Sample Word List

This is preview of my list of the most often used words in Croatian (sample):

All comments are welcome!

Recent Updates

Here are some recent developments on this blog.

The CHM and PDF files are updated to ver. 0.24, now contain the latest changes!


New or recently changed entries:

All comments are welcome!

NEW: Support for Tablet Devices

A CHM file, containing most chapters, is ready for download, and tested on Android 4.0 "ICS" (see right). I recommend iReader (offline) by Zhangyue. It's quick, stable, free to use, and perfectly renders the CHM file.

I have recently updated several posts. I have decided to remove a summary chapter and split the genitive case to two chapters.

Also, the past tense is updated with past of existential forms (e.g. ima vode => bilo je vode).

The recently updated chapters are:

Additionally, a new version of PDF (0.20), incorporating most of the updates, was uploaded on 2013-06-08.

Any feedback will be appreciated.

96 Foreign Words and Names

• • • Review: Indeclinable Nouns and Adjectives, Slang

If you live in a big country, it's maybe hard for you to understand the outside influence on Croatian culture and of course its language.

When there's a movie on one of Croatian TV channels — it's likely an American movie (shown with subtitles). More than half of the songs played on radio stations are foreign (American, English, sometimes Italian). Book shops sell imported, English-language books as well, since many books don't get translated. If you drive for an hour or even less westward or northward from Zagreb — you come to the border, and another language is spoken across it. All cars are imported. Most shops sell foreign brands of clothes. Even in supermarkets, a lot of stuff is imported (e.g. candies, chocolate, snacks...) and has foreign names on it.

English (sometimes French and Italian) names for restaurants, cafés and shops are quite common, sometimes misspelled, or with mixed spelling (e.g. Croatian, English and French):

[under construction]

Not only shops bear English (sometimes French or Italian) names; a TV channel dedicated to mostly Croatian music videos is named Croatian Music Channel (CMC), and it organizes events called CMC Party.

One such event was CMC PARTY presenting: The Love Collection, where a record called The Love Collection containing songs by Croatian performers only and published by the main Croatian music publisher, Croatia Records, was presented!

Recently, with a transition to market economy, a lot of English words appeared in commercial and corporate context, public relations, services, etc. For instance, a Croatian company organizes The Ultimate Pub Quiz (this is its Croatian name!):

The Ultimate Pub Quiz je inicijalno kreiran kao mali team-building event 2009. godine te je uspješno prihvaćen među tvrtkama i institucijama diljem Hrvatske. Od tada, razvio se kao korporativni team-building event ili show namijenjen za manje kompaktne grupe ili jednako tako kao večernji društveni event na konferencijama, poslovnim druženjima ili čak privatnim korporativnim partijima. (Source)

Some words are spelled just as their English counterparts (team-building, event, show), while others are adapted (parti "party"). Such words are considered fancy and appealing by some people.

Meanings are sometimes shifted: event means "an organized event, social event, not just "event". Such often seen words are (with alternative spelling in brackets):

brand (brend)
event "social event"    
fitness "exercise; gym"
image (imidž) "public image"  
manager (menadžer)  
management (menadžment)  
piercing (pirsing)
shopping (šoping)

From shopping, a verb shoppingiram (also spelled šopingiram) was derived, meaning "shop" (not just "buy", as kupujem, kupovao ~ kupim), and from it a gerund shoppingiranje (or šopingiranje) is of course derived (BiH is a standard abbreviation for Bosnia-Herzegovina):

Dalmatinci i Slavonci masovno šopingiraju u BiH "Dalmatians and Slavonians shop in BiH in large numbers" (T-Portal)

Commercial ads often feature a mix of English and Croatian, where name of event or service is in English, and the rest in Croatian. For instance:

Note that the shopping mall is called Avenue Mall Osijek. Such words are not limited to shopping and other services, celebrity contexts, but are also found in specialized areas, although always related to business:

[U] Zagrebu se održava Retail Matchmaking Event u organizaciji tvrtke R.E.D. Star. Osim klasičnog "speed datinga" za developere i retailere, organizatori su sudionicima pripremili i nekoliko iznenađenja. (Source)

Here the writer puts "speed dating" into quotation marks, but not developer "property developer, real-estate investor" and retailer "shop owner".

