak Javanese except at the lowest level, I can understand 80% of a Javanese conversation in ngoko if I know what the subject is first, Javanese language that relates to keris I can understand better than 90%. To speak Javanese correctly is in my opinion something that can really only be achieved by somebody who has been born into an aristocratic Javanese family, or a traditional rural Javanese family --- or somebody with talent for learning foreign languages, this is a talent that I mostly lack.

So, what follows is my understanding of the meaning, or intent, of these keris words, I will accept correction from a competent native speaker of Javanese.
I am not certain that all these words are Javanese, I'd need to check dictionaries for that, and right now I do not have time.

ada-ada = the central vein of a feather or a leaf
kruwingan = this is a method, or technique of chiselling or scraping metal
landhep = sharp, 'hatirah-tirah', I do not know this word
lis-lisan = a frame or an edge or a collar
gusen = this is correctly :- kusen or kosen = it is the frame of a door or window
gandhu = the kneebone
pudak setegal = dry pandanus flower
mburi = back, ie, rear, behind (ngoko)
janur = a young coconut leaf
sada = this is a variation of ada-ada, it is the main vein of a leaf
sogokan = a poker, like the poker used to clear a blocked drain, or similar
wingking = back, rear it is krama for mburi/buri
wadidang = the lower part of the leg between the knee and the heel
sraweyan = something that is fluttering or continuing to wave
ron dha = the letter dha
nunut = to follow along
thingil = to rise above its surroundings, also a way to refer to a small object
ri pandan = pandan thorn
greneng = as far as I know this word is specific to keris
kanyut = to get carried along on a current
buntu = a deadend, as in "gang buntu", a deadend laneway
puyuhan = the urine bladder
bebel = this does not make any sense to me, I know "bebel" as stupid, slow, dull witted
ngarep = in front (ngoko),
ngajeng = in front (krama)
tikel alis = used as a phrase this means to frown or bring your eyebrows together
pejetan = push button
blumbangan = a pond
jenggotan = like a beard, jenggot is beard
jalen = a kind of grass that looks like millet
ilat = tongue
baya = crocodile
praen = facial features or characteristics
sekar kacang = bean shoot
telale gajah = elephant trunk
lambe gajah = elephant lip
jalu = cock spur
memet = is something that is joined into something else, so 'jalu memet' can be understood as 'a spur that is joined in'
ganja - keris specific word
cocor = a beak
sirah = head (krama)
cecak = a house lizard
pesi = tang
bilah = blade
tungkakan = the heel of a shoe
kepet = a fish tail fin
urang = a shrimp
pidakan = a pedal, also to step onto something
wuwung = roof top, wuwungan = like a roof top

The gandhik has been missed, gandhik = mortar, as in pestle and mortar
The tip of the blade is the panitis = this means to aim something, like you aim a gun.

Some of the words in this diagram I have never heard used in relation to keris, others are not what are normally used in Central Jawa. Be aware that spellings and forms can vary, in Javanese both vowels and consonants can vary.

Probably a few more terms we can include in this, if I remember them I'll throw them into the mix.

Then we have the various names for the keris itself, and after that we can do the whole thing again in a Balinese context, Bugis context, Palembang context, --- etc, etc, etc.
Then memorise it all.
Endless fun for everyone.

Bjorn 5th July 2018 07:30 PM

Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Then we have the various names for the keris itself, and after that we can do the whole thing again in a Balinese context, Bugis context, Palembang context, --- etc, etc, etc.
Then memorise it all.
Endless fun for everyone.

Thank you for the detailed response, Alan.

As for endless fun, personally I would quite enjoy it, but I admit mileage may vary according to personal tastes and linguistic aptitude.

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