If there is ever any doubt concerning the rural origin of the basic terms of abuse used in Slovak, one only needs to look at the following list of barnyard animals and some exotic ones used as general insults:
For both sexes: prasa “hog”, sviňa “swine”, teľa “calf”
For men: hovädo “a general term for a piece of cattle only used as an insult”, somár “donkey”, vôl “ox”
For women: sliepka “hen”, hus “goose”, krava “cow”, koza “she-goat”, opica “monkey”
The use of these metaphors is varied. To describe a person as a nevychované prasa (”hog with no manners”) is to bring attention to their insufficient table manners or lacking personal hygiene. Hlúpe teľa („a stupid calf”) is someone with low intelligence, yet basically harmless and possibly young. Terms like eštebácka sviňa „an ŠtB (communist-era secret police) pig”, fašistická sviňa „fascist pig”, komunistická sviňa „communist pig” and ľudácka sviňa „a HSĽS (WWII fascist party) pig” are to this day a staple of Slovak political discourse. And anyone planning to drive in Bratislava should immediately familiarize themselves with the phrase Ty slepé hovädo! („You blind piece of cattle”) for male drivers and Ty slepá krava! („You blind cow!”) for drivers of the gentle sex. Surprisingly enough, the term vôl is not as common as it is in Czech, where its vocative form vole! acts much like the English dude!.
Terms like sliepka or hus are most commonly used to refer to women of low intelligence. In addition to that, sliepka may also describe a young attractive woman with only one goal in mind: to find herself a rich guy to marry.
Adjectives formed from the nouns above are used as well and not only of people. A man of low intelligence can thus be said to have an opičí mozog ("monkey's brain") while a woman of low intelligence apparently possesses a slepačí mozog ("hen's brain") or a kravský mozog ("cow's brain"). A particularly nasty problem can be described as a svinská záležitosť („pig matter”).
A crazy or stupid idea is met with an incredulous look and the phrase Čo si sa s koňom zrazil? („Have you had a run-in with a horse or what?”). And animals – of sorts – also feature in phrases expressing one’s low opinion of person’s intelligence such as Má IQ hojdacieho koníka / stonožky („He/she has an IQ of a rocking horse / centipede“).
Keby blbosť kvitla…[KEH-bee BLB-osty KVEET-luh] (If stupidity sprouted flowers …) (…you’d be abloom)
Slovakia being a mountainous region, it is no surprise that many common insults have something to do with wood. Drúk („snag“), poleno („log“), tĺk and simply drevo ("wood“) can be used to describe people who are inflexible and slow on the uptake. They can also be used to comment on a person’s sexual prowess, or rather a lack thereof, as in V posteli je to úplné poleno („He/she is a real log in bed“).
Both these expressions as well as some of the animal terms above sometimes feature in phrases introduced by the noun kus („a piece”), e.g. kus polena („a piece of log”), kus dreva („a piece of wood”), kus vola („a piece of ox”), kus teľaťa („a piece of calf) and so on. These may appear to lessen the impact of the insult, but the opposite is true. The word kus actually intensifies the meaning, the idea being “it’s a very large piece”.
And though industrialization came late to Slovakia (per orders from Prague, naturally), insults based on mechanical and scientific concepts are far from rare. Maybe it has something to do with Slovak drotári („tinkers”) known – so the Slovak schoolchildren are told – all over Europe for their craft and skill.
A person of questionable mental health status can therefore be said to Má o koliesko menej („He/she is missing a cogwheel”) or, alternatively, Má o koliesko navyše („He/she has an extra cogwheel”). One might also hear that Kvapká mu/jej na karbid (lit. „(Water) is dripping on his/her carbide”) or Preskakuje mu/jej („He/she is skipping/missing a beat, ticking irregularly”).