Updated 2013-05-08

95 Other Stress Patterns

I will explain the stress pattern of some a-nouns, n-nouns and stress of adjectives.

A-Nouns: Rising-Falling Pattern

Most a-nouns have the fixed stress. However, some do not: this pattern applies to some a-nouns where stress (in the Standard system) is rising in some cases (nom. sg. and most others) and falling in others (acc. and voc. in both sg. and pl. and nom. pl.). The stress is on the first syllable, which can be either short or long, except for gen. pl. where the rising stress is on the syllable before the ending -ā:

nom. sg. kòsazèmljagláva
other cases in sg. (same stress as nom. sg.)
acc. sg. kosuzemljuglāvu
voc. sg. kosozemljoglāvo
nom./voc./acc. pl. kosezemljeglāve
gen. pl. kósāzemáljāglávā
dat./loc./ins. pl. kòsamazèmljamaglávama

The pattern again becomes obvious if you recall that á = ā + rising accent. The lenghts in gen. pl. are due to the general rule. Often used nouns in this group are:

bùha "flea" ††
dàska "plank"
dúša "soul" *
gláva "head" *
grána "branch"
gréda "(wooden) beam"
ìgla "needle"
kòsa "hair"
mètla "broom"
mùha "fly" ††
  nòga "leg" *
óvca "sheep"
pčèla "bee"
péta "heel"
ròsa "dawn"
rúka "arm, hand" *
slúga "servant" †
srijéda "Wednesday"
sŕna "roe deer"
stijéna "rock"
  strána "side"
strijéla "arrow"
svínja "pig" †
vòda "water" *
vójska "army"
zèmlja "ground; Earth; country" *
zíma "winter"
zmìja "snake" ††
zòra "dawn"
zvijézda "star"

Many nouns are marked with an asterisk (*): they can have the same falling stress also in dat. sg. Some others are marked with dagger (†): they can have a rising stress in acc. sg; ones marked with a double dagger have always a rising stress in acc. sg.

Dont forget that zvijézda is just an unfortunate spelling convetion; it's pronounced /zvjézda/, acc. sg. /zvjēzdu/!

Frequently, even when people speak Standard Croatian, they regard many of such nouns as having the fixed stress (as in nom. sg.).

It's safe to assume that all other a-nouns have the fixed stress.

N-Nouns: Falling-Rising Pattern

Most n-nouns have the fixed stress. However, there are some that have a pattern with a falling stress in sg. and a rising one in pl. on the syllable before case endings (e.g. mjèst-a, jezèr-a). The stressed syllable is normally short (except for one noun: vrijeme):

nom./acc./voc. sg. imejezerovrijēme
other cases in sg. (same stress as nom. sg.)vremen-
nom. pl. imènajezèravremèna
gen. pl. iménājezérāvreménā
other cases in pl. (same stress as nom. pl.)

Again, the lenghts in gen. pl. are due to the general rule. Often used nouns in this group are:

breme "burden"
ime "name"
jezero "lake"
  nevrijeme "storm, bad weather"
poluvrijeme "half-time"
sjeme "seed"
  tjeme "scalp"
vime "udder"
vrijēme "time; weather" *

The noun vrijēme is the only such noun having a long vowel in nom./acc./voc. sg. and the spelling of its case forms is affected by it, as shown in the table above.

Adjective Stress

[under construction]

94 Being Polite

Every language has "polite" constructions and words that are used as greetings, in formal occasions, when talking to unknown people...


It's customary to being and end letters with polite constructs, for example:

Poštovani g. Josipović,      
Lijëp pozdrav,
Ivan Ivić
Poštovana gđo. Kosor,
Lijëp pozdrav,
Ivan Ivić

Poštovani means "respected", while lijëp pozdrav is equivalent to "best regards". When writing a letter to a known person, you can address someone with dragi "dear".

Addressing People

[under construction]


93 "Vulgar" Slang

• • • Review: How to Curse, Slang

Warning! This entry contains words that can disturb some people :)

Slang uses "vulgar" words and words derived from them to express everyday things, not "vulgar" at all. It also uses other words to express sexual and taboo concepts.

The main "vulgar" word is the verb jebem, jebao "fuck". In slang, this verb gets more meanings, and derived verbs have diverse meanings, which are connected with "strong" or even "violent" things.

