European Screams

“I doubt that the evil spirits of the past, under which we in Europe have already suffered more than enough this century, have been banished for ever.”

Helmut Kohl

Ayayay!“, “Ouch!” “Aua!“… Europeans may have centuries of wars, self-destruction and a shared history of suffering behind them, they are still divided in the way they express their pain! Whenever this feeling is transcribed into words, they do not share the same reaction at all! Pain is not a sound in itself, but every language needed to put this feeling into words to define this distressing or unconfortable experience. It comes to the following list of interjections used all throughout Europe to express pain… Get ready to suffer in all languages!


Ai – au – ui

Ai! Our friends from Portugal know how to communicate their pain with class: they have not less than three different ways to suffer in words – the most common being “ai!”.


Ayayay – ay

Spaniards are known for being quite vocal. They will tend to show their suffering with the (very) long interjection “Ayayay. But if pain can’t wait, they will rather opt for a shorter (but nevertheless efficient) “Ay”.


Aïe – ouille

The French are no trouble-makers. But if they get involved in a fight and get hurt, you may hear a ferocious “aïe” from them! Alternatively, a longer “ouille” will play the trick.


Ái – ói

There are a couple of (weird) creatures in Iceland, but probably no crocodile. In case: if you get hurt, just go with an “ái” or an “ói” to get understood. How convenient? The same goes if something happens to you in… Lithuania!



Welcome to Celtic Ireland and its weird traditions! Here you’ll be expected to express your suffering with a celtic “aigh” – the English “ouch” is also applicable, but well, don’t avoid annoying Irishmen with British manners…

United Kingdom

Ouch – yeow – ow

The most important for Brits is to suffer with class. To do so, they have the choice between not less than three different onomatopoeias “Ouch!“, “yeow!” or “ow!“. The question now is: which one does the Queen use?



In the Land of the Midnight SunNorwegians don’t have time to be expressive. They simply use the effective and effortless “au” to communicate their pain. Everything is down to the tone in which they pronounce it!



The Swedes’ “aj!” is not very impressive. At least, any tourist can learn it and make the best use of it whenever they get hurt. But why would you get hurt in Sweden anyway?


Ai – aija – au

In the country of Santa Claus, you are not expected to experience pain. But if you happen to fall from Santa’s sledge, you can express your sorrow in three different ways!



The Danes kept the old Roman way of expressing pain, with a sort of “Avé”. No… just kidding, those two letters are not pronounced the latin way.


Au – ai – auw

We all know that Dutch language is neither simple to learn, nor easy to pronounce. But when it comes to express your suffering, you don’t need to master Vondel’s language to shout “Au!“, “ai!” or “auw!“.


Aïe – au – autsch

Now it becomes a bit tricky. Belgium has three official languages: French, Flemish and German. So you better know the three language variations before you enter the country: “aïe!” in French, “au!” in Flemish and “autsch!” in German. Got it?


Aua – autsch – auweh

From Frankfurt to Berlin, Hambourg to Munich, you will often hear the German scream “aua!” and sometimes its equivalent versions “autsch!” and “auweh!”. Easy to remember, they are also much shorter than the German longest word


Aua – autsch – auweh

Ok, they are the same interjections as in Germany. After all, Austrians and Germans share the same language. But expect Austrians to express their pain with a different accent and this je-ne-sais-quoi charm of mountain people.


Aïe – aua – ahi

If you want to go skying in the Swiss alps, it might be useful for you to learn some rudimentary German, French or Italien beforehand. Just as in Belgium, Swiss people have three languages which offer as many opportunities to express pain.


Ahi – hui – ahia

Our Italian friends have the reputation to be bad drivers. So before you hit the road (or something else) you better learn some basic Italian terms to express your pain: “ahi!“, “hui!” and “ahia!“. They may become handy some day…


Au – jau

Do not expect Czech people to hesitate long whenever they get hurt. They will shout a powerful “au!” or a vocal “jau!” to indicate how much they suffer. You may even hear it when they are confronted to their most disgusting dish



In Slovakia, there is only one way to express your pain: with a strong and masculine “au!”. No need to write it on a memo: it will come naturally if you get to visit the country!


Ata – auuu – auć

Ever heard about the legend of the Wawel dragon? If not, then it’s this way. Once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why it’s important for Poles to have words to express their pain…


Ai – oi

Lithuanians are simple people – contrary to Spaniards or Italians, they don’t need extravagent or over-the-top words to communicate their pain. Two easy and short words are sufficient: “ai!” and “oi!“.


Vai – aū

Latvia is one of the few countries expressing pain with a word starting with a consonant. Ok, it’s not the best “fun fact” you’ll ever read – but we didn’t have anything else to say. We thought it was worth mentioning.


Ai – oi

Estonians have these special swings called Kiiking where they need to pump back and forth until they get enough momentum to make a full 360-degree turn. It’s quite impressive… but whenever they fail: “ai!” and “oi!“…


Aj (ай)

Beware of bear traps in Belarus! We can insure you that if you happen to step in one, you’ll not only shout the most powerful “aj!” you ever shouted, but you’ll probably add in some swear words of your own.


Aj (ай) – joj (йой) – oj (ой)

Pain is a complex issue in Ukraine. It takes two different alphabets and three different forms, depending on its intensity and duration. But no need to worry: it will come out naturally when you’ll need to express it the most!

Romania – Moldova

Au – ai – aa

You’ll need to train your voice in Romania and Moldova to communicate with your peers whenever you suffer. Because the three interjections to express pain only contain vowels: “au!“, “ai!” or “aa!“.


Aú – á – jaj

Let’s express pain in the shorter possible way! In Hungary, “á!” is often used to communicate your suffering without manners.  But expressing your level of pain is all about the intensity you shout it out!


Auch – auč

What about going cycling in Slovenia? After all, the country sometimes called the Sunny Side of the Alps is full of green lands. Better get prepared: in case you fall of your bike, just scream “auch!” or “auč!” and you’ll already feel better.

Croatia – Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jao – joj

Sounds like something Santa Clause would say… But the Balkan countries rather use the interjections “jao!” and “joj!” for less pleasant situations. Like when one of their strange customs go wrong and turn into a nightmare…

North Macedonia

Uf – уф

In North Macedonia, you may have to first learn a different alphabet before being able to express your pain in the local language… The Macedonian interjection for pain is actually quite different compared to the other European expressions.


Au – of – uf

With “au!”, “of!” and “uf!”, the Albanian interjection for pain sounds similar to a dog barking. And there might be a reason why! Ever walked on a piece of lego, or kicked your toe to a furniture? No? Try the, and let’s see if you don’t end up barking as well


Ox – aj (ай) – au (ау)

In Bulgaria, you might hear several interjections to put pain into words. But the feeling always stays the same: an unpleasant and deep physical reaction. Be careful with yourself!

Greece – Cyprus

αχ (akh) – οχ (och) – òk ωχ

We are almost at the end of our journey through pain. If you’re already that far, it’s either you are a curious person… or a BDSM fetishist! In any case, those Greek interjections will complement your vocabulary…


Ah – ahh – of

And here we are. At the end of our journey.. You’re lucky, Turks tend to express their pain in quite simple terms. Of all these interjections, remember one thing: be careful, so that you’ll never have to use them!

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