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This article is a summary of Spanish profanity, referred to in the Spanish language as lenguaje soez (low language), maldiciones (curse words), palabras malas (bad words), insultos (insults), vulgaridades (vulgarities), juramentos (oaths — swearing), palabrotas (lit. "big words"), tacos (in Spain), palabras sucias (dirty words in Panama), lisuras (in Peru), puteadas (in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay), desvergue in El Salvador, majaderías in Mexico, garabatos (gibberish or shootings/firings in Chile), or groserías (impolite words). Spanish profanity varies in Spanish-speaking nations, and even in regions of the same nation. Several of these words have linguistic and historical significance.

Idiomatic expressions, particularly profanity, can be very hard to translate into other languages, and so most of the English translations offered in this article are very rough and most likely do not reflect the full meaning of the expression they intend to translate.


Verbs denoting sexual acts

The following verbs are indicative of a variety of sexual acts, especially sexual intercourse and masturbation, though mostly limited to specific geographic regions.

  • Chaquetear is a verb that can be used as to masturbate mainly in Mexico. Used in European Spanish by both fighters of Spanish Civil War, used as "traitor or coward". In Chile, it means "to change one's posture rapidly"[citation needed].
It has another possible meaning in Mexican Spanish: "to create false hopes" or "to hallucinate", hacerse una chaqueta mental (literally "To make a mental masturbation"); compare to the English expression "mental masturbation" and to the European Spanish paja mental, which is an almost literal translation of the English phrase.
  • Chingar comes from the Caló (Spanish Romani) word čingarár, meaning "to fight".[1] In the form La Chingada, it was famously applied to La Malinche, the mistress of Hernán Cortés. In Mexico chingar means "to fuck someone" or to make a mistake (cf. English "to fuck up"). Chinga a tu madre or Vete y chinga a tu madre ("go fuck your mother") is often considered the strongest Mexican curse, and vete a la chingada roughly translates "go fuck yourself". Other uses are somewhat more tame — a Mexican might say no me chingues, a fairly strong version of "don't annoy me", "are you serious?", or "get out of here!" that literally translates as "don't fuck (with) me", or if a Mexican is beaten in a business deal or in sports, me chingaron ("they fucked me") might be used. Also used is the expression estás corriendo en la chingada, literally "you are running in that which is fucked". Soy chingón could mean in English "I rule" or "I'm the man" ¡No chingues! or ¡No manches! means something like "No way!" (literally more like "don't screw around"). ¡Qué chingón! could be used to say "Wow, that's cool!" in a more aggressive way. ¡Qué chinga! roughly translates to "What a heavy duty!", while ¡A la chingada! can be a curse at someone or an expression of shock. Machín is another variation on chingar, a contraction of lo más chingón, roughly translated, "the baddest motherfucker". "Chingadera" is used to display frustration with an object. Translates to "fucking thing". The word is understood in Spain and Puerto Rico, and used in the latter. It could mean from something related to sexual relations to being screwed up.
  • Chimar is another variant of "to fuck" used in Guatemala.
  • Chinquechar is an equivalent of the verb chingar. However, chinquechar is used mostly for "to have sex" (mostly in northern and western Mexico).
  • Cachar is commonly used in Peru for "to have sex". In Chile it can have this meaning when used as a noun (cacha, pegarse una cachita; "to have a little sex"), but it's mainly used for "to understand". It comes from the English "to catch" something or someone.
  • Chichar is like Chingar Dominican way of saying "to fuck", but with a slight variation of a movement taken from the Cha Cha Cha.
  • Clavar means to nail something. In Puerto Rico it can be used as both vulgar and obscene expressions "la clavé" (I fucked her), "Me la clavaron" (They screwed me up).
  • Coger means to seize, to catch, to take (e.g. a bus), to pick (e.g. fruit from a tree), to pick up (in all senses of the English word), used most commonly in Spain, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Panama. However, in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile, it is used as synonymous of "to get (some)" in the sense of a sexual encounter ("to fuck"), and cannot be said in polite company. In those countries, the original meaning of "coger" (as to pick, etc.) has been changed to almost completely the "sexual" orientation of the word, the original meaning has then been given to the word agarrar ("to grab" or "to hold" in all senses in English). Coger can be used in both senses (i.e. literal and obscene) in Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela and the southwestern United States. In Puerto Rico, Cuba and Spain coger is totally inoffensive, unless used clearly in a phrase having literal sexual connotation; it is used mostly as a way to say "Go away, you annoyance!".
  • Comer means to eat. In Colombia and Panama (in youth slang) its used frequently to mean the same as fuck, e.g. "Me la comí" (literal: I ate her, metaphorically: I fucked her). In Chile (again youth slang) its meaning is making out with someone without further compromise. Also in Spain means fellatio at comerla or comérsela, so do chuparla ("to suck it") or mamarla.
  • Correrse means to get off, to have an orgasm. Used commonly in Spain. Otherwise, it means to get off the way.
  • Culear derives from culo, which means "ass" in most Latin American countries. In Spain and Puerto Rico, where it means "buttocks", culear means moving one's buttocks, especially now among young people and in reggaetón song lyrics. In northern Mexico, it also means to be afraid, as in te culeaste ("you got scared"). In slang it also means to make life difficult for someone, but it is rarely used in Spain and has little or no sexual reference. In Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Colombia and other Latin American countries, it means "to have sex" (not necessarily anal intercourse — compare with English slang "getting a piece of ass"). A more polite term for the buttocks is nalgas. The term is rarely if ever used in Cuba.
  • Dar, literally "to give", means in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay "to fuck (someone)". In Mexico darlas ("to give them"), depending on the context, means "to give oneself (to another)" (sexually speaking).
Dar un poco de caña - identical to the British "give a bit of stick" or the American "give a kick in the ass", meaning abuse or admonishment to correct some behavior. This expression holds primarily in Spain. In other regions it is unknown and the listener may mistake it for a crude sexual reference, although in Cuba a similar term is used, dale leña, or "give him/her (fire)wood". In El Salvador, it also has a sexual connotation, as in me la di ("I fucked her").
  • Dar estilla: these two words together in Dominican Republic mean "to fuck", for example Le di estilla a ella ("I fucked her"), but literally translated to English it doesn't mean much, just "to give a piece of wood or splinter". This phrase is a common youth slang.
  • The verb hacer(lo) (lit. to do (it)) also denotes "to have sexual intercourse" in Panama and Puerto Rico. To say lo hice con él/ella ("I did it with him/her") means "I had intercourse with him/her". Note that hacer ("to do" or "to make") does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse.
  • The phrase echar un polvo, literally "to throw a dust", actually means "to have sexual intercourse", most commonly used in Spain and Argentina, although it is fairly common in the Dominican Republic and it has gained popularity in Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. In Peru, the variant tirarse un polvo is used.
  • Follar another synonym, used particularly in Spain and to a lesser extent in Cuba, but rarely found elsewhere. In these countries it means to have sex.
  • Hundir, literally means to sink, but in Puerto Rico is occasionally used as meter, a slang for male to female intercourse. Common uses and variations are voy a hundirselo and hundirle los pelos ("sink the curlies"; pelos is a reference to female pubic hair).
  • Joder means "fuck" in terms of intercourse, and also the notions of "fucking with someone" and "screw something up" or constantly annoying someone. In Spain, the word is also used as an interjection, as in, ¡Joder! ("Fuck!"). The word joder comes from the Latin futuere (cognate with French foutre, Italian fottere, Romanian fute, Catalan fotre, and Galician and Portuguese foder). In parts of South America, joder means both "to annoy" (no jodas = "no kidding") or "to have fun" (vamos a joder = "let's have fun") and is deemed mildly vulgar but not obscene. In Chile, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Panama, joder can be used as a vulgar substitute of the verbs to annoy, or to fool/to mock (No jodas conmigo = "Don't fool with me", Tú me estás jodiendo = "You've got to be -fucking- kidding me"). The substantive joda is used as "fun" ( joda loca = "great fun, wild party"), and the word jodido as "difficult" (examen jodido = "hard exam"). In Cuba and Puerto Rico, the word is used in all of its meanings, but the terms of intercourse are the least used. In Spanish slang, joder is commonly used to suggest amazement (¡¿Joder, sabes español?! can mean "Cool, you know Spanish?"). Also in Spain, jodía (usually the imperfect tense of joder) used to refer to a Jewish woman or a variety of bean (now judía).
  • Limar ("to smooth out") is used in Guatemala by a very small population which speaks Caló (a slang language) and is another variant of "to fuck". In Argentine slang, it means to be out of your mind, and also to be very amazed by something.
  • Mámalo is a Spanish term meaning "suck it". It is commonly considered slang when used between males (as in the adjective mamalón, which means "outstanding") and derogatory when spoken to females. Comes from the verb mamar which means "to lactate" (the act of sucking a breast to feed from its milk) which is used as a verb for fellatio in Spanish from the Americas.
  • Meter, which can be translated as the inoffensive verb "to put in", can sometimes be used in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, or even Spain to imply the insertion of the male penis during sexual intercourse. (Yo se lo metí a ella = "I put it inside her").
  • Picar, translated as "to sting", could also mean "to have sex", as a metaphor for the insertion of the penis in the vagina.
  • Pisar, which is used in Central America (chiefly El Salvador and some parts of Honduras) and to some extent in Chile, Guatemala, and Cuba, translates as "to step on", which implies "stepping on" or being on top of another person during intercourse, like the rooster does to the hen.
  • Ponchar is another variant of "to fuck" used in Mexico, also means "to pinch". In other countries, it means "to strike out" (baseball) and is unoffensive. In Panama it is used in both ways.
  • Ponerla, literally "to put it", in Argentina means to have sex (for example, hoy la puse means "I had sex today").
  • Puñeta is an expression widely used in Puerto Rico and other Spanish-speaking countries. It may be an exclamation, akin to the English "Shit!", although if translated literally, it means "to masturbate" (me hice una puñeta/"I masturbated"). In this sense, the word derives from puño ("fist"). It can also be used as an emphasizing interjection (¿Dónde puñeta has estado?/"Where the fuck have you been?").
It is tough to translate properly into English by itself, it is more easily defined by its context. By itself, it is usually used as a vulgar expression of surprise or aggravation. One could say ¡puñeta! when staring at a beautiful girl for example, but also when hitting oneself on the head. Una puñeta ("a puñeta") means a "yank", as in yanking one's penis (masturbation). It is only used to refer to male masturbation, not female masturbation (which is called dar dedo, "to finger"). Hacerse una puñeta means to pleasure oneself. Also very common is the use of puñetero ("masturbator").
This sense requires the use of the word puñeta in singular; when used in the plural, like in vete a hacer puñetas, the meaning is completely different: this could be roughly translated as "Go to hell" and makes reference to the adornments that lawyers and judges wear in the wrist (puño) of shirts. These adornments are very laborious and require many hours of production, so making such adornments (hacer puñetas) is supposed to be unpleasant and tedious labor. Other word for male masturbation, used in Costa Rica, is sobo ("rub") for the physical description of the hand movements. This does not apply to female masturbation, which in the Dominican Republic is referred to as darse dedo (lit. "fingering (-self)"). The word apuñalar(se) (lit. to stab (yourself) with a dagger) means to masturbate in Panama.
Ay, puñeta is a favorite expression of pornstar Carmen Luvana, who commonly uses it to show excitement during sex scenes. She often uses it when she reaches (presumed) orgasm.
  • Ra'par is a variant dealing with intercourse, used in the Dominican Republic. It is a variation of the verb raspar ("to scratch"), with its mid s almost silent.
  • Remojar el cochayuyo' (lit. to soak the cochayuyo) is used in Chilean Spanish to refer to the sexual act.[2] The expression alludes to the cochayuyo algae that is harvested on Chile's coast; this algae is preserved by being sun-dried and to prepare it in a dish it then it needs to be softened up by being soaked in water.
  • Singar is most commonly used in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Cuba to mean "to have sex", but chingar also has the same meaning.
  • Tirar (to pull, to shoot, or throw away, among other meanings) is sometimes used in Spain, Nicaragua, Perú, Chile, Ecuador and Puerto Rico, although it is rather common in Venezuela and Colombia. In those cases, it is used when one says me la tiré (I fucked her). In Argentina, tirar la goma translates as "to throw the rubber" and involves a fellatio.

