folk metaphor
Folk speech

Bengali Insult

My informant is the daughter of immigrants from Bangladesh, and a close friend of mine. She has often told me of the unique Bengali insults and phrases that her family would use with each other. Here is a notable example:

আপনি একটি গাভী ডিম ডাল মাথা হয়

Āpani ēkaṭi gābhī ḍima ḍāla māthā haẏa

Literal translation: “You are a cow’s egg vegetable head”

My informant expressed to me that she was unsure if it was a widely used Bengali phrase, and it would be difficult to find out with a simple google search, but she assured me that most everyone in her extended family uses this phrase. It simply means to refer to someone who is insignificant or idiotic.

I might classify this phrase as a “surrealist insult”, as it seems to be a string of words tied together with little meaning outside of simple degradation.

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