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Cojones (Spanish pronunciation: [koˈxones]) is a vulgar Spanish word for testicles, denoting courage; it corresponds to balls in English.


English usage

In US slang, cojones denotes “brazen, brave attitude”, pronounced /kəˈhoʊneɪz/ and /kəˈhuːnəz/ in English. Contextually, its usage is like that of the Yiddish chutzpah (nerve) and the Finnish sisu (perseverance). A common euphemistic mis-spelling of cojones is cajones (furniture “drawers” and "wooden box drums", see cajón).

Popular culture US usages

Jay-Z uses this word in his 2009 song "On to the Next One." In the 4th line of his 3rd verse, he raps, "No I'm not a virgin, I use my cojones." The song is from The Blueprint 3.

It is used in The Simpson's Movie (2007), when Homer Simpson says he will show that he has 'cajones' before he tries to save Springfield.

In speaking extemporaneously about the 24 February 1996 Cuban Air Force’s shooting-down of an Hermanos al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue) civilian airplane in Cuban national airspace, Madeleine Albright, then-US ambassador to the United Nations, said, “Frankly, this is not cojones; this is cowardice.” — in retort to the Cuban MiG 29 fighter pilot’s radio traffic exclamation (in transcript): ¡Le partimos los cojones! (“We busted his balls!”). Later, she referred to cojones as “the only Spanish word I know”. [1]

In the book Plan of Attack (2004), about the US preparations for the 2003 Iraq War, Bob Woodward reports that at a September 2002 meeting in Camp David, Maryland, US President G.W. Bush remarked to Alastair Campbell, spokesman for PM Tony Blair: “Your man has got cojones.” — referring to the PM’s continued support for the US attacking Iraq, despite Labour Party and popular British opposition; President Bush later referred to that meeting as “the cojones meeting”. [2][citation needed]

Implying that then-Senator Hillary Clinton was more capable and had more political will, commentator James Carville stated that if Senator Clinton were to give then-Senator Barack Obama one of her cojones, then each 2008 Democratic presidential candidate would have two.[3]

Spanish etymology and usages

Cojones (s. cojón [koˈxon]) and huevos (eggs) are vulgar Spanish curse-word usages for testicles. The singular form, cojón contains the augmentative suffix -ón (implying magnitude), and derives from the Vulgar Latin coleonem, the accusative form of coleo (testicle), an augmentative form of cōleus (leather bag for liquids); its variants are cūleus and culleus. The lej or lij pronunciation shift is common to Latin and Spanish, e.g. foliahoja (leaf), which is a cognate with the English word "foliage".

The exclamation ¡Qué cojones! is used to express pain, anger, excitement, or irony, and is approximately synonymous with the interjection ¡coño! (vulva) expressing anger and surprise. [4] Analogues to the Spanish cojones exist in Galician collóns, Catalan collons (s. colló), French couilles, Italian coglioni, Portuguese colhões, Romanian coaie, Leonese coyones, Dutch ballen, and the Welsh ceillion.


  • Collins Gem Latin Dictionary, ISBN 0-00-458644-1
  • Diccionario Esencial Santillana de la Lengua Española, ISBN 84-294-3415-1


  1. ^ Transcript of a CNN interview with Albright that discusses the cojones quote
  2. ^ Reports on Bush's description of Blair
  3. ^ Clift: Obama Needs a Knockout Punch Against Clinton | Newsweek Voices - Eleanor Clift |
  4. ^ El pequeño Larousse ilustrado 1999 p.285

External links

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