Words denoting male and female genitalia


Cojón, plural cojones is slang for "testicles" and may be used as a synonym for "guts" or "[having] what it takes", hence making it equivalent to English balls or bollocks.

  • A common expression in Spain is anything to the effect of (...) hace lo que le sale de los cojones (lit. "(...) does whatever comes out of his/her balls"), meaning "(...) does whatever the fuck he/she wants". Variations are sale de los huevos, sale de las pelotas, etc. A common Basque catchphrase is los de Bilbao nacemos donde nos sale de los cojones ("we Bilbao natives are born wherever the fuck we want").
  • Sometimes, to denote obnoxious or overbearing behavior from someone else, idiom tocar los cojones/huevos/pelotas/... (lit. "touching someone else's balls") comes to play. For instance: venga, dame eso y para ya de tocar los cojones: "come on, give me that and stop fucking around". It can sometimes be an understatement: a principios de los treinta, los nazis ya empezaban a tocar los cojones.
  • It is also frequent to derive other words, such as adjectival form cojonudo (lit. "ballsy"), indicating admiration. A famous Navarran brand of asparagus has this name.[3]
  • It is sometimes used, at least in Spain, as a suffix, complement or termination to a word or name in order to confer it a derisive or overbearing quality. For instance: el Marcos de los cojones would be indicative of something such as "that fucking Marcos guy". Dame ya la maleta de los cojones would mean "give me the fucking suitcase".
  • (...) me importa un cojón or (...) me importa un huevo stands for "I don't give a fuck about (...)". Alternative variations raise the cardinality, usually to three: (...) me importa tres cojones.
  • Cojones alone can also be used much like the four-word exclamations, though less usually; it is frequently a giveaway for native Catalan speakers when they speak Spanish, as collons is used much more profusely in situations akin to those for "fuck", "shit", etc.


  • Concha (lit. shell) is an offensive word for a woman's vagina (i.e. something akin to English cunt) in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. It is commonly heard in the phrase ¡(La) concha (de) tu madre! ("Your mother's cunt"), which may be used either as an impersonal interjection expressing anger, surprise or frustration, or as a direct insult. Depending on the context, the phrase may cause massive offense. ¡Chucha!/¡chuchamadre! and ¡chucha de tu madre! (respectively) are the Panamanian, Chilean, Ecuadorian or Peruvian equivalents. Although toto would be the Dominican equivalent, semilla (lit. "seed") is often used in a similar context. In Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, chocha or crica imply the word "pussy", although the latter in other countries may have a different (non vulgar) meaning. ¡Crica! may also be used as an interjection, expressing anger or frustration, like "May I be damned!". In Venezuela, chocha can mean female genitalia, but it can also mean a type of round seed or a particular type of bird.[4] Chocha is also a game bird in Spain. The painter Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes made a painting with that name depicting some of those hunted birds. The term conchetumadre is very common and very offensive in Chile, as well as in Ecuador.


  • Coño is a vulgar word for a woman's vulva or vagina. It is frequently translated as "cunt" (and is, indeed, etymologically related) but is in reality significantly less offensive (it is much more common to hear the word coño on Spanish television than the word cunt on British television, for example). In the Dominican Republic it is amongst the most popular of curse words. The word is frequently used as an interjection, expressing surprise, anger or frustration. If you hit your finger with a hammer, ¡Coño! would be like "Shit!" or "Goddamn it!" It is also common to use the expression ¿Pero qué coño? that could be translated as "What the fuck?". However, in Colombia it may also means "diaper". Its usage was so common among Peninsular Spaniards in the Philippines that konyo became the Tagalog name for people of the upper class.


  • Huevos (literally "eggs"), pelotas (literally "balls"), and albóndigas (literally meatballs) all refer to testicles in a profane manner. They are equivalent to cojones in many situations. In Mexico, in a situation where any ambiguity might arise, it is reasonably common to avoid this word for its literal meaning of "eggs", substituting the inoffensive blanquillos (literally "little white ones"). Sometimes the term lavahuevos ("ball-washer" or "testicle-scrubber") is used in the same context as "brown-noser" in English (personally degrading oneself for another's approval).


