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18 Foreign Curse Words That English Speakers Should Adopt

by Matt Hershberger Oct 20, 2015

AMERICANS HAVE SOME PRETTY DECENT swear words. The f-bomb in particular is incredibly dynamic and can be used in about a billion contexts. But other languages still have a lot to offer us in terms of creativity with swearing. We’ve pulled together some of the better swear words in different languages we’ve found around the internet (excluding ones that are overtly misogynistic and homophobic, which, to be honest, is kind of a lot of them).

1. ”Himmeldonnerwetter” (German)

It literally means “heaven thunder weather,” and it is used as the equivalent of saying, “damn it!” or, if you were an old-timey Foghorn Leghorn-type, “hellfire!” But how much better is shouting “HEAVEN THUNDER WEATHER!” when you’re annoyed?

2. ”Che, boludo!” (Argentine Spanish)

“Che” is an Argentine catch-all word that can mean “hey!” or “dude” or “man” or “bro.” Typically, you hear it said between friends. Boludo literally means “ballsack,” but it can also mean “jerk.” Still, Americans should absolutely start shouting “hey, ballsack!”

3. ”Gay kocken offen yom” (Yiddish)

Translates to “Go shit in the ocean!” Which actually doesn’t sound like that terrible of an experience, but certainly sounds insulting.

4. ”Na mou klaseis ta’rxidia” (Greek)

The direct translation is “fart on my balls,” which is enough as is, but it’s used to say, “You are powerless and ineffective,” which is about the most-ego draining thing you can say to someone.

5. ”Jebiesz jeze” (Polish)

Directly translated, it means “You fuck hedgehogs.” It’s possibly the perfect swear word, because the simple image it puts into your head is physically painful.

6. ”Merde” (French)

France’s translation of “shit” is “merde,” but aside from its normal uses — such as an expression of frustration or annoyance, or a reference to actual fecal matter — it can also be used to say “good luck!”

7. ”Ullu Ka Patta” (Hindu)

It translates to “Son of an owl!” in a culture where owls are considered lazy and stupid. In English, it would just be perplexing, but sometimes, that’s even better than being insulting.

8. ”Kisama” (Japanese)

It just translates to “you,” but it’s a very rude way of saying “you.” Well done, Japan.

9. ”Malaka” (Greek)

The direct translation is “asshole,” but it can also be thought of as an equivalent for “bro,” and can be used lovingly. But it’s just so much more sonorous than asshole.

10. ”Me cago en la leche!” (Spanish)

“Me cago” is “I shit, and “en la leche” is “in the milk.” Because our swearing could use a little more weirdness.

11. ”Siug aan my aambeie en wag vir beter dae!” (Afrikaans)

Translation: “Suck on my hemorrhoids and wait for better days!” Sure, it requires an admission of hemorrhoids, but it’s just specific enough to be perfect.

12. ”Tofu no kado ni atama wo butsukete shine” (Japanese)

It directly means “Hit your head on a corner of tofu and die!”

13. ”Teonen al tmuna shel kalba.” (Hebrew)

Literally, “Go masturbate on a dog’s picture.” Left here with no comment.

14. ”Marbhfháisc ort” (Gaelic)

Translates as “A shroud on you.” It sounds doubly spooky in the beautiful Gaelic language, but it’s pretty damn spooky in English anyway.

15. ”Khange khodah” (Farsi)

“Screw up of god.”

16. ”Ik laat een scheet in jouw richting” (Dutch)

“I fart in your direction.” Yes, that’s right: There’s a culture that uses this insult without reference to Monty Python.

17. ”Zajebiste” (Polish)

It’s roughly similar to “fucking awesome,” but it’s much softer than dropping the f-bomb… it’s more of a slangy, trendy way of saying something is pretty damn neat.

18. ”Go n-ithe an cat thu, is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat” (Gaelic)

It translates to “May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat.”

Hat tips to Fluent in 3 Months, Butterballs, and Buzzfeed.

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