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Croatian slang – an introduction

Croatian Slang - an introduction

By Iva Ralica

Learning a new language is never easy, and Croatian is said to be one of the more difficult to learn.

OK, so after a lot of hard work you have finally managed to get your head around the basics, and with your new-found confidence, you take a seat at the cafe, open your ears and think you may be able to eve’s drop on a conversation or two.

That confidence suddenly takes another massive hit.

You do not understand a word.

From kids to old age pensioners, you are hearing words you have never heard before.

The Croatian language has a very rich vocabulary, and that is also the case with slang. Some slang words are known all over Croatia, whilst some are very specific to the area.

The Croatian islands are a classic example. There are even cases where folk from one part of an island can have a conversation and folk from another part would struggle to understand.

Some ‘standard’ slang which may help you out

Tip / Lik = Guy –  Standard Croatian – čovjek 
Faca = Someone important – Standard Croatian – važna osoba 
Lova / Pare = Money – Standard Croatian – novac 
Stari / Stara = Dad / Mum – Standard Croatian – otac/majka 

Slang words used in and around Zagreb

Buraz = Brother or a very close friend – Standard Croatian – brat
Klopa = Food – Standard Croatian – hrana
Viksa = Holiday home – Standard Croatian – vikendica
Cimnuti = To call someone on the phone without the other answering or a short call – Standard Croatian – nazvati 
Pičiti = To go – Standard Croatian – iči
Brijati (multiple meanings) = To think that… brijati na – to set your interest on… / brijati s – to date someone / brijati po – to spend time around or in… Standard Croatian – the word means shave.
Furati (multiple meanings) = furati – to carry, to wear, to drive / furati s – to date someone / furati se na – to behave like someone
Tekma = Sport match (usually football) – Standard Croatian – utakmica 
Birc = Cafe or bar – Standard Croatian – kafić
Bariti = To seduce or kiss – Standard Croatian – zavesti
Šora = Fight – Standard Croatian – tući
Frka = Panic – Standard Croatian – panika
Murja = Police – Standard Croatian – policija
Roknuti = To fall or to hit someone or something – Standard Croatian – udariti
Bulja = Head – Standard Croatian – glava
Rasturiti = To break something; to feel pain (I have a headache – Glava me rastura); to be successful
Kužiti = To understand – Standard Croatian – razumjeti
Fora = Something which is cool
Šljiva mi je = I feel cold
Jazavac = Outcast (jazavac is a Croatian word for badger)
Mačka = Pretty woman (in English mačka is a cat) – Standard Croatian – zgodna žena

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Remember this is just a very, very basic guide. Still expect to be very confused, especially if you are in Dalmatia, where they seem to be the world champions of slang.

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