  • Polla (lit. "chicken", or "hen"), in Spain (and in Puerto Rico, to a lesser extent) the word polla is used as slang for "dick" and also for a (young) girl (as in "chick"). Some years ago, in Costa Rica, the term jupa de pollo ("chicken's head") was popular slang for "penis". The term todo el jupa de pollo was a popular way to say "the whole shebang" or "it's complete now".

Other terms

  • Cuca (sometimes cucaracha) is the equivalent of "cunt" in Venezuela and Colombia. Slightly milder than coño, and is almost inoffensive in Dominican Republic. However, the term has other meanings. While in the Dominican Republic it is a common term for a parrot, in Chile, cuca is criminal slang for paddy wagon. It is also an inoffensive word for the penis that many children use in Spain. It also has a slightly archaic use in Spain and all Latin America to describe a congenial, outgoing person with a gift for flattery ("Julia is very Cuca") or ("Eddie is so Cuco; look at all the friends he has.")
  • Güevo means cock in Dominican Republic (and to a lesser extent, Puerto Rico). Highly offensive Dominican insults involving this term are mamagüevo (lit. cock-sucker) and mamagüevaso (lit. "big cock-sucker"). Ñema is used to refer to the penis' head. See also huevón below.
  • Commonly in Panama, micha is used to refer to the female pussy/cunt (Micha is also a type of bread). Picha is the equivalent to the male "dick"/"cock" in Chiriqui while pinga is used in the rest of the country.
  • Panocha. In Mexico and the Philippines, panocha refers generally to sweet breads or cakes, or, more specifically, to a raw, coarse form of sugar produced there. It is also a fudge made with brown sugar, butter, cream or milk, and nuts (penuche). In New Mexico it means a sprouted-wheat pudding. In the southwestern United States (and northern Mexico, perhaps?), however, it often refers to the female genitalia ("pussy"). Use of this word has been known to cause embarrassment among Mexicans from Mexico and their American-born relatives. Etymology: Spanish penuche, panoja: ear of corn, from the Latin panicula whence comes the English word "panicle": pyramidal loosely branched flower cluster.
  • In Cuba, the word papaya has multiple meanings: in some regional dialects, it means cunt. There are tales of North American tourists who asked a grocer for a papaya (fruit) and being angrily informed that he was not a pimp.
  • In Spain, pelotas (lit. "balls" as in sports) or bolas may be used as a half-profane equivalent for cojones.
  • In Venezuela, the words papo and chocho also mean "cunt".
  • In Panama, the word pipí (lit. "piss"/"urine") is used to refer to the "dick"/"cock". Example: Se me paró el pipí ("My dick has become erect").
  • A verga is a part of a ship's mast (a yardarm), but its slang meaning is "penis" in most Spanish dialects, and as a Latin word, in other Romance languages such as Italian. In Venezuela and Mexico the word is used quite commonly. In the former country it can be used as a generic stand in for an object that is being referred to, but also as an exclamation or to openly brag about one's own ability or proficiency at something, ¡Soy bien verga! (lit. "I'm very dick") and ¡Soy la verga andando! (lit. "I'm the walking dick!") mean "I'm very good [at this/something]!" and "I'm the best there is!" respectively. A common expression in Mexico is ¡Vete a la verga!, meaning "Get the fuck out of here!". In Mexico can be used as bad or ugly ¡Está de la verga!, "This is ugly!", or ¡Sabe a verga!, "This tastes bad!". In Guatemala, it also refers to a state of drunkenness as in "Esta bien a verga", meaning "he's really drunk!". It can also be used to express greatness as in "¡Se ve bien vergón!", which means "It looks great!". In Honduras it is used in the expression no vale la verga, meaning "no good".
  • Pinga or less commonly pingo is literally penis, cock or dick. Considered crude in most regions, although its male variant (pingo) may also be a word describing a horse. However, in Mexico it is also used as a term of endearment for a devilish but likable character in the manner of a Puck, Huckleberry Finn, or Dennis the Menace. The equivalent word in other regions for such people is travieso/traviesa. In Mexico, Central America and other parts of South America, verga is commonly used, also, to say "¡la verga!" could mean "Fuck!" or "no way!" (the second in a sense of "I can't believe it"). Pija is also very common in Argentina and Uruguay (the adjective pijudo describes a man who has a big pija.)
  • Carajo means cock in Spain, although it might also mean a small cup of coffee, or the crow's nest, the topmost part of the mast of a ship. In Latin America, carajo is a very common interjection that can be translated to "fuck!" or "shit!", as Nos vamos a morir, ¡carajo! ("We're gonna die, fuck!") or a far away place, likened to hell: ¡Vete al carajo!. The diminutive, carajito, is used in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela to refer to (usually annoying) children, or to scold a person for acting immaturely, e.g. No actúes como un carajito ("Don't act like a brat!"). Caray is an inoffensive minced oath for this word. Ay caray could be translated "Dang it" or "Darn it!" The word caracho is also used in the non-offensive way like caray. The connotation of "far away place" is reportedly based on the name of the Cargados Carajos, which belong to Mauritius. Unofficial odes to Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru are common utterances in those countries: ¡Viva Cuba, carajo!, ¡Viva el Ecuador, carajo!, and ¡Viva el Perú, carajo! It is said that the term carajo originated during the period when the Moors were in Spain, and applied to a physical description of a Muslim inhabitant as having a (Spanish: cara de ajo, "garlic-face" or "garlic-shaped face") and later contracted to carajo.

Differences in regional Spanish can sometimes produce awkward situations in communication between two Spanish speakers of different countries, but such differences are usually known internationally and taken humorously, although some can cause awkward confusions. The word culantro refers to an aromatic herb used in cooking, but in Puerto Rico it also means ass. Also, the phrase esa señora tiene muy buena cuchara translates literally as "that lady has a very good spoon" and means "that lady cooks very well", referring to the use of a cuchara/spoon while cooking. However, in Guatemala, the word cuchara is used as a synonym of "vagina", which can lead to a very unpleasant situation.

Verbs denoting scatological acts


Cagar means to do caca. It also means to screw (something) up, e.g. ¡te cagaste los pantalones! ("You screwed your pants up!"). Particularly in Spain, there are a number of commonly-used interjections incorporating this verb, many of which refer to shitting on something sacred, e.g. Me cago en Dios ("I shit on God"), Me cago en la Virgen ("I shit on the Virgin"), Me cago en la hostia ("I shit on the Host"), Me cago en tu madre (lit. "I shit on your mother"), Cágate en tu madre (lit. the command "Shit on your mother"), ¡Me cago en la leche! (lit. "I shit in the milk!"). In Spain, Mexico and Argentina it also means to make a big mistake la cagaste (lit. "you shat on it"). In Mexico City it may be used to indicate 'good luck': te cagaste (lit. "You shat yourself"). In the latter country, it can also mean "you fucked" or "scolded" somebody: te cagaste a ese cabrón.


Mierda is a term which signifies excrement; the connotations are approximately the same as those of "shit". Terms such as vete a la mierda (literally "go to (the) shit"), however, means to go to hell. Caca is a less offensive term often used by children, and is loosely comparable to the English "poop", which is not used as a swear word in all countries. Also, the phrases come mierda and come caca literally translate to "eat shit" in Puerto Rico and Mexico, and often are used as an insult. In Cuba, comemierda may also mean a clueless idiot, someone out of touch with his or her surroundings. In Puerto Rico, a comemierda is a snobbish, stuck-up person. In Peru, irse a la mierda or estar hecho mierda can also mean being extremely drunk.

It is also used to describe unpleasant or negative things, such as tiempo de mierda ("shitty weather") or auto de mierda ("fucking/bloody car", "lemon"). A less common use is as a translation of the British profanity "bugger". The euphemisms miércoles (Wednesday) and eme (the letter m) are sometimes used as minced oaths.


Whenever looking for a word denoting low intelligence, most Spanish natives have three options:

  • using a merely descriptive term, or one which, although insulting, can be used as a mild or at times even affectionate form of teasing: tonto ("silly"), burro (lit. "donkey"), etc.
  • using a more explicitly insulting expression, although one which still does not qualify as a real profanity: imbécil, idiota, estúpido.
  • one which delves into profanity. Gilipollas and capullo would correspond to such case.

