Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 06-18-2010, 07:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,404
Any English words obscene in other languages?

Are there any common English words which in other languages are obscene or "off color"? I know it works the other way; years ago in eastern europe (I forget which country) I saw a pastry called "Shitt".
#2
Old 06-18-2010, 08:02 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Beijing, CA
Posts: 3,200
Anecdote:

I work at the Renaissance Faire, and of course one of the things we exclaim all the time is "Huzzah!" Well, one of my friends was leading around a group of students, and he noticed that one of the Asian girls - a fairly recent immigrant, from what he could tell, would blush and giggle every time he or anyone else would shout it. He managed to get her to acknowlege that "Huzzah" meant something different in her language (Korean, it turned out), but she wouldn't say...

He then checked with one of his outside-of-Faire buddies who is also Korean, and his buddy said that "Huzzah" sounds very similar to a vulgar term that translates roughly to "Let's get it on!" or "Let's do it!" I believe that the Korean term sounded more like hut-tzah, but very close.

HazelNut Coffee or anyone else who speaks Korean, can you confirm this?
#3
Old 06-18-2010, 08:04 AM
Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,550
Quote:
Are there any common English words which in other languages are obscene or "off color"? I know it works the other way; years ago in eastern europe (I forget which country) I saw a pastry called "Shitt"
An even more common example is the European drink Pschitt that I saw back in 1970. I;'ve read about it (and people's reaction to it) on the internet many times.


I don't know the answer to your question, although i know I've heard of many common words 9usually slang) in english that mean body parts in other languages. I can't recall any right now, though.
#4
Old 06-18-2010, 08:07 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 607
Bite (pronounced as "bit") = dick in French.
#5
Old 06-18-2010, 08:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,790
I believe the common English word "cool" sounds quite like the French word for "ass". Is that right?
#6
Old 06-18-2010, 08:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 9,962
Henry V, Act III, Scene IV consists of a lengthy exchange in French between Princess Katherine of France and her maid, Alice. Katherine is to marry King Henry, and she asks her maid to teach her English words. Much of the scene is taken up with English words that sound similar to French profanities. "Foot" sounds much like the French "foutre", and "gown" sounds much like the French... well, never mind.

Very funny bit if well played. Emma Thompson and Geraldine McEwan did a nice job in Brannaugh's 1989 movie.
#7
Old 06-18-2010, 08:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 28,704
The well known movie star (that I've just made up) by the name of Julie Lomo sounds awfully like "fuck your mother" in Cantonese.
#8
Old 06-18-2010, 08:42 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 501
Maybe not all that obscene, but the english word "kiss" means "pee" in swedish.
#9
Old 06-18-2010, 08:43 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
I believe the common English word "cool" sounds quite like the French word for "ass". Is that right?
Not at all. "Cul" is pronounced as [ky], using a vowel sound totally unheard of in English.
#10
Old 06-18-2010, 08:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
Other way around, but American tourists giggle like mad on the Autobahn because all sorts of highway words have "fahrt" in them in German.
#11
Old 06-18-2010, 08:49 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 14,870
Hug; means shit in Punjabi

Lull; both a name and a slang term for penis in Punjabi.
#12
Old 06-18-2010, 08:53 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
"Foot" sounds much like the French "foutre"
No big deal, we use the very word foot to mean 'football' (i.e., soccer).
#13
Old 06-18-2010, 08:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,404
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Other way around, but American tourists giggle like mad on the Autobahn because all sorts of highway words have "fahrt" in them in German.
I used to work with a woman whose maiden name was "Lautfahrt". "Laut", of course, is German for "loud". I sometimes wondered if she would have gotten married just to change her name.
#14
Old 06-18-2010, 09:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,956
I think I read that "puff" is a slang for a brothel in German, and that there was some snickering when Puff's tissue was marketed there. (Maybe that's an urban legend, though.)

Here's a link to a "wacky marketing mistakes" article that mentions it:
http://marketinghackz.com/10-product...to-learn-from/
#15
Old 06-18-2010, 09:09 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,645
I'm told that "Take it easy" sounds like Arabic for "fuck me in the ass".
#16
Old 06-18-2010, 09:43 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
Amazingly, the innocuous name "Zachary" means "penis" in the west African language Fulfulde. I've known a few Zachary's who ended up in Fulfulde speaking areas and they have had to come up with pseudonyms.

