Baaacot Lo!

You may have heard (or seen in the printed word, particularly social media) the word ‘bacot’ around the place. A slang word or expression, bacot is derived from the same word but in the form of a noun meaning the derogatory word for ‘mouth’, mostly referring to animals. When bacot is used as a noun to refer to humans, it could be translated as ‘trap’ or ‘gob’ in English. Commonly heard in Sunda and Jakarta, I rarely hear the word in Bali except among hip youth and the gay community.

Bacot can mean a number of things colloquially:

  1. To moan or complain about something, but not doing something about it. I suppose if you wanted to sort of force Indonesian and English together to give this cross-linguistic meaning, you could combine the words banyak and complain to make the acronym ‘ba-cot’.
  2. To talk too much, to the point of annoyance. Everyone has those friends who spout their mouths off – this is the word you can pull out when they are “bacot-ing” by screaming, “Baaacot lo!” (You’re talking way too much dude!).
  3. Words that come out of one’s mouth, but also referred to the physical mouth in this context. You could say something like “Jaga bacotnya biar orang nggak tersinggung” (watch your mouth so no one gets offended).
  4. Something that is said out of context, out of place or isn’t relevant. Here it would be a synonym for ‘ngawur’, which means talking a load of rubbish.

I’ve noticed over the years that Balinese in particular don’t like people who talk too much (like all those officials who give those uber boring ceremonial speeches at just about every event here!) – there is a Balinese term for that one hears in comedies and also among mostly young men. This is the coarse word for mouth (bungut) and for spouting off  nonsense or talking too much (mapete). In a drama gong for example a clown may say to his buddy, “Lebian mapete ci, bungut gen gelahang!” (You talk too much, you’re all mouth!).

Be careful using bacot and particularly bungut or mepete here in Bali as people tend to get easily offended by a poor choice of words, particularly if you are talking to someone new, someone older than you or someone who demands respect – so yeah, think twice before pulling these ones out when you’re stopped at a police checkpoint!


By Vaughan Hatch

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