Gilipollas is a term used mostly in Spain and lacking an exact translation to English. Although the most frequent equivalents when translated in books, films other media are "jerk", "jackass", "douchebag" or "asshole" (in English), con (in French) and boludo (in Argentinian Spanish) or pendejo (in Latin American Spanish, see below), there sometimes is a subtlety missing therein which is seldom captured in languages other than European Spanish -- to wit, the word may imply self-aware idiocy or incompetence, with this self-awareness occasionally stressed to the point of (presumably futile) complacence. Nevertheless, this is not always the case and the common ground for every accepted meaning of the word is limited to either one of the following:

  • any combination, however unequal, of obnoxiousness and stupidity;
  • stupidity alone, in which case there will always be a degree of animosity, whether faked or real, from whoever uses the word.

The etymology of the word itself immediately confirms its genuinely Peninsular Spanish origins and preponderance, as opposed to other profanities perhaps more linked to Latin America: it is the combination of the Caló jili, usually translated as "candid", "silly" or "idiot", and a word which according to different sources is either polla (listed below) or a colloquial evolution thereto of the Latin pulla (bladder).

Perhaps due to the alternative origins of the latter part of the word, there has been some controversy concerning its status as a real profanity, although its clear phonetic evocation of the word polla leaves little room for doubt, at least in its common daily use. It is due to this that attempts at a euphemism have at times become popular, as is the case with gilipuertas (puerta standing for door). In relatively recent times, further rough equivalents have appeared, especially in Spain, although most of them (such as soplapollas, "cock sucker") delve much further into plain profanity. A cognate in Catalan is gilipolles.

A usual derivation of the word gilipollas into an adjective form (or a false adjectival participle) is agilipollado/agilipollada; hence, (...) está agilipollado/a would mean "(...) is behaving like, or has become, at least temporarily, a gilipollas"; regardless of whether or not such condition or irreversible, the verb estar is always used, as opposed to ser. Gilipollat/da would be the Catalan cognate. Another Spanish construction with similar rationale is atontado, linked to tonto, "silly".

A derivation of the word is its noun form gilipollez, standing for "stupidity" or "bullshit".


A near-synonym is capullo, literally slang for the glans penis (and primarily the Spanish translation of both "cocoon" and "flower bud") though its use in ad hominem references is nearly always interchangeable with that of gilipollas.

The main difference between the two of them is that while a gilipollas normally behaves like he does out of sheer stupidity, a capullo normally acts like one by applying certain amount of evil intentions to his acts. While one can act like a gilipollas without being one, in the capullo instance that is not possible. In English to be means at the same time both the permanent/ fundamental characteristics and the non permanent/ circumstantial ones of anything, in Spanish to be separates into two disctinct verbs: ser and estar which respectively reflect the aforementioned characteristics. So, to say about anyone that es un gilipollas means that he is stupid/ annoying permanently, while to say está agilipollado reflects both his present state and the fact that it could change at any time to a non agilipollado one. This is not true for a capullo: if someone thinks about someone else that he is a capullo, he thinks so permanently, because the degree of evil he sees in the capullo's actions tends to be thought of as a permanent characteristic, inherent to the capullo's personality. So the correspondent verb ser would be used: es un capullo, and the estar verb would never be used.

Whenever used as an affectionate or heavily informal form of teasing rather than as an insult, though, capullo is used a bit more often. This may be due to the fact that someone who does not have an intention to offend will resort to a lower amount of syllables, hence rendering the expression less coarse and ill-sounding. Therefore, expressions such as venga va, no seas ___ ("come one, don't be silly") will use capullo more frequently than gilipollas.


Maricón (lit. "big Mary") and its derivative words marica and marico are words used for referring to someone as a gay man, or for criticizing someone for doing something that, according to stereotypes, only a gay person would do. It comes from Marica, a diminutive form of the very common female name María ("Mary"). In Spain and Cuba the word has a stronger meaning with a very negative emphasis; akin to "faggot" or "poof" in the English language. In southern Spain the term maricona refers to a male gay queen; which is often used humorously. However, maricona is exclusively used to refer to a lesbian in the Dominican Republic. In Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, maricón or marica is especially used to denote a "chicken" (coward), and it is not considered an expletive. In Chile, maricón also means something like "sadistic for no reason". Some examples of the uses of this word are:

  • Eres una marica. ("You are a faggot")
  • Mano, eres tremendamente maricón. ("Dude, you're really gay!"; note that maricón is actually used as an adjective here)
  • Yo sí soy maricón, ¿y qué? ("I am gay, so what?")
  • No seas maricón. ("Don't chicken out", "Don't be a pussy", "Don't be an asshole")
  • ¡Qué maricón de mierda, ¿eh?! ("What a faggot!")
  • Devuelve la mamadera al bebé, que lo haces llorar. ¡No seas maricón! ("Give back the feeding bottle to the baby, because you make him cry. Don't be a sadistic!")

One important exception is Colombia, where marica is used as a slang term of affection or as a general exclamation ("ay, marica!" being equivalent to "oh, man!" or "dude!" in U.S. English). This often causes confusion or unintended offense among first-time Spanish-speaking visitors to Colombia. Maricón, however, remains an insulting and profane term for homosexuals in Colombia as well.

Other synonyms are: julai, julandrón, mariquita, afeminado, invertido (official noun under Spanish Francisco Franco dictatorship), mariposa, mariposón, plumón, sarasa, desviado, bámbaro (south of Colombia) bujarra, bujarrón, bugarrón (Puerto Rico), cabro, hueco ("hollow"), pato ("duck") (Puerto Rico, Panama), trucha ("trout"), joto, puñal, trolo (Argentina), pargo, parcha, parchita, plon, Homogay, homo, loca ("crazy woman") (Cuba, Puerto Rico), raro ("weird"), rarito, roscón, mariconsón, puto, tortillero, tragasable, tragaleche ("milk-drinker"), chivo, cabro, rosquete, mamaverga ("cock-sucker"), muerdealmohadas ("pillow-biter") (Peru), comilón, cundango (Dominican Republic, Cuba), pájaro ("little bird") (Dominican Republic, Cuba), cueco (Panama), colizón, hueco, fleto, maraco, cola (Chile), playo ("flat") (Costa Rica), culero (Honduras, El Salvador), cochón (Nicaragua). In Cuba, cundango refers specifically to a male sex partner ("Tommy has been Robert's cundango for years").

Probably the strongest profanity referring to a homosexual male is puto; literally male prostitute. It is highly offensive, but is sometimes used by members of the gay community to refer to themselves (to create a comical effect). This corresponds to the use of "bitch" between English-speaking lesbians or gays and in the prison population. Puto can also be used as a masculine equivalent to the term puta, lit. "prostitute/whore", with the closest translation (as far as understanding the meaning or impact of the word) being "bitch". In Puerto Rico puto or palgo may represent a womanizer.

Spanish being a grammatically gendered language, switching the gender of adjectives and/or pronouns when referring to someone of either sex can imply homosexuality, much as in English one might refer to a flamboyantly gay man as her. Some words referring to a male homosexual end in an "a" but have the male article "el", a deliberate violation of Spanish grammar for a paradoxical effect.

A derivative of maricón is mariquita which literally is "little faggot". It means "pussy" in the sense that someone is a wimp or sissy. This expression is known to be used in Spain. It can be used in a sentence like ¡Eres una mariquita!, meaning "You're a pussy!" It's also a food.


Paja directly translates to English as "straw", used in farms for cattle and other animals to lie on. In Spain, South America, Puerto Rico and Panama hacerse la paja (correrse la paja, in Chile and Peru) means to masturbate. In most parts of Central America and the Spanish Caribbean (and Chile as well) to masturbate is to pajearse. In South America, Spain, and the Dominican Republic paja is more often used as hacerse una paja. Pajero, or pajillero in Spain, is a masturbator (wanker) and also can imply a weakling or a fool, due to cultural beliefs that masturbation created mental weakness. In certain countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, pajero (fem. pajera) can also mean "lazy person", and in Guatemala and Honduras it means "liar": vos sos bien pajero = "you're such a liar". In Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras and El Salvador, hablar paja can mean either "to talk nonsense" (tú solo hablas (pura) paja "you're just talking nonsense") or "small talk" (estuve hablando paja con un amigo "I was making small talk with a friend"). After this, calling a person pajoso/a means he/she either lies a lot or speaks nonsense. However, to call someone pajúo/a means he/she is a stupid person.

