Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 14:19:50 +0100
Subject: Re: widow, widower, de facto...

> >1. widow                   JANDA
> >2. widower                 DUDA
> >3. divorcee                CERAI
> >4. separated               PISAH RANJANG
> >5. de facto relationship.  KUMPUL KEBO
I fully agree with J*P*'s response, but like to call attention to some nuances in usage.

janda - some dictionaries/conversation-books also give this as
        translation for "widower", but the actual meaning is
        "widow" (female person whose husband has died). I have
        however occasionally heard janda laki-laki for "widower".

duda  - is the standard word for widower, but can also mean male
        divorcee. I have also once or twice heard it used jokingly
        in the meaning of "elderly unmarried man" (male counterpart
        to "old maid").
        The female correspondent to dadu (in all its meanings) is
        RANDA "widow, female divorcee" (also randa tua "old maid").
        Neither duda nor randa is as widely used as janda, and
        there could be a not unsubstantial circle of native speakers
        who are perhaps unfamiliar with these words or their meanings.

        There is also the word balu, meaning "widow, widower (person
        of either gender, whose spouse has died)", but seems not to
        be used or understood in all regions of the country.

cerai - literally means "divorce, be divorced", so under circumstances
        or in certain contexts one might have to become explicit, e.g.
        with something like orang yang sudah cerai. Sometimes,
        bekas suami / bekas isteri would also do.

pisah ranjang - literally "separated with reference to the bed (separated
        in that they don't share a bed)" is perhaps a calque from Dutch,
        in which the formula gescheden van bet en tafel "separated from
        bed and table" is a legal term, that being a status (not sharing
        same bed and same dining table = living in different households)
        which must have lasted for a certain period (I think one year)
        before one can be legally divorced by mutual consent. I don't
        know whether pisah ranjang also has some legal connotation.
        Alternatively, berpisah or pisah would also express the status
        of being separated.

kumpul kebo - Has the "baku" variant kumpul kerbau, but the version
        with kebo, the Javanese (and Balinese) cognate of kerbau,
        prevails in the spoken language so far as I know.

Back to index