Smart vs. dumb

Photo: Elias Minasi, Stock.XCHNG

Welcome to another new edition of SoundCzech our long-running language series in which you can learn words and idioms through song lyrics. Today's song is by the Czech pop group Chinaski and is called 'chytrej kluk'. Chytrej is the ungrammatical version of chytrý and chtrej kluk means smart boy or smart guy.

Photo: Elias Minasi,  Stock.XCHNG
When someone is known as smart, you might say they are 'velice inteligentní' (very intelligent) or less formally 'strašně chytrý' (terribly bright). An intellectual might be referred to as an 'intoš' but the term has a derogatory bite: he or she may be smart but they're clearly also eggheads. By contrast, someone who is older and knows the way of the world could be called 'moudrý' or wise.

Then of course, we have the idiots, braggarts, or people who think they are smarter than they really are.

Someone who is not very bright or a downright dummy would probably most often referred to as a 'blb' which isn't very nice at all; neither is 'vůl' which is the Czech word for castrated bull but in this case means idiot. Someone slow on the uptake might be called 'tupej' - tupý means dull, like a pencil, someone who is just not very sharp.

Someone who clearly thinks they are more clever than most could be referred to, mean-spiritedly, as a 'chytrák', while 'chytrolín' would refer to a Mr smarty pants.

Someone who spouts their opinions left and right, often unsolicited, could be derided as being 'chytrej jak radio' (being as smart as the radio) in other words thinking they know everything.

By contrast, someone who is genuinely smart but prefers to hide it 'dělá, že neumí počítat do pěti' (pretends he or she can't even count to five).