Vegetable and fruit names as an insult

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zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
Do you use vegetable or fruit names as an insult in your languages? If so, what names do you use?

In Polish:

Tu buraku! = You beetroot! (primitive, redneck, yahoo)
 
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  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Using animal names as insults is almost universal in human languages (the full list would be extremely long). Vegetables are something rare indeed, though. At least I cannot think about anything of that kind in Russian.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Vegetables - seems 'turnip' is a favourite here

    English

    cabbage*, pea-brain(ed), turnip, leek muncher/chewer/eater
    ( = insulting terminology for a Welsh person. The 'leek' being our national vegetable/symbol), veggie (an insult or possibly an endearment towards someone who is a vegetarian)

    And of course 'a vegetable' (from the idea of being unresponsive, 'being in a vegetative state')

    Welsh

    rwdan
    (turnip), pen rwdan (turnip head), meipen (turnip, swede), pen meipen (swede-head), the false friend 'moron' (carrots), lol botes maip ( = turnip stew = utter confusion/stupidity ... that's if you're allowing phrases)

    * Unlike French where chou can be a term of endearment.

    Agree with @Awwal12. Far too many to list animals. Let's keep this thread on vegetables.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Macedonian:
    • компир (kómpir) ['kɔmpir] m. = "potato", is used with the meaning of "twit", a silly or foolish person.
    • тиква (tíkva) ['tikva] f. = "pumpkin", is used with the meaning of "fool", "stupid", "blockhead", someone who do not understand anything.
    • црпка (cŕpka) ['t͡sr̩pka] f. = "gourd", is used with the meaning of "brainless", "empty head", similar with "tikva".
    • зелка (zélka) ['zɛɫka] f. = "cabbage" is used with the meaning of "baldhead", but also for "inexperienced", "green" etc.
     
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    Greek:

    «Βλίτο» [ˈvli.tɔ] (neut.) --> Guernsey pigweed, Amatanthus blitum (we eat the leaves and the tender shoots cooked in steam or boiled and then served with olive oil, lemon and salt); used for the foolish, or gullible person < Classical neut. noun «βλίτον» blítŏn (idem), used as a denigrating designation for the silly or foolish person since antiquity (adj. «βλίτων» blítōn (masc. & fem.) of unknown etymology).

    «Γουρούνι» [ɣuˈɾu.ni] (neut.) --> (colloq.) piɡ; used for the inconsiderate, bad mannered person < Byz. Gr neut. «γουρούνιον» gouroúniŏn --> pig, diminutive of Koine (originally Doric) 3rd declension fem. «γρωνάς» grōnás (nom. sing.), «γρωνάδος» grōnádŏs (gen. sing.) --> she-pig, sow, possibly an onomatopoeia from the pig's snort «γρῦ» grû.

    «Γάιδαρος» [ˈɣai̯.ða.ɾɔs] (masc.) or «γαϊδούρι» [ɣa.iˈðu.ɾi] (neut.) --> (colloq.) donkey; inconsiderate, bad mannered, unrefined person < Byz.Gr. «γαϊδάριον» gaϊdárion (neut.) --> donkey < Ar. غيذار (ghaydhaar), donkey.

    «Φάλαινα» [ˈfa.le.na] (fem.) --> whale; used for the extremely obese person < Classical fem. noun «φάλ(λ)αινᾱ» pʰắl(l)ai̯nā --> (init.) monster, (later) whale (the length of the syllable with geminate -λλ- -ll- is metrically ascertained) < Classical masc. noun «φαλλός» pʰăllós --> phallus, membrum virile (of unknown etymology, φάλλαινα is a cognate because of its body shape).

    «Φίδι» [ˈfi.ði] (neut.) --> snake; used for the sly, calculatinɡ, sneaky person < aphetism of Byz. Gr. neut. diminutive «ὀφίδιον» ophídion (idem) < Classical 3rd declension masc. noun «ὄφις» ópʰis (nom. sinɡ.), «ὄφεως» ópʰĕōs (ɡen. sinɡ.).

    «Σκουλήκι» [skuˈli.ki] (neut.) --> worm; used for for the bad, sleazy and sneaky person, the snot < diminutive of Byz. Gr. masc. noun «σκώληκας» skṓlēkas and «σκούληκας» skoúlēkas (idem) < Classical 3rd declension masc. noun «σκώληξ» skṓleks (nom. sinɡ.), «σκώληκος» skṓlēkŏs (ɡen. sinɡ.).

