Basic Croatian words and phrases to get through life in Croatia

Firule Beach in Split, Croatia

The easiest way to start learning a new language is to memorize basic phrases that are useful in daily life. Learning how to ask someone the time, how they are doing, or how to order a coffee will lead to fewer obstacles on your Croatian journey.

We are here to help you feel just a bit more comfortable using the Croatian language – even if you’re nowhere near fluent. We’ve put together a list of the most important words and phrases to know that will get you through most situations so that you can repeat them over and over until you’re an expert.

By using some of these, you will assimilate to Croatian culture much faster.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Basic Croatian words and phrases to get through life in Croatia

Words to get through life in Croatia

Word: da
Meaning: yes 

Word: dobro
Meaning: good

Word: gdje
Meaning: where

Word: hoću
Meaning: I will

Word: hvala
Meaning: thank you

Word: idemo
Meaning: let’s go

Word: jesam
Meaning: Yes, I am/did

Word: izvoli
Meaning: here you are

Word: krenimo, idemo
Meaning: let’s go

Word: loše
Meaning: bad

Word: malo
Meaning: a little

Word: molim
Meaning: please; you’re welcome

Word: možda
Meaning: maybe

Word: može
Meaning: okay

[Read: 10 ways to use “može”]

Word: ne
Meaning: no

Word: ne može
Meaning: it cannot be done

Word: ne razumijem
Meaning: I do not understand

Word: ne znam
Meaning: I don’t know

Word: neću
Meaning: I won’t

Word: nisam
Meaning: No, I am not/didn’t

Word: ništa
Meaning: nothing

Word: odlično
Meaning: great

[Read: Croatian exclamations for when you need to shout]

Word: oprosti
Meaning: (I’m) sorry, excuse me

Word: pardon
Meaning: pardon

Word: puno
Meaning: a lot

Word: razumijem
Meaning: I understand

Word: super
Meaning: super

Word: stani, stop
Meaning: stop

Word: što
Meaning: what

Word: trebam
Meaning: I need

Word: u redu
Meaning: alright

Word: (u)pomoć
Meaning: help

Word: zašto
Meaning: why

Word: znam
Meaning: I know

Word: živjeli
Meaning: cheers

Phrases to get through life in Croatia

When talking to a stranger or an elderly person in Croatian, a formal form of the pronoun Vi is used. This is considered to be a sign of respect towards the person you don’t know or who is significantly older than you. In informal conversation, the pronoun ti is used. The vocabulary of phrases below is structured for the formal.

Phrase: Bolesna/bolestan sam. (bolesna is feminine; bolestan is masculine)
Meaning: I am sick.

Phrase: Dobro sam, hvala.
Meaning: I’m good, thanks.

Phrase: Drago mi je.
Meaning: Nice to meet you. (I am glad.)

Phrase: Gdje radite?
Meaning: Where do you work?

Phrase: Gdje živite?
Meaning: Where do you live?

Phrase: Gladna/gladan sam. (gladna is feminine; gladan is masculine)
Meaning: I am hungry.

Phrase: Govorite li hrvatski/Engleski?
Meaning: Do you speak Croatian/English?

Phrase: Idemo jesti.
Meaning: Let’s go eat.

[Read: All the Croatian vocabulary you might need at a restaurant or cafe in Croatia]

Phrase: Idemo na kavu.
Meaning: Let’s go for a coffee.

Phrase: Imate li…?
Meaning: Do you have…?

Phrase: Ja sam iz [grad/država].
Meaning: I am from [city/state].

Phrase: Kako se zovete?
Meaning: What’s your name?

Phrase: Kako ste?
Meaning: How are you?

Phrase: Koliko je sati?
Meaning: What’s the time?

[Read: How to tell time (in Zagreb, Split, Istria, and Dubrovnik)]

Phrase: Koliko to košta?
Meaning: How much does it cost?

Phrase: Moram ići.
Meaning: I have to go/leave.

Phrase: Možemo li pričati na engleskom?
Meaning: Can we speak English?

Phrase: Nemam vremena.
Meaning: I don’t have time.

Phrase: Nisam dobro.
Meaning: I’m not okay.

Phrase: Nisam sigurna/siguran. (sigurna is feminine; siguran is masculine)
Meaning: I’m not sure.

Phrase: Odakle ste? Otkud ste?
Meaning: Where are you from?

Phrase: Ovo je moj broj telefona.
Meaning: This is my phone number.

Phrase: Pustite me na miru.
Meaning: Leave me alone.

Phrase: Sretan put.
Meaning: Have a nice trip. (Safe travel.)

Phrase: Sretan rođendan!
Meaning: Happy birthday!

Phrase: Što ima novog?
Meaning: What’s up?

Phrase: Što je to?
Meaning: What’s that?

Phrase: Što mislite?
Meaning: What do you think?

Phrase: Što ste rekli?
Meaning: What did you say?

Phrase: Trebam na wc.
Meaning: I need to go to the toilet.

[Read: How to ask where the toilet is in Croatian (and how to find public toilets throughout Croatia)]

Phrase: Trebam odmor/pauzu.
Meaning: I need a break.

Phrase: Trebate li nešto?
Meaning: Do you need something?

Phrase: Ugodan dan.
Meaning: Have a nice day.

[Read: All the ways to say “Hi” and “Bye“ in Croatian]

Phrase: Zovem se [ime].
Meaning: My name is [name].

Phrase: Zvuči dobro.
Meaning: Sounds good.

View our other Croatian vocabulary posts

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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