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Expressing Surprise in Farsi Like a Badass Native Speaker (Slanging Alert)

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Let’s face the music, people—especially the young—don’t talk in a way they’ve been taught through books. So, I assume that you, as a smart Persian language learner, are not looking for the boring ways of expressing surprise in Farsi. (I got you).

Here are 4+ proverbs to lend a hand while trying to show how surprised or shocked you are. However, you should know that all the following phrases are considered to be slang terms. So, you’re probably better off without them in formal speeches!

Note: there’s a pronunciation guide table at the bottom of the article for each introduced term.


Persians Go WOW Too


Before getting into details, here’s something you need to know. Iranians—who’re the main Farsi speakers in the Middle East—use lots of English expressions to express surprise. So, you will face no problem when an unwanted “wow” or “shit” flies off your mouth while talking to a native Persian.

Phrases like “shit,” “f**k,” or “bullshit” are among the frequently used terms among the young in Iran. That’s why uttering amazement is quite an easy task—even when you don’t know any Farsi idioms to display your feelings.


1. Just Say “Pashmam”


Okay, here’s the top term when it comes down to Farsi slang words. “Pashmam” (written in Farsi as پشمام) is a jack of all trades. Using it right after encountering something shocking will indicate how stunned you are.

But what does the word even mean? Well, you won’t like it, but Pshmam means, “My Pubic Hair.”

Why would someone say “my pubic hair” to express surprise? I know, right? However, there’s actually a semi-reasonable reason for that.

The term “Pashmam” is the shortened form of the phrase “Pashmam Rikht.” The longer expression means, “I just lost my pubic hair.” So, the speaker claims that what just happened was so intense that it made them lose their, um, pashm. (Still doesn’t make any sense, does it?).

The main intensifier for this proverb is your voice and pitch/tone. If you go like “Pashmam,” you suggest a mid-surprise feeling. But for a more intense impression, you can deepen your voice and amplify it like “Pashmaaaaaam.” And the longer you go, the more astonished you’ll look.

Since the phrase is so popular in Iran, other alternatives have emerged as well. Two of the main options are “Ya Hazrat-e Pashm” and “Haji Pashmam.” But they convey the same meaning as the original saying.


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2. "Kos Nagu"


I covered it in my previous article (Learn 5 Farsi Slang Words — Cuss Like a Native Persian While Texting!). However, here’s the longline in case you didn’t read that paper. “Kos Nagu” contains two words that together generate a phrase like the English “Bullshit” or “Bit** Please.”

So, if the speaker is bothering you with some unprovable, extraordinary, and astonishing news, you can come back at them with “Kos Nagu.” (It’s written as کص نگو in Farsi).

What does it mean? Uh, you don’t want to know—trust me. Kos Nagu literally means, “stop saying vagina.” I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s true for 90% of all expressions in the world.


3. “Bargam Rikht”


When the phrase “Pashmam Rikht” became popular among Farsi speakers, people wanted to use it in their everyday conversations. But as I mentioned before, it’s not an appropriate saying for formal or family-friendly environments. That’s why the term “Bargam Rikht” popped up in the Persian slanging.

It’s probably the most non-sense phrase on the list as it means, “I lost my leaves.” Okay, you can take your time to process it. But before you go nuts, let me explain why such a stupid term actually exists.

“Bargam Rikht” replaces the term “barg,” which refers to leaves, with the word “pashm.” That’s because the latter sounds inappropriate, whereas the former makes the whole idiom sound foolishly funny. After all, no one has leaves in their pants—so, fewer people will feel offended, right?


4. “Haji Man Ridam"


So, here’s the scenario: your Persian girlfriend texts you ‘I’m pregnant.’ But soon you realize it’s just an April Fools' Day prank. What would your response be? “Haji Man Ridam.”

The phrase means, “dude, I pooped my pants.” And what can express such a hateful feeling better than that?

In case you’re not a fan of long Farsi surprise expressions, you can use “Ridam” as a stand-alone idiom conveying the same meaning. Want more alternatives? Here are some:

  • Haji Ridam
  • Man Ridam


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How to be Creative When Expressing Surprise in Farsi?


Remember when I said Persians use many English surprise expressions? Well, that’s a piece of good news for those who like to be creative when it comes to slangs. For instance, you can create a phrase like “Holly Pashm.” And yes, every young Farsi speaker would LOL that right away. (Don’t be afraid of showing your imaginative naughty side).


Here's how to write and pronounce the Persian surprise terms correctly

Farsi Surprise ExpressionPronunciation Written in Farsi

Pashmam Rikht

/pæʃmɑːm rɪkht/

پشمام ریخت

Ya Hazrat-e Pashm

/yɑː hæzrætə pæʃm/

یا حضرت پشم

Haji Pashmam

/Hɑːdʒɪː pæʃmɑːm/

حاجی پشمام

Kos Nagu

/kɔs nægʊː/

کص نگو

Bargam Rikht

/bærgɑː'm rɪkht/

برگام ریخت

Haji Man Ridam

/Hɑːdʒɪː mæn rɪd'æm/

حاجی من ریدم

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mohsen Baqery