    «Τσιμπούρι» [ʦ͡imˈbu.ɾi] (neut.) --> tick and «βδέλλα» [ˈvðe.la] (fem.) --> leech; used for persons who live off others, or persons who are difficult to get rid off.
    -«Τσιμπούρι» [ʦ͡imˈbu.ɾi] (neut.) < Byz. Gr. neuter diminutive «τσιμούριν» tsimoúrin --> tick which became «τσιμπούριν» tsimpoúrin after contamination with the v. «τσιμπώ» [ʦ͡imˈbɔ]* < Classical fem. noun «κίμμυρος» kímmurŏs --> tick, with palatalization and tsitakism of the initial velar plosive, of unknown etymology.
    -«βδέλλα» [ˈvðe.la] (fem.) < Classical fem. noun «βδέλλᾱ» bdéllā --> leech, deverbative from the v. «βδάλλω» bdắllō --> to milk (cows) (possibly Pre-Greek).

    *From Byz. Gr. v. «τσιμπῶ» ʦimpô and «τσιμπίζω» ʦimpízō < Classical v. «ἐξεμπίζω» ĕksĕmpízō --> to sting < preposition & prefix «ἐκ» ĕk which before a vowel becomes «ἐξ» ĕks + Classical 3rd declension fem. noun «ἐμπίς» ĕmpís (nom. sing.), «ἐμπίδος» ĕmpídŏs (gen. sing.) --> gnat, with popular derivation from «ἐμπίνω» ĕmpínō --> to drink oneself full (in the case of gnats, 'full of blood') < prefix & preposition «ἐν» ĕn which before labials in assimilated into «ἐμ» ĕm + v. «πίνω» pínō.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Catalan:

    These are basically rather mild insults for a foolish person, a dimwit, or someone who gets easily distracted.

    - bleda ("chard") --Not the same vegetable, but related to the Greek bliton mentioned above by apmoy70. One can even emphasize it and say bleda asolellada "chard in the sun", usually for women who are very dumb or sluggish.

    - fava ("broad bean"), maybe related to the fact that it's a slang word too for the glans.

    - pastanaga ("carrot")

    They can be regarded as a bit dated for some speakers, though.

    One that is still in use for someone who is clumsy or bad at playing football, for instance:

    - patata ("potato")

    There are probably a few more I can't come up with now, but not that many. And I can't think of any with fruits, which seem mainly reserved in slang for parts of the body.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    So if I say I saw a few turnips, could that mean I saw a few Welsh people?
    Apologies, that wasn't very clear. Doubtless our enemies can insult us with any particular epithet(s) of their choosing - including turnips. (That would include anyone else being called that in English, not just the Welsh).

    But I was highlighting specifically the leek muncher/chewer/eater, as this reflects on one of our national symbols, the leek, which all good Welsh people wear on National Day (1 March) life-size or as small adornment/piece of jewellery and/or eat it raw (like the Welsh Guards do) or have it as leek soup. Some of my compatriots attend rugby matches with large, inflatable ones, too ...

    Sorry for any ambiguity.

    I can also add that in Welsh we can refer to a bald guy as a 'pen nionyn' = 'an onion head'.

    And in English 'a couch potato' is not said pleasantly of any individual. (There's thread on this on WR and many languages, incl. my 1st feature this vegetable for this kind of person.) Not to mention 'a Murphy' being another name for a potato and an Irishman (Again, derogatory.)

    Catalan:

    There are probably a few more I can't come up with now, but not that many. And I can't think of any with fruits, which seem mainly reserved in slang for parts of the body.
    Could you not call someone a bit of 'a banana' or 'bananas' if they were a little odd or crazy, as they do in English? (We don't in Welsh ...)
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Could you not call someone a bit of 'a banana' or 'bananas' if they were a little odd or crazy, as they do in English? (We don't in Welsh ...)
    Hmmm, no. :(

    In fact, the term banana is rather uncommon in Spain compared to the words plátano (Spanish) or plàtan (Catalan).
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Some in Spanish:

    Melón: something like clumsy.
    Calabacín (zucchini) and calabaza (pumpkin) both of them meaning inept and ignorant.
    Derived from berza (collard), there's berzotas: ignorant, fool.
    Castaña (chestnut): boring, annoying.

    Not an insult by itself but tonto del haba would be really stupid while tonto would be just stupid. Haba=faba bean.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic:

    بسواش بصلة ("He's not worth an onion") means "He's a lowlife."
    فستق فاضي ("empty peanut") means "stupid, dumb, unintelligent."
    بلا كذا بلا بطيخ (الشام) ("No X, no (Syrian) watermelon") is a way to dismiss or deride something.

    (Side note: The Arabic word for "fava beans" is فول, pronounced like "fool." :D)
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    In Greek:

    Someone who is not clever has IQ ραδικιού (IQ of a chicory).
    'IQ' and 'ραδικιού' [raδicú] make rhyme in Greek.

    κολοκύθας [kolociθas] means stupid/foolish
    κολοκύθα is pumpkin.

    Except potato πατάτα means blunder/embarassing mistake.
     
