Polish word for lame – Kiepski

Polish word, idioms and slang for the word lame

One of my favorite words in English is the word ‘lame’. However, for many years I thought there was no good translation for this word as when I watched films in Polish they always translated it as ‘słabo’. This means weak.  However, if you say a movie is weak it does not have the same linguistic impact as lame. Lame is a bit slangy, but really conveys the message.

Słabo or za słabo (too weak) is OK but I found a better Polish word. Here is how it happened.

One day I was watching a program on Polish TV. It is called Kiepski. It is about this couple who lives in a block of flats. It is kind of like the old show with Jackie Gleason called the honeymooners. Well I have watched this show for years and I have only made the connection recently. That is, the guys last name Kiepski means lame.

Polish idiom slang word kiepski
The Polish word Kiepski is also the title of Polish TV show. Andrzej Grabowski plays on the Polsat series called Kiepski.

It happened because I actually asked my wife for what it means and she made the connection. It’s funny how many times I do the same for her in English. There is an English word and she asks me what it means and when I think about it, I find a root word or hidden meaning to a word I had used in English for many years.

This is one of the advantages of living in a bilingual home. It opens doors and ways of thinking that could not be done by simply reading a book. If you marry a Polish guy or girl consider yourself lucky in love and in life.

Uses of this Polish idiom

You can say a date or a film or a book or a person is kind of ‘kiepski’. This is now one of my favorite words in Polish.

Kiepski żart (lame joke) or kiepski humor (which means lame moody). Kiepsko u mnie (I am short in money or better yet ‘I am broke or do not have the ducats’ Kiepski z językami (I am not good with languages). Kiepski kucharz (lame cook).  You can have  kiepski smak (lame taste) or a really lame boring day – kiepski dzień.  If you are a Polish native speaker let me know if you have some more idioms like this. I do not want to write a kiespki post.

Although I have a Polish grammar site one of the basic pillars of my philosophy is to learn Polish by accumulating a massive database of words in your memory.

I like to convey these types of idioms as it is not something you would find in a dictionary or electronic translator. It is something that you pick up when you live in Poland. If you were to pull this Polish word out in the right situations you would your Polish would be ‘czadowy’ (that means ‘with smoke’, which is slang for amazing in Polish).






15 responses to “Polish word for lame – Kiepski”

  1. Gorefest

    Nice post. on this Polish word. Cheers from Poland

    1. Mark Biernat

      Thanks and I corrected the mistake in spelling I make in the word językami – of all words.

  2. Gość

    Cieszę się że ktoś się uczy tego języka chociaż ja sam mam z nim problemy.Ja uczę się angielskiego i norweskiego ale widoczni nie wszyscy są stworzeni do nauki języków. Pozdrawiam

  3. Ewa

    Do you know word “fajny” ? (fajna, fajnie). It is opposite to “kiepski” and I think you can use it very often 🙂 For example:
    Fajna książka (interesting book)
    Fajnie wyglądasz (you look nice)
    Fajna pogoda (the weather is good)

    Generally, “fajnie” (fajny, fajna) mean “good” 😀 but it can mean also: nice, interesting, etc 🙂

    “fajny” is similar to “czadowy”, but “czadowy” mean veeeryyy good 🙂

    1. Mark Biernat

      Thanks Ewa this is one of those universal Polish words that I hear a lot. It is very useful.

  4. Agata

    kiepski podręcznik – lame maual
    kiepski wykład – lame lecture
    kiepski wykładowca – (person who gives a lecture)

    kiepskie jedzenie – lame food
    “Tam mają kiepskie żarcie/jedzenie”
    They have there lame food. (about a restaurant for ex.)


    P.S. Mam nadzieję, że dorzuciłam coś pomocnego:)

  5. Tomek

    Siema, jakchcecie uczyć się polskiego online to zapraszam. JestemPolakiem i mieszkam w Polsce, znam ten jęszykbardzo dobrze, mam jednak problemy z angielskim:-) jeśliznajdzie się ktoś chętny zapraszamdo kontaktu maailowego.


    Siema, jak chcecie uczyć się polskiego online to zapraszam. Jestem Polakiem i mieszkam w Polsce, znam ten język bardzo dobrze, mam jednak problemy z angielskim:-) Chętnie wymienie się wiedzą, jeśli znajdzie się ktoś chętny zapraszamdo kontaktu maailowego.


  6. Tomek

    Whats up, how do you want to learn Polish online is invited. I’m Polish and I live in Poland, I know the language very well, but I have problems with English 🙂 We are happy to exchange knowledge, if there is someone willing zapraszamdo maailowego contact.


  7. Marcel

    Nie nazwałbym kolokacji ‘kiepski’ + słowo – idiomem. Kiepski, kiepskie, kiepsko – możesz łączyć z czymkolwiek i będzie to miało sens.

    It will make sense and will simply mean ‘poor’, ‘bad’ or ‘mean’.
    The same with ‘fajnie’. You can use it with everything.

    Fajna laska (nice chick).
    Fajny tyłek (nice butt).
    Fajnie powiedziane (well said).

    ale zarówno ‘fajnie’ jak i ‘kiepsko’ to terminy typowo slangowe, używane raczej na ulicach niż w interesach czy poważnych mediach.

    Any questions about polish? ask

  8. GRB

    The polish version of ‘The Honeymooners’ was broadcasting on the same channel as ‘Miodowe Lata’. ‘Świat według Kiepskich’ (‘The World by Kiepski’s) is the polish origin TV series.

    The teenager’s (usually) use also ‘gruby’ (‘fat’) to express that something is really cool.

    Questions? Ask.

  9. Kinga

    From now on instead of saying “I’m broke” I will say “I don’t have the ducats”. This is just too funny.

    Some other Polish words for lame are “żalowy” and “lipny”, but these are extremely slangy and mostly used by teenagers.

  10. Kaja

    I’m a Polish teenager and I think I know quite a lot about Polish slang and words. When we want to say sth is cool or fine we usually use “fajny” or “spoko”. there are of course plenty of abbreviations. eg – “spoczko” when we don’t like sth we say “krucho” “słabo” “cienko”. They are adverbs so they’re like “jest krucho/słabo/cienko” etc. there is also “żal” that we cant actually use in a sentence. I could compare it to English LOL (which btw we use as well) write to me if you have any questions about Polish language, culture, traditions and scandals >:-] I’m willing to hel.

    1. Mark Biernat

      Send me an e-mail – I would love it if you help me write a whole post on Polish slang, that would benefit a lot of people wanting to know how teenagers for example communicate. It is a fun part of learning a language.

  11. Polish young and talented

    Kiepsko się czuję – which means ‘I feel bad’, not ‘I feel lame’. When you had a nice party and on the next day you’re unable to go to work, you can take ‘dzień na rządanie’ (On Demand Day), so this is the best situation to say: ‘Kiepsko się czuję, nie przyjdę dziś do pracy’.

  12. Czarek

    Słowo “kiepski” można połączyć z każdym rzeczownikiem i czasownikiem.

    The word “kiepski” may be connected with every noun and verb.

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