I need to be insulted! But use your native tongue.
October 31, 2007 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for insults from around the world, in their native tongue, English translation and phonetics. Not truly offensive, but more like the Shakespearian "I bite my at thou." The stranger/smarter/culturally varied, the better.

I have scoured the web and unfortunately have only come across some truly vulgar suggestions. Do you have something? Have parents, grand parents etc who might have some ideas?

"May you live in interesting times" - The Chinese proverb is a great one as well.
"Noch a chochem!" - The Yiddish "Such A Scholar" is good to.

So anything you got...insult me!
posted by Davidissimo to Writing & Language (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Yiddish is a gold mine.
posted by Partial Law at 9:48 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've always enjoyed the French "va voir dehors si j'y suis" (and variations), which means "go outside to see if I'm there."

Crude phonetics: va vwar duh-or see jee swee
posted by ORthey at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2007

"You have an ass open!" -- from the German "du hast einen Arsch offen", meaning, you're a few doughnuts short of a dozen. Oddly enough, it's not considered that vulgar.
posted by creasy boy at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2007

My favorite Yiddish ones, straight from my own family.
(I hope we're not grammatically incorrect. And please feel free to contact me with any questions about my transliteration.)

May your hands and your feet wither and dry up.
Zol badir uisdrikenen di hent mit di fis.

May all your teeth fall out save one for a toothache!
Zoln dir aruisfallen alle tseyner, nor eyner fara tsonveytik.

posted by bassjump at 10:06 AM on October 31, 2007

I've been finding that Japanese is really quite light on explicit insults, most of which use words like baka or ahou, both of which insult the target's intelligence.

When you want to insult someone in Japanese, you do it by changing your keigo level inappropriately, or by using different pronouns to refer to them. Kisama is insulting and temee is actively hostile, for instance. Or you can use inappropriate honorifics -- such as calling a macho man -chan. Or you can refer to them using aitsu or koitsu (respectively "that guy" and "this guy").

Speaking of honorifics, the -me "honorific" would probably be better described as a dishonorific. Saying "Akito-me" is like saying, "That sonofabitch Akito". (Nicely compact, isn't it?)

Another good phrase is kono yarou. In fact, in general any phrase including yarou (which means "rascal") is going to be insulting, which is why bakayarou is a double whammy.

Expressions of contempt or hostility are subtle; they don't tend to use active cussing like you're talking about. (But the message comes through just fine, thanks.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:08 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

All the insults you could want
posted by agent99 at 10:14 AM on October 31, 2007

SCHWEINHUND, is of course, classic. Mushiekopf was pretty hot there for a while too. Those being "pigdog" and "pussyhead" respectively.

"Lieg dich hin, ich will dich etwas fragen" was popular too, but it's way funnier in Bayerish slang. Basically, "go lay down, I want to ask you a question." Not really an insult, but funny.
posted by TomMelee at 10:21 AM on October 31, 2007

Agent99, that is an interesting page. But it's not very complete. The Japanese page doesn't include "ahou", which means "airhead".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2007


Skazal kak v luzhu p'ornul: "He said it as if he'd farted into a puddle" (He put his foot in his mouth)

on id'ot pird'achim param: He's going there propelled by fart steam (He's getting there by foot)
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2007

Heh, TomMelee, "porco cane" (pig dog) is an Italian insult/exclamation as well.
posted by katemonster at 10:48 AM on October 31, 2007

I don't have a link, but I just read an article recently that said that "may you live in interesting times" isn't a real Chinese saying. Just fyi... should be googleable.
posted by allen8219 at 11:13 AM on October 31, 2007

In Irish gaelic:
amadan (ah-mah-dahn)- idiot

gombeen - a shady wheeler-dealer (derived from the gaelic gaimbin, or ursury)
Culchie - a country bumpkin (considered very insulting!)
Townie - someone from a town
Jackeen - a Dubliner

And just because, here's a really long insult/curse from an Irish ballad, "Nell Flaherty's Drake":
May his spade never dig, may his sow never pig,
May each hair in his wig be well thrashed with a flail;
May his turkey not hatch, may the rats eat his meal.
May every old fairy from Cork to Dunleary
Dip him smug and airy in river or lake,
That the eel and the trout, they may dine on the snout
Of the monster that murdered Nell Flaherty's drake.

May his pig never grunt, may his cat never hunt,
May a ghost ever haunt him at dead of the night;
May his hens never lay, may his horse never neigh,
May his goat fly away like an old paper kite.
That the flies and the fleas may the wretch ever tease,
May the piercing March breeze make him shiver an shake;
May a lump of a stick raise the bumps fast and thick
Of the monster that murdered Nell Flaherty's drake.
posted by LN at 11:21 AM on October 31, 2007

Probably grosser than you want, but here's a list of Bosnian curses.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:38 AM on October 31, 2007

Response by poster: Some of these are really good. The French and German ones are particularly good. The Italian one is a little rough and others are a little gross. For my purpose, they have to be clean.

