The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted January 15, 2015


Simple.  Right???? …

By Bubba


Well, maybe not!  Sometimes things are not quite as simple as one would like to think, or believe.  Take for example … oh, I don’t know … maybe … ordering a beer!!! 


You see, the origin of the word “beer” is not as simple as many folks might believe.  It’s origin is even (somewhat) hotly disputed in etymological circles.  Here’s one possibility:


O.E. beor, a word of much-disputed and ambiguous origin, but probably a 6c. W.Ger. monastic borrowing of V.L. biber “a drink, beverage” (from L. infinitive bibere “to drink;” see imbibe).  Another suggestion is that it comes from P.Gmc. *beuwoz-, from *beuwo- “barley.”  The native Germanic word for the beverage was the one that yielded ale (q.v.).


Beer was a common drink among most of the European peoples, as well as in Egypt and Mesopotamia, but was known to the Greeks and Romans only as an exotic product.


They did have words for it, however. Gk. brytos, used in reference to Thracian or Phrygian brews, was related to O.E. breowan “brew;” L. zythum is from Gk. zythos, first used of Egyptian beer and treated as an Egyptian word but perhaps truly Greek and related to zyme “leaven.”  Sp. cerveza is from L. cervesia “beer,” perhaps related to L. cremor “thick broth.” O.C.S. pivo, source of the general Slavic word for “beer,” is originally “a drink” (cf. O.C.S. piti “drink”).  French bière is a 16c. borrowing from German. U.S. slang beer goggles, through which every potential romantic partner looks desirable, is from 1986.


In putting this little dissertation together, I became even more interested in the evolution of the word and how each language or culture expresses it.  So here’s a list of how to say the word “beer” in a myriad of different languages and/or cultures.  If you know of one that’s missing here or is wrong, and you feel the need to let us know, please be so kind as to drop me a note .


Beer In Other Languages[i]:

Afrikaans: bier

Albanian: birrë

Amharic: bira

Anglo-Norman: biere

Arabic: beereh (biræ) and جعة / شراب من الشعير / جعة / المزر شراب نوع من الجعة / بيرة

Armenian: garejure, kara choor / գարեջուր

Azerbaijani: pivo / pivə /pivə

Basque: garagardoa

Belarusian: piva / піва

Bengali: beer / বিয়ার

Bislama (Vanuatu pidgin): bia

Bosnian: pivo

Breton: bier

Bulgarian: bira / Бира / бира / пиво

Catalan: cervesa

Chechenian: jij

Chichewa: mowa

Chinese (Cantonese): pear zao

Chinese (Mandarin): pi jiu

Chinese (Simplified): 啤酒

Chinese (Traditional): 啤酒

Corellian (Star Wars): lum

Creole: bear

Croatian: pivo

Czech: pivo  (dad taught us this one the other day!!  Thanks to his Czech friends!!!)

Danish: øl

Dutch: bier

Dzongkha (Bhutan): ཆང་སྐོལ

English: beer

Esperanto: biero

Estonian: kesvamärjuke / õlu

Faeroese: øl, bjór

Farsi: ابجو

Filipino: serbesa

Finnish: olut, kalja, pikkutekijä / slang: olvi

Flemish: bier / slang: pint (rhymes w/hint)

