Screws in your head


Welcome to this week’s edition of Sound Czech, Radio Prague’s Czech language series in which you can learn interesting phrases through songs’ lyrics. Today’s phrase “Šrouby do hlavy”, or “Screws into the head”, is also the name of the song released in 1990 by one of the most popular Czech pop bands, Lucie.

The actual phrase says: “jak se valí holkám šrouby do hlavy”, or literally, “how to drive screws into girls’ heads”. The band is not talking about torture though; they are employing a popular phrase of the time which means to talk somebody into something, or to fool someone.

The idea behind the phrase suggests that you drive something into someone else’s head. In this particular case, the guy is complaining about his girlfriend getting perhaps too close to another man who is very good at driving screws into a girl’s head.

Another fashionable variant of the same expression uses wedges instead of screws: valit klíny do hlavy. The verb – valit– literally means to roll but in colloquial Czech it denotes more general kinds of movement as well; although you would not usually use this verb in connection with šroub– a screw.

Once you have had screws driven into your head by someone, you might well want to vyčistit si hlavu, or clear your head. Although in Czech this could also imply cleaning your head, the meaning is metaphorical and has nothing to do with hygiene.