7 Croatian Swear Words You Need to Know

Did  you know that Croatians are known across Europe for their skilful use of swear words, coming in third after Hungarians and Italians for their frequency and creativity in cursing? Goran Ivaniševic, a legendary tennis player, is famous not just for his game but for his creative swearing, showcasing a national penchant for inventive profanity. But Croatian curse words are not only popular among sportspeople! This widespread practice spans all occupations and ages, and it only seems to keep getting more inventive with time.

So, what are the best Croatian swear words out there?

Whether you want to surprise your Croatian words with your knowledge of Croatian profanity or are just curious to learn what Croatians call one another when they’re angry, here are 7 Croatian swear words and their meanings.

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1.  Nemoj Me Jebat

If you spend at least a couple of weeks in Dalmatia (one of the four historical regions of Croatia), “Nemoj me jebat” is a phrase you’re likely to hear at least once, though not in the most formal of settings. This phrase often surfaces in conversations when someone shares a story that’s hard to believe, prompting a sceptical “nemoj me jebat” from the listener. Similar to “Are you kidding me?” in English, “Nemoj me jebat” has a more explicit literal translation: “Do not f*ck with me”. Both rude and funny, “Nemoj me jebat” is a versatile expression that captures a mix of surprise and scepticism.

2.  Kurac od Ovce

“Kurac od ovce” might raise eyebrows with its literal translation, ‘sheep’s dick’. Since ‘ovca’ refers to a female sheep, the phrase is an amusing paradox. This expression is Croatians’ colourful way to highlight the absurdity or pointlessness of a situation or object. Whenever they want to point out that something is useless, pointless, or doesn’t make any sense, they say its “kurac od ovce”.

3.  Uhljeb

The term “uhljeb” holds a special place in Croatian culture, perfectly encapsulating the phenomenon of employment in a role that appears to exist solely for its own sake. Typically found within the world of public administration, an “uhljeb” is someone who occupies an unnecessary position, often for the sake of political convenience or patronage. The verb form, “uhljebiti se,” describes the act of securing such a position, suggesting a mix of cunning and opportunity to land a job where the balance between effort and reward leans heavily towards the latter.

4.  Čaću ti Jarca

Ever dealt with someone’s stubbornness? “Čaću ti jarca” is a phrase that Croatians use when faced with someone who’s really obstinate, particularly in moments of frustration. This expression, translating roughly to “screw your goat, Father,” might sound odd and somewhat shocking at first glance. The mention of a goat and one’s father to say someone is stubborn is bound to turn heads or elicit a raised eyebrow. But hey, not everything in this life has a clear explanation. Let’s just say “Čaću ti Jarca” is one of those Croatian curse words that are best used than understood.

5.  Pičkin Dim / Boli Me Kurac

“Pičkin dim,” a phrase that might catch you off guard with its literal translation — ‘p*ssy smoke’. Far from its literal sense, this expression is ingeniously used to dismiss something as trivial, unimportant, or merely a fleeting trend. It’s a colourful way to express indifference towards matters deemed insignificant or unworthy of serious consideration. Alternatively, you can use “Boli me kurac,” translating literally to ‘my d*ck hurts’. This is another emphatically crude yet widely used expression to indicate utter indifference or lack of concern, typically said by men.

6.  Lako Je Tuđim Kurcem Po Gloginjama Mlatit

If you thought we were done with absurdist Croatian swear words about genitalia, think again. The Croatian saying “Lako je tuđim kurcem po gloginjama mlatit,” translating to “it’s easy to flail another person’s d*ck on a hawthorn shrub,” serves both as a wise proverb and a rude joke. The point is simple: it’s all too easy to suggest risky, painful, or uncomfortable actions when you’re not the one who has to endure the consequences. For instance, imagine a scenario where a friend proposes you invest all your savings into a volatile stock market, claiming it’s a surefire way to make a fortune. Responding with “Lako je tuđim kurcem po gloginjama mlatit,” you’d not only question their advice but also highlight the recklessness of making such suggestions without having to bear the risk themselves.

7.  Koji Ti Je Kurac

“Koji ti je kurac?” might sound shocking with its literal translation, “What’s wrong with your dick?” but it’s a classic Croatian way to bluntly ask, “What the hell is wrong with you?” This phrase is perfect for moments when someone’s doing something so weird or dumb, you just can’t believe it. Like if your buddy decides to wear shorts in a snowstorm, you might just look at him and go, “Koji ti je kurac?” It’s your go-to for calling out nonsense in the most straightforward way possible.

Learn Croatian Now

As we wrap up our exploration of Croatian swear words, it’s clear that these expressions offer more than just a means to vent frustration; they showcase of the creativity, humour, and playfulness of Croatian people.

At Language Trainers, we hold the view that there are no inherently “bad” words. The significance of any term lies in the intention behind its use. Our curiosity about language, including its more playful aspects, is part of our desire to fully understand and appreciate the cultures we study. This is why our Croatian courses are led by native-speaking instructors who are not only experts in their language but are also eager to share the richness of their culture. They approach language teaching from a fun and engaging perspective, ensuring that learning Croatian is not just about memorising rules but also about connecting with the culture in a meaningful way.

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That’s why today, we invite you to go beyond Croatian swear words and dive into the Croatian language and culture with us. Whether you’re looking to grasp the basics, refine your fluency, or just get a kick out of understanding Croatian slang, our team is ready to design a Croatian course taught by a native instructor that suits your needs and interests. Contact us today, and learn how to speak Croatian in London, Liverpool, or wherever you happen to live!

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