Múdry si jak Šalamúnove gate [MOOD-ree see YUCK SHAH-luh-moon-oveh GUH-tyeh] („You’re as smart as Solomon’s underpants”)
Religion being an important part of public and private life in Slovakia, it comes as no surprise that religious and biblical themes feature prominently in everyday speech. Thus a traitor is a judáš (Judas), a bribe is still referred to as judášsky groš („Judas’ coin”) and a hypocrite is a farizej („Pharisee”). Šalamúnske rozhodnutie („Solomon-like decision“) is either a wise decision or, more commonly, a decision designed to satisfy everyone and simultaneously screw everyone over.
The most often heard samples of religiously themed curses and insults, however, are those directly violating the Second Commandment. Boha jeho! („.... his God“), Krista jeho! („... his Christ!“) and – quite uncharacteristically for a Catholic country – Máriu jeho! („... his Mary!“) are the most common exclamations of anger, dissatisfaction and disgust. It’s anyone’s guess what the ellipsed verb is – could be preklínam („I curse“), could be seriem („I shit“) or even jebem („I fuck“), see below.
One could mention here putdowns and insults originating with another religion, communism. An outrageous statement, especially regarding speakers alleged abilities, is countered with the phrase To si myslíš ty a pár ľudí v Moskve! („Only you and couple of people in Moscow think that!”). Communism may be over, but the phrase is still used, sometimes even with Washington or Brussels replacing Moscow.
Nasrať do rúk a nepustiť k vode! [NUH-sraty doh ROOK UH NYEH-poos-tyeety GVOH-deh](„May someone shit in his hands and then don’t let him get to the water!”)
Much like their in case of Czech neighbors, the core of the Slovak abuse vocabulary is formed by terms normally associated with excretion. Words like riť („ass”), hovno („shit”) and the many derivations of the verbs srať („to shit”) and šťať („to piss“) enjoy as much currency as their Czech cognates.
Thus while a Czech will tell you Jdi do prdele! („Go to ass!”), a Slovak in a same situation will mutter Choď do riti! or even suggest the anatomical impossibility Vyser si oko! („Shit your eye out!”). When giving up on a fruitless undertaking, the Czech Seru na to! („I shit on it!”) is replaced by Slovak Seriem na to! or a simple cohortative infinitive Srať na to! The adjective zasraný („covered in shit” equivalent to „goddamn”) is a multi-purpose expletive attributive enjoying wide popularity. The adjective vyčuraný/vyšťaný („pissed out”), however, carries a particular connotation. When used of a person, it describes a sleazy character, someone who will always survive and always achieve his goals no matter what it takes. It comes as no surprise that it and its derived noun vyčuranec has been widely used to refer to people who quickly adapt to regime changes and seem to prosper under democracy as well as they did back when we were all comrades.
If you’re in Slovakia and you ask for something difficult to obtain or impossible to procure, your request will be met with raised eyebrows and the phrase Vyseriem ti to? (“Should I shit it out for you?”). The word Hovno! can be used as an interjection meaning „No way!” or „Bullshit!” The noun sračka (“diarrhea” or “a pile of shit”) describes either a malfunctioning piece of technology or a very difficult situation.
A disagreeable person of male sex can be referred to in both languages as sráč („shitter”), especially if he is found to lack certain moral fortitude. And both Czech and Slovak use the term prúser („a shit-through“) for „big trouble”.
Pojebali kone voz...[POH-yeh-BUH-lee KOH-nyeh VOHZ] (lit: „May the horses fuck the carriage“)
The cold and measured Czech may find all of the terms above sufficient to express their dissatisfaction and/or discontent. But a hot-blooded Slovak often finds him- or herself in a situation which calls for stronger words. Imagine you are a Slovak hockey fan watching your beloved national team score in an Ice Hockey World Cup semifinal, but the referee declares the goal invalid. In a situation like this, exclamations like Sviňa! or Kus vola! are simply insufficient to express one’s feelings for the idiot with the whistle. The only word that will do is Kokot! („dick, prick”). That is because unlike in Czech, the most and most frequent terms of abuse and insults employed in Slovak are derived from terminology associated with sexual organs and sexual behavior. The aforementioned term kokot is therefore THE all-purpose insult for men, while its female counterpart piča („cunt”) is the worst insult that can be addressed to a woman.
