National nicknames

There are about 1500 different peoples on our planet who have their own individual names that distinguish them from each other. But in addition to official names, many peoples also have nicknames given to them in due time by friends-neighbors or, on the contrary, by opponents. Of course, they are not mentioned in international treaties and other important documents.

Each of these names, then mockingly-joking, then sarcastically offensive, has its own story and its own destiny. Some of them are known only to historians, and others, on the contrary, exist to this day.

Some nicknames have even become the official names of peoples in the languages ​​in which they originated. Everything depends on the historical situation that contributed to their emergence, and the further mutual relations of the peoples.

Where did the barbarians come from?

The emergence of the first national nicknames refers to antiquity. Even the ancient Greeks, and later the Romans also used the word “barbarians” in relation to the people around them. They were people who belonged to different ethnic groups and spoke different languages: Slavs, Germans, Celts and many others. For Greece and Rome with their developed culture, these peoples looked very backward. And their language was incomprehensible.

It seemed to the Greeks and Romans that, speaking to each other, they utter some strange sounds – “var-var”. Hence the name followed, which existed for many centuries. Later this word lost its original meaning and became a household name. Now it denotes a gross, ignorant person who destroys what is created by the labor of others, regardless of his nationality.

Who are the Friars?

There were national nicknames in Russia. In the second half of the 15th century, at the initiative of the Grand Duke Ivan III, many foreigners came to the Russian state, mainly from southern Europe, mainly from Italy. They were architects, engineers, gunsmiths and other masters. Here, the Italians received the nickname “flippers”, “fryazi” or “fryaziny.”

This word was borrowed from the Serbian language with some distortion, where it denoted “Latins,” that is, Catholics. Accordingly, any item of Italian imports was designated by the word “Fryazhsky”. In official documents of the time, the names of the Italian masters were supplemented with the nickname “Fryazin”, with which many of them went down in history.

How did the Germans become Germans?

When we say “German”, “German”, we do not even think about their origin. And it has its own interesting history, which also goes back to the Middle Ages. In addition to the Italians, who received their “own” nickname, people from other European countries came to visit us. They were diplomats, traders and masters of different professions. Naturally, immediately upon arrival, none of them knew the Russian language and could not communicate with the local population without an interpreter.

Having met a foreigner on the street and asking him a question, the Russian person did not receive any response from him. That’s the opinion that all foreigners are dumb and can not talk. That’s why they called them Germans. And this concept included not only residents of Germany, but also the Dutch, the British and many others. Gradually this word was used to designate the Germans, and it was established in the Russian language as a generally accepted norm.

Boshi, Fritz and Gans.

Nicknames appeared at a later time. Especially “got” the same Germans, which other nations often gave contemptuous nicknames. In the XIX century, Prussia – the largest German state – often waged wars with its neighbors. One of the main targets of her aggression was France. Evil on the language of the French invented a nickname to their opponents. They scornfully called them Bosh.

This word also existed in the twentieth century, especially during the two world wars unleashed by Germany. During the First World War, Russia also had to face the Germans in a military confrontation. And in the Russian language, another nickname for them, the Fritzes, was not slow to appear.This word comes from one of the common names in Germany, which can be either independent or diminutive on behalf of Friedrich.

Especially popular this nickname of the Germans was in 1941, when Germany again attacked the Soviet Union. It was at this time and another nickname – gans, also derived from the common German name. However, now these not very pleasant names for the German people are already gone, and our countries maintain friendly relations for many years.

Chub against the beard.

The basis for the emergence of national nicknames can be anything you want. Some features of people’s appearance may become a reason. The most famous is the peculiar “exchange” of nicknames between two fraternal Slavic peoples – Russian and Ukrainian.

At one time Zaporozhye Cossacks shaved their heads, leaving in front a forelock, which the Russians called “Khokhol”. The very bearers of such a hairstyle also began to be called hohlami, and from them the nickname passed to all Ukrainians in general. Of course, they did not stay in debt and also invented a nickname for Russians, related to their appearance.

Unlike Ukrainians Russians wore beards, which gave the first reason to call them katsapami. In Ukrainian, the word “zap” means a goat, which, as you know, has a “beard”. The Ukrainian phrase “yak zap” literally meant “like a goat”. Later it was transformed into a word known as “katsap”. Both of these nicknames have long been humorous, and people with a sense of humor do not take offense at them.

There is another nickname for Russians in Ukraine, which has a more negative connotation – the Muscovites. Naturally, it comes from the name of the capital of Russia. Originally so nicknamed officials who after the unification of Ukraine with the Russian state came there to establish new orders. Then this nickname began to be called all Russian. It is in this meaning, and extremely disparaging, that it still exists in the west of Ukraine.

Potato, pasta and frog.

Finally, some nicknames derived from the characteristics of a particular national cuisine. It is known that in Italy one of the favorite national dishes is pasta. “Good” neighbors immediately responded to this fact, calling the Italians a pasta. However, this does not prevent residents of all countries of the world from visiting numerous Italian restaurants and with pleasure eating spaghetti.

