Swearing in Croatian: The Remarkable Diversity of the P Word

Lauren Simmonds

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We’re going to take a look, letter by letter, at some ways swearing in Croatian differs quite extremely from swearing in English, and try to explain (in the most politically correct way we can manage), what some of these mean, and in what type of situation they are usually used. 

First, let’s delve into the P word. We’ve already looked at the J word in the past, with it being perhaps the most versatile of all Croatian swear words. P is a close second, but then again so is S, and so is K… but we’ll look into them all in time. So, back to the P word… The P word is a term which centres itself around the female sexual organ, usually to refer to something bad happening, or as an expression of a negative emotion.

Pizdarija – This is used if ”netko je napravio pizdariju” (if someone has well and truly f*cked something up) or when something going badly or something unwanted is happening. It can also be used to describe something toilsome that can’t be dealt with or fixed very easily, or indeed the opposite of that. Context is your friend here.

A u picku materinu! – Oh God, what have I done?! Oh for f*ck’s sake! It can even be ”Ouch!” when you drop something on your foot. (I won’t include the direct translation of this, it’s much too vulgar. If you’re curious, do Google it).

Ona picka materina – Something you’re supposed to fix, deal with or do that you can’t do now for whatever reason and the thought alone is irritating to you, particularly if you can’t remember something about it.

Dobar u picku materinu – Something that is just great.

Pickotehnicar – A gynaecologist. 

Razbiti pizdu – When something collapses, falls, breaks or is in some other way destroyed.

Dobiti po picki – To be beaten up or to get into some sort of (usually) physical altercation in which you lost.

Pizdin dim or pickin dim – Something very easy. It can also be used to describe something useless, worthless, or of very little of either of the aforementioned. If you want to use the much more child friendly term, you could say that something very easy is ”macji kasalj”, which literally translates to ”a cat’s cough.” In British English, these terms would be ”a piece of piss” (non child friendly) or ”easy peasy (lemon squeezy)” (child friendly).

Ma idi u picku materinu! – In kinder terms (and if you’re actually saying this to another person) it means to go back to wherever you came from, to get lost, to p*ss off, to go forth and multiply. If you’re saying this to yourself, it can be an expression of surprise, or anything from ”holy shit” to ”damn” to ”f*ck me!” to ”get out of here, no way!” to ”jeez!”. Context, as ever, rules.

Mrs u picku materinu – Much like the above, this one has a much clearer intention as it is said to someone else. So, read the first line of the above explanation to catch my drift.

Pizdjen/a – To be in a foul mood, or in some other way defeated and not feeling very positive.

Pripizdina – A similar term to vukojebina, which is literally ”where the wolves f*ck”, meaning some God forsaken, middle of nowhere, rural area that nobody has ever heard of. It’s commonly used when you really can’t remember the name of the place you’re referring to.

Pickarati – To be vulgar, unpleasant, to pout or be in a mood. This term originates from Rijeka, but is more widely used.

Pijan ‘ko picka – To be extremely drunk.

Popizditi/Popickati – To lose your mind, to go crazy, to be extremely angry, to lose your sh*t.

Placipicka (sometimes plasipicka) – Someone who is easily scared or spooked. An anxious person who is always worried that something is going to happen to them, or that something bad is going to unfold in general. 

Popickatari se – To argue or get into a heated situation with someone, especially in a stupid and primitive way, with vulgar expressions and swear words (such as all of these) being used. 

Strasipicka – A coward.

Spickati se – This one has multiple meanings. It can be in reference to how someone has got dressed up (scrubbed up well), or if they’ve met some sort of misfortune, such as crashing their car into a road sign or falling off their bike into a puddle. 

For more letters and to learn more about swearing in Croatian, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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