Aside from being direct forms of abuse, words kokot and piča can have other meaning as well. Holý kokot as in Nemám ani holý kokot! („I don’t even have a bare dick!”) means „absolutely nothing”. Together with expressions like Mastnú piču! („Greasy cunt!”)it can also be used as an exclamation meaning „No way!” or „Bullshit!” Both these nouns can also be modified by animal-derived adjectives. Konský kokot („horses’ prick”), medvedia piča („bear’s cunt”) – there are no limits.
All the Slovak creativity notwithstanding, one is still most likely to encounter the term piča in the time tried recommendation Choď do piče/piči! („Go to a cunt!”) or its modern version Bež do piče/piči! („Run to a cunt!”) and the all-purpose interjection Do piči!/Do piče! And if something is being described as Totálne v piči („Totally in the cunt”), you might as well forget about it – it’s a lost cause.
A well-known Slavic term kurva („whore”) is used in Slovak as well, but it has a limited scope. It can either refer to a woman of questionable sexual morals much in the same way its English counterpart does, or it describes a man of questionable character, someone who will cheat and betray you. Kurva prezlečená za kamaráta („A whore dressed as a friend”) – or kuprezák for short – is a common term for an unreliable friend. The adjective skurvený („whored out”) is another multi-purpose expletive attributive and is often used with kokot – kokot skurvený - and piča – piča skurvená – to intensify their meaning. A popular saying illustrates the specific meaning of the adjective skurvený when used with the noun kurva based on the difference between kurva and kurva skurvená: kurva is a woman who will sleep with anybody. Kurva skurvená is a woman who will sleep with anybody but you.
Other derivations of the noun kurva, the adverbs skurvene or kurevsky, are popular modifiers to adjectives. For example, something very heave and very large can be described as skurvene ťažké a kurevsky veľké.
An entire treatise could be written about the verb jebať („to fuck”) and its many derivations. It its simplest form, the verb is used much like its English counterpart. Jebem ťa („I fuck you”) or jebem ti („I fuck to you”) are used in much the same way as English „Fuck you!”. Phrases like Pojeb si mater! („Go fuck your mother!”) or Pojeb sa! („Go fuck yourself!”) are but a few variations on the common theme, as are Jebal to pes! („May a dog fuck it!”) or Jebala to veverička! („May a squirrel fuck it!“).
Thanks to a large number of verbal derivational prefixes, the potential of jebať is enormous. Pojebať can mean „to screw up, to fuck up“ – as in To si riadne pojebal! („You really fucked that up!“) – as well as simply „fuck“. Dojebať means „to bring“ – as in Kto to sem dojebal? („Who the fuck brought this here?“), while zajebať means „to say something stupid or outrageous“, as in Počul si, čo zajebal? („Did you hear that utterly stupid/ridiculous thing he said?“), rozjebať is „to spend one’s money all at once”, as in Do piče, včera som v krčme rozjebal celú výplatu! („Fuck that, last night I spent my entire paycheck at the pub!”) and prijebať means „to hit someone“, as in Takú som mu prijebal, že mu stena dala druhú! („I punched him so hard he hit the wall!“)
The meaning of adjectives derived from these verbs is largely predictable. Dojebaný is „fucked up” as in Toto je úplne dojebané! („This is totally fucked up!”) and prijebaný means „crazy, stupid” (hit in the head?), while najebaný („drunk, wasted”) derives from the reflexive najebať sa „to get drunk”. Pojebaný („fucked”) is another multi-purpose expletive attributive like zasraný and skurvený and is often used in conjunction with kokot and piča.