The Weirdest Slang Terms From Around the World from The Weirdest Slang Terms From Around the World
The Weirdest Slang Terms From Around the World
The world is full of beautiful places with beautiful people speaking beautiful languages. As beautiful as those languages can be, however, sometimes the slang terms native speakers come up with can sound odd, especially when they’re used to mean something entirely different from the literal meaning of the term.
Learning the local language is a great way to understand and respect local culture, and many times, knowing slang terms can be wise in order to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. You’d be surprised at the meanings of certain local terms, and others may just inspire you enough to adopt them into your own every day language. For a taste of local linguistic innovation and an idea of some native slang terms at your bucket list destinations, check out some of the weirdest slang terms from around the world.
Australia is a beautiful place where locals love to shorten as many words as they can. “Arvo” is frequently used instead of “afternoon,” and if you hear someone talking about having a barbie “s’arvo,” they’re referring to barbecue plans for this afternoon.
Also written as “bete” (and pronounced bay-the), no one is quite sure where this Indonesian slang term originates from, although many attribute it to the English phrase “bad tripping,” which refers to when someone has a bad drug trip. In Indonesia, it refers to pretty much any negative emotion or mood, and if you’re ever not feeling good — whether it’s due to anger or feeling down — you can simply say “BT” to indicate you’re not in the best of spirits.
The Swedish concept of fika is an interesting one. The term originates from “kaffi,” the Swedish word for coffee and means to have a coffee and a pastry. Sweden’s coffee culture is so strong that they literally have a term for a coffee break, and as odd as it may be, perhaps everyone should adopt it.
There is plenty of interesting food and drink slang in Ireland and Scotland, but some can be downright confusing. If someone tells you that they’re going to go “get the messages,” they’re not referring to their texts, voicemail, mailbox, or any sort of pigeon or person carrying some sort of information for them. It’s simply a term for groceries.
If someone asks you for pasta in Spain, you may end up causing confusion by cooking them a delicious spaghetti meal. The term is often used to refer to money, coming from the word “peseta,” which was the currency before Spain switched over to euros.
Prounounced “pav,” the Polish word “paw” means “peacock.” If you hear a person tell you in Polish they need to let the peacock out, you would be right to be alarmed, though perhaps for the wrong reason — rather than letting out an exotic pet, they mean that they need to puke.
Peng (Great Britain)
Originating from the Jamaican slang term “kushempeng” which refers to high-quality cannabis, the British slang word “peng” can be used in reference to anything that is exceptional in quality. However, it is most often used to refer to someone as being highly attractive.
Podunk (United States)
The American English term “podunk” is used to describe a town that is considered boring, insignificant, or in the middle of nowhere. When capitalized or used as “Podunk Hollow,” it is being used as a placeholder name to indicate complete lack of importance or in reference to a fictitious place. The odd-sounding word is of Algonquin origin, originally referring to the Podunk people and the marshy location of their winter village site in the area that lies in present-day Hartford County, Connecticut. What some people refer to as a podunk town, however, we find can be quite charming.
If you order a taco in Japan, you may end up with some tasty octopus on your platter instead. “Tako” is the Japanese word for this eight-legged creature, and for some reason, it’s also used as an insult to call someone stupid.
Wrench (New Orleans)
While most English-speakers think of the mechanical tool, when people in New Orleans “wrench” their meat, they’re not whacking it with something meant for nuts and bolts. Wrenching something means you’re running it under water in order to clean it — which is actually inadvisable when it comes to raw meat.
Yinz (Western Pennsylvania/Appalachia)
Throughout America, there are regional variations of the second-person plural. Most widespread and well-known are “you all,” “y’all,” and “you guys.” “Yinz” is very specific, however, to Western Pennsylvania and Appalachia, coming from the Scots-Irish phrase “you ones” or “yous ones.” It’s most prominently used in Pittsburgh to the point where the term “yinzers” refers to anyone from the under-the-radar city.
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