Learn Croatian Swear Words: Swear Like a Croatian Guide (Part I)
Warning: Content May Offend
I wrote a piece for an expat blogging writing competition about Croatian swear words back in 2014; well, Croatian phrases, actually. I had some great feedback from it (& it even won a gold medal), so I thought I’d share it with you all.
It seems that (most) Dalmatians love to shorten words, sing, and, as I have come to learn: swear, and swear a lot! Below are a few phrases you’ll find handy here in Dalmatia. Just a word of warning, a few might offend, so apologies upfront if you find yourself blushing at these Croatian swears.
If you want to know some general everyday phrases, we have a learn Croatian guide and language tips that may help you! But, if you want to learn how to swear in Croatian, read on for just a handful of some Croatian swear words translated for your pleasure.
Nemoj me jebat
Not the most polite of the phrases you’ll hear, but trust me, you will hear it. Maybe not heard in the shopping center or any formal situations, but if someone tells a tale that seems too incredible to believe, you’ll hear the other person say nemoj me jebat. To keep this PG, it’s essential to use your imagination a little. Dalmatians like to swear, so keep that in mind. You should know that you’d use this phrase when you’d want to say, “are you serious?” in English. But it translates to do not f*ck with me. You get the idea. If not, reach out to me, and I’ll explain.
Čaću ti jarca
Do you have stubborn kids? You may want to keep this one handy, as it’s primarily used when your kids are stubborn mules. Although I still can’t see why, as it’s a terrible phrase. It means f*ck your goat, Father. That’s right, you heard it correctly; he just mentioned your father and a goat in that way. Sometimes it’s best not to say some of these phrases but rather know what they mean when you hear them, which is one of them. Swearing in Croatian could get you some weird looks – so be warned.
Boli me kurac
Oh dear, here we go again. Of all of the Croatian swear words, this is the one that my wonderful Dalmatian husband repeats regularly, and furthermore, it contains words that I cannot type exactly. I told you Dalmatians loved to swear – did I not? You’d say this phrase when you simply do not care about what the person is telling you or what is happening around you. However, the literal translation makes zero sense to that use at all. It means that you have pain in your nether regions of the manly kind. As I said, it makes no sense, but trust me, if you met my husband or his Dalmatian friends, you’d need to know that phrase.
If you like, a slightly more polite version is boli me ona stvar which translates to, that thing hurts me, and once again, makes no sense. However, it’s used for saying, I don’t give a damn.
Kako da ne
The literal translation is how yes no. Which, of course, means nothing obvious. I heard this a few times before I realized that it simply means, of course…NOT.
Catastrophe. With the same meaning in English, this Croatian swear word is not used for an ACTUAL catastrophe. It’s instead used to exaggerate your point (full explanation here). You’ll hear this in the coffee shop, at your friends’ house, and your 80-year-old Baba (Grandmother) will say it when the wind is blowing, as Croatians have an irrational fear of the wind, like the Bura. DDon’tpanic. IIt’snot actually anything to worry about—nothing of any kind. Ništa (nothing) to see or worry about. Feel free to use it as an exaggeration to highlight how you feel when you arrive at the bakery and you retold that they just sold the last Krafna of the day – katastrofa!
Ne mogu više, hvala
If you plan to visit your Croatian family and friends here in Croatia for a meal, it’s wise to ensure that you do not eat a big meal leading up to your visit. Your Croatian friends and family will throw food at your left, right, and center- especially the older ones. The same goes for drinks. You’ll have to try all of the season’s finest offerings no matter how much you say you’re longer hungry. Hungry or not, the food and drinks will keep on coming. Inevitably you’ll reach the point where you will fear that undoing the button on your pants won’t be enough and that you may actually explode. At this point, you can reach for the phrase Ne mogu više, hvala! Which means you can’t take anymore. Do not overuse this phrase or use it after only one slice of cake and a rakija, as they may not believe you.
This is an essential phrase if you plan to share a drink with a local. Before you take the first sip of your local wine or the heart-stopping Croatian brandy known as rakija, you’ll need to shout ŽIVJELI!!! Which is Croatian for cheers! The pounding of the glass also accompanies it on the table, and THEN you may take your first mouthful.
So there you have a few phrases that you’ll hear in Dalmatia, and if the Dalmatians you meet are like my family, they’ll love you even more if you say one back – be careful who you tell them to!
Learn Croatian Online
We’ve been taking weekly Croatian language Skype lessons for some time now with our teacher, who provides excellent service. She is currently taking on new students, so if you’re interested in learning or improving your Croatian, now is the time.
Learning Croatian one-on-one with a language teacher via Skype. You can learn at your own pace, you have the flexibility of taking the lessons in the comfort of your own home, and you have your very own teacher to help you along the way.