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Polish Swear Words

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6 Dec 2005 #1
Ah, swear words, what an underestimated subject. Considered rude, but, really, a true necessity of life. Don't leave your home without them.

When it comes to Polish translation, in certain contexts, the swear words (curse words) have their both prominent and well-deserved role to play. True, English is not completely toothless in this respect, but still there is no comparison. The Poles lead by far.

Sex related swear words are most useful and, thus, most common. Let's see, the so called four letter word, or to be explicit, "fuck" - no need to be prudish here - after all it is a linguistic exercise we are involved in corresponds rather well to its Polish counterpart, although, already from the beginning Polish has an advantage here - with a whole eight letter-word. There are certain similarities regarding the use of the word in both languages, a few examples:

To fuck - pierdolić

To fuck off - odpierdolić (się)

To fuck up - spierdolić

The Polish word, however, is much more flexible than its English counterpart and has many more uses, which can make it a bit hard to translate. There are so many verbs can be replaced by the "p"-word!

To beat up - napierdolić

To break - rozpierdolić

To run - spierdolić

To steal - podpierdolić

To throw away - wypierdolić

and so on...

The flexibility of the "p"-word makes me often wonder why they do not start teaching Polish starting with it. I promise you, it will take you far in some places. (I call the "p"-word a crutch word, since it is used to replace other words and, thus, belongs, in the first place, in an uneducated man's limited vocabulary).

The translation of the speech of a street lout could look something like that (the Polish version is left out, in order as not to hurt the sensitive readers' feelings (if they happen to read this):

"I fucked up. It was a fucking day. I had a fucking drink and then I was fucked. And then this fuck comes up"

- You get the drift.

Another "nice" Polish swear-word is "kurwa" literally a "whore", although in some contexts translated as a "bitch", or even as "shit", a very useful word indeed. As a matter of fact the above translation from Polish could use a few "kurwas" in the proper place to further strengthen the argument. Please, note that although the "k"-word is also a crutch word, it is often used instead of a "comma" in the speech, thus giving the speaker a chance to recover, before continuing the argument. Thus, the above utterance, to sound more like a Polish slang, should be liberally sprinkled with several "kurwa's in the right places. Here is a possible translation the way it could be spoken between the "real" Poles (a joke). In this context, though, I would not use the literal translation, since this would not convey its true meaning and beauty.

In this context I'd rather go for "shit" which in English can play similar role as a "comma" to the "k"-word.

"Shit, I fucked up. It was a fucking day. I had a fucking drink and then, shit, I was fucked. And then, shit, this fuck comes up"

And so on...

Of course, the "kurwa" words still can be used as a regular swear word describing the quality of the person in question. "Ty kurwo," meaning literally "you whore", works well, but I'd rather translated it as "you bitch", unless it has to do with the profession of the person concerned. It should be also taken into account that, as I understand, the use of 'whore' has been lately discontinued and replaced but a more respectable "sex-worker". Although, the new form is usable under respectable circumstances, I can't envision how you can swear at someone by calling them "sex-worker". Back to the drawing board.

A nice variation on the "k"-word is a "genealogical"-swearword: "skurwysyn", i.e. in the literal translation "the son of a whore", although translated frequently as "the son of a bitch", which comes close. It is yet another widely used Polish expletive that is a must in anyone's Polish vocabulary. Although, it does not have a direct correspondence in Queen's English, the American "mother-fucker" comes close and could be used in some contexts to translate it. But the Polish "s" word is much more flexible than that; it can denote someone we dislike, someone that played a nasty trick on us, even a person we admire - all depending on the context and the way to pronounce it (which is hard to convey in translation.) Please note that the incest word that is used to translate the Polish "skurwysyn" is more or less a taboo in Polish. Funnily enough the Russians, with their ubiquitous expression "job Tvoju mat", do not have anything against expletives involving incestual sexual relations, which only shows that, after all, the Poles and Russians do not have all that much in common (at least in this respect)".

The subject of swearwords is huge and thus a suitable subject for a number of doctoral dissertations, at least. I haven't even touched the surface: what about calling someone świnia - a "pig", which can mean many different things, besides denoting the proper animal, "diabeł" the devil (go to the devil, that translates as "go to Hell" is a frequently used swearword), cholera the name of the disease, i.e kolera, yet another crutch word, but also a way to abuse a person as well (similar in the function to the English "bastard") and many, many more. In this context let us not forget about the sexual organs that are frequently used in Polish and less frequently in English (I told you that the Poles are in the lead) to abuse the members of respective sex.

I won't go on here, since as an introduction to the intricacies of the Polish swear words, the above should give you a good idea about the subject. Time to run... (Please see the proper Polish translation for this expression above).


