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Learn Croatian Swear Words: Swear Like a Croatian Guide (Part I)
Warning: Content May Offend
I wrote a piece for a expat blogging writing competition about Croatian swear words, 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 just love to shorten words, sing, and as I have come to learn: swear, and swear a lot! Below is a list of a few phrases you’ll find handy here in Dalmatia. Just a word of warning, a few might offend, so apologies up front if you find yourself blushing at these Croatian swears.
If you want to know some of the general everyday phrases, we have a learn Croatian guide and Croatian 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 just 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 in English you’d want to say, “are you serious?”. But it translates to do not f*ck with me. You get the idea, right? If not, reach out to me, and I’ll explain.
Čaću ti jarca
Do you have stubborn kids? Well, you may want to keep this one handy then, as it’s mostly 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 just not to say some of these phrases, but rather just know what they mean when you hear them, and this 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 again 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 going on around you. However, the literal translation makes zero sense to that use at all. It actually means that you have a 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 that translates to, that thing hurts me, and once again makes no sense. However, it’s simply 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 friend’s 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. Don’t panic. It’s not 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’re told 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 a wise move to ensure that you do not eat a big meal leading up to your visit. Your Croatian friends and family – especially the older ones-will throw food at you left, right, and center. 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 no 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 your button on your pants won’t be enough and that you may just actually explode. At this point, you can reach for the phrase Ne mogu više, hvala!. Which means you can’t take anymore. Just 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 important phrase if you plan to share a drink with a local. Before you take the very first sip of your local wine or the heart-stopping Croatian brandy known as rakija, you’ll need to shout the phrase 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 – just be careful who you tell them to!
Want Ideas For Things To Do In Croatia?
If you are traveling to Croatia, we’ve got a stack of suggestions. Here are just a few:
- Best Things to do with Kids in Croatia
- Car Rental Tips and Deals
- Find out about Festivals in Croatia