I’ve heard this phrase used a lot by Evildea, and also in writing in various places (Reddit, Telegram, etc.). If I’m assuming correctly, this is a pretty straightforward word-for-word translation of the English “what the f?ck” (even though fek is not the same word). However, I’m not a native English speaker and leaning upon my knowledge of Esperanto (although still considering myself a komencanto), this seems grammatically awkward to me. As in, there is no verb, there is la that feels out of place…

So, am I correct at thinking that this is wrong use of the language and an Anglicism, or am I missing something here? I’m tempted to ask for alternatives but that that is not a good use of the site and should be the subject of another question.

7 Answers 7


To me this is a clear anglicism. These kinds of anglicisms sometimes gain some popularity quite fast, because their English equivalents are vastly understood also by non english natives. The people who used it first might have even meant it as a joke but then people came to use it as if it was normal language use.

German natives some years ago made such a joke and said "Sed saluton!" which literally translates to german "Aber hallo!" But only german natives or people who are very experienced in colloquial German have a chance to get the meaning. So the expression "Sed saluton!" remained on this joke level.

  • Kiuj estus la alternativoj se oni volas eviti la uzon de tio? Which would be the alternatives if one wants to avoid using that?
    – tuxayo
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 18:21
  • I came up with this expression as "kio la fik'" as a joke and people developed it. It's a pretty obvious joke so saying I'm the first is probably not accurate... as fek is more commonly used as a swear word than fik, this is a plausibly more Esperanto way to bring the same joke.
    – LaPingvino
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 15:43

Seems (to want) to say

Kio estas tiu fekaĵo?

And yes, in English "the" often should be translated "tiu". However this is a minor thing, happening in several languages. Dutch "ik weet het niet" = "mi ne scias ĝin" has the same reference problem. "La tago estas suna" = "The day is sunny" has also a dangling "la".

So it (grammatically) seems acceptable.


You could also ask what, exactly, the word damne is doing in Damne, ĉu eblas?

All that is happening is that a "rude word" is being thrown into the sentence as an interjection. Consider for example Kio—la fek!—okazas ĉi tie? The question is interrupted by an exclamation of annoyance. Remove the latter part of the question and you have Evildea's expression.

So it is an Anglicism, and "ungrammatical", but marking it wrong is like marking Damne! wrong or insisting that Argh! isn't a real word and that people should stop saying it.

  • 2
    I do not think I completely agree with you. Even if we consider la fek an exclamation, I still do not understand why la is needed. It may be needed in English (as I said, I'm not a native, so I don't know for sure) but it is still odd to me in Esperanto (and my native language too). Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:16
  • In Esperanto, the difference between Aĉulo! and La aĉulo! is that the first is addressed directly to the insulted person, while the second is paroloj al si. However, in English, the sole purpose of the the in What the hell? is to break up the sentence; otherwise it sounds as though you are saying "What hell...?" i.e. Kiu infero? It may be a short version of What in the hell of fire? or something similar. I do not know which is in operation here; I suspect the latter, which is why I think it is an anglicism. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:48
  • 4
    I assume the main reason for Evildea using it is that it sounds good to him. Grammar does not come into it. When you are trying to be "rude" it is very counterproductive to also be "grammatical". The two do not go together in vast majority of languages.
    – Jiri Lebl
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 15:38

I'm also skeptical of this phrase, so you aren't alone here. Although I am a native English speaker, it feels off in Esperanto. I'm not sure exactly if it's grammatically incorrect because I'm far from proficient in the language as of yet, but it sounds awkward to me, mostly because of "la" so it's more than likely. If the phrase was instead "kiu fek", it probably wouldn't bother me as much (though the lack of "o" at the end of it is a personal gripe).

  • 3
    I think “kia fekaĵo” would be (grammatically) better than “kiu fek”. I think exclamations like that are made using kia. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 9:55
  • 2
    If we're making suggestions, I like the sound of "Kio feke?" Why I like it, I couldn't say. I think it just feels more like a cut off question and matches with damne and diable ("Kio feke okazis cxi tie?") -- but "kio la fek" doesn't bother me too badly anyway. Curses are usually improved by sounding funny. Krokodilado is a taboo so it seems suitable to border on something taboo while cursing, and the fact that "la" is confusing here kind of fits with the feeling that leads someone to ask "Kio la fek?" in the first place. "Vi diris 'la'? Kio la fek? Kial diable...?!"
    – Kat Ño
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 23:24

Kio la fek’! – Ĉu havas ian sencon diskuti pri "gramatika ĝusteco", kiam iu eligas ekkrion de konsterno, surprizo, malŝato, naŭzo aŭ feliĉo aŭ ŝerco aŭ simple volas ŝoki?

Ŝajnas esti interesa vortigo por aldoni emocian forton al ia ajn frazo. Se oni volas trovi ion gramatikan, oni povas laŭ sia plaĉo aldoni vortojn ellasitajn kaj subkomprenendajn por fari kompletan, belan, laŭgramatikan frazon. Kompreneble, post tia filozofiumado, la trivortaĵo estos perdinta sian tutan esprimpovon kaj eblan ĉarmon.


I would say it is, and it started popularity as a joke, like many elements of living language usage. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

There is a whole subgenre of this kind of jokes that some Esperantists on the internet decided to call "salamandri", in the range of reptile words of krokodili and aligatori, which means to say something with Esperanto words but which is only really understandable with context from another language. For example with my native Dutch we have jokes like Sinjoro Kadavro for bongusta (heerlijk = very tasteful, where split up heer = mister, lord and lijk = corpse) and Iru vian koridoron (ga je gang, do as you like, where gang is dutch for hallway).


Komencanto tie.

Perhaps "Kio la fekas" ? I suggest this as often times the work is used in expression to an action. The reason it looks off in Esperanto when compared to English is that English is very ambiguous outside of context if a word is a verb, noun, adjective or adverb. And as a result the word f**k doesn't work as just a word in the case of translation into Esperanto.

I will admit that the use of "kio la fek" as just word translation of the express. As vague and missing context as it's English equivalent.


  • 9
    "la" before a verb doesn't really work...
    – kristan
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 23:35

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