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"Poles" or "Polish people" - which is better to use?


jon357 71 | 20,799
9 Jan 2023 #181
pretty closely to Polak but offensive (like Bohunk or

It sounds a bit offensive.

The only time I've heard Polak in the UK was as a kid. My friend's father used to use it. He's served in the war with Poles and also worked with many so in this case I doubt it was meant to be offensive.
mafketis 35 | 11,519
9 Jan 2023 #182
It sounds a bit offensive.

Meant to be... the US has a long history of offensive terms for people from just about every country.... name a source of immigration to the US and there will be slurs...

I remember hearing "Pollack" jokes long before I knew that Poland was a country... one theory is they were made popular by Borsht Belt Jewish comedians who'd carried stereotypes of backward and horndog Slavs with them from the Pale....

I think by the 1980s they had mostly died out.
jon357 71 | 20,799
9 Jan 2023 #183
Meant to be

So do we, though most of them (Wops, Dagoes, Frogs, Krauts) are either fairly mild or due to them being enemies in wars that we won. Also quite mild (but best be careful using) are Taffies, Paddies, Jocks, Kiwis, Aussies, Saffers etc. The stronger and less acceptable ones are either from the colonial era or about immigration

For Poles, that never happened so it tends to be neutral and the recent wave of immigration happened after people stopped making terms like that up.
mafketis 35 | 11,519
9 Jan 2023 #184
Taffies, Jocks, Saffers

I assume Jocks are Scottish? What are taffies and saffers?

I don't know of any bad words for the Welsh... maybe because there were far fewer and had a lower cultural profile than others from the British Isles....

Now that I think about it I'm not even sure about bad words for Scottish people.... English are Limeys (and maybe one or two I can't remember) and Irish are Micks or Paddies or Bog-hoppers

Getting closer to the topic of the thread.... Poles have slurs for Germans szwab maybe being the most common? and russians 'russki' is more insulting than 'rosjanin' and Czechs 'pepiki'... Italians 'makaroniarze' French żabojady and English angole.... not sure of many more...

Kind of unique to Polish is the use of non-virile forms as insults 'pany' instead of 'panowie' 'szwaby' instead of.... szwabowie? szwabi?
jon357 71 | 20,799
9 Jan 2023 #185
taffies and saffers

Welsh (Taffy from Daffydd) and Saath Ifrikens, specifically the white ones..

Every language probably has exonyms. Not all the Polish ones are polite of course.

I'd say that Pole, and Polak (when used in context) are polite.

Pollock doesn't sound very polite.
Proud Pole Missy
12 Jan 2023 #186
@Firestorm
Funny, I enjoyed that read, thanks!
marion kanawha 2 | 39
12 Jan 2023 #187
I've never heard that word; is it in a local form of English somewhere rather than in standard English?

I meant the word "pollock". I misspelled it.
marion kanawha 2 | 39
12 Jan 2023 #188
It's American.... "Pollack" or maybe "Pollock" pronounced pretty closely to Polak but offensive (like Bohunk or Russkie or Mick...). It used to ... (AFAIK)

I agree with you. That is an offensive term. To call a Polish person a "pollock" is offensive. If someone calls me that, I immediately correct them. Whether they like it or not.

Unfortunately most of the people who call me that are usually people of Polish descent. This only highlights the usage of the phase "dumb pollock" as was used in "All in the Family" TV series of a few decades ago.
Miloslaw 14 | 4,861
12 Jan 2023 #189
To call a Polish person a "pollock"

The term Pollock is down to American ignorance.And is insulting because of its ignorance and lack of respect.
The word is Polak.
Which is not insulting at all.


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