Lit. “a donor”. The word itself is most of the time used in expressions related to medicine: “dawca krwi” or “krwiodawca” means a blood donor and “dawca szpiku kostnego” – a bone marrow donor.

So much for the official Polish. But in drivers’ slang this term is only used for motorcyclists, whose sole reason to live is to overtake everyone else on the road, and set new records of accelerating and braking between tight turns. You can find the origin of it in what happens after an unlucky biker hits a car head-on.

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Być w proszku


Lit. “to be powdered” – as in “powdered milk” or instant cocoa. This seems to be a metaphor for a state of not being fully prepared as the above don’t become beverages until dissolved in water. You will find many expressions containing the above like: “zupa w proszku”, “mleko w proszku” and even “oranżada w proszku“.

In most cases, you use the above to point that somebody or a group of people are far from being prepared for something: a meeting with a client, an exam, not packed up for a holiday. It might also refer to enterprises.

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Czeski film


Lit. “a Czech movie”, which is used to point that no one understands a certain situation, why something happens and who benefits from it. The expression was actually coined based on a specific movie: “Nikdo nic neví” or “Nobody Knows Anything”, a comedy from 1947 filmed before communists took over of Czechoslovakia. It became popular in Poland in the sixties alongside more recent movies coming from the southern neighbor which sometimes were too avant-garde to be clearly understandable.

The expression is sometimes used to describe a movie with a poor screenplay, in which the plot is unclear, however, this is rare and not justified.

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Czarna mafia


Lit. “black mafia” which in Poland does not refer to an African criminal organization but to the Catholic Church. It is by far the largest religious community in the country and has a strong presence and influence on public life, especially in rural areas. Catholic priests wear black cassocks as their everyday work suits hence the expression. It has a strong negative overtone to it and is mainly used by quite numerous Polish anticlericals when criticizing the Church’s alleged wealth, hypocrisy and interference in politics.

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Kopnąć w kalendarz


Lit. To “kick the calendar” and figuratively (as well as colloquially and ironically): to die. Jerzy Bralczyk, an expert in Polish language, traces the expression back to the fact that a calendar is no longer needed by a dead person hence she or he can kick it away. Don’t use it when talking to a deceased’s friends or relatives – it would be highly disrespectful.

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