Sarcasm might work well as well.

I just wanted to give some feedback. Thanks again everyone and keep going! I need a lot.
posted by Davidissimo at 11:56 AM on October 31, 2007

I don't have a link, but I just read an article recently that said that "may you live in interesting times" isn't a real Chinese saying. Just fyi... should be googleable.

uncertain, according to wikipedia.
posted by juv3nal at 12:10 PM on October 31, 2007

There's a class of similes in Chinese called xiehouyu, many of which are comic ways to insult someone in a roundabout fashion. You say the first half and the second half, often a pun, is implied. A couple of examples:
You could say someone is a like a 狗掀门帘儿 (gou xian menlianr) - "a dog lifting a door-curtain" - the unspoken bit is 全凭一张嘴 "does it all with its mouth" - i.e. someone's all talk but no substance, or all mouth and no trousers.
有大哥有二弟 (you dage you erdi) - "you've an eldest brother, and second brother" - the unspoken bit is 你算老几"where do you come in the birth order" which sounds like saying "who the fuck are you?"
posted by Abiezer at 12:46 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Du er vel nok dygtig" = You are impressively skilled. (condescending. Danes use sarcasm and irony much much more than americans).

"Jeg er ganske sikker på, at du er helt fantastisk" = I'm very sure, you're absolutely fantastic.

"Du er dum som en dør" = You're stupid as a door.

"Gider du lukke døren udefra" = Would you please close the door from the outside. (quite similar to the French one).

"Du har jord i hovedet" = You have earth(soil) in your head.

"Du er dummere, end politiet tillader" = You're more stupid than the police permits.
posted by flif at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Some more Irish ones

'Titim gan eirí ort' - May you have a fall and not get up
'Fán fada ort' - May you be lost for a long time
'Cloigeann cipín' means something like pinhead
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2007

Apparently, in Cantonese, telling somebody to "fall down" is about as bad as it gets. - pook gai.
posted by Chuckles at 1:45 PM on October 31, 2007

Ya.. I knew I should have read more thoroughly before posting... I guess I fell down on this one :P
posted by Chuckles at 1:47 PM on October 31, 2007

For my purpose, they have to be clean.

Clean in which language?
posted by Chuckles at 2:12 PM on October 31, 2007

Mefi's own languagehat is writing a book about insults in other languages.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:32 PM on October 31, 2007

Dutch: "Als ik zo'n kop had, ging ik er naast lopen." (If I had a face [well, actually it's more vulgar, an animal's head - snout?] like yours, I'd walk beside it.)
posted by rjs at 2:59 PM on October 31, 2007

Yup, and when it gets published in the U.S. I'll add an Amazon link here. Meanwhile, here's a Slovak one: Nasrat' do rúk a nepustit' k vode! 'May [someone] shit in [his/your] hands and not let [him/you] get to the water!'
posted by languagehat at 3:20 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Släng dig i väggen" - Go throw yourself into a wall
"Knäppskalle" or "Du är ju knäpp i huvet" - equivalent to dumbkopf
"Dra åt helvete" - go to hell (Also "Dra åt skogen" go to the forest, a milder version)
"Din djävla idiot" - You are the Devil's idiot
posted by gemmy at 3:29 PM on October 31, 2007

This is a link to an "alternative" Hungarian dictionary, loaded with insults . . . but on the lefthand side, you always get links to similar dictionaries in something like 50+ languages. Have fun:

posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:31 PM on October 31, 2007

There is also of course the classic

Póg mo Thóin (pogue mu hone) - which means 'kiss my ass'
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:31 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Some insults I heard in my time in Lower Franconia:

"Dumm wie fünf Meter Feldweg" - Stupid like five meter farm track (or dirt track, a variant of the more common "Dumm wie Brot" - stupid like bread)

"Verbrenn dich" - Burn yourself. I'm still using that.

(Thinking of franconian insults, I remember that american citicens were commonly referred to as "Zupfer" (Zupfen - to pluck, as in plucking cotton wool) in my village which was near an american base. It probably started as a racist slur but was used non-discriminatory to refer to white and black americans alike.)
posted by kolophon at 4:12 PM on October 31, 2007

Твоя кришка по'їхала! Ukrainian: Your lid has driven away!

Probably also used in Russian. This is a jab at someone's intelligence/sanity, serious enough that I've never heard it used in jest. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.
posted by eritain at 7:19 PM on October 31, 2007

Adding one to Abiezer's list:

一朵鲜花, yi4 duo3 xian1 hua1, A fresh flower

and the optional second part:

插在牛粪上, cha1 zai4 niu2 fen4 shang4, stuck in a pile of shit.

This describes a nice girl with a crappy boyfriend or husband.
posted by strangeguitars at 9:11 AM on November 4, 2007

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