I've been wondering about this particular lyric in the song 'Toss a coin to your Witcher' from the new Netflix series 'The Witcher'

The verse goes like this:

They came after me
with masterful deceit
Broke down my lute
and they kicked in my teeth
While the devils horns
minced our tender meat
and so cried the witcher
He can't be bleat

But I don't really understand the meaning here.

I've always understood bleat to be the sound sheep or lambs make , or to talkabout something incessantly.

The only thing I could think of was that it the witcher saying he wouldn't make a sound no matter the torture, or something similar, but I'm not sure that makes sense.

While the meaning might be a bit subjective (it is a song lyric after all), are there any other meanings of bleat that I might not be aware of?

  • 2
    It's a pun on He can't be beat. Jan 20, 2020 at 17:18
  • 3
    But it's not very punny.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 20, 2020 at 17:31
  • 11
    It's a baa-aa-ad pun.
    – Juhasz
    Jan 20, 2020 at 17:32
  • As @Juhasz hints, "bleat" is sometimes used to mimic the sound of a goat or sheep.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 20, 2020 at 17:36
  • @HotLicks Ah yes, of course - goats bleat too! I think with the reference to horns and the association of goats with the 'devil' (certainly in Europe anyway) this is definitely on the right track.
    – Smock
    Jan 24, 2020 at 9:33

6 Answers 6


When you take the phrase "be bleat" on its own, it is meaningless in English. As you noted, "bleat" means a cry of pain or displeasure, typically made by a sheep, and of course no one can literally be that cry of pain. But as with many song lyrics, that doesn't mean it's actually meaningless.

Essentially it's a shortening (or "contraction") of "he can't be forced/made to bleat" ... or in other words "this guy is so tough nothing ever will make him cry out in pain" ... unlike a sheep (which is a commmon symbol of weakness) ... or a bard for that matter ;)

This references the scene in the show where the character was being beaten up, but never asks for mercy (for himself; he tries to save the bard, and so the bard writes the song in appreciation).

But as you noted, it's a very odd contraction, and was presumably made as wordplay on another common phrase: "he can't be beat." The un-contracted form ("he can't be made to bleat") doesn't sound nearly as close to "he can't be beat", thus the contraction.

This somewhat silly wordplay fits the theme of the rest of the song, which is not only silly, but downright anachronistic at times (eg. "he thrust every elf, back up on the shelf" makes reference to the modern "Elf on a Shelf" toy ... which presumably doesn't actually exist in the world of Witcher).


It referred to the moment in the actual incident where the elves threatened the Witcher and Geralt basically said "kill me now." As opposed to the bard, who was busy bleating. :)

  • 1
    More general explanation of the question is more appropriate for answering the question. This is too specific to the context and may leave the questioner more confused. The key is the play on words between "bleat" and "beat" which can confuse non-native speakers
    – Karlomanio
    Jan 24, 2020 at 20:56

To cry out like a sheep. Witcher is the white wolf. He would never say a monster or enemy can't be beaten. in other words, the enemy whom the witcher was fighting cried like a sheep.

so cried the witcher He can't be haha..................bleat Cry out in pain...dead enemy/monster.


"Bleat" is often used in the original short story featuring the incident. The "horned devil" bleated as well as the elves when they had Geralt and Dandilion captured. It is used around 10 times if I recall corretly.

So both the Sylvan and the Elves bleat, but Geralt remained calm and stern.

Using it in the song means to me: whoever wrote it read the short story...and gave it a chin up.


Nobody has the courage here to recognize a sheer grammar mistake, lest not imagine whatever non-existent explanation/style/lore/background story.

"He can't bleat" just doest fit the rhythmical metre of the verse. "Be" is an extra syllable required.

Belousova was good at her versification but failed her English. The fans cannot accept it, though, having to make up "specific" deep meanings, mysteriously hidden from a non-native ear.

  • But there's no convincing argumentation here either. It could be a grammatical mistake, if, for example, Dandelion is actually singing something else. But if there's room for a peric interpretation, why would someone assume a mistake?
    – Joachim
    Jul 8, 2022 at 10:06
  • "It could be a grammatical mistake, if, for example, Dandelion is actually singing something else" - no offence, something else what? How on this earth does someone has to be convinced to rule out bad grammar? As a fan myself, I dig it all. But I sincerely do not fathom the need to interpret anything there... the already mentioned "elf/shelf" thing does deserve it, though, for instance. But what to interpret in a phrase like "I can't be understand"? Pardon my being possibly crude.
    – An Shu
    Jul 8, 2022 at 22:59

If that's the case, and all the supporting evidence above from well researched people is to be believed, then surely "He will not bleat" would fit both the actual events of the story, the rhythm of the song and even the similarity to "he can't be beat". It feels sloppy on my tounge "be bleat" like "be bleed" it's the "bee-blee" phonetics which put me off. "Not bleat"/"Not bleed" is more satisfying to say, with the sharp flick of the tounge on the "T" followed by the longer note on "bleat".

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