Slang is an unofficial language of words or grammar, or interpretation of language, usually because it is too recent or not used widespread enough to be officially assimilated. Slang exists in pretty much every language, and is part of the natural evolution of a language.


You probably already know this; but how many slang words do you know in Turkish?


Naber? (What’s up?)


Naber is the abbreviation of Ne haber. Literally it means what news? Below is a typical Turkish conversation with literal English translations.


  • Naber canım? (What's up dear?)
    • İyilik senden naber? (Goodness. What about you?)
  • Benden de iyilik. (Goodness from me too.)
    • Nasıl gidiyor? (How is it going?)
  • İyi gidiyor? Sende ne var ne yok? (It is going good. What do you have and don't have?)
    • Ben de yuvarlanıyorum. (I am rolling up.)
      • “Rolling up” here means “so so”.


Kanka (Buddy)


Kanka is a widely used word in Turkish. Generally, close friends address each other like that. Kanka is actually the short version of kankardeş, which means blood brother. Some people don’t like this word; but for you, it’s good to know what it means.


  • Kanka naber ya? (Buddy, what's up?)
    • İyilik kanka senden naber? (Goodness buddy, what about you?)
  • Benden de iyilik. Nerelerdesin? (Goodness from me too. Where have you been?)
    • Tatildeydim kanka yeni döndüm. (I was on holiday buddy, I just came back.)


Tuzlu (Expensive)


Tuzlu literally means salty; but if something is really expensive, we also call it tuzlu.


  • Bu ayakkabı nasıl bebeğim? (How much are these shoes babe?)
    • Fiyatı nedir? (What's the price?)
  • 500 lira (500 Lira)
    • Çok tuzlu. Alamayız! (It's too expensive! We cannot buy it!)


Kafa ütülemek (Talk someone ragged)


The idiom kafa ütülemek literally means to iron someone's head. If you annoy someone too much with your conversation (and that someone is a Turk), most likely the first thing you'll hear from that person will be kafamı ütüledin!


  • Yeni çocuk nasıl? Anlaşabildiniz mi? (How is the new guy? Did you two get along well?)
    • Anlaşmak mı? O kadar çok kafa ütülüyor ki! Onun yanında bir kelime etmenin imkanı yok! (Get along? He just talked me ragged!)
  • Yeter artık kafa ütülediğin! Biraz ara ver! (That’s enough of you now! Take a break!)


Kazıklamak (To overcharge, to rip off)


The word kazık (stake) is used to mean expensive. Kazıklamak is used for the situations where a person sells something for a very high price.


Kazıklanmak means to get overcharged. Example, a person sold you an item at a very high price, but the item itself is surely less than the price that he sold you.


  • Bu elbise nasıl? Sadece 100 lira. (How much is this dress? It's only 100 lira)
    • Ne? Kazık! 100 liraya 2 tane elbise alırsın. (What? Expensive! You can buy two dresses for 100 lira!)
  • Bu ayakkabıları ne kadara aldın? (How much did you pay for the shoes?)
    • Çok pahalı. Sanırım kazıklandım. (It's too expensive. I guess I got ripped off.)
  • Evet anlaşılan satıcı seni kazıklamış. (Yes it seems the seller overcharged you.)


Cebi delik (Broke)


Cebi delik literally means his pocket has a hole; and Beş parasız (without five money) means exactly the same.


  • Bu sefer yemeği sen ısmarla, olur mu? (You got the food this time, don't you?)
    • Ben beş parasızım bilmiyor musun? (I am without five money, don't you know?)
  • Onun cebi delik, yine biz ödeyeceğiz. (His pocket has a hole, we will pay again.)


Akşamdan kalmak (To be hungover)


Akşamdan kalmak literally means to remain from the night.


  • Neden bu kadar yorgun görünüyorsun? (Why do you look so tired?)
    • Çünkü akşamdan kaldım. Su alabilir miyim? (Because I'm hungover. Can I have water?)
  • Akşamdan mı kaldın sen? Neden çalışmıyorsun? (Are you hungover? Why don't you work?!)


Valla? (Really?)


Valla is actually an Arabic word that means to vow. Valla mı or valla are the slang versions of gerçekten mi, sahiden mi, and öyle mi, which all mean really?


  • Kızım evlendi,haberin yok mu? (My daughter got married, haven't you heard about it?)
    • Valla? Hiç haberim yok! Neden söylemedin? (Really? I have not heard about it. Why didn’t you tell me?)
  • Yemekler benden! (Food is on me!)
    • Valla? Süper! (Really? Super!)


Hadi oradan. (You gotta be kidding me)


When you don't believe something or are very angry with something that someone said, you can use this expression.


  • Bu akşam yemeğe onunla çıkacağız. (Tonight we will have dinner with her.)
    • Hadi oradan! Gerçekten mi? (You gotta be kidding me! Really?)


Ayvayı yemek (To be in trouble)


It literally means to eat the quince. If you are in trouble, it means you ate the quince!


  • Eyvah! Müdür geliyor! (Alas! The director is coming!)
    • Şimdi ayvayı yedik! (Now we ate the quince!)
  • Neden kaçıyorsun? (Why you are running away?)
    • Kaç kaç! Ayvayı yedik,babam burada! (Run run! We ate the quince, my father is here!)


Beleş! (Free of charge!)


In slang, instead of saying bedava (free), we say beleş.


  • Ekmek ne kadarmış? (How much is the bread?)
    • Beleş. Para istemedi. (Free. He didn't ask for money.)
  • Hesap ne kadarmış? (How much is the bill?)
    • Beleş! Sahibi arkadaşım. (Free of charge! The owner is my friend.)


Ekmek (To stand somebody up)


If ekmek is a noun, it means bread. But if it is verb, as ek-mek, it means to plant. But in slang, if you arrange a meeting with someone and if you did not go there, then you have stood him or her up.


  • Dün beni neden ektin? (Why did you stand me up yesterday?)
    • Çok hastaydım, özür dilerim. (I was so sick, sorry.)
  • Bu akşam işin var mı? (Are you free tonight?)
    • Var ama boşver, onu ekerim. Beraber çıkalım. (Yes but skip it, I'll stand him up. Let's go together.)




If you ask “What is the word a Turk uses more frequently in his or her entire life”, the answer would be lan! This word is like a dot for some people. They put it at the end of every single sentence. Even though it is translated to English as man or mate, I think that this word has no real meaning. You can use it at the end or beginning of all sentences. You are free; the sky's the limit!


*Note: Do not use this one except with your friends. It is not as cute as “man” or “mate”


  • Naber lan! (What's up mate?)
    • İyilik lan senden naber? (Good mate, what about you?)
  • Lan bana neden söylemedin? (Man why didn't you tell me?)
    • Ne bileyim lan unuttum. (I don't know man I forgot.)
  • O kim lan? (Who is this mate?)
    • Bir arkadaş. Sen tanımazsın. (A friend. You don't know him.)


If I continue writing, as with any other language, it could occupy pages and pages! But, this is the beauty of the languages, isn't it? Using our mother tongue like this is perfect; wouldn't it be amazing if we were able to do the same with the languages we are learning? Here you have a few hints. I'm sorry if I am kafa ütüledim! (talking you ragged)


Iyi şanslar (good luck)!


Hero image by Clem Onojeghuo (CC0 1.0)