Indeed, because Fulfulde conjugates verbs with "i" or "a," many common names have extra meaning. Timmy means "finished." Maya means "in the process of dying". Andi means "to know" and also "breasts." Bailey sounds to them like "has become angry" It can be pretty funny.
#17
Old 06-18-2010, 09:44 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 213
The Korean word for penis sounds like "Chachi"...which gives the show "Joanie Loves Chachi" a whole new meaning.
#18
Old 06-18-2010, 09:45 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Beijing, CA
Posts: 3,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpBE View Post
The Korean word for penis sounds like "Chachi"...which gives the show "Joanie Loves Chachi" a whole new meaning.
Huzzah!
#19
Old 06-18-2010, 09:46 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Netherlands / Holland
Posts: 3,871
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Lull; both a name and a slang term for penis in Punjabi.
In Dutch, "lul" (pronounced as "lull") means dick. Also "kut" (pronounced as "cut") means cunt.
#20
Old 06-18-2010, 10:00 AM
SDSAB
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 76,446
Time for that Austrian road trip you've been putting off: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fucking,_Austria
#21
Old 06-18-2010, 10:16 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 3,692
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanillaGorilla View Post
Maybe not all that obscene, but the english word "kiss" means "pee" in swedish.
And then we have the phrase "He buys a pink sheet for a kiss". Pink is another word for pee and buys and sheet (slightly mispronounced) sound like two words meaning poo (well, so does sheet in English as well).

A cousin of min once rented a house in England and her BIL made certain that her landlady, who went by the name of Pippa, knew that it means fuck in Swedish.
#22
Old 06-18-2010, 10:29 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 3,145
I heard a radio stunt some years back -- it might have been Howard Stern, but I'm not certain. This was when Bob Dole was running for president against Bill Clinton. Someone had told the morning zoo squad that "Dole" sounded exactly like the Farsi word for male genitalia. To test this bit of trivia, they called up a Farsi-language newspaper and asked the lady who answered whether it was true. The lady quickly hung up. After several more attempts, the line was picked up by a man who would neither confirm nor deny what "Dole" might translate to in Farsi, but who had many harsh words to say about the deplorable manners employed by the callers.
#23
Old 06-18-2010, 10:46 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 724
The English word "peach" means "bastard" in Turkish. Turkey has an insult law. Turkish "sheftali" vendors did NOT like you calling their fruit a bastard, and we were told they could have you arrested for saying it. Sheftali was the first Turkish word we were taught (in the airport during the welcome speech no less)
#24
Old 06-18-2010, 11:02 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The land of the mouse
Posts: 46,726
The German-based Fücker Travel Company puts its name on its tour buses all over Europe.
#25
Old 06-18-2010, 11:07 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Salt Lake County
Posts: 1,809
In bahasa, the language of Malaysia and Indonesia, the word for stinky is "bau", pronounced almost exactly like the English word "bow" as in "take a bow". "Tai" (tie) means "shit", so be careful wearing a bowtie around your neck.
#26
Old 06-18-2010, 11:31 AM
SDSAB
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 76,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
The German-based Fücker Travel Company puts its name on its tour buses all over Europe.
David Letterman once got a lot of mileage out of discussing a political scandal involving the Fokker aircraft company.
#27
Old 06-18-2010, 12:01 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 3,546
When I was living in Poland I got a sweet little cat and named her Suki. Little did I know that 'suki' means 'bitch' in Polish (both in the way of a female dog and also a mean woman). The people thought I was pretty weird for naming my cat that.
#28
Old 06-18-2010, 12:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Middle ear
Posts: 5,974
And in Russian it's something like "succah"... which is also the booth the observant Jews build during the holiday of Succot.
My friend tells me she was once with some Russian-speaking people during the holiday, and their succah collapsed. Or maybe it was someone else's, who didn't speak Russian... I don't remember all the details. It's been a long time. The punchline involved a girl running over to them and saying, "There's a topless succah in our yard!"
#29
Old 06-18-2010, 12:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,726
I heard that "fanny," which is your rear end in the States, refers to a strictly female part across the pond. Anyone from the UK confirm/deny? If it's true I would certainly call them "belly bags" instead of "fanny packs," and the title of the book Fanny Hill would certainly be more humorous.
#30
Old 06-18-2010, 12:21 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Nantes, France
Posts: 118
I wouldn't worry much about sound alikes (unless you want to name a product or so, some famous mistakes exist), but cultural language differences can be difficult or dangerous.
Just an example: in Turkey, calling someone (distant) "my brother" is about the same as calling him a bastard, since you would have the same mother, and yet not know him (your"brother")
If you call a policeman "my brother" while negociating a traffic ticket, as you could do in Marocco for instance, you would be immediatly arrested. (personal experience about 15 years ago)
#31
Old 06-18-2010, 12:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedd View Post
I heard that "fanny," which is your rear end in the States, refers to a strictly female part across the pond. Anyone from the UK confirm/deny?
Generally speaking, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedd View Post
If it's true I would certainly call them "belly bags" instead of "fanny packs,"
The British equivalent would be "bum bag," "bum" being the British term for what Americans call the butt or fanny.
#32
Old 06-18-2010, 12:43 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Face down in the dirt.
Posts: 2,559
Car means dick in Albanian.
#33
Old 06-18-2010, 01:12 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2
The German word "Mist" is roughly equivalent to "crap". It's a pretty versatile word.

