If you know someone from Serbia, you might’ve noticed they or someone from their surroundings has a great sense of humour. This sense of humour that many Serbs have in common is widely illustrated in our vocabulary. As nearly everyone uses funny Serbian words and slang phrases daily, it’s no wonder our language is full of jargon words. Besides being fun and sounding silly, some of these words are incredibly tricky to pronounce (which you’ll witness in a bit).
Therefore, if you wish to learn about the funny side of Serbian language learning, you’re at the right place. Knowing these words will help you sound like a true native.
What's on the menu when it comes to funny Serbian words?
The majority of playful Serbian words can cause a real headache to translators. But, we know our students are eager to learn all the ins and outs of Serbian. And we are here to help you. Thus, this article will be a reciprocal adventure. 🙂 We’ll do our best to make the topic closer to you, and you’ll learn unusual aspects of the Serbian language your friends won’t believe you’ve acquired! Let’s begin!
The list of funny Serbian words
The list you’ve all been waiting for:
- Džumle or đuture
Now that you’ve tried (perhaps even successfully) to read the words aloud let’s take a closer look at their meanings.
The primary meaning of the first word from our list is a homeless person. However, it got other meanings along the way. Usually, it refers to someone who’s not good at their job or doesn’t bother much, as they love to lead an easy life.
Let’s take a look at some example sentences.
Fudbalski trener: Kako su loše odigrali utakmicu! Pravi su šalabajzeri!
(Football trainer: They played so badly! They’re absolute losers!)
Ljutiti otac: Zašto si dao otkaz na poslu? (An angry father: Why have you quit your job?)
Sin: Zato što mi je mučno da sedim 8 sati! Hoću nešto sa kraćim radnim vremenom! (Son: It’s too tiring to sit for 8 hours! I want something with shorter working hours!)
Ljutiti otac: Šalabajzeru, od čega ćeš da živiš?! (You fool! How will you afford to live?!)
This giddy and tricky-to-pronounce word means a toothpick in Serbian. You will often see and hear Serbs using this tiny object during or after meals.
The toothpick phrase “Možeš li da mi dodaš čačkalicu?” (Can you pass me the toothpick?) in Serbian is as common as the “Can you pass me the salt?” phrase.
In addition, it’s good to know that this word has picked up another meaning related to commenting on someone’s physical state. So let’s look at how you can use this word in context.
Milena u butiku bira haljinu za poslovni događaj sa drugaricom. Pronašla je haljinu koja joj se dopada u veličini M. (Milena is choosing a dress for a work event in a boutique with her friend. She found the one she likes in the size medium.)
Milena: Ma odgovaraće mi sigurno. Ugojila sam se ovog leta, nažalost. (I’m sure it will suit me. I put on some weight this summer, unfortunately.)
Dijana: Jao ne lupaj! Pogledaj se u ogledalo, baš si kao čačkalica! Sigurno će ti biti velika! (Don’t be ridiculous! Look in the mirror. You’re skin and bones! I’m sure it will look big on you!)
This word actually has origins in Serbian mythology. Karakondžula is a female demon with a wrinkly face, long spikey nails, and goat hooves.
However, everyday language uses this word to describe nagging and grumpy women. In modern English, we call them Karens, while in Serbian, we call them Slavicas. 🙂
For example, imagine you hear a guy at a bar complaining about his wife.
Dečko: Ne ostavlja me na miru! Proverava mi svaki račun, šta sam kupio, koliko sam platio, koliko sam se zadržao. Kad odem negde sa društvom, tera me da joj pošaljem sliku gde sam i sa kim. Prava karakondžula!
(She won’t leave me alone! She checked all my receipts, what I bought, how much it was, and how long it took me to do it. Then, when I’m out with friends, she demands I send her a photo of where I am and with whom. She’s so annoying!)
Here’s a fun and upbeat song called Karakondžula for you to check out and maybe even get dancing while learning Serbian. 🙂
The following word is pretty straightforward. Frcokla means a curl, and we use it when we talk about curly-haired girls.
Mama šeta sa ćerkom kovrdžave kose. Baka u prolazu je vidi, zastane i kaže: Jao kakve frcokle imaš! Prava si dama! (A mom is taking a walk with her curly-haired daughter older woman passing by stops and says: Look at those curls! You’re a real lady!)
Yet another (of only a few) silly Serbian word that hasn’t got a complicated meaning is the word dibidus. It means completely and totally.
Čovek utrčava u kuću i kaže: Kako sam brzo trčao! Mokar sam dibidus! (The man stormes in his home and says: I ran so fast! I’m completely wet!)
This odd-looking and sounding word refers to someone from a wealthy family who dresses nicely but doesn’t make much effort. Therefore, someone who’s rich and wastes money.
Let’s see a real example.
Pogledaj ga samo! Živi od tatine slave. On je jedan običan fićfirić, ne radi ništa korisno. (Just look at him! Such a daddy’s boy. He’s a mere spendthrift. He doesn’t do anything useful.)
And now, moving on to a couple of words with a more positive or neutral connotation. These two words are synonyms and mean together.
Miljana: Hej, ko sve ide sa nama u bioskop? (Hey, who’s coming to the movies with us?)
Milena: Daca, Zoki, Sara, Lane, ti, i ja. Idemo svi džumle/đuture! Jedva čekam! 🙂 (Daca, Zoki, Sara, Lane, you, and me. We’ll go as a bunch! I can’t wait!)
Everyone agrees this delicious word sounds silly in the Serbian language. Leblebije is chickpeas, the oh-so-famous staple in vegetarian cuisine. 🙂
Another food-related amusing word in the Serbian language is peanuts. The name of this yummy food in Serbian originates in Italian: ‘chicchi’ in Italian means grains, while ‘ricchi’ means rich. So apart from its yumminess, you’ll surely laugh when thinking of the Serbian version of this kitchen staple. 🙂
The final word on our list is probably someone’s worst fear. Bubašvaba is a Serbian word for a cockroach.
We know these little things are unwanted guests in everyone’s home. And you probably don’t even want to think about them. However, saying this word out loud in Serbian makes everyone giggle. 🙂
We all have our favourite funny Serbian words – what’s yours?
When one feels uncomfortable or sad about a specific situation, sometimes it’s good to laugh things out. So, if you happen to have a bad day in Serbian company, knowing some of these funny Serbian words might help you get off-topic and focus on something silly.
So, tell us, which words do you find funny in Serbian? Is there a Serbian word that sounds silly in your language? We look forward to reading your choices in the comments!