The verb jebem in slang on its own also means "bother", "worry", similar to Standard Croatian verb mučim, with one who suffers in acc., and the cause in nom., e.g.:

Jebe me matematika. "Math is annoying me."

However, if used in an impersonal dative construct (with za + acc.), it means "not give a damn":

Jebe mi se za matematiku. "I don't give a damn about math."

Mind that the verb is impersonal in this construct, that is, in the 3rd pers. sg. n always! Search for "jebe mi se za" on Google™ to see how often it's used. While most consider it vulgar, it's sometimes found in Internet media, e.g.:

Eto'o: Jebe mi se za Arsenalovog Henryja "Eto'o: I don't give a damn about Henry from Arsenal" (source)

Some derived verbs used in slang are:

zajebavam ~ zajebem, zajebao "joke", "cheat", "take advantage of"
najebem, najebao perf. "get hurt", "get caught", "suffer"
odjebem, odjebao perf. "go away"

Since all those verbs are derived from jebem, they are still considered vulgar, however they are more acceptable than jebem, kuräc etc.

The verb zajebavam ~ zajebem, zajebao is often used in informal speech, in broad meaning "behave irresponsibly", "deceive", similar to English "fool" (and "screw up" or "fuck up" in slang).

Imperative odjebi means "go away" (similar to English slang "fuck off"). For instance, a Croatian pop group had a song with a line Odjebi od mene:

Zatvori prozor i pokrij me
Tiho zaključaj vrata
Odjebi od mene
Tiho zaključaj vrata
Odjebi zauvijek

Tvoje lice, tvoje rijëči
Postale su preblijëde
Uzmi šal i svoju glazbu
Odjebi od mene
Uzmi šal i svoju glazbu
Odjebi zauvijëk

Passive adjective jeben means "superb", "outstanding", while adverb jebeno means "extremely", similar to English slang "fucking":

Jebeno je hladno. "It's fucking cold."

Kuräc has a meaning "something (worthless)" in slang, like in phrases:

za kuräc "not valid, not functioning"
koji kuräc "why" (also koje sranje)
neki kuräc "something" (also neko sranje)
idem na kuräc "irritate"

It can be used as an adverb, meaning "no way", "won't happen", that is, strongly negating the whole sequence:

hoćeš kuräc "no way you'll do it"

Slang has also "replacements" for some vulgar words, for instance verbs karam or fukam instead of jebem. Replacements for kuräc are the following nouns:


For instance, The Beat Fleet (TBF), a popular group from Split, used various words for penis in their hit Veseljko, a song that leaves no doubt what it is about:

Kad dotaknem zvijezde
Zaplovim u svemir
I kako čovjek je mali
A život je ko rijeka
Možda još večeras upozna mog
Mog Veseljka

"When I touch the stars
Set sails into universe
And how man is small
And life is like a river
Maybe even tonight she'll meet my
My willy"

A really "strong" language is present in a song by Edo Maajka, a Croatian-Bosnian rapper:

Budi popularan sine,
nek ti misice puše kuräc
Ko Zdravko Čolić,
karaj sine sa estrade cure fine . . .
Budi ko Halid imaš glasa,
u selu budi faca
Nek ti Huljić radi ploču,
pa karaj danju i noću . . .
De mi reci Denis,
koji kuräc tj. penis
Hoćeš od mene, ko si,
sa vrata mi se mali nosi
Gospon Huljić, ti ne slutiš,
ja sam nova nada kužiš
Imam eura znam pjevat,
hoću non-stop jebat

Updated 2012-10-27

92 Fancy Sentence Starts

When you write a text, or speak carefully, and want the sentences to "flow" from one to another, you frequently use fancy words to start them, like "however", "furthermore", "nevertheless". Such "fancy start words" are sometimes called conjunctive adverbs or connectors.

They indicate a relation of the sentence they start with stuff already said, e.g. consequence, completion, opposition, etc. Here are main connectors with English counterparts:

consequence"therefore" dakle,
prema tome
"on the contrary" naprotiv,
nasuprot tome
expected"of course",
"nevertheless" usprkos tome,
opposition"however" međutim,
osim toga
emphasis"in fact" zapravo
similarity"likewise" slično,
isto tako
conclusion"finally" konačno,
na kraju
change of subject? nego
(in coll. speech)

All such "starts" are usually separated by a comma (,) from the rest of the sentence. Some examples:

Naravno, pit ćemo pivo. "Of course, we will drink beer."

