Episode 27: What A Soapy Person!

Co za mydłek!

English Phonemes: “tsoh zah MIHD-wehk”

Literal Translation: What a soapy person!

This is a super colloquial phrase, and a very not-nice thing to say about someone. The real meaning is related to soap in that it’s a way to describe a person who is slithery, weak, wishy-washy, and has no spine. The vibe is hard to find in words, and an exact comparison in English is hard to pin down... think of it as a combination of "liar", “jerk”, “snake”, “weakling”, "spineless", “sneak”, and “creep”, as well as adding the feeling of something that is disgusting to be around. You don’t want to be near a mydłek for longer than you have to. It feels frustrating and gross to deal with such a person.

So, yeah, be careful how you use this phrase. If you call someone a mydłek, them is fightin’ words.

co = what
za = a, an, for, too, instead of, past, behind, under, beyond, on, at, after, to, in, as, by... [depending on context. One of the most versatile prepositions in Polish.]
mydłek = soapy person [as discussed above]

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Julia Tutko