30 Foreign-Language Words That Sound Dirty To English Speakers (But Aren’t)

You’re never too old to laugh at these.
seal posing on rocks with its mouth open words that sound dirty

The funny thing about living in a world with roughly 7,000 spoken languages is that inevitably, speakers of one language will hear a word in a completely different language and think, “Hehe, that person just said ‘butt.'” Words that sound dirty to speakers of another language are often completely innocuous, even boring, terms in their native context. But so go the hilarities of language exchange.

In Gizmodo, Esther Inglis-Arkell came up with a word for this type of linguistic phenomenon: a sordophone. These words are exactly what their name implies: terms that sound dirty, or “filthy sounding.”

Sordophones can definitely exist within the container of a single language — for instance, there are plenty of English words that sound dirty to English speakers, such as “tease-hole” and “haboob.” But the most entertaining sordophones often derive their meaning from speakers of one language perceiving words from another language in a way they were not originally intended to sound.

Below, for your educational purposes and definitely not for your entertainment, are some foreign-language words that might sound dirty to English speakers. Spoiler: Swedish is somehow responsible for the majority of these.

bra — means “good” in Swedish

klit — means “dune” in Danish

die Fahrt — means “trip” in German (like a vacation)

fart — means “speed” in Swedish

molestar — means “to bother” in Spanish

ရှစ် (shit) — means “eight” in Burmese

slut — means “final” in Swedish. Better yet, slutstation is the word for the last stop or terminal on a bus or train line.

dick — means “fat, thick” in German

die Dickmilch — means “buttermilk” or “soured milk” in German

phúc — means “happy” or “luck” in Vietnamese

kock — means “chef” in Swedish

pusė — means “half” in Lithuanian

le phoque — means “seal” in French (like the animal)

dik — means “steep” or “upright” in Turkish

ฟัก (fak) —means “squash” in Thai (like the vegetable)

la douche — means “shower” in French

aholehole — a Hawaiian word for a species of fish

sex — means “six” in Swedish

щит (shchit) — means “shield” in Russian

kunt — means “can” in Dutch (like the verb)

puss — means “kiss” in Swedish

hô — means “shout” in Vietnamese

puszi — means “kiss” in Hungarian

la coque — means “shell” in French

kumbang — a Malay word for a species of beetle

pussi — means “bag” in Finnish

ชิด (chid, sounds a bit like “shit”) — means “close” in Thai

fokken — means “to breed” in Dutch

wanken — means “to sway” or “to shake” in German

Bích — a common girl’s name in Vietnamese that means “jade” or “gemstone”

Looking for ways to put that in its proper context?
Try Babbel