I am a native Czech speaker, and many friends from different countries often ask me what the word Škoda means in Czech. Škoda is a very well-known car brand, especially in Europe, so it’s no wonder they are interested in what this word is about or if it is just random letters put together.
The word Škoda has several meanings, and you might laugh if you associate them with the automotive industry. Every time I tell someone what Škoda means, they either laugh or share their heads in disbelief, wondering who would choose such an odd word for a car brand.
Before we look at this word’s meanings, I assure you that no one chose this name by chance. Škoda was the surname of the engineer Emil Škoda, who, in 1869, bought a factory for the production of cars. So, whatever the meaning of this word sounds like, it is actually a person’s surname.
Škoda = Damage/Total loss
The first meaning of this word is damage. You have a Škoda car, the meaning of which is something you never want to happen to your car. How ironic!
Škoda na autě přesáhla 1 milion. – Damage to the car is 1 million.
Když se po autonehodě oprava auta nevyplatí, pojišťovna vyhlašuje totální škodu. – If the car is not worth repairing after a car accident, the insurance company declares a total loss.
Rozsah škody je nepočitatelný. – The extent of the damage is incalculable.
Škoda = Pity/Too bad
Another meaning of this word is “it’s a shame” or “it’s a pity,” i.e., you’re sorry that you can’t do something or regret not doing something.
To je škoda! – It’s a pity!
Škoda, že jsi mi o tom neřekl dříve. Mohl bych ti pomoci. – Too bad you didn’t tell me about it sooner. I could help you.
Škoda, že nemůžu jít s vámi, ale jsem nemocný. – Too bad I can’t go with you, but I’m sick.
Škoda, že krávy nemohou cestovat letadle. – It’s a pity that cows can’t travel by plane.
Škoda = Feeling Sorry For Someone
Another example of the word Škoda is that you feel sorry for someone. This word is often used in context when you are talking about someone who has died or experienced a setback.
Je jí škoda, byla tak chytrá a milá. – I feel so sorry for her; she was so smart and kind. (A young girl died, and you feel sorry for her because she was smart and kind.)
Je ho škoda. Bez něj je můj život prázdný a smutný. – I feel sorry for him. Without him, my life is empty and sad. (A man died, and someone feels sorry because their life is now empty and they’re sad.)
Je ho škoda, byl tak dobrým zaměstnancem. Ale chápu, že musí bránit svoji zemi. – I feel sorry for him; he was such a good worker. But I understand he has to protect his country. (An employee who had to leave his job because his country called him to go back and fight in the war.
These were the three meanings of the word Škoda in Czech. Were you surprised, or did you already know any of these meanings?