That's Really What “Syfy” Means in Polish?
Chalk up another victory for the bloggers.
Kib Bibens, COO of the ABC Language Exchange in New York confirmed to B&C that “Syfy”-the name Sci-Fi channel has adopted as part of its recent re-brand-is in fact Polish slang for syphilis. The term “syf” in Polish is also used informally to mean garbage or warts. Bibens did point out that both terms are used infrequently.
The sci-fi blogosphere was teeming with rumors this week that Syfy meant any number of things in the Polish language that a company would not want to be associated with: Garbage…filth…scum…warts…zits…syphilis.
The revelation that it does mean at least some of those things doesn’t sound like good news for Sci-Fi, whose re-brand has already been met with a barrage of consternation among hardcore fans.
In the spirit of investigative journalism, we also spoke to Pawl Maciag, press attaché for the Polish Embassy, who seemed utterly confused but did pass along that, to his knowledge, “syfy” in Polish can also be used to mean the same thing it does in English-an abbreviation for science fiction. Maciag was unaware of any slang derivatives (which seems to reinforce Bibens claim that the slang terms are rarely used).
Still, Syfy may be wondering if it’s too late to re-think their rebrand.