Cursing Abroad: Polish Insults To Round Out Your Studies

Whatever you do, don’t say Polish is ‘basically Russian.’
September 18, 2020
Cursing Abroad: Polish Insults To Round Out Your Studies

If you want to stay on a Polish person’s good side, there are three major faux pas you’ll want to avoid. One is making any sort of ahistorical claims about Poland’s involvement in World War II. Another is to commit a “vodka crime” by either not bringing any to your friend’s house or serving it warm. And the third is to compare Poland to Russia, or to suggest they’re somehow the same. Barring you don’t stumble into uttering any unintentional Polish insults, you’ll probably be in the clear if you just stick to these basic ground rules.

This article isn’t for anyone who’s not trying to step on any toes, however. If you like to live life dangerously — or even if you’re simply the kind of person who collects naughty words for anthropological purposes — you’ll be interested in learning how Polish people insult one another. You know, for research.

Fun fact: in Polish, you don’t just “diss” someone — you “ride over” them (as implied by the verb pojechać). Below, we’ve collected some of the most colorful Polish insults this language has mustered. Use them at your own risk, of course.

Cienias — This is a pretty straightforward way to call someone a loser, but the connotations here are rich. Cienias literally translates to “shadow,” which implies that the person is too much of a weakling to inhabit their corporeal form.

Co tu tak śmierdzi? — “What stinks so much in here?” You can leave it at that, because we all know who dealt it.

Czubek — When used derisively, this is basically a way to call someone a nutcase. But czubek literally refers to the tip, or extremity, of something. So in a way, you’re not just implying that someone’s a loon — you’re implying that they’re very much “out there.”

Dupek — Got a real asshole or a schmuck on your hands? Perhaps one who lacks a shred of grace? They’re a dupek.

Głupek — If you’re freestyling a verse and you need two rhyming Polish insults to deliver the sickest of burns, you can pair głupek with dupek. If a dupek is sort of a jerk, a głupek is just a big ol’ boneheaded idiot.

Jebiesz jeze — “You fuck hedgehogs.” Who in the world would want to fuck hedgehogs? The kind of person you’re insulting, of course.

Jeleń — This word literally means “deer.” But in the right context, it can imply that someone is on the wrong end of the food chain. A “sucker,” so to speak.

Kurka wodna — When someone’s not just a chicken, but a “water hen.”

Nudne jak flaki z olejem — Literally “boring/bland as tripe in oil.” For your painfully flavorless friends.

Odjebało ci — Has someone utterly lost their mind? This phrase will convey the sentiment of “Are you fucking crazy?”.

Stary pryk — Wish to smite someone into irrelevancy? Though this can be used affectionately in the right context, calling someone a stary pryk is essentially deeming them an old fart. Or worse, a dried-up turd.

Wypchać się sianem — Literally “stuff yourself with hay.” Use in any dismissive context you prefer.

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Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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