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    ^^
    You made me remember one of the names some professors at uni used all the time for us students:
    «Αποκολοκύνθωσις» [a.pɔ.kɔ.lɔˈcin.θɔ.sis] (fem.), which sounds like a life-threateninɡ disease, but it just means incucurbitasis (or somethinɡ like that) ie complete intellectual disability (lit. to be as clever as a pumpkin).
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    In Romanian, the very informal and quite popular "ești varză" (literally "you're cabbage") is used when someone made a mess of things.
    I'd say "daft" is probably the closest in meaning and range.

    A lot more dated, "bostan" (regionalism for pumpkin and/or watermelon) and "tărtăcuță" (a diminutive for a hollowed-out pumpkin) can be used to refer to someone's head.

    We also have the Slavic "tigvă", but I've never seen it used as an insult (though it's in the dictionary as such), only to mean a human or animal skull.
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Using animal names as insults is almost universal in human languages (the full list would be extremely long). Vegetables are something rare indeed, though. At least I cannot think about anything of that kind in Russian.
    I believe I have heard "редиска" (radish) as an insult a couple of times.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I believe I have heard "редиска" (radish) as an insult a couple of times.
    Ah yes, that's true. :) The word was a made-up criminal slang term in "Gentlemen of Fortune" comedy film (1973), and since the film was immensely popular in the USSR, the word came into some limited use as well. The meaning, as it's stated in the film, is "bad man".
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Vegetables - seems 'turnip' is a favourite here
    Perhaps the most famous usage of ‘turnip’ as an insult in England was following (yet another) ignominious crashing out of an international football tournament, this time in the European Championships in Sweden in 1992. The Sun newspaper had this headline inside the paper following a defeat by the host nation Sweden:

    9091A31D-9203-43F0-BDA4-C62A15E57EB0.jpeg
    And it was the manager (ie the head coach) Graham Taylor who took the brunt of the opprobrium in the press; when he was finally sacked from the post the following year, this was the front page of The Sun:
     

    Attachments

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Perhaps the most famous usage of ‘turnip’ as an insult in England was following (yet another) ignominious crashing out of an international football tournament, this time in the European Championships in Sweden in 1992. The Sun newspaper had this headline inside the paper following a defeat by the host nation Sweden:

    View attachment 44850
    I remember that, but the headline has always struck me as rather forced, as I had never heard the word "turnip" used as an insult (and I still haven't).
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    French:
    Patate (colloquial - the standard term for potato - pomme de terre - doesn't work here) is a stupid or clumsy person. Mostly used in such phrases as Va donc, eh, patate - go on, you ***!
    Sometimes heard with bananas, too: Va donc, eh, banane! (just meaning stupid or clumsy, not crazy).

    Asperge (asparagus) - a very tall and thin person

    Feuille de chou (a cabbage leaf) - a mediocre or insignificant newspaper

    Poire (pear) - a gullible person, a sucker

    Pomme (apple), when used in the phrase la reine des pommes (the queen of apples) - a naive person

    Courge (pumpkin) - a stupid person, mostly used for females, maybe because courge is feminine - yet patate or poire are also feminine but they apply to anybody

    Noix (walnut, walnuts) - euphemism for buttocks or testicles. À la noix is used as an adjective for something crappy

    Fayot (colloquial for bean) - a bootlicker

    Salade (salad or lettuce) - may mean lies or bullshit when used in plural (salades)
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Parsley is a herb that seems to turn up in nearly every Greek savoury dish. In Greek, μαϊντανός (parsley) can be used metaphorically to refer to someone who is over-exposed, who tends to turns up everywhere, especially the sort of minor celebrity who appears on all the talk shows and interviews and seems to have a ready opinion about everything under the sun.




     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In Brazil calling somebody a banana means they are weaklings/sissies and calling them fruta (fruit) means they are fruity/gay.
     

    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hungarian --- no fruit or vegetable related insults in Hungarian
    What about those derived from tök (marrow): like tökfej (marrow head), tökfilkó (marrow jack), tökkelütött (hit by marrow), tejbetök (marrow-in-milk, originally a dish)? :) Though these are all quite mild insults for calling someone idiot.
    I've also heard dinnye (melon) in the same sense, but I think it is rare.

    And we have the word zöldség (vegetable) itself, with the secondary meaning of "nonsense, foolishness, rubbish, codswallop".
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Polish:

    Tu buraku! = You beetroot! (primitive, redneck, yahoo)
    As far as Polish is concerned, we also have two expressions connected with cabbage:

    kapuściana głowa (lit.: cabbage head) and even stronger głąb (cabbage heart, stump /of a cabbage/) - both mean a stupid person, a weenie.

    P.S. Sometimes we say główka (jak) makówka (a head like a poppyhead) which can mean that someone has a pretty head but without brain.
     
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