Zrobić z dupy jesień średniowiecza

Meaning:

Lit. “to make the The Autumn of the Middle Ages of one’s ass”. I’m pretty sure this steps directly from the Polish translation of Marsellus Wallace’s line in Pulp Fiction: “I’m gonna git Medieval on your ass.” promising the rapist Zed a long and painful death. I think what happened is the people translating the movie, while lacking a matching set phrase in Polish, coined a new expression containing both the middle ages and the ass which turned out to be a brilliant idea and caught on among Polish movie (and middle ages) enthusiasts in the mid-90s.

The new invention sounds funny while retaining the seriousness of someone getting a severe punching.

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Mieć nierówno pod sufitem

Meaning:

Lit. “to have uneven (not on one level) under the roof” which translates almost exactly into “a bit lacking upstairs”. You use the expression to informally say that someone is mentally unstable or simply not very bright. At the same time, using it makes the statement a bit gentler and friendlier than saying something like “idiota”, “wariat” or outright “popierdolony”.

Poles often use this metaphor to describe a person that is a bit crazy but harmless.

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Rodzona matka cię nie pozna

Meaning:

Lit. “your own mother won’t recognize you”. The expression is used to openly threat someone with a beating so hard to change his/her appearance entirely. If you ever hear this then you can consider the situation quite serious and whoever mentions that your open enemy.  Either get ready to fight or call the police.

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Zesrać się na różowo

Meaning:

Lit. “to shit pink”. This is used to describe a person putting an ultimate effort into trying to achieve something entirely impossible. It obviously is not used in official language as the verb “srać” is considered vulgar.

You say “choćbym się zesrał/a na różowo” to point that no matter how hard you try, what you want will not happen anyway. So it’s not worth the effort and you give it up.

Variants with different somewhat “unnatural” colours like green or gold occur but mean the same thing.

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Prąd kopnął

Meaning:

Lit. “kicked by electricity/current” which is is the most common way to say that a person was electrocuted. A more formal way would be “porażony prądem” or struck/hit by electricity but in spoken languages Poles prefer the personification with electricity using its figurative legs to cause damage. The expression is a pretty old one, I remember it being already used in the 80’s to discourage me from tinkering with electrical outlets which, by the way, are called “gniazdko” which translates into “a little nest” in Polish.

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