Although there is a saying in Serbia od inata nema goreg zanata – nothing worse than spite, there is also some tendency, quite strong in recent years, to present it as a sort of a special Serbian brand, a trademark, a trait that distinguishes Serbs from other nations. Such conflicting positions are the result of mixing up defiance with spite. Spite should be distinguished from defiance, the latter being less unreasonable and senseless behaviour. Defiance is when the little, the disenfranchised, the helpless resist and oppose the bigger, the more powerful and the unscrupulous. Unlike defiance, which motivates us to tackle the troublesome circumstances, spite is defiance for defiance’s sake, by which we harm mostly ourselves alone. Spiteful behaviour is, actually, a childish behaviour.


Inat is the word that comes from Arabic via Turkish, meaning spiteful defiance, resilience, pigheadedness. The meaning that is in use in Serbs is hard to translate in only one word into other languages.


National epic songs: Kraljević Marko’s Ploughing, Dušan’s Wedding