Are dictionaries the realm of the elite and the educated?
June 20, 2005 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Are dictionaries the realm of the elite and the educated? For a change of pace, there is an extensive dictionary of Russian swears with hundreds of words translated into French and German .. Oh and it's also two way - French swears and German swears are both translated into Russian. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 (12 comments total)
The extensive and exhaustive list of swears will provide even native speakers with very colorful though quite vulgar new expressions to savor. Unfortunately, nothing in English here. But sooner or later, someone may put together an Engilsh translation of Russian swears and its reverse counterpart.

Incidentally, to make this post more interesting for those who dont speak Russian, those who understand the swears might want to post an english translation of one or two them that they especially like. Here is a couple of funny ones that I like..

Kifirit', a verb derived from the Russian yogurt-like drink kefir, means to engage in act of fellation. nochnoy nosok, literally a night sock, is a euphemism for a condom. Mezhdunozhnoje pirozhnoje has the surface meaning of "an international pastry" but is used to refer to the female sex organ.

I was kinda of reluctant about posting this link because I am not sure how many Mefites know the relevant languages. But I am very sure that there are at least 3 or 4 people that should find this amusing.
posted by gregb1007 at 5:12 PM on June 20, 2005

Well, I'm one of the 3 or 4, and I've bookmarked it; thanks. I find it very odd that there are translations into Breton but not English, but I imagine they're working on it. Under the entry for khuy 'cock, prick' this amused me:

Notez que la transcription anglaise est « huy », faisant de la ville belge de Huy (province de Liège) une source de joie sans fin pour les russophones à l’esprit mal tourné.
[Note that the English transcription is "huy," making of the Belgian village of Huy... an endless source of joy for dirty-minded Russians.]

And this intrigued me:
...le terme russe ancien pour désigner le pénis est ??
[...the old Russian term for 'penis' is ud]
But my dictionaries tell me ud meant any limb (Dahl: 'such as leg, arm, finger, &c'). Still, it's neat that they're delving into etymology at all. Bad feature: stress is not indicated (na khuy has the stress on the na—few things make you sound stupider than mispronouncing curse words).

As I've said before, Russian is far and away the best language for cursing I know.
posted by languagehat at 5:49 PM on June 20, 2005

I know russian but not the other languages. Don't really see much of a use unless you know one of the other three on the site. Though I do agree that Russian is a great cursing language, it's the equivalent to a swear-machine-gun.
posted by vodkadin at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2005

This is nothing new.
posted by Thayer-P at 6:32 PM on June 20, 2005

Many of the lexicographers I used to work with were prolific, though covert, contributors to Roger's Profanisaurus. One of them, who was basically the entire thesaurus department herself, submitted the following famous letter to Viz:
A lot of people say that people who swear a lot have a small vocabulary, but that's wrong. I' a lexicographer, which means I have a huge vocabulary, and I swear all the fucking time.
posted by scruss at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2005

vodkadin, if you know russian, i am sure you'll find some new swears in that dictionary that you hadn't come across before. I certainly found many new ones.
posted by gregb1007 at 7:01 PM on June 20, 2005

scruss thanks, the profanisaurus is very interesting - it formally defines a lot very fun expressions which is quite amusing.

piss like an American fighter pilot v.

When extremely refreshed, to micturate in a haphazard and inaccurate fashion ie. spraying urine all over the floor, seat, shoes, John Simpson, etc.

farting strings n.

Imaginary part of the body which is liable to be damaged by over exertion through laughter, e.g. "Hey! Stop it will ya, before I bust me farting strings".
posted by gregb1007 at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2005

gregb1007, I know that there are plenty I don't know but I'd have to look up the meaning in a french/german dictionary, which is a pain.

Try this or this.
posted by vodkadin at 8:41 PM on June 20, 2005

This...kicks ass. Especially since I used to know a fair bit of French, and currently know just enough Russian to make this site very, very dangerous. Thanks! (I think.)

On preview: thanks to vodkadin, I now have the tools to make an ass of myself in three languages. Yeah!
posted by Vervain at 10:45 PM on June 20, 2005

My German's too rusty and too limited to make the three-way translation Russian->Deutsch->English. I guess until they add English I'll just have to settle for yob tvoyu mat and gavno.
posted by alumshubby at 6:35 AM on June 21, 2005

Anyone interested should seek out the New Yorker article on mat (I don't think you can find more than languagehat's excerpts on the web.)
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2005

thanks ofr the link zurishaddai - its a pretty historical sophisticated article - talking about pre-christianity sexual fertility rites as being the original source of the very sexual nature of Russian swears.... something I personally cant parse since I havent studied pre Christian Russian history.
posted by gregb1007 at 4:07 PM on June 21, 2005

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