Swearing in Croatia, Part II: Flesh and Blood

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Following our latest feature on Croatian swear words, a look at some of the most colourful ways to express yourself by using genitals and relatives in a conversation

Good evening, class! Last time, we covered the basics of a particularly engaging language domain: swearing in Croatian, detailed look at the rich use of the favourite Croatian swearword, with ‘jeb’ as its core. In case you missed the last week’s lesson or just need to refresh your knowledge, please click on that provided link first to learn about the intricacies of J-words. We’re going to use that list as a reference point occasionally, so make sure to keep it open in another tab as we go along.

So, we established that J-words make for a sufficient foundation when you need to tell someone to go f*ck themselves – in a wide variety of ways – or in case you just feel the need to impulsively react to certain bad news or an undesirable outcome to a situation.

Now, that’s all good, but all the J-words have a certain abstract quality to them, don’t they? When it comes to swearing, whichever verbal form of f*cking you opt for, you’re basically referring to an action that (hopefully) isn’t taking place at that exact moment, so the expletive itself kind of retains a character of a catchphrase, a quick reaction you send off into the void to feel better. Every once in a while, you just need something with a bit more juice to it, you know? Something tangible, to make sure you drive the point home and make everyone around you really understand how upset you are.

It’s time to bring a couple of additional factors into the equation – some living, breathing, or just very straightforward factors. Let’s kick it off with everyone’s favourite being to refer to in order to offend somebody: their mom.


Jebem ti mater!

Translation: I’m f*cking your mother
Meaning: motherf*cker / f*ck off / I’m mad at you / how dare you

Poor, poor mothers. No one else in the history of this world, since people mistakenly decided to build the Tower of Babel, had to endure so much second-hand abuse or be proverbially subjected to countless undesired sexual relations with a wide array of people and animals. Mothers are usually the relative we feel the closest to – or, where cases of dysfunctional upbringing are considered, have the most complicated relationship with. Your mom could be the worst mom in the world, and you would still take offense at the notion of someone other than your dad/her partner trying to bed her. If your mom is the best mom in the world, it’s even worse.

Take a quick look at the list linked above, and you’ll find our friend jebemti at no.4. It’s the basis for this lovely expression, but instead of just using it as an equivalent of f*ck it when something unpleasant needs to be quickly addressed, build on it by adding a mom at the end and you have yourself a perfect offense method. Is someone getting on your nerves or has wronged you in a way you just can’t let slide? It doesn’t matter whether they cut in front of you in line at the supermarket or if they bumped into your car while trying to parallel park; jebem ti mater is the appropriate response.

Just as jebote, jebemu and jebemti, this one can also be used as a simple reaction to an event that doesn’t necessarily involve other people. For example, remember how you can yell out jebemti when you stub your toe? You can use jebemtimater as well for some extra relief. Furniture won’t get upset anyway.

One more thing worth noting: mater is not standard Croatian, but a jargon equivalent. If you want to inquire about someone’s mother and you don’t know the person that well, don’t use mater – it’s either majka (mother) or mama (mom). In certain cases, mater might come off as a bit derogatory, and if you don’t have a good grasp of Croatian, it’s best to avoid that one outside of swearing.

kurac / u kurac!

Translation: d*ck / c*ck
Meaning: c*ck / sh*t / f*ck / f*ck it!

Let’s start with the simplest meaning of the term: in Croatian, kurac [coo-rats] quite literally translates to c*ck. In case you’re discussing penises and you need a synonym that doesn’t come off as medicinal and sterile, kurac is your best choice.

I can’t believe I just typed that last part with a straight face. Looking forward to messages from friends.

Now, in Croatian, our phallic friend can be used as a sort of an abstract destination. Drop a preposition in front, and you get a literal meaning of to a c*ck or into a c*ck – a bit hard to grasp as a concept, but it is what it is, my dear students. In that case, you’ll have yourself a perfect expletive to spit out when frustrated with something. Spilled your coffee over important documents? U kurac! Tripped and fell into a puddle? U kurac! Missed an important deadline? U kurac! Those who were following closely last time will note this example resembles the likes of jebemti and jebemu – you get a gold star if you made the connection.