[under construction]

91 Slang

• • • Review: Colloquial and Regional Vocabulary

Both slang and colloquial words make 'unofficial language'. However, there's an important difference: while all people use colloquial terms — grandmothers and grandsons use pegla — not many grandmothers use slang. Slang changes frequently, and it's associated with young people mostly (note: this is not a strict linguistic definition, as 'slang' can refer to a speech specific to any social group, e.g. prison inmates, soldiers, prostitutes etc. I'm deliberately not strict here: my 'slang' is actually 'teenage/young adult slang').

Slang varies by city and by age group. I'm frankly not familiar with slang in all regions of Croatia, so I will describe slang from Zagreb and partly from Split.

However, there are some slang words which are known in most regions, some of them are:

faca(važna) osoba"(important) person"

Words stari and stara are simply forms of adjective star "old" and decline as adjectives:

Razgovarao säm o staroj. "I was talking about my mother." (staroj dat.)
Razgovarao säm sa starom. "I was talking to my mother." (starom ins.)

It's interesting to remark that lova originates from Gypsy (Romani) Gurbet language (some consider it a "dialect").

Zagreb Slang

The following nouns are often used in Zagreb slang (matching Standard words are in curved braces {}):

birc "cafe" (serving liquor as well)    
bulja "head" {glava}
buraz "brother" {brat}
cuga "drink" {piće}
fora "a cool thing, joke"
frajer "(good-looking) guy"
frka "panic, something urgent"
klopa "food" {hrana}
marica "police van"
murja, murija "cops, police" {policija}
murjak "cop" {policajäc}
pljuga "cigarette" {cigareta}
šora "fight, scuffle" {tučnjava}
tulum "party" {zabava}

Sometimes in Zagreb, but mostly in other regions of Croatia, bulja means "bottom, ass"; the word is borrowed from Gypsy as well (where it means "bum, ass").

Some nouns are just shortened or mangled versions of full nouns, often with specific endings (-s, -as, -sa, -...) or just diminutives:

alkos "alcoholic" {alkoholičar}
badić "swimming suit" {kupaći kostim}
Dalmoš "Dalmatian (man)" {Dalmatinäc}
dučkas "shop" {dućan}
faks "university (dept.)" {fakultet}
fotka "photography" {fotografija}
narkić, narkos "drug addict" {narkoman}  
nogač "football" {nogomet}
raska "class-mistress" {razrednica}
ročkas "birthday" {rođendan}
rege pl. "license plates" {registarske tablice}
restač "restaurant" {restoran}
starke "Converse All-Stars shoes"
studoš "(university) student" {student}
tekma "sport (football) match" {utakmica}
viksa "holiday home" {vikendica}

The raska is a female teacher in charge of a whole class, who contacts parents about behavior of students in a primary or high school. Words ročkas and dučkas are often spelled as roćkas and dućkas (there's no difference in speech, as č and ć are not distinct in Zagreb).

The following verbs are often used in Zagreb slang:

slang wordStandard wordmeaning
barim ~ z-zavodim"seduce"
brijem, brijaodiverse meanings
furam"carry", "wear", "drive", "date"
kužim ~ s-shvaćam, razumijëm"understand"

The verb brijem of course means "shave" but has a lot of additional meanings in Zagreb slang:

N da...N believes, thinks that...
N na AN is into A, is fascinated with A, identifies with A
N po DN visits D, has fun (in club D, city D)
N s IN spends time with I, is in a relationship with I

For instance:

Ana brije da je manekenka. "Ana thinks she's a model."
Ana brije na jogu. "Ana is into yoga."
Ana brije po Zagrebu. "Ana has fun all over Zagreb."
Ana brije s Markom. "Ana dates Marko."

The verb furam means "carry", "wear", "drive", but also:

N AN wears, carries, drives A
N se na AN imitates, behaves like A
N s IN dates I, is in a relationship with I

For instance, these quotes come from the Croatian Telecom Web portal (

Mickey Rourke fura s Courtney Love. "Mickey Rourke dates Courtney Love." (source)
Kim Kardashian se fura na Beyoncé. "Kim Kardashian copies Beyoncé." (source)

Really, these are not fully accurate translations. I will find better ones.

