There are 2,985 different synonyms in the English language for the word “drunk”, and while Maltese definitely tries its best to keep up (especially with this particular example), our language doesn’t usually have that many ambiguous cases. Usually.
Earlier this week, one local took to Facebook to address a hot topic; what does the word slipper mean to the Maltese people?
Over a thousand votes later, it seems like running shoes, or sneakers, were clear winners (at over 60%), but the debate didn’t end there.
In the English language, slippers are defined as “comfortable slip-on shoes worn indoors”. But in Malta, that word has ended up referring to trainers instead… which is weird, because there is a Maltese word as well, pappoċċ. Of course, the problem is that papoċċ itself is used to refer to either a bed slipper or sneakers, depending on who you ask.
Yeah, it’s a confusing one.
Soon enough, a whole discussion was sparked, with people sharing screenshots from different versions of Maltese dictionaries to support their claim. One comment even said sliper was a loanword that has a different meaning to the original word “slipper”.
A couple of hours later, the post made it to one of the biggest Facebook forums on the island, The Salott. And as you’d expect, the conversation kicked off all over again.