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Šatrovački (Шатровачки) or šatra is a feature of permuting syllables of words used in Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian. It is similar to verlan and louchébem in French. The term is sometimes used to describe other slang in which words are deformed, as well.

Šatrovački was initially developed by criminals in Yugoslavia, as it was incomprehensible to police. Today, it is spread among youth in informal speech and its variants are found in all languages that can be linguistically categorized as South Slavic. It is more widespread in urban areas, such as Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo.

Standard šatrovački[edit]

Words are formed by replacing the syllable order. For example: pivo (beer), becomes vopi. The new word has the same meaning as the stem. Since the spelling is nearly phonetic it does not change. However, sometimes one of the vowels is changed to make the new word easier to pronounce, avoid ambiguity, or if the stem word is not in nominative. For example, trava (grass, often used for marijuana) would become vutra instead of vatra (meaning fire).

Some words are more commonly spoken in Šatrovački than others, but there is no specific rule. Examples of transformed sentences (although, most of the words in a single sentence are rarely transformed) are:

Brate, neću da igram fudbal. (Bro, I don't want to play football.)
Tebra, ćune da grami balfud.
Zemun zakon brate (literally: Zemun is the law bro - meaning: Zemun rules dude)
Munze konza tebra
Pazi brate, murija! (Watch out mate - cops! murija is slang for police)
Zipa tebra, rijamu!

Common examples[edit]

  • zeldi - dizel (chav)
  • ciba - baci (throw, throw it)
  • mojne - nemoj (don't, imperative)
  • loma - malo (a little, few)
  • tebra - brate (brother, vocative)
  • Ganci - Cigan (Gypsy)
  • ljakse - seljak (peasant, derogatory depending on usage)
  • zipa - pazi (pay attention, imperative)
  • tenkre - kreten (idiot)
  • katabr naže - brkata žena (woman with moustaches, for example Frida Kahlo)
  • zabr nahra - brza hrana (fast food)
  • hopsi - psiho (Psycho)
  • vugla - glava (head)
  • ljadro - drolja (ho')
  • vutra - trava (weed, slang for marijuana)
  • fuka - kafa (coffee)
  • gadro - droga (drugs, narcotics in general)
  • vopi - pivo (beer)
  • suljpa - pasulj (beans)
  • vozdra - zdravo (hello in Sarajevo)
  • dismr - smrdi (it stinks!)
  • žika - kaži (say, speak)
  • konza - zakon (law, slang for excellent)
  • balfud - fudbal (soccer)
  • vuspra - sprava (tool or device, referring to spliff)
  • cupi - pica (lit. pussy, referring to a pretty girl)
  • rijamu - murija, from milicija (police)
  • sajsi - sisaj (to suck, imperative)
  • Šone - Nešo (male name or nickname)
  • Šomi - Mišo (male name or nickname)
  • Kizo - Zoki (male nickname)
  • Rijama - Marija (female name)
  • Kblo Konza - Blok Zakon (Blok rules} Blok of New Belgrade (Belgrade suburb)
  • Munze Konza - Zemun Zakon (Zemun} rules (Belgrade suburb)
  • tozla - Zlato (gold)
  • Rajvosa - Sarajevo
  • pakšu - Šupak (vulg. asshole, insult)
  • racku - Kurac (vulg. dick, penis)
  • žmu - Muž (husband)
  • rise - Ne seri (no shit (not as an insult) or don't talk shit (insult), depends on pronunciation)
  • d - Dinozaver
  • sepra - Prase (pig)
  • Šipu - Pušiti (Smoke)


Utrovački (Утровачки) is a more complex form of šatrovački. Words are formed using: U + last part + ZA + first part + NJE. E.g. vikipedija (Wikipedia) becomes ukipedijazavinje. Today, utrovački is not widely used.

Alternative Utrovački is same as above, but without "ZA", e.g. pivo (beer) becomes uvopinje, or cigare (tobacco) becomes ugarecinje.

Common examples[edit]

  • udragunje - droga (drug)
  • utravunje - trava (weed)

Leaving out syllables[edit]

A more simplified version of Šatrovački is using only parts of the word, while excluding the first syllable, and is most commonly used among young people in Serbia. For example, koncert (concert) would be shorthened to cert. The rules of creating a new word that can be used in nominative while the stem is not apply similarly to standard šatrovački. An example of a full sentence would be:

Drugar i ja idemo na koncert na Tvrđavi. (My friend and I are going to a concert on the Fortress)
Gari i ja idemo na cert na Đavi.

This is particularly characteristic of Novi Sad youth subculture, and is very rarely spoken outside of Vojvodina.

Common examples[edit]

  • zika - muzika (music)
  • cert - koncert (concert)
  • Đava - tvrđava (fortress, almost exclusively refers to Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad)
  • gari - drugar (friend, buddy, mate, comrade, fellow, bloke - derived from drugari meaning friends; is usually used as singular; plural garesi)
  • fika - trafika (news stand)
  • kić - sokić (demunitive of juice)
  • nica - stanica (station)
  • šulja - košulja (shirt)
  • lone - pantalone (trousers)
  • tike - patike (sneakers)
  • njačić - vinjačić (Diminutive for Vinjak, an alcoholic drink similar to Cognac)
  • tija - kutija (box, cd case)
  • ljara - pepeljara (ashtray)
  • ljada - hiljada (thousand)
  • bica - torbica (bag, handbag)
  • čka - pička (vulg. girl, lady, bitch)
  • pač - štampač (printer)
  • činka - palačinka (crêpe, pancake)

Adding syllables[edit]

A very rare but present form of expression found in the Belgrade projects (blokovi). Words are reconstructed by adding various suffixes so that the original word remains relatively intact. Usually, the basis is šatrovački. The resulting words have a generally diminutive meaning.


  • kajblo or kićblo - blok (Blok of suburb Blokovi or New Belgrade)
  • kićso or kajso - sok (juice)
  • pajdo - dop (heroin)

These diminutives can later be combined using the Šatrovački method, resulting in words like kajblo, or kićblo. However, this is a rare usage, confined to the area of Zemun and New Belgrade.

Also there is another type of šatrovački, where the words are reconstructed by addition of letter P after each syllable:


  • dipizepel - dizel (chav)
  • bapacipi - baci (throw)
  • nepemopoj - nemoj (don't)
  • mapalopo - malo (some)
  • brapatepe - brate (brother)
  • cipigapan - cigan (gypsy)
  • pepedeper - peder (homosexual)
  • sepeljapak - seljak (peasant)
  • papazipi - pazi (pay attention)
  • krepetepen - kreten (idiot)

See also[edit]