Monday, November 28, 2016

Finnish words that mean something else in other languages

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

I'm sure that many of you have giggled at this picture of a megapussi(nowadays it's just a megabag.)

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) 

Feel free to share more examples in the comments!

If you are wondering which foreign words and names sound funny to Finns, Mr. Pascal Vittu is definitely the winner.

About the author of Random Finnish Lesson:

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please read more in and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new.


Nathalie said...

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

Anonymous said...

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...

Melanie said...

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

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

Tommy Quist said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

kaef said...

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 :).

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

"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").

Paula Borkowski said...

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 :)

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...


jose peirano said...

Well... A lot of them come to mi mind right now:

- Osa: a part in finnish, a female bear in spanish.
- Asunto: apartment in finnish, subject in spanish.
- Pala: piece or imperative of burn in finnish, a shovel in spanish.
- Selva: in finnish selvä, clear. Means jungle in spanish.
- Sota: war in finnish, in Argentina is a person who pretends not knowing something in order to get an advantage. Also one of the Spanish deck of cards.
- Pelotón: (peloton in finnish) means fearless... But in spanish is a squadron or group of soldiers.
- Susi: a wolf in finnish, diminutive for "Susana" (name) in spanish.
- Peto: beast in finnish, the armor part for the chest in spanish.
- Número: also number in spanish, the accent only means stress in that syllabe.
-Olla: to be in finnish, a cooking pot in spanish.
- Paja: a workshop in finnish, an impolite word for masturbation in spanish.
- Tapa: way or imperative of kill in finnish, cover/top/cap in spanish.
- Sana: a word in finnish, imperative of "sanar" (to heal/ become better or recover health) in spanish.
- Jumala: god in finnish, a popular brand of spices in Argentina. (Not very good quality).
- Palo: a fire in finnish, a stick in spanish.
- Lento: a flight in finnish, means "slow" in spanish.
- Rata: a gear or cog wheel in finnish, a rat in spanish.
- Ratas: same as above, "rats" in plural.

statprog said...

inflated in Arabic ;
Kuusi 6 means my vagina
Keskus, kus = vagina
Kyllä = no
Ei = yes

Unknown said...

Here's my list of Macedonian - Finnish false friends:

Word - Meaning in Finnish - Meaning in Macedonian

jäsen - member - (adjective, masculine) clear
kusi - (vulgar) urine, piss - (plural, of length) short
kasi - (colloquial) eight - cash registers
kasa - heap, stack - to bite
kuka - who, whoever - hook
kori - basket - barks, crusts, pastry sheet
koska - because, when - bone
koski - rapid (river) - bones
matka - trip - womb, uterus
se - it - all
ne - they (plural of "se") - no
no - well - but
putka - drunk tank, jail - (vulgar) vagina
putki - tube, pipe - (vulgar) vaginas
turva - protection, safety, security - (colloquial) to pour
veri - blood - to become engaged