Polish Language Blog

Przekleństwa – curse words Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Culture, Grammar, Phrases

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), przekleństwa,  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 most common. Let’s see, the so called four letter word, or to be explicit, “f***” – 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 nine letter-word. There are certain similarities regarding the use of the word in both languages, a few examples:

To f*** – pierdolić

To f*** off – odpierdolić (się) 

To f*** 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…

Another “nice” Polish swear-word is “kurwa” literally a “whore”, although in some contexts translated as a “bitch”, or even as “sh*t”, a very useful word indeed. Please, note that although the “k”-word is also a swear word, it is often used instead of a “comma” in the speech, giving the speaker a chance to recover before continuing the argument.

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.

Speaking of the word “bitch”… When I first moved to United States, some of my friends called me like that “in a nice, funny way” (as I was explained this situation) a couple times. When they were jealous about something or I did something well. It was supposedly a fun, non insulting way. Well…do not try doing it in Poland! Poles do not have such a sense of humor!

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-f***er” 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.

The subject of swearwords is huge and 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, yet another swear word, but also a way to abuse a person as well (similar in the function to the English “bastard”) and many, many more.

Here are some more words for you:

Bullsh*t – Bzdura!

A**hole, Bastard – Skurwielu

Idiot, cretin – Bałwan

Gut – Bandzioch

Loser, slouch – Cienias

Nut, loony, schizo – Czubek

Ass, klutz, dork, nerd, a**hole – Dupek

Cretin, dolt, fool, idiot – Głupek

Sh*t, crap – Gówno

You’ve got ants in your pants – “Masz w dupie robaki”

You’ve got a screw loose – Odjebało ci

Idiot, moron – Palant

Dried-up old turd, old coot – Pryk

Mind your own f***ing business – Trzymaj się swojego fiuta

I smell a rat – To mi śmierdzi

and many, many more….

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)


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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. jonpgh:

    Ha, ha, ha. As much as people who don’t like to hear these words they are always being used in Poland. So you must learn them to avoid being cursed at and not knowing it, and to use them yourself. Kurwa is always used everywhere I go. When I was in my 20s just learning Polish in Poland, I heard the word “pierdolic” being used. When I asked what it meant no one would tell me until I said I was going to ask mamusia for some “pierdolic” for dinner!

  2. nhtim:

    I love it! Having learned other languages, I had found natives almost proud (in a giddy sort of way) to help you learn some of the key swear words. But when meeting relatives in Poland, I found the poles to be very closed lip about sharing that information. It was not until my most recent trip last year that I found someone to share some of those secrets. Once I learned a few choice phrases, I seemed to hear them all the time. It’s curious that they use them so much, but are not will to help you learn.

  3. russ:

    > Let’s see, the so called four letter word, or to be explicit, “f***” – no need to be prudish here

    Um… “f***” is being explicit and not prudish?! 🙂

    It’s funny, many Polish people I know would probably rather write the infamous Polish k-word as “k****” here, but feel no self-consciousness about writing (or saying) the English word “fuck”. “Bad words” in a foreign language rarely seem to feel as strong as “bad words” in our first language. 🙂

  4. Renee Kujawski:

    My granndmother used the word “dupa-jascz”? (doo-pie-yosh) a lot – I’m not sure of the spelling beyond the “dupa” beginning. My uncle told me it meant asshole but I can’t find it anywhere. Do you know what the word in Polish and English is? I found asshole in my Langenscheidt dictionary but it looks nothing like what she used to say

  5. Henry:

    @Renee: The word your grandmother used was: “Dupa Jaś” (doo-pah yaash) which I would translate more as “dork” rather than asshole. It has a humorous connotation. A literal translation would be: Joe Butt (Jaś Dupa).

  6. Jennifer:

    I work with a Polish woman and when things mess up, she’ll curse in Polish. Usually “cholera”. Sometimes she’ll say other things. Every time she says something new I’ll ask her what it means, and she’ll tell me. But, sometimes she’ll say something that sounds like “lou-gha” and I’ll ask her what it means. She’ll either deny she said it or, when pressed and I repeat the word to her, tell me that no such word exists. She’s done this about a dozen times. So I figure it must be really bad. Anybody have any idea what I’m talking about?

    • Dominika:

      @Jennifer i am polish and it is a bad word , (not the best at telling you what it mean but here we go,) it like fuck . she probably fucked up something

  7. Diana Cobos:

    My grandma would say something that sounded like ”
    osha mach” and also ” sha kreh” What do these mean? She would also say cholera but I don’t think she was talking about the disease when she said it!

    • Dominika:

      @Diana Cobos cholera is like fuck , and the other one is dog blood

    • David L. Gold:

      @Diana Cobos “She kreh” is probably psiakrew ! (= damn it !), literally, dog’s blood ! For more information, search for the word on the Internet

  8. Diana Cobos:

    mistyped – “osha mach” should be “sha mach”

  9. Caroyln Vitale:

    some genuinely wonderful information, Gladiolus I detected this.

  10. Barbara:

    Sha kreh is Psia krew means dog blood Pies = dog psia = belong to dog krew

  11. Adam:

    @Diana Cobos – “Sha kreh” is most probably “psiakrew” which literally translates as “dog’s blood” and I suppose is roughly equivalent to “damnit” in English.

    • Peter:

      @Adam I always understood psia krew to mean you have dog’s blood in your ancestry or “son of a bitch”.

  12. claire:

    what does koodivac mean? sorry not sure of correct spelling tho x

  13. Brendan:

    What does “Duvvelsheyys” a dwarf killed a big man and kicked him and said duvvelsheyys and I can’t find anything I have got things from polish and Croatian to Bosnian please help!!

  14. Craig:

    Used some of these when messaging my Polish friend… Good laugh.
    ‘Trzymaj się swojego fiuta’ actually means ‘hold on to your dick’ and not ‘mind your own f*cking business’

  15. Phyllis:

    Hi…my grandma used to say something like : Move da dupa, dupa schwoia” Could you tell me what that meant?

    • George Kolbusz:

      @Phyllis Sometimes difficult to translate phonetic spelling. but ‘dupa schwoia’ sounds like ‘dupa swoja’ which means ‘your backside’ or ‘your arse’ (British spelling!).
      ‘Move da dupa’ is a bit more difficult. Sounds like ‘Mowa to dupa’ which means ‘speech (talk) is arse’. That’s my best shot!

      • David L. Gold:

        @George Kolbusz George. Please see my suggestion about “Move da dupa”

    • David L. Gold:

      @Phyllis Phyllis. Move da dupa is probably pocałuj mnie w dupę ! = kiss my ass !

  16. Barry Willig:

    My wife’speople were Ukrainians in the former Polish east and they used to say “shlakh bede be trafyo kurvysen and kro bezalaylah Do you have any translation for that in ewither Polish or English? Dyakayu, Barry Willig (Amerikanski)

  17. Emond:

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  18. Spïkë:

    I will swear at an annoying guy called tom ogg he is bzdura ⚡⚡⚡⚡⚡

  19. Olejnicki:

    My Grandma (full blood Polish) always cursed using “dogs blood and cholera.” In Polish, of course. But she said that it literally meant cholera as in the disease because it was the worst thing that you could wish on someone. I don’t understand why a dog’s blood would be offensive, tho.