A responsible traveler won't set foot in another country without knowing how to viciously insult the people in their native language. Odds are, you won't even make it out of the airport before a situation arises that requires obscenities.
But "obscenity" is an ever-moving target. It's an amalgamation of cultural taboos, the impact of current events and your mom. Accordingly, every country has developed a uniquely beautiful set of curses and insults that set it apart. While some insults are broadly accessible, like your mom, others will require a little background for the new student. Thus, we offer this helpful guide to the best and most vulgar (and very real) insults from around the world:
Who Said That? The Spanish.
Dear God Why?
How does a culture wind up with "suck the butter from my ass" as an insult? It's starts with "Me cago en la leche," meaning "I shit in the milk." It's a common statement that's essentially a variant of "Damnit!" We're unsure how milk + poop = a jaunty, multipurpose expletive, but here we are.
Other helpful Spanish phrases:
When dookie is used for even the most pedestrian exclamations, more heated applications escalate the filth factor pretty rapidly:
"I shit on your dead" (Me cago en tus muertos)
"I shit on God" (Me cago en Dios)
"I shit in/on your whore mother" (Me cago en tu puta madre)
Note that's "in" or "on," we guess depending on how she likes it.
And the list goes on. These folks just love shit. Basically you can hold your own in any argument in Spain if you're creative enough with where you deposit your waste matter. If you're a man who is sharp enough to destroy someone with this virtualized shit-flinging, pride may reward you with a "Brazo de santo," which literally translates to "arm of a saint" which means a full erection.
Who Said That? The Arabs.
Dear God Why?
If you thought Spanish had an unusual fixation with fecal matter allow the Arabs to put it in perspective with their penis-based potshots. Describing someone as a "fatah" (foreskin) alone is considered a grave insult and that's only the tip of the proverbial/metaphorical ... iceberg.
Other helpful Arabic phrases:
"May you be struck by a dick" (Air il'e yoshmotak)
"My dick in your conscience" (Airy fe dameerak)
"My dick in your mother's rib cage" (Eyreh be afass seder emmak)
That's not to say they're just smut peddlers insult-wise. Some of the most disrespectful things you can say are 100 percent penis-free like "Surmayye a'raasac" (A shoe is on your head). The foot is considered the most filthy part of the body, courtesy of their deserts not having any shortages on dirt. To direct your foot at someone verbally or physically means you aren't hiding your contempt, as vividly demonstrated by the thousands of Nike treads upside Saddam's bronze dome (right).
That explanation was a lot easier to track back than "Yela'an sabe'a jad lak" (Damn your seventh grandfather), which is the deepest scope of damnation demonstrated by any culture thus far. We're not sure about the relevance of the "seventh," but we do respect that kind of surgical precision when trying to denigrate someone's family.
Who Said That? The Irish.
Dear God Why?
Many classic curses from Ireland come out of Gaelic, which gives them a more folksy, old-timey appeal. Such as, "Go n-ithe an cat thu, is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat" (May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat).
Other helpful Irish phrases:
Gaelic really does its best work when it is conjuring up ways to describe foul acts. Sure, it's faster to say two people were fucking, but wouldn't you rather describe it as skin-hitting ("bualadh craicinn") or leather stretching ("streachailt leathair")?
The majority of Ireland does not speak Gaelic, but that hasn't hindered a bustling industry of filthy slang and occasionally rustic vernacular:
"Piss artist" (alcoholic)
"As Thick As Manure And Only Half As Useful."
Who Said That? Bulgarians.
Dear God Why?
Bulgarian cursing is based on a hybrid of nature references and non sequiturs. Most of the good ones read like Tourette's syndrome Mad Libs. They still embrace common baselines, but the modifiers around it are what really shine. For instance:
Other helpful Bulgarian phrases:
"Your mother sucks bears in the forest" (Mayka ti duha na mechki v gorata)
"Fuck this tilted field" (Da eba taz kreeva neeva)
"You're as ugly as a salad" (Grozna si kato salata)
Some of them are so elaborate, it's not entirely clear which part to be offended by.
For instance, when someone tells you "Nosa ti e kato ruska putka" (Your nose is like a Russian pussy), should you be enraged at the comparison to a Russian or a vagina? And it's no different when being called "Pederas grozen gyrbaw prokazhen" (an unsightly hunchbacked leper queer). It sounds like swearing constructed from a profanity combo menu (please select one aspersion from Columns A, B and C).
The real strength of this approach is having the ability to offend those unfazed by unattractive gay leper jokes, but with a deep personal hatred of hunchbacks.
Who Said That? The Chinese (Mandarin).
Dear God Why?
Stop the presses! Though this is not technically damning. The Chinese have managed to smash the previous seven-generation threshold for familial insults through this little gem. Take that, Arabic.
Other helpful Mandarin phrases:
While Mandarin has a wealth of generalized insults for the intellectually stunted ("Sha gua" means retard--literally "stupid melon"), it really brings the heat with insults that don't sound at all insulting.
"Wear a green hat." This doesn't sound particularly offensive until you understand that green hats were a component of the male brothel workers uniform during the Tang dynasty. These brothels were so prominent that some historians speculate the Tang dynasty was actually named after the amount of poozle they serviced rather than the emperor's family. References to green hats can challenge the fidelity of someone's wife or suggest someone's father is an anonymous man whore.
