Word of the day – Sny

I’ve heard today’s word sny in the Czech phrase hezký sny and from the context I thought that it meant “sleep well” or something similar. I knew that hezký meant beautiful or pretty and assumed that sny meant sleep.

When I finally got round to looking it up, I discovered that it means “nice dreams”. Hezký has a number of meanings, including pretty, seemly, sweet, attractive, becoming, bonny, comely, fine, neat, endearing, fair, good-looking, handsome, nice, smart, good, lovely, and so on.

Sny means dreams or moonshine, and is the plural of sen, which also means ambition, vision or sleep. The verb, to dream, is snít.

Do you have any interesting ways of wishing some one a good night?

One I know is “Good night, sleep tight, hope the bedbugs don’t bite”.

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This entry was posted in Czech, English, Language, Words and phrases.

25 Responses to Word of the day – Sny

  1. dreaminjosh says:

    I always find the subtle differences between our Englishes interesting. For instance, in the US, instead of “hoping” the bedbugs don’t bite, we use the imperative and tell someone “DON’T let the bedbugs bite”. And from what I know of bedbugs, they’ll bite if/when they feel like it.

  2. Duncan says:

    In Syrian Arabic you generally say تصبح على خير (tuṣbiḥ 3ala kheer), which means something along the lines of “wake up to goodness”. I think the same thing is true for MSA, but then again I’m not sure I can think of a genuine situation when you would be saying that to someone in Standard Arabic, unless it were in a novel.

  3. In China, as you know, they pretty much stick with the standard 晚安, wishing someone a peaceful night’s sleep. One thing that I do find interesting, however, is that for friends, family and loved ones, they usually bring up their initial goodnights with the phrase 你早一点休息吧, which is essentially telling someone to go to bed early. Whether it’s persuading someone to put on extra clothes when they’re going out, to drink less alcohol, or asking them if they’ve eaten as a way of saying, “How are ya’?”, I find that most Mainland Chinese expressions of endearment are health/body-related, which you don’t see much of in the States.

  4. Petréa Mitchell says:

    I’m reminded of a quote from Every Goy’s Guide to Yiddish (which I haven’t read, I just know a few bits from it):

    “Gay shlafen: Yiddish for ‘go to sleep’.

    Now doesn’t ‘gay shlafen” have a softer, more soothing sound than the harsh, staccato “go to sleep”? Listen to the difference:

    ‘Go to sleep, you little wretch!’
    – or -
    ‘Gay shlafen, darling.’

    Obvious, isn’t it?”

  5. Jurčík says:

    I’m Czech native :)

  6. Jurčík says:

    hezký sny isn’t standard Czech, it is “hezké sny” (beautiful dreams). But it’s correct too.

  7. c. says:

    In Italian we say “sogni d’oro” which literally means “golden dreams”.
    (or just the plain “buona notte” = “good night”)

  8. Yenlit says:

    The idiom ‘sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite’ said to young children at bedtime is more of an American phrase although most English speakers would be familiar with the idiom. It was never said to me as a child by my parents the normal phrase was just ‘good night’.
    I’m familiar with this Czech word ‘hezky’ as I work with some Czechs from Brno and they used to say something on parting which sounded like ‘mia husky’ – I think it’s: mej se hezky (have a nice day/Take care)? Apologies for the lack of diacritics.

  9. Yenlit says:

    Just remembered silly thing parents say to children ‘off to the land of Nod’ it’s a humorous pun on the biblical Land of Nod east of Eden where Cain was said to dwell as punishment for killing his brother – and the colloquial term for falling asleep ‘nod’ ie. nod off (to sleep). Don’t think it translates into other languages due to the pun?

  10. Christopher Miller says:

    Sweet dreams!

    I remember from my time in the Netherlands that the usual wish there is “welterusten!” (‘sleep thoroughly’, more or less).

  11. In Korean, it’s 잘자 (jal ja) which literally means “sleep well”.

  12. Sandra says:

    Most French parents will say “dors bien, fais de beaux rêves” (“Sleep well, have beautiful dreams”) to their children whereas “bonne nuit” (“good night”) is more standard and grown up.
    There is a less common variant “fais de doux rêves” which means “have sweet/soft dreams”.
    Honestly this “bed bugs” thing sounds quite weird to me. I feel the last thing you want to hear before going to sleep is that there may be bugs in your bed.
    Well, this American saying must be taking a whole new meaning in New York where I hear they have a serious bed bug infestation.

  13. Charles says:

    In German I often heard “Schlafe gut und träum süß von sauren Gurken” (sleep tight and dream sweetly of sour cucumbers), the pun being obvious (sweet/sour – hilarious!), pickled cucumbers being the most common thing carrying sour in its name in German.

  14. Yenlit says:

    Dreaming of sour cucumbers (gherkins)? I wonder what Freud would have to say about all of this?!

  15. renato says:

    bons sonhos (good dreams) or
    durma com os anjos (sleep in angels) in portuguese

  16. Drabkikker says:

    The Dutch say slaap lekker ‘sleep nicely’.
    (Lekker is used for things that feel or taste nice. If you wanted to say that somebody is nice, you would use the word aardig, because calling a person lekker means that you are sexually attracted to them.)

    Another common way of wishing someone a good sleep is welterusten or its shorter “children’s” version trusten ‘to rest well’.

    More archaic options are slaap wel ‘sleep well’ or goedenacht ‘good night’.

  17. Tsuki no Usagi says:

    My father uses a corrupt version of the Spanish “buenos noches” by saying “buenos nachos.”

  18. Krzytszof says:

    In Polish, apart from the standard “dobranoc” (literally “goodnight”), people also use sayings like “słodkich snów” (“sweet dreams”) or “kolorowych snów” (“colourful dreams”) – both in genitive case, most probably short versions of “Życzę ci słodkich/kolorowych snów” – “I wish you sweet/colourful dreams”.

    And we also have a bug expression:
    “Dobranoc, pchły na noc, karaluchy pod poduchy” – “Good night, fleas for the night (maybe it’s wishing someone to be bitten by fleas while being asleep), (put the) cockroaches under the pillows”.

  19. DA says:

    In Swahili, “lala salama” means sleep well.

  20. DA says:

    It’s acutally Lala salama.

  21. formiko says:

    My friend as a child was Russian, and his mom always said спи сбогом (spee spogam) to us when I slept over..it means “Sleep with God”

  22. P. says:

    Worth mentioning that sny is also an English word, meaning “an upward bend in a piece of timber; the sheer of a vessel” (according to Webster’s).

    There’s a fun book on Google Books called “Ship-building in Iron and Wood” that includes a brief section on the sny (whose opposite is apparently called “hang”).

  23. DB says:

    “Good night, sleep tight, hope the bedbugs don’t bite”.

    My father always added – “see you in the morning light.”

  24. Jurčík says:

    In Greenlandic, we say Sinilluaritsi.

  25. ViKo says:

    In Ukrainian “На_добранiч” At good night!