Let us compare the meanings of some phonetically same Russian and Polish obscenities:

  • Заебать (Russian): to get to, to pester. Zajebać (Polish): to beat someone up, to steal something, to brutally kill.

  • Подъебать (Russian): to mock. Podjebać (Polish): to steal something silently or with stealth, to betray someone by selling him or her out.

  • Съебать (Russian): to flee. Zjebać (Polish): to fail, to rebuke.

  • Съебаться (Russian): to flee. Zjebać się (Polish): to fart, to get worse.

  • Наебать (Russian): to trick. Najebać (Polish): to beat someone up hard.

  • Наебаться (Russian): to get exhausted by work or by trying to resolve something. Najebać się (Polish): to get very drunk.

I am very much confused by this. The same verb "ебать/jebać," whose meaning in both languages is "to f*ck," and same prefixes, whose meanings are the same in both languages, result in words whose meanings in these two languages are very different.

What makes the meanings different? I am especially interested to hear an explanation from the etymological standpoint. In particular, one of the aspects that makes me curious is whether the above Russian and Polish obscenities originated independently from their respective counterparts in the other language or, on the contrary, originally were common Slavic words with the same meanings, which later started to diverge in the course of evolution of the languages. I am curious as to why and how the two languages ended up having structurally and phonetically same obscenities whose meanings are very different.

I humbly hope that native Russian and possibly Polish speakers could kindly explain this Slavic phenomenon to a confused Orient student.

  • 4
    languages do not have obligation to maintain any sort of correspondence, that's why.
    – shabunc
    Aug 24, 2019 at 19:05
  • differences in prefixation i guess is one of the difficulties for native speakers of one Slavic language in learning other Slavic languages Aug 24, 2019 at 19:10
  • @Mitsuko You may want to correct an oversight in your question. To get exhausted by work is: "Заебаться" (while "Наебаться" means: to copulate to surfeit). Aug 25, 2019 at 0:41
  • @Mitsuko I would also draw your attention to a detail unexpected to a foreigner. When you switch from perfect to imperfect, in all these verbs "e" gets substituted with "я": заЯбывать, подъЯбывать, съЯбывать, наЯбывать. (This is, at least, how these verbs are conventionally spelled in the North part of Russia.) Also, in the nouns "подъЁбка" and "наЁбка" the letter "e" turns into "ё" (just like in "поЁбка"). Aug 25, 2019 at 0:55
  • 2
    @Michael_1812 That's too strong a claim because Nothern part of Russia is a huge territory, you might want to be more specific. Where I'm from the change from е to ё is more common, the change to я is also observed but considered to have a countryside language flavour, i.e. people would look down upon you.
    – tum_
    Aug 25, 2019 at 6:51

3 Answers 3


For to get drunk Russian too does have a verb based on this stem only modified - наебЕНИться or наебАШИться, наебаться (наебнуться) in its turn has additional meaning of to fall over, to hit oneself

I don't know Polish but i believe in both languages the profane version predominantly follows the morphology of its non-profane counterpart(s), as synonyms are supposed to do, at least this seems to be so in Russian, e.g.

заебать(ся) - замучать(ся)
подъебать - подшутить, подкузьмить, подколоть
подъёбывать - подтрунивать, подшучивать, подкалывать
съебать - сбежать
уебать - убежать, уйти, убраться; ударить
объебать - обмануть, обхитрить, облапошить, обдурить, обвести вокруг пальца
наебать - надурить, наколоть

наебаться (in the meaning cited by yourself) - наработаться, намучаться
наебашиться - наработаться
наебениться, наебашиться - напиться
отъебаться - отстать
(without reflexive -ся which the profane version has probably to avoid confusion with отъебать)

Now the non-profane verbs in both languages may be collated to see if they too derive from common stems. If they do, one may hypothesize that the identical prefixes in both languages don't in fact have identical or completely identical semantics. Or alternatively the native speakers see corresponding acts as requiring certain prefix due to their (native speakers) general linguistic and conceptual conditioning, intuitively following conventions developed within and ingrained in their specific language.