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors has a sport utility model called Pajero. The original intention was to call the car after a South American wildcat, but the company's failure to check other uses of the word caused many chuckles. In the Americas and in Spain, the vehicle was rebadged as the Montero. (It has since been replaced in North America by the Mitsubishi Endeavor.) In Peru, paja can also mean cool: qué paja tu carro "your car is cool/nice".


Pendejo may be translated as "dumbass" in many situations, though it carries an extra implication of rank and willful incompetence. The less extreme version, which is used in most Spanish speaking countries, translates more or less as "jackass". The term however, has very high offensive connotations in Puerto Rico.

In Mexico, Central and Northern South America, pendejo refers to a stupid person (estúpido), synonymous with idiota ("idiot") or imbécil ("moron"), although it carries a much stronger connotation than the words in English may imply. It is a much stronger word in Mexico and Central America than it is in Panama, where, while still impolite, it is not as offensive, especially not among younger people. In Peru it means a person who gains benefits from an advantageous situation in an immoral or deceptively persuasive manner (usually involving sexual gain and promiscuity, but not limited to it), and if used referring to a female (ella es pendeja) it means she is promiscuous (but the sense of female con-man can also apply). There the word pendejada and a whole family of related words have meanings that stem from these. In South America pendejo is also a vulgar, yet inoffensive word, for children. It also signifies a person with a disorderly or irregular life. In Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, it has different meanings depending on the situation. It can range from ¡Te cogieron de pendejo! "You were fooled!" (e.g. by a con-man), to ¡Qué tipa pendeja! "What a dumbass !" (as when some unknown woman unexpectedly offends you with no apparent motive, and just leaves turning her back on you). In Mexico and some countries of Central America, especially El Salvador, una pendejada is used to describe something incredibly stupid that someone has done. In many countries, pendejo also means coward (with a stronger connotation), as in ¡No huyas, pendejo! "Don't run away, chicken-shit!".

In South America it refers to a person regarded with an obnoxiously determined advancement of one's own personality, wishes, or views (a "smartass"). In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, pendejo or pendeja refers to a child, usually with a negative connotation, like that of immaturity or a "brat"[citation needed]. In Perú, however, it does not necessarily have a negative connotation, and can just refer to someone who is clever, especially with regards to street smarts.

In the Philippines, the word pendejo is a very offensive word meaning "cuckold". When said to a certain person, its intent is to degrade that man and rob him of his pride.

In North Sulawesi, Indonesia, pendo (a derivative of pendejo) is used as profanity but with the majority of the population not knowing its meaning. The word was adopted during the colonial era when Spanish and Portuguese merchants sailed to this northern tip of Indonesia for spices.

In Spain, this word is hardly ever used.

Puta, puto

Puta literally means whore, and can be extended to any woman who is seen as being sexually loose. This word is common to all other Romance languages (it is puta also in Portuguese and Catalan, pute/putain in French, puttana in Italian, and so on) and almost certainly comes from Vulgar Latin putta (from puttus, alteration of putus "boy"), although the Royal Spanish Academy lists its origins as "uncertain" (unlike other dictionaries which state putta as its origin, like the María Moliner).

The word is used in quite a few common expressions. Hijo de puta (literally "son of a whore") is the Spanish equivalent of "son of a bitch" in English. The use of puta as "bitch" has led to its use as slang for the word "bitch" in the United States by people of immigrant backgrounds.

In Honduras, Philippines, and El Salvador, the word puta is a very common part of everyday speech, and it is not such a strong word as it is in the rest of Central America.

While hijo de puta ("son of a whore") is a common insult in Latin American countries (and is even dismissed as a not very offensive one), saying tu madre es una puta ("your mother is a whore") while just a slight rewording, is MUCH more offensive to the average Latin American, since it is perceived more as a personal insult to one's mother than to one's self.

Hayao Miyazaki's Japanese film 天空の城ラピュタ (Laputa: Castle in the Sky) was marketed outside Japan with the title "Castle in the Sky" because la puta means "the whore" in Spanish; this expression is used for denoting surprise or just insulting someone. The Japanese name of the film was a reference to Jonathan Swift's book Gulliver's Travels, in which Laputa is the name of a flying island. In the Spanish dubbing of this movie, the flying island was referred as Lapuntu as a euphemism.

The expression hijo de puta is often transformed into hijo de la gran puta (literally "son of the great bitch") or simply hijo de la gran... (literally "son of the great...") to emphasize the insult. Another possible deviation is hijo de mil putas (literally "son of a thousand bitches"). Hijo de puta is also used in the Philippines as iho de puta with its variants, de puta, anak ng puta, putang ina mo and putang ina.

Also, when referring to a specific person rather than arbitrarily blurting hijo de puta, one may proclaim hijo de su puta madre in order to specify a certain person with whom he or she is displeased.

In Spain, puta (as well as its masculine form puto) is very frequently used as an adjective. It is then sometimes little more than an expletive devoid of meaning: vamos a la puta calle, lit. "we are going to the whore street". To be somebody or something de puta madre (lit. "from a whore mother") means to be excellent, to be the best possible: Lo pasamos de puta madre "We had a bloody brilliant time". It can be also ironic: De puta madre, ¿ahora qué hacemos? "Bloody brilliant. What are we supposed to do now?"


The male equivalent puto has different meanings in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world: these days in Spain it means male prostitute, in many places, such as Mexico, it is a pejorative for a gay man (this usage is present in Don Quixote), in others, like Cuba and Puerto Rico for example, puto is simply a comment on a man who is promiscuous and a womanizer (depending on context or tone, it can be extremely offensive or just a joke).


Puta or puto can also be used as adjectives, roughly corresponding to the equivalent of "fucking", "shitty", "bitch" or "bloody"; ¡dame el puto dinero! means "give me the fucking money!".

An expression used in Spain is me cago en la puta virgen (literally "I shit on the whore virgin", but better translated as "I shit on the fucking virgin").

Puta madre (literally "whore or fucking mother") [de puta madre is an expression used in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Chile], on the other hand, while vulgar, can also be a term of praise, (me siento de puta madre, for example can be translated as "I feel motherfucking great"). So, the use of puta madre is comparable to how "motherfucker" can be used positively in English, although more uniformly positive: Escribe como la puta madre (in Spain: escribe de puta madre) might be rendered "He writes motherfuckin' great"; es una tía de puta madre can mean "she's an awesome chick". There is also a pejorative way of saying it, which is ¡Vete con la puta madre que te parió! which means "Go to your whore mother that gave birth to you!"

Also known to exist is the expression puto amo, which can be translated as "the best", "the boss", "the dog's bollocks" or "the shit"; as in Paolo Maldini es el puto amo del fútbol.

A verbal form of the word is used, putear, which could correspond roughly to the translation of any of the following: "piss off", "harass", "mistreat", "tease", "beat up".

Profanity related to religion

Perhaps paradoxically, there is a tendency in Spanish-speaking countries to religiously-related, irreverent or even blasphemous profanity which is far more prevalent than in other countries with a lower percentage of Christian affiliates. Most, if not all, of the profanity is of Peninsular Spanish origin, has always been much more prevalent in Spain, and was already existing before the population in Spain and Latin America was exposed, to any degree, to Evangelical Christianity. Therefore, the etymology for these expressions arises from Catholic rites, or from rites or expressions common to both forms of Christianity.