Next, there are several adverbs and adverbial expressions:

do jaja"fully, over the top"
za istačstvarno"for real"
za ozbačozbiljno"seriously"

There's a wealth of words taken straight from English: sori "I'm sorry", pliz "please", etc. They are sometimes mangled in the characteristic way, so "sorry" becomes sorkač... Even super is sometimes mangled to supač.

Split Slang

Unfortunately, I'm much less familiar with slang from Split and surrounding areas.

[under construction]

Belgrade Slang

The Belgrade slang is of course not Croatian, but has a lot of influence on Croatian slang, due to popularity of Serbian popular culture (movies, music) in Croatia. For instance, words klopa and šora came to Zagreb slang from the Belgrade slang; they ultimately come from the Albanian language.

A characteristic of Belgrade slang is 'metathesis' of syllables, that is, swapping them around: from brate "brother" (voc.) one gets tebra, and so on. Such words are sometimes called šatrovački.

Some characteristic words are:

fazon "joke"
gotivim "like, love"
keva "Mom"

Probably the greatest scholar on Belgrade slang is Petrit Imami, who publishes Beogradski frajerski rečnik.

[under construction]

Internet Slang

Croatian Internet slang mostly borrows phrases from English Internet slang (e.g. LOL) but nevertheless has some specific words:

lajkam (verb) "like (on Facebook)"
pozz "bye" {pozdrav}

[under construction]

Recently some special spellings were seen, chiefly used by teenage (and younger) girls: every v (and often l as well) is spelled as w, č/ć and š are often spelled ch and sh, making a Croatian text superficially similar to English. For instance:

Al meni je jedan wech odawno izmamio pogled i ukrao srce heheh..I ono, upoznala sam ga užiwo blablabla... (source)

Sources and Further Reading

• A small dictionary of Split youth jargon (in Croatian): R. Vidović: Rječnik žargona splitskih mlađih naraštaja (PDF)

Updated 2014-09-03, to be improved...

90 Movable Stress

• • • Review: Word Stress (Accent), Penultimate Stress

Animate Pattern

This pattern is quite simple: nouns have the falling stress in all cases, however the last syllable in nom. sg. is always long and the same syllable can be short in other cases or can be long – it depends on the word.

Actually, that syllable had the same length in all cases some thousand years ago, but then it always lengthened in nom. sg. Two sub-patterns are marked as "short" and "long", but remember that the last syllable is always long in nom. sg.

[under construction]

cr̄v "worm"
člān "member"
dīv "giant"
    kūm "godfather"
mūž "husband"

Movable-inanimate Pattern

This is the most complex pattern, you'll see why. This is why dative is not strictly equal to locative in the Standard Croatian, that's why my "dative=locative" was a bit of a lie.

This pattern applies to some mi-nouns, and most i-nouns.

It's very similar to the animate pattern: nouns have the falling stress in all cases in sg. — except in the locative. In the loc. sg. there's a rising stress on the syllable before the last one. For short nouns like nos "nose" and noć "night" it's again the first syllable, since there are only two syllables in loc., but for longer nouns like bolest it's visible; hence the name "movable". The same motion happens in dat./loc./ins. and gen. pl.

As with the animate pattern, the last syllable in nom. is always long (nōs, bolēst, korāk); it's also long in acc. sg. since nom. sg. = acc. sg. for inanimate nouns. The same syllable can be short in other cases (nos-, bolest-) or can be long (korāk-) – it depends on the word. It's the same syllable that's stressed in loc. sg.

casemi-nouns i-nouns
nom./acc. sg. nōskorāk nōćbolēstvlāst
dat. sg. nosukorāku noćibolestivlāsti
other cases in sg. (same stress as dat. sg.)
loc. sg. nòsukoráku nòćibolèsti vlásti
nom. pl. nosovikorāci noćibolestivlāsti
other cases in pl. (same stress as nom. pl.)
dat./loc./ins. pl. nosovimakorácima nòćimabolèstima vlástima
gen. pl. nosōvākorákā nòćībolèstī vlástī

The pattern becomes obvious if you recall that á = ā + rising accent.