And according to the slang dictionary I picked to check I was right on the above, apparently "Latte" means "boner". Never heard it used, though.
#34
Old 06-18-2010, 01:26 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 607
"After" means anus in German, if highschool memories serve well.
#35
Old 06-18-2010, 01:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: temperate forest
Posts: 6,876
Is Australia foreign enough? Because here in the states, even a nice young lady might root for her favorite team, by cheering them on. In Australia, that would mean something rather different...
#36
Old 06-18-2010, 02:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: I am Queens Boulevard
Posts: 14,142
"Yep" (and some pronunciations of "yup") sounds exactly like the Russian imperative form of "fuck" as in "go fuck [yourself/your mother/your dog/Stalin/etc]"

Last edited by Hello Again; 06-18-2010 at 02:25 PM.
#37
Old 06-18-2010, 04:05 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 4,645
Brazilians get a kick out of the English expression "sea food" because it sounds quite close to "go f--- yourself" in Portuguese.
"Pennies" sounds like "penis" in Portuguese (and Spanish I assume), so a trip to Penny's (JCPenny) always evokes a little giggle.
"Cassette" sounds similar to a rude word for the same organ.
#38
Old 06-18-2010, 04:41 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 467
The term "chin-chin" is a child's word for penis in Japanese.

Which makes the English version of the Three Little Pigs quite amusing to little Japanese boys.
#39
Old 06-18-2010, 05:06 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 3,145
Barney, a friend of mine back in grad school, was a fluent German speaker, and being a soft-spoken guy who'd rather gnaw off a limb than be a source of offense, found himself in a distinctly uncomfortable situation one day.

We were sitting in my office cubicle during lunch, surfing the web, and came across a site we found pretty damned amusing. As was his habit, Barney expressed his enthusiasm for it in German, using a word pronounced pretty like the English word "guile." I'd heard him say it often enough, and he'd told me that it was a slang term that essentially translated to cool, wicked, awesome, et al.

Much to his dismay, the lady in the next cubicle (who had just started working there that morning) happened to be German herself, and possessed a strict sense of workplace propriety. As it turns out, while the word geil is used by German youngsters in just the way Barney had defined it to me, it also means lusty or horny. Barney spent the next twenty minutes apologizing profusely.
#40
Old 06-18-2010, 05:07 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Ultima Thule
Posts: 343
There is a large construction company in Sydney whose headquarters with a huge sign always
attracts French ( and other Francophile) tourists and their cameras.

Its name: " Grocon."