Hostia stands literally for host, but in Spain it also has profane conntations:

  • "blow", whether it corresponds to "slap", "smack", "smash" or "punch": e.g. se pegó una hostia con el coche (he/she smashed his car up badly). Te voy a meter dos hostias (lit. "I'll put two hosts into you") stands for I'll beat the fuck out of you.
    • A usual variation of this is no tener media hostia (lit. "not having half a host"), which would stand for having a weak or frail-looking physique -- the implication being that it wouldn't take even half a blow to knock the subject out.
    • It is almost certain that galleta (literally: cookie or biscuit) is a minced oath or a less profane cognate for this profane meaning of hostia (e.g. se pegó una galleta con el coche) and is much more prevalent in Latin America than in Spain.
  • It is also used expletively to denote an abstract or distant point of reference or comparison, somehow akin to "Hell" in English. Hace un frío de la hostia means "it's bloody freezing". Mas feo que la hostia would mean "uglier than the host", but stands for "uglier than Hell". Eres la hostia ("you're the host") would stand for a profane version of "you are something".
    • A standard application would be la hostia de, for instance este chocolate está la hostia de bueno would mean "this chocolate is so fucking tasty".
    • An idiom which is frequently used in Spanish (and sometimes in Catalan, usually without bothering to translate quinta to cinquena) is la quinta hostia (lit. "the fifth host"), indicating a very long distance. Ahora vete a saber dónde trabaja Juan; me han dicho que se fue a la quinta hostia would stand for "who knows where Juan ended up assigned for his job; word has it that they sent him a million fucking miles away".
    • A toda hostia would stand for "quickly" or "hurriedly".
  • It is also used as an interjection, such as many four-letter words in English. ¡(La) hostia! would simply mean "shit!" or "damn!", for instance denoting surprise or indignation. (la) hostia puta means "fucking host" but would stand for holy shit. Minced oaths include ¡ostras! (lit. oysters!), ¡ondia! and ¡ostima! (both derived from Catalan).
    • the same variations are applicable to this meaning that to four-letter words. For instance ¿qué hostias haces? would mean "what the fuck are you doing?".
  • it can also be used as a rough translation for "bullshit", "stupidity" or anything denoting unnecessary subtleties. Déjate/dejémonos de hostias would mean "just cut the crap" or "don't waste your time". Ya estoy harto de tanta hostia would mean "I've had it with this shit". (...) no se anda con hostias would mean "(...) is really no-nonsense" or "(...) doesn't fuck around".
  • A very frequent use of the word is in mala hostia (lit. "bad host"), which can stand for any of the following:
    • a state of extreme anger: estoy de mala hostia would mean "I'm pissed off".
    • a vicious, vindictive, malevolent, abrasive or aggressive character or disposition, or a tendency towards cynicism or callousness: tienes muy mala hostia insinuando eso ("that insinuation is so fucking disingenuous/ill-intentioned of you").
    • bad luck: ya es mala hostia morirse el día de su cumpleaños would mean "it takes the hell of a bad luck to die on his birthday".
  • Used to express anger, irritation, contempt, or disappointment: me cago en la hostia (lit. "i shit on the communion host").
  • cagando hostias (lit. "shitting hosts [over and over]") means "as fast as possible" -in fact, even faster than possible. Cuando llegó la pasma, nos abrimos cagando hostias, "when the cops arrived, we shot out inmediatly".

Compare "hostie" in Quebec profanity.


A word used almost interchangeably with all profane uses of hostia is leche (lit. "milk"), possibly derived from a common slang term for sperm.

  • Te voy a meter una leche stands for I'll beat the fuck out of you.
  • eres la leche: "you're unbelievable".
  • leche or leches (minced oath: leñe) would stand for "goddamnit!", usually inserted at the end of a sentence
  • Déjate de leches would mean "just cut the bull" or "let's get straight to the point".
  • estoy de mala leche would mean "I'm pissed off". This is extremely common in Spain. It can be used as a noun: el de la tienda de enfrente es un viejo mala leche would be "the desk clerk in the store across the street is a cantankerous old fucker". Mala leche or mala hostia are usually introduced as translations for concepts such as cynicism or schadenfreude.
  • qué mala leche tienes would mean "you're such a badass" or "you're so mean-spirited".
  • siempre tuvo muy mala leche con sus inversiones ("he was always so damn infortunate with his investments").

Minced oaths for mala leche would be mala idea or mala baba (lit. "bad drool").


Copón, used exclusively in Spain, stands literally for the ciborium, but also shares virtually the same profane usage as the second listed definition for hostia. For instance: Mas feo que el copón would mean "uglier than the ciborium", but stands for "uglier than Hell". ¡Copón bendito! ("Blessed chalice!"), would stand for something such as "holy crap!". Compare "ciboire" and "câlice" in Quebec profanity.

Openly blasphemous expressions

Perhaps unique to a number of Romance languages are the openly scathing remarks directly aimed at Christian iconography or rites. Many of them involve the verb Cagar, "to shit" (see below), e.g.:

  • Me cago en Dios ("I shit on God"),
  • Me cago en Cristo ("I shit on Christ"),
  • Me cago en la madre de Dios / en la Virgen ("I shit on the Virgin"),
  • Me cago en la hostia ("I shit on the Host").
  • Me cago en tus muertos ("I shit on your dead").
  • variations, sometimes awkwardly creative. The usual ones include adding puta/puto, "fucking", to any of the above or combining terms (e.g. me cago en Dios y en su puta madre), although occasionally, the rather incongruous me cago en San Dios can be heard, usually indicative of a low cultural background. It should be noted that younger generations of Spaniards perpetuate these idiomatic expressions for their linguistic colorfulness and often those that seem most shocking or eccentric or antiquated are favored. Thus it is not uncommon to hear Cago en tu dios ("Fuck your god"), or the more elaborate and blasphemous Me cago en la boca del Papa ("I take a shit in the Pope's mouth"), Me cago en el copón ("I take a shit in the Holy Chalice") or Me cago en el sagrado corazón de Jesús ("F*** Jesus' holy heart"). Expressions like these have a higher index of hostility within Spanish culture than the ones previously listed and, as awkward as this may seem, are actually condemned as blasphemous even by most Spaniards who would not hesitate to utter an occasional "Me cago en Dios".
  • etcetera (usually involving one or more Saints).

Again paradoxically, these are most common in rural regions of Spain, where Catholic culture is most prevalent. However, the region in Spain where these expressions are used most profusely, and at times "creatively", is a non-Spanish speaking region, comprising Empordà and Garrotxa, where Catalan is the prevalent language and the one in which all these expressions are used:

  • Em/me cago en Déu ("I shit on God"), by far the most usual, pronounced in abbreviated form cagondéu,
  • Em/me cago en la Verge/la mare de Déu ("I shit on the Virgin"),
  • Em/me cago en l'hòstia ("I shit on the Holy Form"), sometimes pronounced in abbreviated form cagonlhòstia,
  • Collons de Déu (literally "God's balls", standing for "fucking God").
  • variations which can be extremely convoluted. e.g. 'cagon' el Déu que t'aguanta (lit. "I shit on the God that's holding you"), cagon el Déu que et va parir (lit. "I shit on the God that gave birth to you"), em/me cago en els tres/quatre puntals/pilars que aguanten la cagadera de Déu (lit. "I shit on the three/four pillars holding God's toilet").

Common stereotypes characterize this region as the birthplace of "eccentric" characters (some of them famous. e.g. Salvador Dalí, Josep Pla or Alexandre Deulofeu) and one of the most usual attributes of this stereotype is the very casual use of blasphemous profanity -- to the point of it being indicative of other states of mind aside from outrage, such as joy or surprise.

Minced oaths include me cago en diez (lit. "I shit on ten"), la madre de Dios (without the me cago en) or la madre del cordero ("the lamb's mother"). Once again, Spaniards rejoice in elaborating on existing swear expressions and thus one may hear Cago en el copón de la baraja ("Fuck the ace of cups in the Spanish deck") as opposed to Cago en el copón ("I take a shit in the Holy Chalice"). In this case copón, literally "big ol' cup" is the subject of the pun. Another source of neologisms in the field of profanity is the elaboration of intricate rebuttals (often rhymed ones) that are uttered consensually by several speakers. I. e. a person may say "Cago en diez" "Fuck ten" and somebody else may add Cago en veinte que es más potente "Fuck twenty even more then since it is a higher number" and so forth. A more common way of developing new expressions is the use of euphemisms in order to avoid a formal swear. Instead of Me cago en Dios one may hear such expressions as Me cago en Dena ("Fuck Dena?") or Me cago en Diógenes ("Fuck Diogenes") or Me cago en Dío ("Fuck Dío") or Me cago en Diosle ("Fuck Diosle?"). Some of these rhymes and euphemisms are rather convoluted but again, once they spread, they become common lore among those speakers who rejoice in developing or adapting new expressions. A prime example of an incongruous swear expression would be Me cago en Mahoma que tiene los huevos (cojones) de plástico y de goma ("Fuck Mohammed whose balls are made of plastic and rubber").