"Your mother is a big turtle" (Nide muchin shr ega da wukwei). Again, means nothing without context. But because a turtle doesn't know its father, it's a creative way of calling someone a bastard.
We'd probably still opt for "cho yade" (smelly slave wench), but we're steeped in a different tradition.
Who Said That? Icelanders.
Dear God Why?
Icelandic swearing is cutely offbeat. It leverages relatively bland sounding terminology and lets subtext do all the heavy lifting. Would you expect the country that hatched Bjork to be any less bizarre?
Other helpful Icelandic phrases:
"Plunger" (Drullusukkor). That is, the plumbing tool, roughly equivalent to "fucktard."
"Girl who drives a truck" (Trukkalessa). A butch lesbian--that one sort of works in America too, no?
When they eventually run out of random items to call one another, they will revert to grittier tactics. A grand majority of them revolve around who or what their antagonist is prone to fucking.
It's assuring to see other cultures helping us to push the envelope of what "fuck" is truly capable of.
Who Said That? Armenians.
Dear God Why?
If you're not familiar with sarma, just picture an egg roll. Yeah, it doesn't get much more disturbing than that.
Other helpful Armenian phrases:
Fun Fact: You can gauge how industrialized a nation is by the percentage of their insults that involve barnyard animals.
"Eshoon noor oodel chi vayeler" It's not pretty watching a jackass try to eat a pomegranate (read: clumsy).
"Krisnera zhazh tan vred" Let the rats ejaculate on you.
"Kak oudelic shoon" Shit eating dog.
"Eshu Koorak" Son of Donkey.
The one involving rats is particularly jarring. It leverages sexual violation and vermin to make its point. Either that or we've misinterpreted it and Armenia is actually some sort of Mecca for furries.
There are a fair amount of genital references interwoven into their cursing as well. "Dzvis ty" translates to "My nut's twin", effectively calling the other person a testicle. It is not presently known if they intend you to usurp the existence of one of the balls present or if this is a declaration that Armenian men naturally sport a lone testicle.
Who Said That? Serbians.
Dear God Why?
The Serbian curse dictionary is unafraid to embrace controversy. Sure, they enjoy simple classics like "Jebo ti jeza u ledja" (May you fuck a hedgehog) and "Popasi me chmarne dlachitse" (Graze on my ass hair), but politics and even religious jabs are fair game. Such as ...
Other helpful Serbian phrases:
"The Pope fucks you" (Jebo te Papa)
"May your house be live on CNN" (Da bog da ti kuca bila na CNN-U)--this essentially means I hope NATO will bomb your house.
Not all their digs are quite so topical. The CNN-based insults only work against people whose homes haven't been bombed, which couldn't be more than a couple dozen.
That's why "Da bi te majka prepoznala u bureku" (Let your mother recognize you in a meat pie) and "Da Bog da ti zena rodila stonogu pa ceo zivot radio za cipele" (May your wife give birth to a centipede so you have to work for shoes all your life) are instant classics as well.
Who Said That? Romanians.
Dear God Why?
Romanian cursing is a bawdy, imaginative mix of the perverse and the profane. Modern linguists have determined that its roots originated from a time-traveling John Waters upon realizing there was still an entire history of people not grossed out by Pink Flamingos yet.
Other helpful Romanian phrases:
"Shampoo my dick-hair with your saliva" (Shampona-mi-ai flocii cu saliva)
"Brush your teeth, my dick will be inspecting soon!" (Spala-te pe dinti ca vin cu pula in inspectie)
Mothers are another favorite target in this region. However, rather than indulge the classic "Yo Mamma" insult architecture, they prefer to taint her sanctity in a round-about way. For example, "Usca-mi-as sosetele pe crucea ma`tii" (I dry my socks on your mother's cross) is blasphemous, but really only as a vehicle to get at the mom. You really have to applaud the balls it takes to assault God just to slam someone's mother.
Another example of this is "Futu-tzi coliva ma~tii" (Fuck your mother's funeral meal). We're not sure if this meant to simply show disdain for the deceased or demonstrate intent to fornicate with the sarmalute cu mamaliga plate, but neither is particularly polite.
Here's some more helpful phrases as you travel the globe, insulting the locals in their native language:
Suck devilcock in hell you faggotdwarf (Sut djavlepik i helvede din bossedvarg).
"You eat pubic hair with salt-dip" (May an long dai cham mui)
"Piss into a transformer" (Kuse muuntajaan)
"Suck on my hemorrhoids and wait for better days" (Siug aan my aambeie en wag vir beter dae")
"May you get fucked by a blind bear" (Te qifte arusha qorre)
"I dream about farting on you" (Sanjam da prdnem na tebe)
We're thinking that should cover about every situation. Enjoy your trip!When Ian isn't writing here or heading off to work in his green hat, he writes at internetsensation.com.
If you liked that you'll probably enjoy our look at 9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think. And don't forget to find out why The Mad Lib Answering Machine only sounds like a good idea. Or head to the brand new Official Cracked.com Store and become a startlingly attractive walking advertisement for our site.