Common m-nouns in the "short" sub-group (a long vowel only in nom./acc. sg.) are:

brōd "ship"
brōj "number"
dōm "home"
govōr "speech"
krāj "end"; "part of country"  
lēd "ice"
lōv "hunt"
  mēd "honey"
mōst "bridge"
nōs "nose"
plōd "fruit"      
rāj "heaven"
rōd "kin"
rōg "horn"
  rōj "swarm"
slōj "layer"
sōk "juice"
spōj "connection"
strōj "machine"
znōj "sweat"

There are much more common m-nouns in the "long" sub-group (a long vowel in all cases) are:

bijēg "escape"
bijēs "rage"
brāk "marriage"
brīd "edge"
cīlj "target, finish line"
crijēp "roof tile"
cvijēt "flower"
dān "day"
dār "gift"
dūg "debt"
fēn "hair dryer"
glās "voice"
gnjēv "wrath"
grād "city"
gr̄b "emblem, coat of arms"
hlād "shade"
hrām "temple"
kīp "statue"
klōr "chlorine"
klūb "club, association"
kljūn "beak"
krūg "circle"
    līst "leaf"
lūk "bow, arch"
mīt "myth"
mlāz "jet, gush"
mrāk "dark"
njūh "sense of smell"
pār "pair, couple"
plēs "dance"
plijēn "booty, spoil"
prāh "powder"
rād "labor, work"
rēd "order"
rēp "tail"
rēz "cut"
rāst "growth"
sjāj "glow, shine"
slūh "sense of hearing"
smijēh "laughter"
splāv "raft"
spōl "sex, gender"
srām "shame"
stān "apartment"
    strāh "fear"
strūk "waist"
šāl "scarf"
štīt "shield"
tīm "team"
tlāk "(air, water) pressure"
tōn "tone"
trāg "trail"
tr̄g "(city) square"
tr̄n "thorn"
vāl "wave"
vīd "eyesight"
vijēk "lifespan, century"
vlāk "train"
vrāt "neck"
zīd "wall"
znāk "sign"
zrāk "air"
zūb "tooth"
zvūk "sound"
žār "cinder"

Most i-nouns belong to the "short" sub-group (e.g. nōć-noći, pēć-peći, lāž-laži, kōst-kosti...) but a few do belong to the "long" subgroup; the most common ones are:

bōl "pain"
glād "hunger"
hrīd "cliff"
kāp "drop (of water, oil...)"
korīst "benefit, utility"
māst "grease, fat"
    nīt "thread"
pamēt "intelligence"
rijëč "word"
stvār "thing"
vijëst "news"
vlāst "authority, government"

Recall that the sequence ijë, such as in rijëč, is just a spelling tradition for , and the pronunciation is actually /rjēč/.

So, if you aim for the Standard pronunciation (or just "Štokavian" with all lengths), you should observe the difference nōć-noći vs. vlāst-vlāsti!

Some "core" i-nouns (that is, ones not derived with -ost) belong to the fixed stress pattern:

ljúbav "love"
obítelj "family"
smrt "death"
    pústoš "wasteland, empty land"
ráskoš "splendor, luxury"
závist "envy"

You may note that all of them (except for smrt) have a rising stress in the nom., and that immediately indicates they are not in the movable-inanimate pattern, which predicts a falling stress in nom.

With Prepositions

When prepositions are found before such words in cases that do not have a rising stress (i.e. not in loc. sg.) the preposition is pronounced together with the word after as "one word", therefore, the falling stress "jumps" to the preposition and appears on its first syllable! For instance:

preko noći (gen.) pronounce as prekonoći (falling stress on pre-!)
na nos (acc.) pronounce as nanos (falling stress on na-!)

Note that this is not the same as na + pūt = /nàpūt/, where a new rising stress appears! Distinguishing such stress movements is without a doubt, the hardest thing to learn in Standard Croatian. I don't know it either, but I don't claim I speak Standard...

When prepositions come before nouns with rising stresses, the Standard pronunciation as usual, the stress does not move:

u noći (loc.) pronounce as /unòći/
u nosu (loc.) pronounce as /unòsu/

Updated 2013-03-12