Not left without a nickname and the French, in the national cuisine of which some kinds of frogs are used. They were called frogs. True, the French themselves this nickname is not very pleasant. As in the French cuisine there are enough other dishes from the most different products.

Belarusians are luckier than most with nicknames. In their kitchen there are a lot of varied and tasty dishes from potatoes, which is rich in Belarusian land. In Belarusian, the potato is called “bulba”. That’s what the Belarusians called their neighbors – Russians and Ukrainians – bulbash. However, the Belarusian people do not take offense at such a nickname. Cheerful, good-natured and hospitable bulbash has long become something of an unofficial symbol of Belarus.

In Russian.


is a Chechen, Daghestanian, in a broad sense a representative of any North Caucasian male. Among the Caucasians themselves – a mountaineer-outcast.

Azer, azer

– Azerbaijani.


is also one of the self-names of Azerbaijanis, probably derived from the name of the disappeared Indo-European language of the north-western subgroup of Iranian languages ​​that existed in the territory of South Iranian Azerbaijan, presumably up to the 17th century.

Amerikos, Amer, pindos

(this word was originally designated by the Greeks) – American.


– Armenian (does not wear an offensive tone).

Afro-tongue, Afromazy, Afro-black-headed

– Negro. There was a sharp negative reaction to the politically correct “African American”.


is a Negro who lives in Russia.


– the nickname of Karelians or residents of Karelia in general. Has a contemptuous connotation, hints at the inherent negative qualities of the steppe-laziness, stupidity.

Basurman (busurman, busman, basurmanin, busarmanin)

– in olden times in Russia: a Tatar, a man of a different religion, predominantly from the East. Initially, the nickname has a religious meaning: “bassurman” is obviously a distorted “Muslim” – that is, a foreigner.

Biralyukas (bralyukas)

– Lithuanians. The origin of “brolis” – “brother”, “brolyukas” – “brother.”


(from white bulb – “potato”) – Belarusian.


is a German.


– is usually used in relation to the descendants of mixed marriages of Russians and Buryats in Transbaikalia, also to Trans-Baikal Cossacks. It originated from the name of a male roe deer, which is one of the main game animals in Transbaikalia. The Gurans in Transbaikalia have a special “fraternal” (semi-Mongoloid) appearance, thick black hair, broad cheekbones and swarthy skin, and also speak a special, transbaikalian dialect of the Russian language.

Jew is a Jew.

The beast, the beast

(came out of thieves’ jargon) – a contemptuous nickname of visitors mainly from Transcaucasia or from Central Asia, less often from the North Caucasus.


(ganza) – Latvians. Comes from the Lithuanian greeting “labas”, “laba diena” – “good day”


(old) – a Pole.


– French.


– Sami.

Myrk, Moor

is a humiliating nickname for uncivilized, uncouth, rude people in Kyrgyzstan. The synonym is “cattle”. The nickname is used by the population living in the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek in relation to the villagers.


– Italian.


is a previously widespread male name derived from the word “Makhambet” of the Kazakh pronunciation of the word “Muhammad”. It is used by both the non-Kazakh population and urban Kazakhs towards rural Kazakhs or recent natives of the village. A priori mambet in Kazakhstan is Kazakh, speaking poorly in Russian.


– Russian (obsolete).


– used disparagingly towards anyone who is not Russian.


is a derogatory name from a US black man.


(sometimes “pendosi”) – from about the 19th century in the Russian Empire, as now in the south of Russia and Ukraine, and also in Kazakhstan, the Greeks. However, now increasingly used against Americans.

. It arose because of the “hissing” nature of Polish speech.

Rusak, Rusapety, Russopyat

– the outdated self-name of Russians.


(old) – Nenets.


is a Siberian nickname, roughly the same as the spell.


– the name of the Germans. Origin – the abbreviated form of the name “Friedrich”


(obsolete) – Evenki.


– disrespectful nickname of Mongoloids (Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, etc.).

Khach, Khachik

– Armenian (in recent years any person from the North Caucasus and from the Transcaucasian countries is mistaken).


– Tatar (note in Tatarstan).

Chah (ies)

(obsolete) – Czech.


(from the color of hair or swarthy skin) – absolute brunettes, natives from Transcaucasia, Central Asia, the Middle East. It is a kind of backronym of the American Wog, which is also called residents from the Middle East, Southern Europe and the Balkans: Italians, Moroccans, Hispanics, Macedonians, Greeks or Spaniards. The nickname, originally referred to the blacks, now mostly turned to black-haired or dark-skinned aliens.


The first meaning (from the color of the hair or swarthy skin) is a pejorative designation mainly of the Russian population of the representatives of Transcaucasia, Central Asia and the Middle East.In Russia, this term has a different meaning than the US, that is, people are not literally “black”, namely “blackheads”, brunettes, people of the type of their Caucasians, but still with skin a little darker than northern Europeans. This name is denoted by Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, Moldovans, etc.

