Sabyr Myrk! – An Annotated Collection of Kyrgyz Slang and Profanities

Inoffensive Slang

зыңк [zyngk] – cool, nice, good. In Kazakh the word is зың [zyng] and is most famously used in the song “Зың, зың” about girls from Shymkent.

“Zyngk” was the first slang I was told by a colleague: “You want to sound cool in Kyrgyz? Use this word!”

таш [tasch] – strong, cool. Literally – “stone”. (German: stark)

сабыр! [sabyr!] – take it easy! (German: Beruhig dich!)

I was told “sabyr” is originally Arabic. It is interesting to note the influences of foreign languages on Kyrgyz slang, many words come from the Russian.

доске [doské] or доке [doké] – brother, friend. From дос [dos] – friend. Synonym to Russian братан [bratan], from брат [brat] – brother

Young men in Bishkek address each other on the street by “Bratan” , as in “Bratan, do you have a match?” – “Here you go.” – “Thanks, bratan.”

ат экен [at eken] “like a horse”. Kyrgyz men say this to express they like the figure of a woman, as in “сенин фигуран ат экен [senin figuran at eken]” – “your figure is like that of a horse.” Also used in the song “Зың, зың” at 1:57.

It satisfies some Central Asia cliches that in Kyrgyz “like a horse” means something positive. In German “she looks like a horse” means a woman is considered ugly. I was also told, however, that Kyrgyz women don’t find being thus described very flattering.

шаритэтип [sharitetip] – doing something in an illegal informal way, engaging in corruption. From Russian шарить [scharit’] – understand. For example, a Kyrgyz person might say “I got this job sharitetip”, meaning he got it through contacts or by paying money, but not via the official procedure. Also used by men talking to each other about flirting with or getting into contact with women.

Considering the importance of informal dealings in Kyrgyz society, I assume there are many more expressions like this.

Mildly Offensive Slang

мырк [myrk] – stupid, uncultivated, immoral person. In general anyone showing uncivilized behavior in public, such as spitting, littering, or cursing.

мырка [myrka] – female myrk

The phenomenon of Russian/Postsoviet gopniks and their main characteristics is by now well documented on Youtube and known in Western circles. Gopniks are young men in Adidas sportsuits doing the Slavic squad, smoking, drinking vodka or Baltika 9 and eating sunflower seeds in front of the Soviet era blocks where they live.

Kyrgyzstan has it’s own brand of  gopniks – the myrks. They typically prefer to hang out in parks, spit a lot and eat sunflower seeds. Some of the more offensive terms in this collection might be considered “myrk language.”

“Askat” “Is a Myrk” – Graffito in Skrjabina Street, Bishkek.

An example can be found in this episode of the popular Kyrgyz show El Emne Dejt? (What will people say?). 

I have discussed the term myrk a lot lately but have been unable to find out if they’re more an urban phenomenon or more people who have recently arrived in the city from the countryside.

According to the political scientist Elina Ismatillaev the term is related to the word “mankurt“, which in ancient Kyrgyz/Kazakh/Turkic culture was a brainwashed prisoner of war who had forgotten his language, customs and people. Kyrgyz national writer Chinghiz Aitmatov used the concept of the mankurt in the perestroika novel The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred YearsSimilarly, a myrk is a person who does not know or respect how to behave in society.

мамбет [mambet] or мамбич [mambich] – synonym for myrk, uncultivated, immoral person

As in many other languages, animal names are used as pejoratives in Kyrgyz. I actually think this does not do the animals justice. Donkeys and pigs are highly intelligent and social animals.

мал [mal] – domestic animals with horns (sheep, goats, cattle) – stupid person, stupid group of people

эшек [eshek] – donkey – stupid person

чочко [chochko] – pig – dirty person, somebody who has done something wrong

Not to be confused with чочок [chochok], which means dick. There’s an anecdote here about me trying to shock a full taxi by telling them (in Kyrgyz) how many pigs we keep in Germany. I ended up shocking them in a whole different way.

апенди [apendí] – stupid person, somebody like Mister Bean.
апендисиң [apendísing] – you’re stupid,

гялдир [gjaldir] – stupid person, somebody like Mister Bean
гялдирсиң [gjaldirsing] – you’re stupid, you’re a fool

Yes, apendí and gjaldir were explained to me like this. I guess Mister Bean is popular in Kyrgyzstan.

жинди [zhindi] – crazy, stupid person
жиндисиң [zhindising]   you’re crazy

көкмээ [kökmeе, say “kökmä”] – literally “moldy brain” – stupid person. Like дурак [durak] in Russian. Көк means green (and blue) and “moldy”. For example көк нан [kök nan] – literally “green bread” means “moldy bread”. Мээ [mee] – brain.

Offensive Slang

More offensive slang words are related to intimate body parts, sexuality and sexual behavior.

көт [köt] – ass

көтбаш [kötbash] – moron, asshole, literally “asshead”

көтүң кыc [kötüng kys] – shut your mouth, literally “shut your ass”

көпөлөк [köpölök] – butterfly – prostitute

Interestingly, in Bulgarian пеперуда [peperuda] – butterfly can also mean prostitute.

канчык [kanchyk] – female dog: used like “bitch” in English and сука [suka] and сучка [suchka] in Russian.

итин баласы [itin balasy] – son of a dog, son of a bitch

жалап [zhalap] – prostitute, bitch, (German: Schlampe)

Very Offensive Slang

The most offensive swear words in Kyrgyz refer to parents and connect them to sexual acts. 

скейн [skejn] (Russian pronunciation), сигейн [sygejn] (Kyrgyz pronunciation) – to fuck, to have sex

энең сигейн [eneng sygejn] – “I’ll fuck your mother”

атаң озурайн [atang ozurain] – “I’ll beat your father on the lips.” This rather archaic form is used mainly by old people. What they mean is that your father should not have taught you to say something and they will beat him instead of you.

сарт [sart] – pejorative for Uzbek people used in the south of Kyrgyzstan. If a Kyrgyz person wants to offend an Uzbek he might address him thus “Ey Sart!”

There’s another meaning of this word that I consider too offensive even for this collection.