Kupu-kupu malam (Indonesian)

Literal meaning: night butterfly.
Real meaning: prostitute.

“I was reluctant to donate this beautiful word, but I like what you are doing on this blog so I thought I would share. This word, with its poetic simplicity and clear untranslatable flavor, is the word that originally inspired me to learn Indonesian.”

Word donated by Kenji


  • Posted by Anna

    The same in Russian: ночная бабочка(nochnaya babochka). You should try to learn it some time too =)

  • Posted by Hexdoll

    When someone says “night butterfly” I think of moths.

  • Posted by Rita

    You can learn Hungarian as well, we have the same word. Éjszakai (night) pillangó (butterfly). However Indonesian must be easier than Hungarian, so you made the right choice. :D

  • Posted by Meme Buendia

    Italian has a very similar way to describe prostitutes, it’s “lucciola” which translates as firebug in English, but it has nothing to do with fire, it’s just due to the fact that firebugs only go out at night.

  • Posted by Pierre

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.
    Around we go at night and are consumed by fire. This is said of both moths and prostitutes.

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