French: bière / slang: une mousse (foam), une binouze

Frisian: bier

Gaelic: leann (lionn), beòir

Galician (Galego): cerveja, cervexa

Georgian: ლუდი

German: Bier

Greek: mpíra (bira), zýthos / μπύρα / μπίρα / ζύθος

Greenlandic: immaaraq

Hausa: giya

Haitian Creole: byè

Hawaiian: pia

Hebrew: beera / באר / שכר / בירה

Hindi: biyara / बियर

Hungarian: sör

Icelandic: öl, bjór

Ido: biro

Indian (Tamil): Madhubaanam

Indonesian: bir

Interlingua: bira

Irish (Gaeilge): beoir

Italian: birra

Japanese: biiru / ビール / ビア / 麦酒

Kalaallisut: baaja / immiaq

Kazakh: сыра

Khmer: Dughck / ប៊ីយេរ

Kinyarwanda: ibyeri

Kirundi: inzoga

Klingon (Star Trek): HIq

Korean: mek-ju (maek-joo) / 맥주 / 발포성 음료

Kurdish: bîre / بیره‌

Lakota (Sioux): m’nee-pee-gah

Lao: ເບຍ

Lappish: vuola

Latgalian: ols

Latin: cerevisia, cervisia, fermentum

Latvian: alus

Lithuanian: alu, alus

Luganda: bbiya

Luxembourgish: béier / garejure

Macedonian: pivo / пиво

Malay: bir / ബിയർ

Maltese: birra

Manx: lhune, beer

Maori: pia

Mexican: chelas / slang: birongas, cebadas, cheves, espumosas, güeras, helodias

Mongolian: шар айраг

Navajo: bizhééʼ hólóní

Neo: biro

Nepali: biyar, jad

Norse: aul

Norwegian: øl

Novial: bire

Occitan: bièra, cervesa

Ossetic: bæegæny

Old English: beor / ealu

Panama: slang: pinta

Pashto: بير او

Persian (Farsi): ab’jo / ابجو

Pidgin: bia

Pig Latin: eer-bay

Polish: piwo

Portugese: cerveja

Punjabi: bir sharab

Quechua: sirbisa / slang: bejeca, jola

Romansch: biera / gervosa

Rheto-Rumansch: biera

Romanian: bere

Russian: pivo / Пиво

Samoan: pia

Sardinian: birra

Serbian: pivo

Sesotho: jwala

Sinhalese: Bire

Slovak: pivo

Slovene: pivo

Somali: biir

Somalian: khamri

Southern Sotho: jwala

Spanish: cerveza / slang: brusta

Swahili: bia, pombe

Swedish: öl / slang: bärs

Tagalog (Philippines): serbesa

Tajik: pivo / пиво

Tamil: Madhubaanam / தோப்பி

Tatar (or Tartarian): bira / sira / сыра

Telugu: బీరు

Tetum: serveja

Thai: bia / ที่ขายเบียร์ / เบียร์

Tok Pisin: bia

Tongan: pia

Turkish: bira / slang: arpa suyu

Turkmen: piwa / piwo

Tswana: bojalwa

Twi: bee-ye

Ukrainian: pivo / пиво / слабкий алкогольний напій

Uighur: پىۋ

Urdu: بوزہ

Uzbek: pivo

Vietnamese: bia / rượu

Volapük: bil / bir / hodabir / vuitabir

Welsh: cwrw

Xhosa: ibhiye

Yiddish: bir / ביר

Zulu: utshwala




Hope you found this, at least, mildly interesting … but I KNOW it’s gonna be HELPFUL at some point!!! (it might even help keep you from being punched in the snout after someone has surgery or during a fishing trip!!)


This Pivo’s for you Frank!!!!!









Some random beer related quotes …


All right, brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you, but let's just get me through this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.

Matt Groening, The Simpsons


Women! Can't live with them ... pass the beer nuts.

Norm, Cheers


I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Sir Winston Churchill


Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.  If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

P.J. O'Rourke




[i] Yeah, okay, so I ‘stoled’ all of this article, except the quotes and reference to Frank, from this site - (I DID add the Klingon word for beer – just consider that my little ol’ contribution!), but … we still definitely wish Frank a full and speedy recovery from his surgery.








EDITOR’S NOTE:  Our readers may still not quite understand the relevance  of … no – make that THE IMPORTANCE OF – this article that dear ol' sweet (but FREAKISHLY huge) Bubba has penned, so please let me try and clarify:  Frank is JCC’s father-in-law and he just had hip replacement surgery.  Everything is well and fine now, but as he was coming out of surgery, he (jokingly??) asked his son-in-law for a pivo.  Now, we know that JCC would have readily complied (heck, he even offered to add a hospital approved bendy, sippy straw), but his mother-in-law and wife just wouldn’t hear of such atrocities, so Frank went without – he did “finally” recover from his surgery though.  Now, I was thinking about the series of texts that I received from JCC during this ‘ordeal’ and was relating it to the BC’s when it dawned on all of us at the same time that we had no idea what in the world a “pivo” was – we all agreed that if we were there, and Frank would have asked for it, we would’ve done our best to comply!!!  Well, ultimately, I relented and asked JCC just what in the heck a pivo was, and he gently informed me it was the Czech word for beer – wow, I feel extra bad now!  I would have had a feller ask me for a beer, and I would have just given him the TV remote!


An underlying theme of this site is the importance of communication … and when we use undefined or foreign words, we are sometimes muddling the communication process that can (but not always) lead to problems and issues.  I can only imagine what Frank would have said or done to me if I would have responded to his request by handing him the remote!  (Bet it would’ve been different if we were fishin though!!!!!!)





“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate!”  A quotation from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke (see Communication for more information and a Great Read!)



We all wish you a full & speedy recovery Frank!!!!





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