Phonetic translationfilter - insults edition!
November 23, 2022 11:15 AM   Subscribe

An older relative (in her 90s) would love to know the spelling/exact meaning of an insult used by *her* mother.

It's pronounced roughly "sebuja", and the guy in question was "an unpleasant loudmouth." Likely languages are Yiddish or Polish, but it could be something else - lots of languages were spoken in the neighborhood. Any idea what word this could be?
posted by heyforfour to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it means "shut your mouth/shut up."
posted by sardonyx at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you sardonyx! Do you know what language this would be? She'd love to have the "official" spelling if possible and I bet we could find it with both a language and definition
posted by heyforfour at 2:58 PM on November 23, 2022

Possibly the Polish Zamknij się - shut it / shut up
posted by zippy at 5:29 PM on November 23, 2022

I've came across "Bujaj się" (booyay syie (?)) for "get lost". It can potentially be inverted to "Się bujaj", but I'd be surprised if it went back that many years, as slang tends to change rapidly.

Forgot to add - that's Polish.
posted by Dotty at 3:47 PM on November 24, 2022

Missed the edit window - the full expression would be "Idź sie bujać" - go get lost.
posted by Dotty at 3:53 PM on November 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Okay, I should apologize. I provided a bad translation above due to faulty memories of a language i no longer get to hear in my regular life. After consulting a family member, there is some speculation that it could be a version (specifically a female version, i.e. a woman speaking and using feminine forms, or speaking to another woman) of forget it/forget about it. That's coming from a Ukrainian speaker who understands/can speak Polish.

Забудь про це is the Ukrainian spelling according to Google and DeepL (my relative speaks, doesn't read and write).

If you type "забудь про це in english" into Google, you should get a translation box and in that box is a button that gives you the audio pronunciation. Doing a similar thing with English and Polish gets you zapomnij o nim (or a variation on it). The pronunciation sounds a little further off from what you've typed, but I think it's in the same ballpark.

If you ask me, your relative was just waving the loudmouth and his nonsense off with her comment.
posted by sardonyx at 9:05 PM on November 26, 2022

I misread the question. As I understand (now) you're asking about the word the mother used to describe the unpleasant person. zbój possibly?
posted by Dotty at 6:59 AM on November 28, 2022

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