This article is a summary of Spanish profanity, referred to in the Spanish language as lenguaje soez (low language), maldiciones (curse words), malas palabras (bad words), insultos (insults), vulgaridades (vulgarities), palabrotas (lit.: "big words"), tacos (in Spain), palabras sucias (dirty words in Panama), lisuras (in Peru), puteadas (in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay), bardeos (in Argentina), desvergue in El Salvador, groserías, majaderías or maldiciones in Mexico, garabatos (gibberish or shootings/firings in Chile), plebedades (plebe talk) in the Colombian Caribbean or groserías (impolite words or acts). 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, are not always directly translatable 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.
Many Spanish-language profanity words used in Mexico begin with the letter "p".
- 1 References to sexual acts
- 2 References to the male genitalia
- 3 References to the female genitalia
- 4 References to the buttocks
- 5 References to scatological acts
- 6 Homosexual slurs
- 7 Attacks against one's character
- 8 Racial and ethnic derogatives
- 9 Other terms
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
References to sexual acts
- chingar—originating from the Basque verb txingartu, meaning "to burn with coal" or from Caló (Spanish Romani) word čingarár, meaning "to fight." In the work La Chingada, it was famously applied to La Malinche, the mistress of Hernán Cortés.
- follar—used particularly in Spain and to a lesser extent in Cuba, but rarely found elsewhere. Follar literally means "to blow air with the bellows" and probably refers to panting during sex.
- remojar el cochayuyo (lit.: to soak the cochayuyo)—used in Chile The expression alludes to the cochayuyo algae that is harvested on Chile's coast. The algae is preserved by sun-drying. To be used for cooking, it then needs to be softened by soaking in water.
References to the male genitalia
A common expression in Spain is anything to the effect of hace lo que le sale de los cojones ("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 expression 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/ … ("to touch someone else's balls") comes to play. For instance: Venga, dame eso y para ya de tocarme los cojones ("Come on, give me that and stop bothering me.") It can sometimes be an understatement: A principios de los treinta, los nazis ya empezaban a tocar los cojones (meaning, roughly, "At the beginning of the 1930s, the Nazis were already being an annoyance.").
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 ("That fucking guy Marcos"), ¡Dame ya la maleta de los cojones! ("Give me the fucking suitcase why don't you!") However, it is more common to use "de cojones" as a superlative, as in Es bajo de cojones ("He's short as hell" or "He's short as fuck").
The phrases me importa un cojón or me importa un huevo mean "I don't give a fuck about" In alternative variations one would raise the number, 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" or "shit".
Tocarse los cojones/los huevos/las pelotas/las peras (lit. "to touch one's own balls") stands for idleness or laziness. The fact that this is not a well-known expression in the United States may have been the excuse, according to some sources, for the April 2011 dismissal of a Princeton Spanish senior lecturer, with tragic consequences. In Chile, this term is unused; the preferred expression is rascarse las huevas (lit. "to scratch one's own balls").
Carajo (lit.: "crow's nest") is used in Spain in reference to the penis. In Latin America (except Chile), it is a commonly used generic interjection similar to "fuck!" "shit!" or "damn it!" in English. For example: Nos vamos a morir, ¡carajo! ("We're gonna die, fuck!") or a far away place, likened to hell: ¡Vete al carajo!.
In Argentina, the term "Vamos Carajo" was used in Quilmes advertising in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup as a statement or cheer that an Argentine supporter would use to urge their team to victory.
The diminutive carajito is used in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela to refer to (usually annoying) children, or to scold someone for acting immaturely, e.g., No actúes como un carajito ("Don't act like a little dick!").
Caray is a mild minced oath for this word. Ay caray could be translated "Dang it" or "Darn it!" The word caracho is also considered mild like caray.
Bicho (lit.: "bug", "baitworm") is one of the most commonly used references to the penis in Puerto Rico. It is similar to the much less commonly used word pinga. In most other regions it is a non-vulgar reference to an insect or several species of small animals.
In Venezuela, it can be used as an interjection. 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 and the Dominican Republic, Mexico and many other Spanish speaking countries it refers to people (both male and female) who are a negative influence on others, often used as mal bicho ("bad bug"). When applied to children, it can mean one who is misbehaving.
Huevos (literally: "eggs"), pelotas (literally: "balls"), bolas (literally: "balls"), peras (literally: "pears"), and albóndigas (literally: meatballs) all refer to testicles in a profane manner. They are equivalent to cojones in many situations. In Mexico, the word is not used in a potentially ambiguous situation; instead, one may use the inoffensive blanquillos (literally: "little white ones").
Sometimes the words lavahuevos ("egg-washer") or lamehuevos ("egg-licker") are used in the same context as "brown-noser" (meaning ambitious and self-effacing) in English.
