I am full of steam and going strong

Hello and welcome to SoundCzech, Radio Prague’s Czech language course in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song by Michal Tučný and is called Mam Páru – and that is the phrase to listen out for.

Photo: archive of Radio PraguePhoto: archive of Radio Prague Mam páru literally translates as I have steam and means I am going strong. In this particular case the singer is showing off in his new flashy car, giving the girls rides and reveling in their admiration. Mam v tom fáru páru –means I am going strong in this car, though you may not recognize the expression for car used here. The commonly used auto has been replaced with fáro –which is a slang expression for a flashy car that attracts attention.

Czech also has the exact equivalent of the English phrase full steam ahead – which is plnou parou vpřed. Related expressions you may come across are - jet na plný pecky – which means to driving a car at full speed, or you can say jet na plný plyn – to drive at full throttle. In this case mam páru refers not so much to the strength of the car’s engine as to the man’s ego.

The word pára, meaning steam, also appears in other expressions used on a daily basis nemam páru means I do not have an inkling, I have no idea. Vypařit se – meaning to evaporate – means to disappear unobserved especially when needed to assist with something, and you may also hear zmizet jako pára nad hrncem – to disappear like steam over a pot.

Finally, there is another word that is derived from steam – naparovat se – means to boast, show off or strut. A frequently used phrase is naparuje se jako holub – to strut like a pidgin – and the expression suggests that the boast is unsubstantiated since it is no more than steam.

Each Sunday, participants will be able to vote in our new series Hit of the Century, covering 100 years of music in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. (More)