The second meaning (by skin color) is the same as blacks, blacks, blacks belonging to the Negroid race.

Ukrainians (from the Cossack custom to wear a forelock).

Chalons, chedons

– dialect designation of Siberians. It was used among Russian Siberians in relation to other Russian Siberians with an emphasis on stupidity and “valenkovism” rights. At present, the use of the word even in Siberia is rare, it is found mainly among the older generation.


(skin color) – representatives of the Negroid race, Negroes, the designation “black” is also common.


(derivative, army slang) is a Chechen, mostly a Chechen gunman.

Chocks, chunks, chureks, chebureks, babakhans, rhinoceroses, chuchmeks, saxaul

– contemptuous designation of representatives of the peoples of Central Asia. This word penetrated into the conversation from criminal jargon, obviously from the Turk.

The Chukhonets, the Chukhon, Chukhny

, a disrespectful nickname, is used mainly by the Russian population in relation primarily to the Ingermanland Finns, and subsequently to the Finns of Finland and other representatives of the Finno-Ugric peoples. Chukha, Chushka – Finland.

The Greeks are Greeks.


are Americans.

In other languages.

Ami (Ami)

– American nickname for the Germans (simplification / reduction).


– letters. “German” (Spanish) – in Cuba, all white Europeans.

Ak-kulak, ash-kulokh

(literally white-bellied) is an insulting nickname of the Slavs in Central Asia, analogous to the Russian “chernozhye”.


– the Germans. Borrowed from the French language, the lexicon of World War I, got into Russian.


– the nickname of the Gypsies from the Armenians.


(burlak) – offensive nickname of Russians in Central Asia.


– the inhabitants of Germany (before the unification of the FRG and the GDR). Comes from the German Westdeutschland – West Germany.


(from gaykokujin – a foreigner) – a disrespectful nickname of non-Japanese in Japan.


– (a word from the Torah) denotes a non-Jew. It is used in a humiliating and neutral way.


– foreigners, most often Caucasoid appearance, often – Americans (in Latin America and Mexico).

John Bull

is an Englishman.


– all non-Muslims (identical to the Jewish goy, Russian infidel, wicked, nehrist).


is the nickname of Hispanics in the United States, the word has also been translated into Russian.


(Arabic letters “Nazarenes”) – Christians from the southern Arabs.


– the circulation among men among themselves among the Abkhaz.


is a collective self-name of the Russian-speaking population in Germany.


– ukr. “Russian”.

Sarybas, sarybash

(literally “yellow-headed”) is an offensive nickname for Europeans in Central Asia, used in the sense of “coward”, “sprawl”, “fool”.


(chuchka) – pejorative nickname of the Slavs (mostly Russian) in Central Asia, literally “pigs” are sometimes used in the sense of “pig”, “swine”, “pig people”.


– Russian (from the Germans and not only).


– contemptuous – Kazakh in the regions of Russia bordering on Kazakhstan.


– Kazakh.


(Ukrainian word) – Russian. Most often refers to the inhabitants of Moscow because of the unusual dialect spread there. Most Russians, including Muscovites, do not suspect the existence of any nickname given by Ukrainians, in principle, and even more so this particular one.


is a resident of the working quarters of London. In English, whence it is borrowed, it is not offensive.


is a word used by the indigenous population of Greece regarding foreigners, foreigners, immigrants, migrants and all those who are alien to Greek culture. The word is used in both humiliating and neutral terms. Xenophobia is a single root word denoting hostility to strangers. Similar in meaning to the word in use in the Russian language is – the non-Russian.


is a common denomination by the Chinese of any foreigners of European descent.

Laomao-zi (Mao-tse)

– the common denomination of the Chinese by the Russians.


– Russian, more often natives of Moscow.


– the inhabitants of the GDR (before the unification of the FRG and the GDR) and the eastern part of present-day Germany. Comes from the German Ostdeutschland – East Germany.

Pakys ​​

is a contemptuous moniker of descendants from Pakistan in the UK.


is the contemptuous nickname of an Azeri or Turk in Turkmenistan.


is the nickname that the inhabitants of Austria and especially Vienna call residents of part of Germany, nowadays they are mostly called tourists from Germany. In Germany itself, this nickname is used as a playful designation of a braggart or imaginary.


– the contemptuous name of Russians (in the broad sense of all citizens from the former USSR) from Americans.


– Russians from the Finns.


is a word used by Karakalpaks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Turkmen to Uzbek people, most often this word is perceived as humiliating and abusive.


is an insulting nickname of Russian speakers in Estonia.


is a word from the Thai language, originally representing the French. Not offensive. In Thailand and Cambodia, the farang (barang) means any foreigner of European origin.


– so Americans scornfully call the Arabs.


– Originally the designation of Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. At the moment, the neutral designation of all Russians in the Arab countries.


is a common denomination of the face of the Jewish faith by Uzbeks, used both in humiliating and in neutral terms.

POM (Pommy)

– a joking nickname of the English from the inhabitants of Australia, New Zealand and sometimes South Africa.

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