Last updated on February 27th, 2021 at 12:51 pm
Malaka(s) is the most used slang Greek word and the first that every tourist or visitor to Greece learn.
It’s so common among Greeks that tourists hear it all the time, so they use to repeat it too.
But what does Malaka mean in Greek and is it always good to say this to someone?
This article is aiming to help tourists and visitors to Greece. To let them know when they can say Malaka to someone and when not.
Origin of the word Malakas
Well, first let us give you the ancient meaning, cause this word is so old as the Greek language itself.
The word derives from two ancient substantives, malakia(fem) (Greek: μαλακία) and malakos (Greek: μαλακός). This meant, and still means “mental illness or disorder“, and “soft” and thus “weak, depraved, effeminate”.
Malakas (μαλάκας) today is a vulgar word that is used for the “masturbator, the wanker.” Also, today is used either to offend, as in “asshole”, “wanker“, “impotent“, “stupid‘, “idiot‘, “sucker“, or to express friendliness as in “mate”, “my friend”
This great ambivalence makes it a tricky and also much-used word. But we suggest you not use it with anyone apart from your closest friends. Or not even with them if your style of communication is somewhat more polite.
There was an old expression in Greece saying: (Greek: Γι αυτό γίναμε Ιατροί, δια να θεραπεύομεν πάσαν νόσον και Μαλακίαν). This means: That is why we became doctors, to heal every illness and mental disorder.
During medieval times the meaning changed a bit and used to describe the wanker. Because at that period people used to believe that wanking was bad for the brain. So every wanking person considered stupid or less clever than average.
The female word today for Malakas is Malakismeni with another variation (Malako). This variation is more in use by the youngsters of the Greek Diaspora, although it is rarely used in Greece.
In English, the translation today should be wanker, or more precisely jerk. But malakas can also be used to express (come on man) or (hey buddy) plus many others. Everything depends on the way, the tone of the voice, the body standing, the relationship between the talkers, and many other factors.
You may hear Greek people use it a lot, many times in every sentence, but you can`t know if it is a quarrel or a loud friendly talk!
So, there are so many contradictory uses, but what’s the real meaning today?
Today’s real Malaka meaning
Despite the use of this word in hundreds of different cases, the real meaning is only one! Imagine a person who can’t understand a hint, someone who is not sure when others mock him or not.
Someone who can misunderstand what he is hearing, someone who is easily fooled.
And in fewer words, finally, the one with IQ lower than average, in short, the stupid in a company, or at work, it’s so simple!
So, Malakas = A low IQ person.
When not to use the word Malakas
The general rule is to avoid it most of the time.
It is an insulting word. Despite the fact that most of the time you will be forgiven because you are a foreigner, there are slim chances το end up with a broken nose.
We will help you here to avoid such a situation.
If you are a man never ever say this word to a woman, no matter how close friends you are. Even if she is your lover or wife it is always insulting and in some cases is equal to bitch!
The same occurs if you are a woman, never say this to a man, no matter how close friends or even lovers you are.
In this case, it can mean idiot or worse sexually incompetent.
So it is almost always bad to call this a person of the other sex. Unless of course, you are dead close friends and (pay attention here) not lovers.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule! an example, when making love with your lover it can be a turning up word!
Never say this word to someone you just met, is a big no-no, unless you don`t want to see him or her again!
Never say it to complete strangers. In that case, there are strong possibilities for big trouble and broken noses.
Never say it to people much older than you, to someone who belongs to an older generation. Even if they are close friends or relatives, especially for relatives such as Uncles is much worse. In this case, it is very bad for you too and others will blame your bad personality.
We never ever call like this our Parents, it is a no-no.
But it is a must to call Malaka our brothers or sisters, except at the moment we have a dispute!
There are many other situations, but you must be a Greek to be able to understand every corner of the Greek sense of humor. So better follow the general rule that says: always is better to avoid this word.
When you can call someone Malaka
You must be a very close friend with someone to be able to say this word and to be taken as a friendly word. In these very close friendship cases, the meaning literally changes to: hey buddy, buddy, or come on man.
Also, it can be used between brothers and sisters but not when they have a quarrel.
The word Malaka is definitely the most widely used Greek word and is a vulgar slang word. It has unbelievably many, maybe a thousand different uses, but only one meaning! and it is used in every aspect of Greek everyday life.
You may call someone Malaka, but this doesn’t mean that you mean stupid, you may mean many other things, especially if you don’t know the person. Example: Parta malaka (take them malaka), a very frequent gesture with open hands in the Greek streets between drivers!
So, it is friendly as well as an insulting word, it can be used either to break or to strengthen a relationship. The secret is to know how and when to use it.
We understand that many tourists, especially English speaking people, may say this word. Trying a friendly approach with Greeks, after all, it is the word that they hear the most.
They will be forgiven in almost all cases because they are tourists. But there is always a slim possibility that it won`t be taken friendly.
So better stay on the safe side, and unless you know your friend, avoid this word!
Malakas, unfortunately, due to extensive use, has become somehow a trademark word for the Greeks today. Something that characterizes Greeks worldwide, something like Mousaka, or sirtaki for instance!
Welcome to Greece and enjoy your holidays Malaka!!!
Being a Malakas(Asshole) is not necessarily a bad thing.
See on the next page why!