Last edited by flano1; 06-18-2010 at 05:07 PM.
#41
Old 06-18-2010, 05:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,601
Quote:
Originally Posted by flano1 View Post
There is a large construction company in Sydney whose headquarters with a huge sign always
attracts French ( and other Francophile) tourists and their cameras.

Its name: " Grocon."
Pourquoi?
#42
Old 06-18-2010, 05:32 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 748
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
The British equivalent would be "bum bag," "bum" being the British term for what Americans call the butt or fanny.
Dunno what Americans you know, but all the Americans I know refer to that particular part as the ass. I don't think I've ever heard anyone aside from my 93-year-old aunt call the ass a "fanny"; the term is rather antiquated and quaint.
#43
Old 06-18-2010, 06:29 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: California, temporarily.
Posts: 11,610
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but apparently my name is a derogatory word for Jew in Amharic. I lived in Israel for awhile and every time I met an Ethiopian Israeli they were horrified. One woman gasped when I introduced myself and said "that's not a name!".
#44
Old 06-18-2010, 07:22 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 144
Con is the French C word.

QUOTE=Kyla;12593530]I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but apparently my name is a derogatory word for Jew in Amharic. I lived in Israel for awhile and every time I met an Ethiopian Israeli they were horrified. One woman gasped when I introduced myself and said "that's not a name!".[/QUOTE]

Is your name Hebrew or Gaelic?
#45
Old 06-18-2010, 08:25 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 28,393
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpBE View Post
The Korean word for penis sounds like "Chachi"...which gives the show "Joanie Loves Chachi" a whole new meaning.
Is it? I think this is an old story, usually followed by people saying Joanie love Chachi was highly rated in Korea.

Ah, I don't think it is true.

From that article:

Quote:

Chachi' is not the Korean word for 'penis,' although it is close in pronunciation to a word meaning 'penis' in a pidgin language employed by English-speaking servicemen stationed in Asia in the World War II era and beyond.
#46
Old 06-18-2010, 08:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: The Internet. Since '84.
Posts: 6,460
In British English, fanny means "vagina," so a "fanny pack" is a tampon. Or, I guess if a male is offering it, it could mean something else.

Also, "rubber" means eraser in Brit English.
#47
Old 06-18-2010, 08:58 PM
Elephant Whisperer
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 39,492
In Thai, "yet" means "fuck."

What with the confusion over L and R that Westerners like to joke about but really does exist to some extent, "too late" sounds very much to a Thai like "too rate," which is a local admonishment that roughly translates to: "You're full of shit, you worthless cocksucking motherfucker."
#48
Old 06-18-2010, 09:09 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 77,403
Quote:
The British equivalent would be "bum bag," "bum" being the British term for what Americans call the butt or fanny.
For what it's worth, "bum" can mean buttocks in the US, too. More often, though, it means beggar or homeless man.

And while we're on English words in English, in Britain, "pants" means "underpants". The corresponding overgarment is "trousers".
#49
Old 06-18-2010, 09:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 1,023
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Kit View Post
Con is the French C word.
In Quebec, it more commonly means "idiot". "Big Idiot Construction" does not inspire confidence...
#50
Old 06-18-2010, 10:00 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 34,194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaki Campbell View Post
Not at all. "Cul" is pronounced as [ky], using a vowel sound totally unheard of in English.
No, it exists in English, as an allophone of /ju/. There actually is an alternate pronunciation of cool, usually spelled kewl, that uses that vowel. While it is usually pronounced either [kjul] or [kyl], I've heard it pronounced [ky].

For an example of someone who always says it that way, try listening to Cartman on South Park. (In fact, I'm not sure he didn't start the trend of dropping the [l])
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:56 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: whats hentai mexican war movie car title stolen fraternity paddle history keurig ounces dividing by percentages old person voice artisanal pizza vanilla extract high lynch fired how to reheat alfredo 100 million pennies to dollars what distinguishes animals from other eukaryotes dead body chalk outline nissan altima usb port not working aftershock law and order why does a tetanus shot hurt dating a persian girl how long does it take a sprained wrist to heal tax included in price how to iron paper 1060 west addison chicago sudafed keeping me awake