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A word in Czech - a sentence in English

<h1>There is always a bunch of expressions in each language that seem to require an entire sentence when translated into another. Czech is no exception. Here are a few (the list might get longer later).</h1>

Thanks to endless_sleeper for pointing me to an article supplying many more. I will be adding some of them here.

POHROBEK – a child who was born after his father died (mostly used for male children). Granted, dictionaries claim that such a word in English is ‘posthumous’. Yet nobody seems to know what it means and one needs to engage in a lengthy explanation. In Czech this word is widely known courtesy of Ladislav Pohrobek, the King of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia, Duke of Austria (1440-1457). His father, Albert II of Germany died 4 month before Ladislav’s birth.

ČERVÁNKY – the red and orange clouds one can enjoy at sunset or sunrise.

TRATOLIŠTĚ – a large puddle of blood. I am not sure I want to know why we actually have a separate word for something this morbid…

LÍTOST – according to Milan Kundera, author of „The Unbearable Lightness of being. The closest definition of this word is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

CHATAŘ and CHALUPÁŘ - a person who regularly spends his-her weekends and often holidays at CHATA or CHALUPA. CHATA is a summer house, a log cabin, a hut that is on a smaller size and typically inhabitable from spring to fall but not insulated enough to be used in winter. CHALUPA is a similar recreational object but bigger, originally usually used as a regular home and can be used year around. Many Czechs, specially those living in big(ger) cities either have one, or a family member has one and Friday afternoon traffic out of cities is a testament to their popularity.

POZÍTŘÍ - the day after tomorrow. Super common word. As well as..

PŘEDEVČÍREM - the day before yesterday.

MOKNOUT - verb. To be getting wet by rain.

October 5, 2017



Předevčírem can be found in archaic English as ereyesterday.

Pozítří as overmorrow.

Being that they are common in many other languages including Korean and Japanese, I wonder why these became obsolete in English.


thanks. I did not know that. They seem as such useful words, dont they?


I'm going to use these now. They're so useful!


PROZVONIT - verb. To call a mobile phone only to have it ring once so that the other person would call back allowing the caller not to spend money on minutes. In Spanish, the phrase for this is "Dar un toque" (to give a touch). In French, the phrase for this is "Biper quelqu'un" (to beep someone)

ŠKODOLIBOST - enjoyment obtainded from the misery of others. A direct counterpart of German "Schadenfreude".


In Polish we'd say "puścić komuś sygnał" ('to pass someone a beep').

"Przydzwonić" is a bit colloquial for 'to make a short call' ("do kogoś" - to somebody - the verb doesn't take a direct object), and (at least at my place) it's humoristically used for 'to hit someone fiercly in their head' ("komuś" - to somebody - doesn't take a direct object again), also 'to hit something with your head' (a window frame, an open cabinet door - happens).

(I'm not even sure if "pro-" is the Czech equivalent for Polish "przy-", btw, maybe more like "prze-"?


That seems to be similar to Russian позвонить.


Not really... Russian позвонить is a formal and regular "call someone". This short-call phenomenon JanLyko mentioned only has counterparts in slang, as far as I know as a native speaker from Siberia.


"Give me a missed call" is how my friends say this.

Edit: At least while speaking English abroad. Not while in the U.S, since that's not how most U.S. phone plans work. For them a "missed call" is something else.


Thanks, I love words that have no equivalent in my native language. Interestingly we do have a word for červánky; two in fact: one for morning red and one for evening red.


You can't say that and not tell us what your native language is and what the words are! ;)


Ha, sure. My native language is Flemish and the words are morgenrood and avondrood. On the other hand we don't have a word for something quite more useful like sourozenec.


In my language we have a word for "pohrobek" ("pogrobowiec") but the cognate for "lítost" ("litość") means something different, closer to "mercy" (you can feel that to other people and rather not to yourself). The other words seem to have no cognates in Polish and they sound pretty, thanks kacenka :)


Closer to the mercy meaning is a word "SLITOVÁNÍ". To have a mercy on somebody. Close enough.


We also have words for "POZÍTŘÍ" - pojutrze; PŘEDEVČÍREM - przedwczoraj and MOKNOUT - moknąć. :) This list was super interesting, thanks, kacenka!

  • 1965

Nice collection of words. The other day I saw a sign "ODVZTEKLOVAČ" hanging on a trampoline for kids (meaning "a device for losing your anger/rage")

I would say Kundera's definition of LÍTOST shouldn't be used as the only one (since it can be misleading). It is mostly just a state of being sorry/sad about something. No Agony or Torment necessarily needed. Not to mention that we can often feel LÍTOST for something/someone else and so we should... ("Nelituj se, makej." (as Květa Fialová would say) ).


But is "odvzteklovač" a legitimate word or just a nelogism?

  • 1965

Never seen it before :-) It proves though how flexible the language is. The word is constructed in the same way as "odlakovač" (a real word meaning "nail polish remover") ===>> OD-(something to get rid of)-OVAČ


This is fascinating! So what does ovač mean?


Like Latin/English -ator


There is a whole article about tratoliště http://nase-rec.ujc.cas.cz/archiv.php?art=3859 by Machek, the author of the well-known Etymological dictionary, and another one from 50 years later http://nase-rec.ujc.cas.cz/archiv.php?art=7773.

It is mostly used as "tratoliště krve" (t. of blood), but can also be used as, e.g., "tratoliště piva" (t. of beer). The word tratoliště does not itself necesserilly convey the blood meaning in itself.


This is cool! I always find untranslatable (or at least, no real corresponding word) words fun. Thank you for sharing with us!

[deactivated user]

    you are right about the one T word dont want anything like that

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