Let’s build on this:


a u kurac (usually spelled as aukurac)

Adding an ‘a’ in front changes the nuance from ‘I’m annoyed’ to ‘I’m taken aback’. Aukurac is to be used as a reaction to something inconvenient, surprising or shocking, standing as a replacement for ‘sh*t, man’ or ‘goddammit’ or ‘no way’ or ‘f*****ck’. Forgot about that lasagna in the oven? Aukurac. Again, missed a deadline? Aukurac. A less qualified candidate got that job you wanted? Aukurac! Something you were working on spectacularly fell apart? Aukurac! That mild-mannered neighbour of yours turned out to be a serial killer? Aukurac. And he always seemed like such a nice person.

Koji kurac?

What translates to something like ‘which cock in particular?’ actually means ‘what the f*ck’. This handy expression is always used this way – sure, you could always use it literally, but I can’t imagine a lot of situations that would have you trying to establish which exact cock someone was talking about.


An appropriate visual equivalent of ‘koji kurac’.


odi u kurac

Translation: go into a c*ck
Meaning: go eat a d*ck

If you want to tell someone off but you’re serious/bitter/angry to an extent where mentioning their mom just won’t cut it, feel free to say odi u kurac.


boli me kurac

Translation: my d*ck hurts
Meaning: I don’t give a sh*t

Seems counterintuitive at first, but makes sense when you think of it: if your d*ck happened to hurt, you probably wouldn’t care much about anything else going on at the time, right? So yeah, if you want to state you don’t really care about something going on / someone doing something, just say your d*ck hurts. But make sure you say it in Croatian.

pun kurac

Translation: a full d*ck
Meaning: a whole lot of something

Sometimes, you don’t even have to be angry or annoyed to spit expletives. You can just resort to colourful language to convey the extremity of a certain situation, and if said situation involved a lot of something/someone, well, it was a d*ckful thereof. How many people were there at the concert? Pun kurac. How much do you think that car costs? No idea, but it must be pun kurac.

In a similar vein (sorry), add to that an object and a verb and you get…

pun mi je kurac

Translation: my d*ck is full
Meaning: I’ve had enough

An important disclaimer: NOT the ‘I’ve had enough’ you would follow with a ‘thanks’. If someone asks whether you want seconds at a Christmas dinner, please don’t say ‘pun mi je kurac, thanks’. This one is to be used only when you want to imply you’re sick and tired of something. You’re constantly arguing with your partner? Pun mi je kurac. Your colleague keeps getting credit for the work you did? Pun mi je kurac. Okay? Okay.

Speaking of, I’ve had enough of this item, so let’s carry on to…


pička / u pičku

Translation: p*ssy / c*nt
Meaning: p*ssy / c*nt / f*ck it

Simply put, re-read item no.2, but replace the male genitalia with the female. Need an improper replacement for vagina? It’s pička. We do have a decent number of other synonyms, of course, but this is the most saucy one. Frustrated? U pičku! Want to tell someone off? Odi u pičku… Wait, we tend to get a bit more creative with that last example – what would sending someone to a c*nt be perfectly paired with? Their mother, of course: odi u pičku materinu translates to go back to your mom’s p*ssy, or simply put, crawl back where you came from, idiot. Want to take it even further? Send them to tri pičke materine – three times instead of just one. There’s no middle ground – you can’t send them twice. It’s either one or three, so choose carefully.

This is the only case when one other family member comes into the equation: aunts. Instead of saying u pičku materinu, you can opt for u pičku strininu – an aunt’s p*ssy. Why? No idea. Why fathers, siblings, grandparents and uncles were spared is also unclear.


Now, when using pička in a derogative way, we have a peculiar case of gender imbalance at hand. If you wanted to state you don’t hold someone in high regard, refer to the fact there’s not much worth to them, convey you’re mad or disappointed with them for failing you, or call them a coward, you would call them a pička. Just as you would do in English – you’d probably resort to calling someone either a p*ssy or a c*nt, depending on the context. However, whereas English has a convenient male counterpart to that expression – you could easily call someone a d*ck or a c*ck – that’s not the case in Croatian. You would never say ‘you’re such a kurac’ to offend someone. You could try, but you’d be met with confusion at best and mockery at worst. How unfair is this?

Instead, when trying to offend a man by comparing them to a body part, we opt for another solution used by English speakers and call the person a…


Translation: as*hole
Meaning: see above

You’re dealing with (or referring to) a particularly unpleasant person? They’re hypocritical, cunning, impolite, despicable, or just plain evil? They are, of course, an as*hole – šupak. This one is particularly delightful to say out loud; try it: shoo-pack. Rhymes with 2Pac. Sorry for bringing a legend into this mess.



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