Like many other slang terms perceived as newfangled and originating in AAVE, “bae” inspires quite a bit of hatred for such a little word. The backlash against this latest of the many terms for a romantic partner includes think-pieces declaring the term dead as well as some cross-lingual snark in which a clever commentator points out that the word means “poop” in Danish.
Rather than grumble against this call for censorship, many people have embraced it. As they should! We should never accidentally say words that might mean something else if uttered in the context of another language.
As a person who speaks a smattering of other languages other than English, I realized that the poop problem doesn’t stop at “bae.” Lest we continue unwittingly using words that might mean something scatological, I have tapped into my multicultural and multilingual social media circles in search of such sets of syllables. I was shocked to find that conversations about such innocent topics as family members, the theater, domesticated animals, handbags, fruit, driving, seafood, and the weather are actually quite rude in other languages. Some people’s very names are at risk.
I’ve compiled this list to get you started in the process of flushing of your language free of such smears.