Compare to Italian porco Dio, porca Madonna or the multiple possible bestemmie (see: Italian profanity), French Nom de Dieu or Nom de Nom or Romanian anafora mă-tii! ("Your mother's host!").

The reason why these expressions are so prevalent in Romance languages might be the totemic or comic cults practiced by the ancient peoples of the Italic Peninsula and the Northern Mediterranean Basin, or by the indigenous peoples of what would eventually become the largest area of expansion of the Roman Empire. There are villages, at least in Italy, where it is still customary to insult and boisterously poke fun at the Virgin's effigy as a sign of awe and acceptance (however contradictory this might seem to foreigners). Nevertheless, this is not the only reason, as open Maltheism is not unusual, especially among intellectuals or elder educated people in rural zones of Catalonia, both as a consequence of the above phenomena and of the volatile relationship established between the peasantry and working class and the upper echelons of the Catholic Church; a common phrase, sometimes attributed to renowned philosopher Xavier Rubert de Ventós, is Déu, si existeix, és un fill de puta ("God, if He exists, is a sonofabitch"). This phenomenon is also found in Quebec, which is also of Catholic Romance background, but it would appear, rarely in Ireland, German-speaking, or Catholic Slavic countries like Poland. The Irish, for example, are famous for their profanity but usually limit it to secular words.

