Anyone who lives in Malta knows that insults are often used as a term of endearment. The harsher the word, the closer the friendship. Sure, one could opt for the popular ‘aw kuġin’ – but who’d want to be that formal anyway?
Maltese animal similes may not be quite as cushy as their English counterparts (sly as a fox, free as a bird and so on). However, our animal comparisons come in handy when we need to express true frustration and let’s be honest – that’s pretty much all the time.
1. Annimal (straight up animal)
…as in ‘Bghattlek Whatsapp, annimal!’
(‘I’ve whatsapped you, animal!’)
This one is pretty vague, just a generic insult for that annoying friend who reads your messages and never replies. Crank up the psychometer when it’s the person you’re dating who’s ignoring you though.
2. Mogħża (Goat)
…as in ‘Għid grazzi, mogħża! Issa inħallik taqsam darb’oħra!’
(Say ‘thanks’, goat! No way I’m letting you cross the road next time!)
3. Bhima (Beast)
…as in ‘Arah x’inhu bhima, ħalla is-saqqu fuq il-bankina!’
(Look what a beast he is, he left the mattress on the pavement!)
4. Majjal (Pig)
…as in ‘Nittint kull m’hawn majjal! Iftaħ it-tieqa!’
(You’ve stunk the place up, pig! Open the window!)
5. Barri (Bull)
…as in ‘Ar’hemm x’int salvaġġ, waqqajt kollox barri!’
(Careful, savage! You’ve dropped everything, bull!)
That clumsy friend you can’t take out because they’ll spill all their drinks at a bar, or knock down half the shelves at Lidl.
6. Baqra (Cow)
…as in ‘Mhux aħjar ma tilbisx issikkat, qisha baqra!’
(She really shouldn’t wear such tight clothes, she looks like a cow!)
7. Aringa (herring)
…as in ‘Kul xi ħaġa qisek aringa!’
(You should really eat something, you’re like a herring!)
8. Nagħġa (Sheep)
…as in ‘Ejja għidlu xi ħaġa qisek nagħġa’
(Go on, speak to him, you’re standing there like a sheep)
9. Ħmar (Donkey)
…as in ‘Mhux hekk taqfel il-lazz! Kemm tiflaħ tkun ħmar!’
(That’s not how you tie your shoelaces! How much of a donkey can you possibly be!)
10. Bagħal (mule)
…as in ‘Jaħdem daqs bagħal miskin’
(He works like a mule, poor guy)
11. Pipistrell (Bat)
…as in ‘Dak lili qed ixejjer qisu pipistrell?’
(Is that guy waving at me? He looks like a bat)
12. Kelb (Dog)
…as in ‘Arah kemm hu kelb, ipparkja quddiem il-garaxx!’
(Look what a dog he is, he parked in front of the garage!)
One final word of advice – if you hear these, it’s probably not wise to tell the person to “calm down”.
Some edits have been made to fix spelling errors.