What Does BAŠ Mean in Serbian?

what does baš mean in serbian

E baš mi ovaj tekst treba! Nisam baš siguran šta znači ova reč…

If you have a chance to listen to the native Serbian speakers, you might have come across this little word many times, and maybe you’ve noticed that they used it in completely different contexts. You’ve probably already learned it as a synonym to veoma (=very, really), and used in the examples like „Baš sam umoran“ (I’m very tired), but actually, we can use this ubiquitous word in many other situations, too.

So, what does baš mean in Serbian? Baš is mostly used in a conversational language, and its meaning varies quite a lot, no wonder foreigners are often puzzled when they hear it. Let’s take a look at the most common meanings of this tiny word:

 1. BAŠ used to emphasize certain words or phrases

There are already a lot of words that add an emphasis in Serbian, like vrlo, veoma, jako or zaista. Their equivalents in English are very, really or so. Now we can add one more to the list: baš is used with the same intention, like in these examples:

Baš volim srpsku hranu! (= I really like Serbian food!)

Baš mi treba odmor! (= I really need a vacation!)

Baš je vruće! (= It’s so hot!)

Baš je sladak /lep (= He’s really cute/handsome)

Baš sam poludela! (= I got so angry!)

A: Imate baš lepu kuću! (= You have a very nice house!)

B: Baš vam hvala! (= Thank you so much!)


Another way to use baš as an intensifier is when we want to say that something is right there, exactly there, or right on time.

A: Gde je toalet? (= Where is the toalet?)

B: Evo, baš tu, iza Vas. (= It’s right there, behind you)

Stižete baš na vreme! (= You’re coming right on time!)

Živiš baš u centru?  (= You live right in the center/in the very center?)


Finally, we can also use baš with the meaning exactly, like in these examples:

Ti si baš iz Beograda? Nisi iz Zemuna? (= You are exactly from Belgrade? Not from Zemun?)

E baš tu knjigu tražim! (= That’s exactly the book that I’m looking for!)

Baš ta žena je dolazila juče! (= Exactly that woman came over yesterday!)

Od svih ljudi, baš od mene moraš da tražiš novac!? (= From all the people, you have to ask for money exactly from me!)

2. BAŠ used for something that happened very recently, a very short time ago

Another word with this meaning in Serbian is upravo, and it’s the same as just in English:

Baš sam sad htela da te zovem! (= I was just about to call you!)

Baš smo sada pričali o tebi! (= We were just talking about you!)

Šef nije tu, baš je malopre otišao. (= The boss is not here, he has just left.)

3. BAŠ used to soften the negative statement

Sometimes you just don’t want to sound rude or offensive, right? That’s when baš jumps in, to prevent too direct statements and save friendships and relationships. 😊

On nije baš pametan. (= He’s not really smart.)

Baš i nije ništa posebno (= It’s really nothing special)

4. BAŠ used ironically

When somebody suggests a stupid idea, it’s really hard not to react directly, but luckily we can always use irony, for instance:

Baš si pametan! (= You’re ’so smart’!)

Baš si duhovit! (= You’re ’so witty’!)

Kakva ideja! Baš si pametan!

5. BAŠ used in a negative statement or with a negative verb when we want to refer to the exception from something that has been said

A: Imam dosta filmova. Možemo, na primer, gledati ovaj. (= I have a lot of movies. We can watch this one, for example)

B: Joj, baš taj ne želim! Ne volim horor filmove. (= Oh, that’s exactly the one that I don’t want. I don’t like horror movies)

Profesor: Hajde da proverimo domaći. Marko, pročitaj prvi zadatak. (= Let’s check the homework. Marko, read out the first task)

Marko: Uff baš taj zadatak jedino nisam znao… (= Oh that’s exactly the only task that I didn’t know…)

Common phrases with baš in Serbian

Ako baš moram / ako baš hoćeš … (= If I really have to / If you really want …)

Is it enough to use these two sentences without baš? Of course it is! But they don’t mean the same. Baš is used to intensify that I don’t want to do something, but eventually, I will, although I’m not thrilled about it:

A: Hoćeš mi dati malo tvoje pice? Baš sam gladan… (= Will you give me a little bit of your pizza? I’m so hungry…)

B: Dobro, ako baš moram… Ali, samo jedno parče! (= Alright, if I really have to… But only one slice!)

Baš me briga! / Baš me boli uvo!  (= I don’t care! What do I care!)

It’s impossible to translate these expressions literally, so our advice is to remember the whole phrase and use it when you want to say out loud that you just do not care!

A: Sada ideš da trčiš!? Napolju je minus 2 stepena! (= You’re off to run now!? It’s minus 2 outside!)

B: Baš me briga!  Čim krenem da trčim, biće mi toplo. (= I don’t care! As soon as I start running, I’ll get warm.)

Baš svašta!

If previous expressions were impossible to be translated literally, this one is practically impossible in any way. Svašta itself means „everything”, any sorts of things, many different things… But the same word, and particularly in this very phrase also has a bit negative connotation: nonsense, pointless things, fiddlesticks… So, it’s not difficult to guess that we use it when we want to make a disapproving comment on something.

A: Zvali su 800 ljudi na svadbu, od čega polovinu poznaju samo sa društvenih mreža! (= They invited 800 people to their wedding party, half of whom they only know from the social networks!)

B: Baš svašta!

Zvali su 500 ljudi na svadbu!? Baš svašta!

Baš šteta (=Too bad)

Use this when you want to express sympathy or regret for something.

Baš šteta što Saša nije dobio taj posao, ali šta je – tu je. (= Too bad that Saša didn’t get that job, but that’s the way it is.)

Baš tako!  (= Exactly!  Just like that!)

This is a great response if you want to agree with what has just been said, or to confirm what the other person has told (mostly something surprising).

A: Hoćeš da mi kažeš da je Marija 15 godina starija od svog muža? (= You mean to tell me that Marija is 15 years older than her husband?)

B: Baš tako! (= Exactly!)

Baš naprotiv (= On the contrary; Quite the opposite)

You’ll find this phrase useful when you want to intensify the opposite of what has just been said:

A: Mislio sam da ne voliš Metaliku! (= I thought you don’t like Metallica!)

B: Baš naprotiv! Ja sam njihov veliki fan! (= On the contrary! I am their huge fan!)

Baš zato (= That’s exactly why)

For that exact reason! For that very reason! You can’t emphasize that enough? Just add baš, it always helps.

Svi nas potcenjuju… Baš zato moramo pobediti! (= Everybody underestimates us… That’s exactly why we have to win!)

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