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See also: krokodilí


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"Ne krokodilu" sign


From krokodilo (crocodile). The origin of the expression is unclear. Several suggestions have been made:

  • From the fact that crocodiles' extremely large mouths make an apt comparison for carelessly flapping one's jaws without consideration.[1][2][3]
  • Ferrari, an Esperantist in Paris in the 1930s, would comment Kion volas tiuj krokodiloj? (What do those crocodiles want?) when noisy non-Esperantists entered the cafe where he was speaking Esperanto with friends.[4]
  • Students of Andreo Cseh. When Cseh taught Esperanto, students were only allowed to speak their native language when they were holding a wooden crocodile he always brought with him.

The latter two may be allusions to the idiom rather than its source.


  • IPA(key): [krokoˈdili]
  • Audio:
  • Rhymes: -ili
  • Hyphenation: kro‧ko‧di‧li


krokodili (present krokodilas, past krokodilis, future krokodilos, conditional krokodilus, volitive krokodilu)

  1. (intransitive, slang) to speak among Esperantists in a language besides Esperanto, especially one's native language or a language not spoken by everyone present (literally, "to crocodile")



  • malkrokodili (to speak in Esperanto among non-Esperanto speakers)


  1. ^ Arika Okrent (2010: 113) In the Land of Invented Languages: A Celebration of Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius
  2. ^ Lindstedt, Jouko (2010) Esperanto as a Family Language
  3. ^ Joseph F. Conroy (1999: 223 pp.) Esperanto-English/English-Esperanto Dictionary & Phrasebook
  4. ^ Andreo Ĉerpiljodo (2006: 185) Lingvaj Babilaĵoj




  1. plural of krokodilo