After living in Slovenia for a few years and stumbling through the language horribly, I can now safely share this ridiculous list of words I have been saving in the notes folder on my phone. This list is for Slovenian words that have amusing or interesting literal English translations.
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If you think of more while reading the article, feel free to share them in the comments!
1. vlakec smrti
Vlakec smrti is rollercoaster in Slovenian, but the literal English translation is death train.
2. morski pes
Morski pes translates literally to sea dog but no, Slovenia does not have a rare sea creature. This is just what they call sharks!
3. Rimska cesta
Looking for Rimska cesta on a map will have you searching awhile. The literal translation is Roman road but this is the name of the Milky Way in Slovenian.
A personal favorite is posteljica. If you are just learning Slovenian and wondering why a tiny bed is listed here I am here to tell you that it is how Slovenians call a placenta.
5. kačji pastir
The direct translation of kačij pastir is snake shepard but no worries, this is not a real profession in Slovenia. This is the name for dragonflies!
I have always been amused by the word for vacuum which is sesalnik or sesalec. It translates literally as “sucking thing”. To make it even more amusing sesalec, which means sucker – as in suckling done when we are babies, is the Slovenian word for mammal.
7. wc školjka
WC is commonly used for restrooms, and stands for wash closet which is another word for a flush toilet in British English. Školjka is the word for shell. Together that makes wc školjka translate literally into ‘toilet shell’ referring to the toilet bowl.
Nogomet is how soccer is called in Slovene. The literal translation for it is ‘foot throw’ although I don’t think throwing your foot would help your team win.
Animals always have fun names in different languages. Nosorog is a cute one as it literally means ‘nose horn’ but it is the Slovenian word for rhinoceros.
10. povodni konj
Another animal with a cute name is povodni konj, translating to ‘water horse’. I guess Hippopotamus is a bit of a mouthful.
11. vinska trta
This is my favorite one to share. Vinska trta translates literally to ‘wine vine’ or ‘wine plant’. If you haven’t figured it out yet, vinska trta is the Slovenian name for grapevine. It says a lot about the culture when a plant that grows grapes is referred to by its alcoholic beverage.