Monday, November 28, 2016

Finnish words that mean something else in other languages

..and by something else, I mean something inappropriate, or course.:)
I hope that I don't offend too many readers with this post!

I'm sure that many of you have giggled at megapussi at the potato chips aisle in a Finnish supermarket:

Well, there's more. Are you familiar with these everyday Finnish words and their meanings in other languages?
  1. aho
  2. Hui!
  3. jopa
  4. Katso!
  5. kirja
  6. koskaan
  7. kun
  8. lohi
  9. maukas
  10. merta
  11. pukki
  12. suka

Here are the translations and meanings in different languages:

  1. aho - a glade, uncultivated land, also a common Finnish last name (アホ , idiot in Japanese)
  2. Hui! - Oops! (хуй, dick in Russian)
  3. jopa - even (жопа, ass in Russian)
  4. Katso! - Look! (cazzo, a penis in Italian)
  5. kirja - a book (کیریا, a motherf*cker in Farsi)
  6. koskaan - ever (کس کان, a vagina-butt in Farsi)
  7. kun - when (کون, butt in Farsi)
  8. lohi - salmon (лохи, stupid guys in Russian)
  9. maukas - tasty (sluts in Latvian)
  10. merta - a partitive form of meri, a sea (Merda is sh*t in Italian and Portuguese)
  11. pukki - a male goat (пуки, farts in Russian)
  12. suka - a horse brush (сука, slut in Russian) 

(I'm sure that there's more, so feel free to share more examples in the comments. Kiitos avusta!)

p.s. If you are wondering which foreign words and names sound funny to Finns, well, this guy is the winner.


  1. In French, Salo (the name of the city) sounds like "salaud" (asshole) :D

  2. In spanish:
    - Puuta sounds like "puta" (Whore).
    - Paja means "Wank" (in spanish is pronounced "paha")
    - Name Asko sounds like "asco" (disgust, revulsion)
    - Name Timo means "scam/cheat".

    Not a nice group of words, but it is what it is...

  3. Korva - ear (kurva, whore in Czech)
    Panna - put (virgin in Czech)
    Name Kari - Czech word for curry

  4. "Suka" in Russian means "bitch".
    "Minkkiä" sounds like "minchia", "cock" in Italian. Great Finnish phrase: "Katso, minkkiä!"

    1. "Suka" too can result hilarious to italians since it's a well known dialectal/regional form of the italian imperative "succhia" (that sounds like "sukkia").

  5. Nice list! 'Kuuma' means 'pussy' in swahili. 'Moi' means 'pubic hair' in thai.

    1. OMG! I did NOT know that. That explains why my Thai students seem to prefer "Hei" or "Terve". Kiitos! :)

  6. Some of these are quite a stretch. The pronunciation of the Х in most of Russia (a voiceless velar fricative) sounds nothing like its glottal and pharyngeal cousins found in Finnish.

  7. Could you make a post about "cool greetings"? I met a Finnish friend the other day, and when we met he slapped my hand and said "mitäs jätkä". I just stood there like an idiot. I don't understand the whole "mitäs tässä"-thing.

  8. Some other examples:
    matka - "mother" in Polish
    paska - genitive of "belt" in Polish
    sana - "I hope" in Tagalog
    muna - "first" ("ensiksi") in Tagalog

    Note that all of them have stress on the first syllable, like in Finnish :).

  9. there's a huge difference in pronunciation of Finnish jopa and Russian жопа...

  10. One of my favorites of these "false friends" (words that look or sound the same but have different meaning) is the word 'runo'. In Finnish, it means "a poem". In Polish, it means the layer of small plants etc. on the ground in the forest. I don't know how to call it in English :)

  11. It may be best not to offer 'pulla' to a Romanian...

  12. In Hungarian, 'persze' (pronounced as 'perse') means 'of course' :) So we try to avoid using it in Finland :)

  13. Asunto in Spanish (stressed in the U) means a matter or subject.