1. “I made him piss gas.” (Накарах го да пикае газ. Nakarah go da pikae gaz.)

You want revenge. You want the other person to feel livid, to nearly die from his own poisonous emotion. Pissing gas is probably just as burning and painful. It will do.

2. “Buy candles with it!” (Купи си свещи! Kupi si sveshti!)

You are riding a bus in the city when suddenly you realize your wallet is gone. A common Bulgarian curse is to imagine you’re telling this pickpocket to go buy candles with your money — the kind of candles we light when somebody dies.

3. Fuck, and its hundred variations. (Ебаси! Ebasi!)

Frustrating emotions go out of our mouths with phrases linked to the beginning of life. Just add “ebasi” in front of any Bulgarian word and you can express your anger toward any person, object or situation. “Maika” (mother) was voted as our favorite and most beautiful word. And yet we use it the most when we curse, “Ebasi maikata.”

4. “Pumpkin-head.” (Тиквеник. Tikvenik.)

Best used to describe dumb politicians with fat hollow heads. We have a few of those here.

5. “You won’t become a person.” (Няма да стане човек от теб. Nyama da stane chovek ot teb.)

Bulgarian parents say this to their teenagers who prefer to play computer games instead of memorizing text from their school books. Teenagers, of course, say ‘Deal with it, ebasi.’

6. “Beetroot.” (Чукундур. Chukundur.)

Chukundur is someone who stops in the driving lane to go out and buy cigarettes, parks in disabled spots, blocks you and nearly bumps you or escapes the traffic by driving after (or before) a speeding ambulance. It is too easy to get (or just buy) a driving license in Bulgaria.

7. “Never get rid of handymen.” (Да не се отървеш от майстори! Da ne se oturvesh ot maistori!)

Finding a good handyman who won’t splash your doors with paint, leave a hole when putting in your window frames or installing the bathroom lock on the outside, is like meeting the perfect partner. You’re pretty stupid to have gotten rid of him.

8. “You are as stupid as an ass.” (Тъп си като гъз. Tup si kato guz.)

A pretty self-explanatory phrase for someone whose head contains as much brain as his other end.

9. “I’ll make two cents out of you!” (Ще те направя на две стотинки! Shte te napravya na dve stotinki!)

That’s right, make the other person seem like he’s worth only two cents. Verbal domination.

10. “Write dick and run.” (Пиши кур и бегай. Pishi kur i begai.)

During communism, swearing or criticizing the “mother party” in public was illegal and jail-threatening. But there was the public toilet — the free speech haven at that time. Getting away with writing which politician was a dick, in-between number one and number two, used to be one way of venting the tension. Now the word “kur” can be seen on dusty cars’ windows or on some buildings’ walls. Us Bulgarians always need to protest against something.

Photo: Andreas Kontokanis