For example Russian У-бить is ZA-bić in Polish. But Russian too has a slang synonym to убить with prefix за- - завалить

There's a doctor thesis on peculiarities in semantics of prefixes in Don's Сossacks parlance (excerpts). So if within Russian itself prefixes may change, lose or accrue meanings, be supplanted, so much so in other Slavic languages.

  • 1
    adding to the "У-бить is ZA-bić" - killing animals like cattle pigs and such, to them, a word забить is used.
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 13, 2019 at 7:44

If you deal with languages that split quite recently, about 1000 years ago or even later as it was for the Slavic languages, you will definitely encounter the false friends, a phenomenon every translator has got to be highly aware of. I live in Ukraine and six highly similar languages surround me, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Belarusian, Slovak, and Czech. Besides, every day I kind of a dozen of times switch between Ukrainian and Russian. The six languages are overflooded with false friends which is the source for numerous jokes, and for us Slavs other Slavic languages sound very funny, mostly because of those false friends. I will not discuss the obscene vocabulary here, I will just cite several famous unusual meanings of seemingly same-root words.

Since the Soviet times the Polish fashion magazine Uroda ("Beauty", Ukrainian врода [ˈwrɔda]) was famous for its paradoxical name, since in Russian урод means "freak, disfigured". By the way, the English magazine (printed matter) is a false friend of the Russian магазин (store, shop).

The word родина means "motherland" in Russian, and in Ukrainian it is "family".

Чёрствый хлеб means "stale, dried up, hard bread" in Russian, while in Czech the phrase čerstvý chléb which sounds practically the same as the Russian one, means "fresh bread".

Languages live their own lives, they don't owe us anything. A really big mistake for a translator is to interpret one language using the data taken from another one.


Just as my 2 cents, not trying to be exhaustive and not pretend to be competent enough.

In some sense examples you mention, they are not that much different, they are definitely not the same, but they have some similarities and intersection and may differ in strength implied in them(as strength of that negative situation)

maybe it harder to illustrate on first 3 examples, may require more flexibility of mind gymnastics, but as an example

Наебать (Russian): to trick. Najebać (Polish): to beat someone up hard.

In Russian meaning, it not necessarily just to trick, I'm not sure exact weight of that "to trick" in English, but it looks like too harmless of a description of "Наебать", which sure on its own represents the range potential situations starting from a lie which not necessarily has significant consequences ending to significant financial losses or assets.

So it is some sort of beating, just not necessarily physical. So as the average weight of the amount of loss is significant enough.

So they not necessarily match with specific flavor what - what kind of specific actions are taken to lead to the situation, and expecting that would be surprising as poles and russians do not have that much crosssection, cultural exchange in recent(like a century) time.

So they aren't the same, but on the other hand, I may see(as Russian speaker) some sense in it being used that way, and for me then it about filling/correcting specifics of meaning, and not like - can't wrap the head around. "Наебать" - does not specify the exact way how it was done, but more like ill intent, or a success of that intent conducted against others. And if pole meaning prefers/weights more some specific way of doing that - why not, in some sense legit. So as I expect there is also a variety of senses on their side too.

So as maybe from linguistic pov polish is enough closely related to Russian, but I can assure you there are languages which easier to understand, a typical Russian has no way to understand polish language without a lot of practice, compared to other languages which require less practice experience to understand, and in some it those polish borrowing which makes it harder to understand )))

So expecting 1:1 even on similar-sounding words (not that there maybe none of them, but) that is mmm very optimistic. There was video recently from Langfocus comparing Russian and Ukrainian languages and notice intertwining of "bottle" situation at time code https://youtu.be/CQLM62r5nLI?t=246 and pay attention to Polish reference

Both words are present in the Russian language too ( фляж(-ка, -га), and бутыл(-ь, -ка) so as the present in the Polish language. And the general higher meaning of vessel for liquid are the same, but specifics what kind of vessel and for what kind of liquids - do differ. Do differ because of everyday necessities, realities present in the specifics of how stuff is done/is. Describe what they have, differentiate what they have and those realities aren't transferable 1:1, there is not enough cross-pollination for that.

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