91 Taboo Words and Expressions

This chapter uses words and expressions some people might consider offensive.

There are several words that are often heard, but they are considered taboo outside younger people, when communication with their friends; they refer to sexual organs and sex. The most important verb is:

jebati (jebe) fuсk (vulgar!)

Take care: this verb is considered extremely impolite and vulgar in most circumstances. This verb is actually rarely used in its literal meaning.

Its pass. adjective jeben is sometimes used as an intensifier, exactly like English fuсking (but observe it’s an adjective, unless used as an adverb, i.e. you have to change its case, gender etc.):

Taj mobitel je jebeno skup. That mobile phone is fuсking expensive.

There are two quite common phrases with this verb, something like ‘emoticon-words’ (sometimes seen in abbreviation in colloquial writing, e.g. on Internet forums):

jebo te / jebote (abbr. jbt) = amazement
jebi ga / jebiga (abbr. jbg) = resignation

The most common verb pair derived from this verb is:

zajebavati («) ~ zajebati (zajebe) screw up

This verb is considered much less vulgar than the verb it’s derived from, and you can even hear it in less formal meetings at work.

With an optional object in A, this verb corresponds to English make mistake, spoil:

Zajebao sam. I’ve screwed up. {m}

However, it’s more common to use this pair with se². There are two meanings then. First, it’s make a mistake, such that affects the subject. Next, the impf. verb with se² has the additional meaning screw around.

This is the most important impolite/vulgar noun:

kuraс (kurс-) penis, diсk (vulgar!)

Besides its obvious meaning, it’s often used in a number of very colloquial (but considered nevertheless vulgar!) expressions with completely unexpected meanings:

boljeti (boli,...) + A + kuraс (kurс-) not give a fuсk
biti (je² +) + DL + pun kuraс (kurс-) (+ G) be fed up (with...)

The first expression, of course, literally means someone’s diсk hurts, but it’s a metaphor. For example:

Boli ga kuraс. (vulgar!) He doesn’t give a fuсk.

The second expression must be used with a person in DL. It literally means my dick is full (of...), but it’s used when you can’t stand something anymore:

Pun mi je kuraс političara. (vulgar!) I’m fed up with politicians.

Since these expressions are metaphors, you’ll often hear women using them for themselves, despite having a bit different anatomy.

Next, kuraс (kurс-) can be used as a metaphorical destination or location, which describes that something is failing completely, or is in a very bad shape, kind of similar to English hell, but considered much more vulgar:

Sve ideići u kuraс. (vulgar!) Everything is going to hell.

Ivan je u kurсu. (vulgar!) Ivan is in a very bad shape.

Since the word kuraс (kurс-) is quite a taboo, it’s often replaced in such metaphorical locations and destinations with banana (I hope you get a shape-based metaphor):

Država je u banani. (colloq.) The country is in a very bad shape.

The statement is no longer considered vulgar, merely colloquial, so you can hear it on TV.

Then, it’s used in very colloquial communication as a replacement for thing, like English shit. The usual phrase is:

neki kuraс (kurс-) some thing, some shit

For example:

Unutra je neki kuraс. (vulgar!) There’s some shit inside.

Of course, female parts are taboo as well:

рička сunt (vulgar!)

It’s also used in various imaginative ways, but it’s meaning varies a bit less than for kuraс (kurс-). The main use of if is a fixed expression:

рička materina (vulgar!)

This expression is a bit archaic: the possessive materin mother’s comes always after the noun in it, and the possessive has been derived from the noun mati (mater-) f mother, a word which is today not used anymore in many parts of Croatia (majka is used instead). Some people today even feel the word mati (mater-) f vulgar a bit, since they use it only in this expression!

The expression is used in various ways, these are the most common ones:

U рičku materinu! (vulgar!) Fuсk!

Somehow, this was considered not strong enough, so there’s also a triple version:

U tri рičke materine! (vulgar!) Fuсk! Fuсk! Fuсk!

Both expressions are sometimes shortened (and a bit censored) by using only initial letters:

U p.m.!

U 3pm! (and like variants)

You can also curse someone, my adding him or her in DL, splitting the phrase:

Рička ti materina! (vulgar!) Fuсk you! (to a person you’re familiar with)

Be careful when using this expression, as you might get a violent response from the other side, since this is considered extreme.

There are other interesting language taboos in Croatia. One of the most common is not mentioning a disease specifically. For example, when someone dies, the reason is usually stated, but it’s not expressed in plain words. Common euphemisms are:

nakon duge i teške bolesti after a long and grave illness

nakon kratke i teške bolesti after a short and grave illness

iznenada suddenly

tragično tragically

(the rest is coming soon)

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5 Easy Croatian: 91 Taboo Words and Expressions N A  DL  G 24 I V This chapter uses words and expressions some people might consider offensive. There are several words that ...

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