PORTUGAL-L ArchivesArchiver > PORTUGAL > 1999-11 > 0942108751
From: "LUIS K. W." <>
Subject: [PORTUGAL-L] Portuguese swear words (comic off-topic)
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 00:52:31 -0000
(I am sorry, but I can't help sharing this with all of you)
I am not amazed that you all (luso-americanos / american-portuguese)
remember some of the slang, and want to know more about it. Being 3d or 4th
generation americans, for some of you (that slang) is almost all you heard
from your ancesters language.
When I arived in Belgium -we were over 100 Portuguese students in that
University - I was astonished with the amount of Belgian students that
asked us to teach them Portuguese swear words (like s.o.b., etc.). After a
while we understood that it wouldn't be nice if a Belgian told a lot of
portuguese insults to a Portuguese girl and tell her «that's Luis who
teached me that one!!».
So, we decided to teach them a «fake» swear word. And we made it up:
Zan-Zan Ziriban Zan-Zan
or (for the french speaking people)
Zin-Zin Ziribin Zin-Zin
The meaning? Unbelievably impolite. No translation possible into french
words. And please!! don't call that name to any other portuguese!!
You would never believe it. After a couple of weeks, EVERYONE in the
University «knew» (and believed it!) that the worst thing you could say to
a Portuguese was: Zan-zan Ziriban Zan-Zan
There was a song that the students used to sing together, in the bar, after
midnight, i.e., after the 20th beer, which only words were: zan-zan ziriban
The Portuguese participated once with two teams in the relay race around
the University campus. It was an important sports event (thousands of
people coming from all over the country and from abroad) and the portuguese
first team finished 8th.
When it came to receive our prize, the speaker couldn't say the team's name
(he couldn't stop laughing) and everybody started laughing because our
team's name was: zan-zan ziriban zan-zan.
(note: the «Portugal» team usually won every roller hockey and swimming
competition; athletics was not our best sport).
There was people doing business too. Some of us printed white T-shirts with
great black letters saying «zan-zan ziriban zan-zan». They sold out several
times in a couple of hours!
Once, a Belgian guy (called Thierry) PROUDLY told me he just met a
portuguese girl and he told her he knew some portuguese words.
«You should see her face after I said "zan-zan ziriban zan-zan" to her» he
told me laughing. Yes :-)) I can imagine!!
Well. This was almost 25 years ago. When I came back to Portugal (in 1981),
The portuguese still held the secret about the real meaning of Zan-zan
Ziriban Zan-Zan. It obviously means Nothing!!
I guess that we are going to have a couple of Belgian generations thinking
that they know that Zan-Zan Ziriban Zan-Zan are the worst Portuguese swear
So, if you ever go to Belgium, please, don't say these Zan-Zan words! You
never know... :-))
Luis K W
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|[PORTUGAL-L] Portuguese swear words (comic off-topic) by "LUIS K. W." <>|