What was this Polish word my grandmother used?
January 20, 2004 10:26 AM   Subscribe

anyone speak polish? my grandmother used to have a word (most likely not a nice one) for what my irish grandfather referred to as "chippies"--young women, tight pants, high heels, bright lipstick. not *bad* girls, per se, but not nice ones either. i'm thinking it might have been "cichodjka" (more or less pronounced: tsyhodyeh'kah) but my aunt says no, that doesn't sound right to her.
posted by crush-onastick to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
The modern American English term for what you describe is "hoochie," or "hoochie mama." Perhaps that will help you on your way to the Polish translation of the term.
posted by majick at 10:44 AM on January 20, 2004

there are a couple of suggestions here including "kurwiszonek = floozy, slut".
posted by stonerose at 11:14 AM on January 20, 2004

(just pointing out the obvious - stonerose's link includes "cichodajka", which has the meaning you want (more or less) and is very close to the spelling you suggested).
posted by andrew cooke at 11:50 AM on January 20, 2004

yes, that link stonerose suggested (and the list contained there which is copied all over the internet) pop up on all google searches for "polish slang". we know it wasn't kurwiszonek both because of the "k" sound and also because "little whore bitch" is the wrong sentiment. the word definitely had a "tsyh" sound at the beginning and most definitely the less harsh and not at all contemporary meaning of "chippie".
posted by crush-onastick at 12:00 PM on January 20, 2004

So why do you think it wasn't cichodajka? It seems to fit both sound and meaning. From my Polish-English Dictionary of Slang and Colloquialism:
cichodajka* [chee-khoh-DAH-ee-kah] nf A woman who enjoys frequent yet discreet sexual encounters, likely with more than one partner; a sexually promiscuous woman {floozy, bimbo, chippy, quiff, easy lay, easy make, alley cat, dirty-leg, roundheels, nympho} eg Zawsze ci mówilam, ze to cichodajka. A ty sie z nia ozeniles! (I always told you she was an alley cat. You're the one who married her!)
(Sorry about the lack of accents; ze should have a dot over the z, both l's should have slashes through them making them sound like w, and sie and nia have hooks under the vowels making them nasal.) The asterisk means it's vulgar but not as bad as, say, jebac 'fuck'; it literally means 'one who gives secretly/quietly [cicho].'
posted by languagehat at 5:47 PM on January 20, 2004

Anecdotal response from my husband and father, both born outside of Krakow: cichodajka works for them. The husband adds: "If someone called your sister a cichodajka, you'd give him a good beating, there'd be trouble, but the easy girls in the neighborhood, the notorious ones, were all called that. They were cichos for short. They became a kurwa -- meaning whore, which is just about identical in pronunciation and meaning in Yiddish -- if they stopped being discreet and went to being brazenly slutty or actual prostitutes. And for the older women who stereotypically cannot refrain from labeling young women, a cichodajka became a kurwa if she got pregnant."
posted by Dreama at 6:05 AM on January 21, 2004

languagehat: i thought cichodajka was a good candidate, but my aunt thought it didn't sound like the word she remembers her mother using, but most likely that's cause neither of us *speaks* polish and i'm sure i'm pronouncing it badly!

thanks to you & dreama both--i should have asked all these questions before my family started dying.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:41 AM on January 21, 2004

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