Contributed by: Steven B, Australia 2005
17 Dec 2005 #2
Good one! Cholera...
17 Dec 2005 #3
'Cholera' is quite innocuous. Actually, I'd put it among the very few expletives that will not raise anyone's eyebrows when used in a cultured conversation.

The translation of "bastard" only applies to "ty cholero!", but you hear this word more often in sentences like "Cholera, I've forgotten my keys again", "Cholera, where is it? I can't find it."

A nice read anyway.
30 Dec 2005 #4
I love the sound of skurwysyn :)
Quite possibly greatest sounding swear word in any language.
1 Jan 2006 #5
I love the sound of skurwysyn

I'm wondering how a native English speaker would pronounce it..;)
2 Jan 2006 #6
Exactly! Without the vibrating 'r' it actually misses its point
16 Jan 2006 #7
I think Polish people overall don't swear as much as other nations (e.g.. Americans). I mean - when Poles swear, they are really angry or something while American use the f*ck word on any occasion.. :}. There are exceptions of course - come to Poland and take a walk in the evening by a liquor store or forest preserve :).
18 Jan 2006 #8
Boy, the Polish language is rich in those "epithets" :)
29 Jan 2006 #9
Not only Polish I guess :). It takes time to learn how to properly pronounce this stuff though.
31 Jan 2006 #10
kurwa- a very important and usefull word in Poland:)
31 Jan 2006 #11
maybe useful - but for whom? Not for ladies I hope.. :}

Not for ladies, but for the popular culture. Living in the Polish community I hear from time to time the word "kurwa", but I got used to it I gues...:}
10 Feb 2006 #12
I found this forum in trying to find a Polish word, that I thought was slang. If someone can help? The word meant "unpleasant surprise" with the meaning more toward the way find out you just crapped in your pants is a surprise. I thought it began with a Z. Thank you for all your help!
10 Feb 2006 #13
maybe you mean "zdziwko".
16 Feb 2006 #14
Hej ziomki :) Fajny tekst, dziękówa żeście go tu puścili. Narecja ziomy :)
21 Feb 2006 #15
Narecja ziomy

Yep, these are good examples of Polish slang :). "Narencja" - "see ya", "ziomy" - "folks, guys" (?)
23 Feb 2006 #16
try theese say them as you would read them in english
Tea who you yeah Bunny

Scotch me tea who you

Odd Pear Doll She

Dee May She

Tea Story Who You

Yes Tess Q Tess
23 Feb 2006 #17
Odd Pear Doll She

- f*ck you
ok, I got this one :)
26 Feb 2006 #18
My mother's parents were Polish/Slovak and she said they often said a polish swear word that sounds like "fee-gu" - shit. Is this a real swear word or no?
26 Feb 2006 #19
:) well skurwsyn is i no loads of words in polish mostly swear words infact all of them are!!!!:)
12 Mar 2006 #20
haha, i just cant say these around my mom, she is from poland! i wish it had the Pronunciations!
23 Mar 2006 #21
Haha..."Dee May She"... as a Polish person staying in Warsaw now, I must say these Polish swear words with English pronounciation sound eextremely funny!
27 Mar 2006 #22
haaha lol try for more in depth pronounicationsand words.
Azzy :):)
8 Apr 2006 #23
I'm polish myself and reading all of that made me laugh. Yeah in fact kurwa is very frequently used in poland:)
But try not using the swearwords, maybe we-polish swear but we don't like foreigns who do that:)

I've got some more for ya:
ssij!- go cocksuck
idź się pierdol- go knockboots
Jesteś palcem robiony- you're an asshole

Please sb write the pronounciation couse I guess i'm incapable
Good Luck in further swearing;P
9 Apr 2006 #24
Yeah in fact kurwa is very frequently used in poland

... which is sad.. :( There are better words to teach foreigners, don't you think?
10 Apr 2006 #25
My husbands grandfather is from Poland. He has said some Polish words all of my husbands life that he thought was swear words. One of them was pronounced "Goopie Doopia" or what we all thought was crazy ass. Another sounded like "Coo ta va" or what we thought was whore. Any insight to the truth of what these words are?
10 Apr 2006 #26
Yes, I think your husband's father was right: "Goopie Doopia" (Glupia Dupa) means "Stupid A*s". and "Coo ta va" (Kurwa) means "f*ck" or "whore"
12 Apr 2006 #27
My Girlfriend taught me a phrase which she is unable to tell me the full English meaning. It sounds like "Korva" (ie Kurwa) "ooya bana". What does that mean in English?
12 Apr 2006 #28
see the first post describing most Polish swear words, including "kurwa"
12 Apr 2006 #29
I'm happy with the definitions of "Kurwa" - it's just the rest. That is, the "ooya bana" bit.
12 Apr 2006 #30
I think it should be "pojebana" which means "stupid" or "crazy" or "fcuking crazy". Add the word "kurwa" to have the whole phrase :).

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