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Learn Croatian Slang

Learning some slang (Photo: D. Rostuhar/Zagreb Tourist Board)

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 grasp it, 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 where folk from one island can converse without the folk from another island having a clue.

Here is some ‘standard’ slang which may help you out.

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


Slang words used in and around Zagreb:

Buraz = Brother or a very close friend – brat (literary)
Klopa = Food – hrana (literary)
Viksa = Holiday home – vikendica (literary)
Cimnuti = To call someone on the phone without the other answering or a short call – nazvati (literary)
Pičiti = To go – iči – (literary)

Klopa (Photo: Ćevapi kod “Gianni-a” – Zagreb)

Brijati – To think that… brijati na – to set your interest on… / brijati s – to date someone / brijati po – to spend time around or in… – the word means shave literary.
Furati – multiple meanings again: furati – to carry, to wear, to drive / furati s – to date someone / furati se na – to behave like someone
Tekma = Sport match (usually football) – utakmica (literary)
Birc = Cafe or bar
Bariti = To seduce or kiss
Šora = Fight
Frka = Panic
Murja = Police

Birc (Screenshot)

Roknuti = To fall or to hit someone or something
Bulja = Head
Rasturiti = To break something; to feel pain (I have a headache – Glava me rastura); to be successful
Kužiti = To understand
Fora = A cool thing
Šljiva mi je = I feel cold
Jazavac = Outcast (jazavac is a Croatian word for badger)
Mačka = Pretty woman (in English mačka is a cat)


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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