Other terms

  • Almeja ("clam") and conejo ("rabbit") are also used as synonyms of "cunt" in Spain.
  • Ahueonao/ahuevoniado/ahuevado/huevón/boludo (lit. that has balls/big balls; see huevón) is the word for "jackass" in many Latin American countries. Awebao is the popular Panamanian form, and a good example of one of the most famous qualities of the Panamanian accent: dropping final consonants (and sometimes even vowels). Even though an insult, it's also used, especially in Chile and Panama, the same way as dude in North America (much like wey in Mexico), comparably with Greek malaka. For example in Chile is totally understandable a sentence like Puta el huevón huevón, huevón (lit. "Damn what a stupid guy, dude"). In Mexico, huevón is a pejorative term usually used for a habitually lazy or sedentary male. In Peru and Venezuela, güevón/güebón is the preferred form, see also güevo below. In Argentina, the word boludo is extremely widely used and is synonymous with "idiot". In Chile, the preferred form to use is huevón and ahuevonado.
  • Armado (lit. "armed") (viz. "hung"-U.S.) is used in Mexico and South America to denote a man that has a large penis.
  • Avión (lit. Airplane) and Avionazo (lit. big airplane) are Dominican equivalents to the English term slut. Cuero (lit. "leather"), used for describing "hotties" in Mexico, is used in Dominican Republic to refer to a whore.
  • Bicho is the main vulgar word used to reference to a male penis in Puerto Rico, and also the very less used word pinga, yet in most other countries it is just a reference to an insect, and not a vulgar word. In Venezuela it can be used as an exclamation. In El Salvador it is commonly used as the slang equivalent of "kids". In Nicaragua and some parts of Costa Rica, bicho is used to reference the vagina. In Spain, bicho is applied to people (both male and female) to mean a bad person, often used as mal bicho ("bad bug"). However, in other contexts, specially applied to children, it can mean a naughty boy or girl.
  • Bellaco (Spanish for "rogue") translates in Puerto Rico into "horny".
  • Boludo ("stupid"). Young Argentine people use this word routinely in referring to one another, like the English word "dude".
  • Buey. See Huey.
  • Cabrón (literally "big goat"), in Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, means a "prick" or a "motherfucker". It may also imply that the subject's significant other is unfaithful, and even worse, that the subject knows it and is either too weak or stupid to do anything about it; a cuckold,hence the man has "horns" like a goat (extremely insulting). The expression ¡Ah cabrón! is used sometimes when one is shocked/surprised by something. Among close friends, the term is often inoffensive; however, it is not a word to be used casually with strangers. As an adjective it is equivalent to "tough" as "it is tough" (está cabrón). To some extent, it can also be expressed as a compliment meaning great, amazing, phenomenal, or bad ass. Such expressions would be said as: ¡Estás cabrón! or ¡Yo soy cabrón!. In Panama, it is used as an adjective to mean something/someone very annoying (that pisses you off); it comes from cabrear (to piss someone off). In Peru, cabro means "faggot", hence cabrón is its corresponding superlative (lit. "big faggot"). The term cabrón also means a prostitute handler, comparable to "pimp" in English. The most common way to refer to a pimp is Spanish is by using the term chulo as a noun. In some countries chulo can be used as an adjective somewhat equivalent to "cool" (Ese hombre es un chulo = "That man is a pimp" versus Ese libro es chulo = "That book is cool"). The word is quite flexibly used in Puerto Rico, and it can even have completely opposite meanings depending on the context. Best friends call each other "cabrón" in a friendly manner, while it may also be used to offend someone. When something is good or desirable, you could say "Eso esta cabrón" ("that is cabrón"), and you could use the exact same phrase to describe something horrible.
  • In El Salvador, cerote refers to a dry piece of excrement. It is also used as an insult (similar to "asshole" but stronger).
  • In Panama, Peru, Ecuador and Chile, another common profanity exists: chucha. It is the equivalent to "pussy"/"cunt" (coño) and/or "damn!" (¡coño!/¡carajo!). The phrase ¡chucha de tu madre! (lit. "your mother's pussy") actually means "You motherfucker!", while ¡chucha! (alone) means "damn!", "cunt!", "fuck!"... In Panama, the word "chucha" is commonly used as an interjection for emphasizing or cursing.
  • Cueco and pato (from Latin Pathus or "sexually submissive") are synonyms for "faggot" in Panama and Puerto Rico.
  • Culo is the Latin American Spanish term for arse and the Iberian Spanish term for "buttocks". In El Salvador and Honduras, culero refers to a male homosexual, while in Mexico it refers to a prick/bastard. The words cola and nalga are inoffensive equivalents to "buttocks". Vete a tomar por culo ("go get fucked in the ass") is an expression used in Spain, it's like vete a la mierda but more offensive, because means to wish whom is said to be sodomized, as "fuck off".
  • Cuero ("leather") is a term used in the Dominican Republic for a prostitute. It is also used in Panama for referring to women Mira ese cuero ("Check out that woman").
  • ¡Demonios!, "demons!", is used as a curse when something malfunctions or a mistake is made; the English equivalent would be "hell!". ¡Qué demonios! would be, "What the hell!".
  • Diablo or Diablos, literally "devil" and "devils", respectively are used as expletive equivalents to "Hell" in (orig. American, now general) English and is usually translatable to (now limited use) UK slang usage of "devil". No sabemos qué diablo/diablos ese cabrón hará means "We don't know what the hell/devil that jerk is going to do!" Diablo is often added to comparisons to indicate extremes in the Dominican Republic (El examen fue más difícil que el diablo = "The test was extremely difficult" - literally "The test was tougher than the devil"). The phrase más que el diablo (which could be translated as "Yeah, right!") is also used often in the Dominican Republic right after a statement that is believed to be false is made. (Ese examen fue fácil... más que el diablo = "That exam was easy... yeah right!").
  • Diantre is used as a minced oath for diablo. Diañe, and Diache are also used as substitute terms in the Dominican Republic. Its equivalent in English would be "deuce", "dickens", but most notably "heck" (example: ¿¡Pero qué diantres has hecho!? - "What the heck have you done!?").
  • Fundillo or fundío is heard in Mexico and the southwestern United States as the obscene term specifically for the human anus. It carries about the same weight as the American usages of the words "asshole" or "butt-hole" (but note that fundío is only used to refer to the anus and not as an insult towards a person.) ¡Métetelo en fundío! (or in Mexican Spanish Métetelo por el fundillo means about the same as the English expression of reproachful refusal, "Shove it up your ass!" The variant fondillo is also found in Puerto Rico. In the Dominican Republic, the milder term fullín and the very offensive cieso may also be used.
  • Fresa (literally meaning "strawberry") can be referred to someone as being "gay" or a "fag". For example, pinche fresa means "fucking fag", although in Mexico it also means "preppy".
  • Goma ("rubber", condom) can be used as a minced oath. For example, vete a la goma can replace vete a la verga or vete a la mierda. In Chile, goma is also an offensive term for an assistant. In Puerto Rico, a goma is an automobile tire. In Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador, goma means "hangover". For example ¡José está de goma! means "José is in a hungover". In Panama, it can also be used as a verb: engomado, would roughly translate to "glued" in English, for example, José está engomado.
  • Huevón ("one who has big balls") is a common word in South America, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Venezuela (where it is pronounced more like güevón and, often, ueón). Its meaning goes from buddy to idiot. In Mexico it means to be a slacker. In Panama and El Salvador it means to be lazy, it can be loosely translated to being a "couch potato". It can also be used as "tengo hueva", or "I'm feeling lazy". In Ecuador there is a typical phrase among youngster in its capital Quito as "Ni cagando huevón" which means "Not even think about it" or "Absolutely not".
  • Hueco. In most Spanish-speaking countries, the word simply means "hole". In Guatemala however, it is also a derogatory word for a homosexual.
  • Huey/Güey is a common term in Mexico, coming from the word buey that literally means "ox" or "steer" and is equivalent to "stupid" as an adjective or to a "cheated husband/boyfriend/cuckold" as a noun. Like cabrón, it is not as offensive when used among close friends. Young Mexican and Chicano men use this word routinely in referring to one another, like the English word "dude".
  • Joto (literally a "jack" or a "knave", from Western card games) is a word used in Mexico and the southwestern United States—usually pejoratively—for a male homosexual. Arguably more universally offensive than the similar word maricón, joto carries with it an accusation of utter fecklessness, societal worthlessness, and perhaps the hinted accusation of closeted homosexuality. A Mexican gay man, for example, might refer to himself risibly as a maricón, but probably not as a joto. Recently the use of joto, jota or jotita in Mexico have changed, and it is used widely among the gay community, mainly as an adjective: Es una película muy jota ("It's a very gay movie"). Definitely not to be confused with the word jota, which refers to a traditional Spanish, Mexican or Argentine parlor dance.
  • Lavincompái (from the religious expression "la Virgen compadre") is perhaps the strongest profane utterance used in Andalucía especially in the environs around Granada. Its equivalent in American English may be "motherfucker", and the Spanish term can be employed across the same spectrum of expression. One may use it to express anger, disgust, or even an extreme pleasure, but it should be employed judiciously and not in polite company one doesn't wish to offend.
  • Macha refers to a lesbian/"dike". In Costa Rica, macho or macha is not derogatory but common slang for European looking, or similar to saying blondie.
  • Madre, depending on its usage (e.g. madrear - to beat, or hasta la madre - full), can be profane in Mexican Spanish, where it gives the biggest offense due to the cultural tendency in that country to mother-ruled homes. Chinga tu madre could be considered the best way to offend someone. This word is not always offensive, though it could be vulgar, like ¡Que poca madre! ("That's terrible!") and Esta madre no funciona ("this shit doesn't work"), also it could be used in a positive way, as in ¡Está de poca/puta madre! ("It's fucking awesome!").
  • ¡Maldita sea! means "Damn it!". It is commonly used as an interjection and almost universally across Spanish speaking countries (except for Argentina). It literally means "let it be damned (by God)". Despite the literal meaning, it is widely used in Spanish-speaking television, since it is not considered very offensive, it is always much more preferable than a ¡Coño!.
  • Mal nacido or mal parido ("badly born"), sometimes shortened in one word (malnacido/malparido), is used in many Latin American countries as synonyms for "motherfucker", particularly in Colombia.
  • Mamañema is also used as an insult sometimes. Both terms are deformations of the Spanish words huevo ("egg") and yema yolk).
  • Mamabicho, slang used in Puerto Rico meaning cock-sucker, bicho being a slang for penis. Bicho ("bug") is commonly an inoffensive word elsewhere.
  • Manflor and its variant Manflora are used in Mexico and among Spanish-speaking Americans to refer, usually pejoratively, to a female homosexual or Lesbian. It is used very much the same way as the English word dyke. As with this English word, monflora can be extremely offensive — or relatively benign, if used between friends, especially within the G/L communities. Oye, güey, no toques a esa chica; todos ya saben que es monflora. ("Hey, dude, don't hit on that girl; everyone knows she's a dyke."). However, the most popular prejorative way to call a lesbian is tortillera ("tortilla maker"). Lesbian sex is often referred to as tortillear or hacer tortilla ("make tortillas"). Lesbians can also be called patas (female ducks), pájaras (female birds), or cundangas in the Dominican Republic. It is common to refer offensively to LGBT community people by terms that imply some sort of flying.
  • Mariposa (literally "butterfly"), maricón/marica/mariquita or puto (literally "male prostitute") all mean "faggot". A common variation, especially in Spain and Mexico, is mariposón.
  • Mari Macha, an insult common in Peru, means lesbian. Considered to be offensive as "mari" prolongs the original insult macha, thus irritating the insulted person.
  • connorito* slang for a male spanish prostitute
  • buzzarino* a famous mexican pimp whos name is now slang for penis another one of his terms is shlong
  • Ojete is derived from ojo ("eye"), and literally means "eyelet"; it is the name for the anus in some countries, but it also is used as an adjective to qualify the morality or behaviour of a person, not unlike the word "asshole": Se portó muy ojete conmigo ("He was a really bad person with me, or he was an asshole to me"). A popular naughty graffito in Mexico among schoolchildren is "OGT". When one pronounces the letters individually, they sound like ojete.
  • Pingas Por favor, chúpame el pingas.
  • Pinche literally means a cook's assistant, and is an expression of mediocrity. It is often aimed at another person, as in pinche güey, or to any particular object, which is usually of poor quality, está muy pinche ("It is very low quality"). In Mexico, it is often equivalent to the English terms "damn", "freakin'", or "fuckin'", as in estos pinches aguacates están podridos... ("These damn avocados are rotten..."), pinche Mario, no ha venido... ("freakin' Mario hasn't come yet"), or ¿¡Quieres callarte la pinche boca!? ("Would you like to shut your fuckin' mouth?" or "shut the fuck up!"). Sometimes pinchudo(a) is said instead. In Puerto Rican and Dominican Spanish pinche is a hairpin.
  • Vaina (lit. the leaf vein), in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia the word vaina is common slang to replace English equivalents like "thing" and "stuff" or "crap" (cosa). For example: Esta vaina se dañó ("This stuff broke down"). It can also be used in phrases to denote a myriad of emotions, for example ¡Vea la vaina! (lit. "look at the vein"), meaning "What a thing!", expressing discontent or surprise. Esa vaina quedó muy bien (lit. "That vein came up really well") would translate to "That thing turned out really well", expressing rejoice or happiness. "...y toda esa vaina (...all that crap)".

See also


  1. ^ "Chingar", Diccionario de la lengua española", Real Academia Española. [1]
  2. ^ La Ficha Pop, La Cuarta, 31 October, 2006.
  3. ^ Alvarez Catalunya Alimentos Selectos & Ylos Diseño páginas web Tiendas Virtuales. "Esparrago Cojonudo 8-12 frutos — Lata 850 Grs — Tienda Gourmet Delicatessen". Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  4. ^ María Josefina Tejera et al., Diccionario de venezolanismos, Tomo I (A-I), Universidad Central de Venezuela / Academia de la Lengua. Caracas. 1983. p.360.


  • Wegmann, Brenda & Gill, Mary McVey. Streetwise Spanish : Speak and Understand Everyday Spanish, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071460861.
  • Cabellero, Juan. Dirty Spanish: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!", Ulysses Press, ISBN 1569756597.
  • Hamer, Eleanor & Diez de Urdanivia, Fernando. The Street-Wise Spanish Survival Guide: A Dictionary of Over 3,000 Slang Expressions, Proverbs, Idioms, and Other Tricky English and Spanish Words and Phrases Translated and Explained, Skyhorse Publishing, ISBN 978-1-60239-250-2.

External links

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