"Diable!" is similar to "What an unpleasant surprise!". What word(s) can I use to convey the same meaning? It should be not religious, understood and hopefully short.

  • Is "Ho ve!" close enough? Aug 29, 2016 at 14:19
  • @jknappen I think, but some people might disagree (we will see)
    – Vanege
    Aug 29, 2016 at 14:31

8 Answers 8


A lot of people say Fek! It might be considered slightly more offensive, however, depending on your point of view.


"Diable" and "Ho dio" are the only widespread equivalent to the English phrases of mild surprise. "Ho ve" is often heard but is often said with a more disapointed tone, and "fek" is more abrasive and obscene than "diable" or "ho dio". Despite being religious references, neither of them are semantically religious, as you generally aren't actually saying something is of the Devil or calling on God when coming across a mildly surprising situation. They are merely codified expressions.


Fek! certainly is useful, just as the slightly longer kio la fek!? used (a lot) by Evildea, the famous YouTuber Kion la Fek' Mi Ĵus Ludis?

Dissaltu! is translated as "get lost". I have seen iru kacen (slavic inspiration) instead of iru al inferno on Telegramo. Simply kacen or bugren probably work too...

Otherwise I like fulmotondro! because it is neither obscene nor religious. (Unless you would attribute it to Thor or some other mythic thunder god.)

Less simple and longer is Aktoj de la Akademio! and it is neither obscene nor religious. I recently used sable! while I was at the beach, but that is hardly widely understood or used. Otherwise Ho ve! certainly does work, but it isn't a swear word - if I had just left it at that, this answer would be pretty boring.

If you look at this wordlist you can certainly find what you're looking for.

  • 6
    I don't really like kio la fek as it looks like a word-for-word translation from English. It seems to me grammatically incorrect. Or am I missing something? Aug 29, 2016 at 21:26
  • 1
    I don't know. Looks like another StackExchange question is needed! :-D Aug 29, 2016 at 22:39
  • Aux oni povas kompreni tion kiel: "Kio estas tio feko?" sed ne diru tion entute, cxar vi estas tiom surprizita. Aug 29, 2016 at 22:44
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    I agree with @Lyobornir, kio la fek' is a literal translation from English and, in my opinion, incorrect Aug 30, 2016 at 5:59
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    Klf (kio la fek' kiel popularigita de Evildea aŭ kio la fik' kion mi jam longe antaŭ tio uzis) estas ŝerca esprimo kiu nun pro Evildea sufiĉe populariĝas kaj pro tio estas uzebla. Ĝi certe ne estas gramatike ĝusta, sed tio estas ankaŭ ĝuste la ĉarmo en la originalo...
    – LaPingvino
    Aug 30, 2016 at 10:44

It's more like a sound effect, but perhaps "Aĉ!"

It's not offensive, not religious, and conveys an unpleasant opinion of what is being observed.


Terure is a good choice - as is ho ve.

I wonder, though, what you mean by "non religious." Even "golly", "jeeze", and "gosh darn it" are religious in origin.

Most blasphemes are based on religion, sex, or poop. In English, I prefer to swear on Mother Hubbard and Mother of Pearl Inlay - which are ultimately religious references. I also swear on "sons of motherless goats" which is probably a sexual reference, ultimately. How far removed to these references have to be not to count as religious in your book.

For my part, I don't consider damne and diable to be religious, even though it is clearly more religious than Mother Hubbard. (Oh, and let's not forget "hell's bells" - which I say all the time without thinking of hell.)

You could go with a sarcastic vere belete!

There is probably no end to the made up expressions you could use. I often express surprise with sankta bolak! a reference to an early Idist. Zamne from elsewhere in this thread is very clever and worth using.


"Damne!" is also quite common. Not sure if it has a religious reference.

  • Since ReVo gives this explanation: "Kondamni al la suferoj de la infero." it is most certainly religious. It is probably so that it is so commonplace today that we don't perceive it as religious, even though that is the original meaning. (well, unless you see hell not as a religious but a philosophical concept, one could argue, I guess.) Sep 1, 2016 at 23:47
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    Maybe instead of "Damne!" you can say "Zamne!"
    – Kat Ño
    Oct 10, 2016 at 20:03

I can't confirm this is used at all. But terure should carry the same meaning without being religious. You may sound "foreign" when using it, because it isn't commonly used in my experience, although it should be perfectly understandable.

  • I would suggest trying to confirm whether something is used before answering. Nov 27, 2016 at 9:37

The most popular is Fek (Poop). I also think a good one would be Damne (Damn). Or, a very light one would be terure (terrible).

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