Khmer terms and phrases found in the Angkor area

Most temples’ names in the Angkor area make use of special terms from the Khmer language. Here you can see a list comprising some of those terms and examples:

  • Angkor:  Literally means “city”Angkor comes from the Sanskrit word nagara.
  • Banteay: It means “citadel” or “fortress” and it’s used for walled temples.
  • Baray: It means “reservoir”.
  • Phnom:  It means “mountain” or “hill”. Even small hills are named Phnom.
  • Prasat:  It means “temple”Prasat comes from the Sanskrit word prasada.
  • Preah: It means “God” or “King” and it can also be used as adjective meaning “sacred” or “holy”. ( For instance, Preah Khan means sacred sword.)
  • Srei:  It means “woman”. (For instance, Banteay Srei means citadel of women.)
  • Ta: It means “grandfather”, or sometimes “ancestor”. (For instance, Ta Prohm means Ancestor Brahma.)
  • Thom: It means “large”.  (For instance, Angkor Thom means large city.)
  • Wat: It comes from the Sanskrit word vattaram and it means “temple”. (For instance, Angkor Wat means temple city.)

It´s pretty easy, right? Just with these few words you are able to understand most Angkorian temple names. Here we go:

Khmer terms of Angkor: Try by yourself

  • Angkor Wat = city temple /  temple city
  • Angkor Thom = city large /  large city
  • Banteay Srei = citadel of women
  • Preah Khan = sacred sword
  • Prasat  Kravan = Temple Artabotrys Odoratissimus  : -)
  • Ta Prohm = ancestor Brahma
  • Wat Bo = Even not knowing the meaning of Bo, now you know this is a temple! :)
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