What does βλακας Mean?

Let’s say that you just heard a word in another language. You don’t know what it means, but you feel like the person saying it meant it in a derogatory way or to hurt your feelings.
What do you do?

A word that is often used in this manner in Greek is βλακας. If you don’t know Greek, hearing βλακας uttered in conversation or in passing could be very confusing. Generally, βλακας is not intended to be a compliment or to describe you in a positive way. If you have been called βλακας, you should definitely be offended.

What does βλακας mean?
The Greek word βλακας is most nearly translated into English to mean a stupid person, a fool or a country bumpkin. However, there are a great number of other possible insinuations for which βλακας would be equally accurate. Consider this list of common English synonyms for βλακας used as a noun:

moron

dickhead imbecile ass idiot gander

dick

foolish goon blockhead dolt jackass

nincompoop

simpleton yokel booby changeling chump

clod

cockface coot cretin dimwit donkey

dope

duffer goof half-wit ignoramus

jack

loggerhead

loon lummox mutt noodle oaf

shithead

dum-dum hood tomfool moron

dunce

simp

slob sucker

Although it is typically used as a noun, there are times when βλακας can be an adjective as well, such as in these examples:

addled

asinine bovine cretinous sheepish

silly

unintelligent

zany
In addition to these typical Greek insults, βλακας is a psychiatric term used to describe a person with below-normal educational levels or learning difficulties. When the term is used for this purpose, it’s not meant as an insult; instead, it’s intended simply to describe the mental capacity of the person to whom it refers. Unless you are lacking natural intelligence, this is probably not the way βλακας is being used when applied to you.

How is βλακας used in a sentence?
Because there are so many different meanings for βλακας, there are many instances in which a slightly different nuance of the word is intended. You need to know if someone is calling you a donkey or a half-wit. The difference could be huge!

To give you a full picture of the range of this slur and the many different ways that it can be used, here are a few different incidences that demonstrate the full range of the insult:

Greek: Μη γινεσαι βλακας, πιες
English translation: Don’t be an ass; have a drink!
In this example, the speaker is using the term to goad the other person into participating in the social activity. βλακας is intended to show that the person is intentionally behaving contrary to everyone else, and the speaker feels that the person is doing it just to be difficult rather than because he or she has a good reason. The insult is used to show the speaker’s frustration and annoyance.

Greek: Θα με βάλετε, παρακαλώ, σε ξεχωριστό δωμάτιο απ ‘ αυτούς τους βλάκες
English translation: Oh, would you please put me in a separate room from these idiots?
The speaker apparently considers himself or herself more intelligent or above the rest of the people in the room. He or she is using the opportunity to insult the other room inhabitants and to make himself or herself look better in doing this. βλακας is used as a noun for unintelligent and annoying people.

Greek: Δεν είσαι τόσο βλάκας, όσο δείχνεις
English translation: You are not as dumb as you look.
In this instance, βλακας is being used as an adjective to describe the mental capacity of the person addressed by the speaker. This example is almost a backwards compliment since the speaker is actually saying that the person is more intelligent than the speaker originally assumed. However, it’s still an insult embedded in this comment because βλακας is used at all.

Greek: Ο ολλανδικός λαός -ο βλάκας της τάξης- είναι φυσικά για ακόμη μία φορά ο λαός που συνεισφέρει περισσότερο.
English translation: The Dutch public (the class dunce) is of course the largest net contributor once again.
By referring to the Dutch public as the βλακας, the speaker is calling the people of the Netherlands a big group of dum-dums. This is an insult of an entire nationality of people, and the use of βλακας is intended to be biting to make a point of disagreeing with the public’s decision about a some topic.

Are there other examples of βλακας used correctly?
In addition to these English translations, βλακας is an excellent addition to memes and images used to mock other people. The majority of these demonstrate the idea the βλακας is a fool, an idiot or a jackass. They are meant to be insulting and amusing which is why the majority are created and posted by comedians or those who have specific views about political or other topics.

For a more visual representation of βλακας, check out some of these links:
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5

If you are interested in seeing βλακας as demonstrated by comedic videos, try a few of these:
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4

Is it appropriate to use βλακας?
This is an interesting question because the appropriateness of βλακας really just depends on your underlying intention and how comfortable you are with insults and occasionally swearing. If you are only using βλακας to refer to people who are stupid or who are behaving in an idiotic manner, then βλακας is probably perfectly appropriate. When you start using βλακας to refer to someone as a jackass or a shithead, then that is more of a personal matter that depends on your comfort level and what you find acceptable.