Highly offensive Dominican insults involving this term are mamagüevo/mamagüevos ("egg-sucker") and mamagüevazo ("huge egg-sucker"). Mamagüevo is also used in Venezuela where it is considered less offensive.
Huevada/Huevá (lit.: "covered in egg") is used in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru in reference to objects ("¡Qué huevá más grande!" may translate to "What an annoyance!"). Shortened forms huevá or even weá are usually intended to be less offensive. Many expressions using cojones in other countries are used in Chile with huevas replacing the former word. There's also a local expression: "¿Me hai visto las weas?" (lit. "Have you taken a look at my testicles?") means "How much of a fool do you think I am?".
Ñema (a corruption of yema, meaning "yolk") refers to the glans. The word mamañema is functionally similar to mamagüevo.
Pelotas can have another meaning when it comes to nudity. "Andar en pelotas" means to walk about stark naked.
In Venezuela it can be used as a vulgar generic filler, as well as a boastful self-reference (similar to the English "That shit" or "I'm the shit"). For example, ¡Soy bien verga! (lit.: "I'm very dick!") means "I'm very good at it!", and ¡Soy la verga andando! (lit.: "I'm the walking dick!") means "I'm the best that there is!"
In Mexico it refers only to the penis; "Te voy a meter la verga" means "I'm going to insert my penis in you"; referring to somebody else, "Le metió la verga" or "se la metió" means "he fucked her" or "he fucked him" which may be the literal meaning, or more likely, it means that in a business, he got away with what he wanted for little money.
A common expression in Mexico is ¡Vete a la verga!, meaning "Get the fuck out of here!" In Mexico can be used as difficult or impossible: ¡Está de la verga!, "This is very difficult!"
In Guatemala, it also refers to a state of drunkenness as in ¡Está bien a verga!, meaning "He's drunk as Hell!" or "He's shit-faced!". In El Salvador it can also be used with an ironically positive connotation as in ¡Se ve bien vergón! or ¡Está bien vergón!, which means "It looks great!"
In Honduras, the expression no vale ni verga is used as a vulgar form of no vale la pena, meaning "it's not worth it".
In Nicaragua, the expression "¡A la verga!" means "Screw it!" which is used in Honduras also.
In the United States, the variant "a la verga" or "a la ver" for short, is very common in northern New Mexico, and is used frequently as an exclamatory expletive.
Polla (lit.: "female pollo", i.e.: chicken or hen) is used in Spain, Nicaragua, El Salvador and to a lesser extent in Puerto Rico. It is also used to mean a (young) female (similar to "chick"). Some years ago, in Costa Rica, the term jupa de pollo ("head of a chicken") was popular slang for "penis". The term todo el jupa de pollo was a popular way to say "the whole shebang", "the full Monty" or "it's complete now".
In Spain, to say that something, especially a situation or an arrangement, is la polla is to have a high opinion of it. Esto es la polla. El hotel está al lado de la playa y además es muy barato means "This is fucking great. The hotel is close to the beach and it's cheap, too."
Polla in Spain also means penis.
Oversized testicles as a marker of complacency
- Huevón (lit.: "great egg")/Ahueonao/Ahuevoneado/Ahuevado (lit.: "one who has/was gifted large huevos)/Boludo (lit.: "one who has large bolas") is a strong personal reference in many Latin American countries. At times it can be used as an ironic term of endearment, especially in Chile and Panama, the same way as dude or "dawg" in North America (much like bue in Mexico), comparably with Greek malaka. For example, in Chile one would understand a sentence like Puta el huevón huevón, huevón. as "Fuck! That guy is an asshole, dude."
In Mexico, huevón is a pejorative term that usually translates as "slacker". In Mexico, Panama and El Salvador it can be loosely translated as "couch potato." One may also say tengo hueva, meaning "I'm feeling lazy." In the Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela, güevón/güebón is the preferred form. In Venezuela, it is pronounced more like güevón and, often, ueón. In Chile, the preferred form to use is huevón (often shortened to hueón or weón) and ahuevonado/aweonao. In Panama, awebao is the popular form, and a good example of the clipping of consonants (and sometimes vowels) in informal Spanish. In Argentina boludo can be used by young people as a culturally appropriated term of endearment (¿cómo andás, boludo? = how do you do, pal?), but it can also mean "slacker", "idiot", etc. In Chile and in the Quito region of Ecuador Ni cagando, huevón is a phrase commonly used among youth meaning "Don't even think about it" or "Absolutely not". In Mexico, Tenga huevos translates as "Have some balls". For example one can hear a Mexican say No corras, ten huevos which means "Don't run away, have some balls".
Other terms denoting male genitalia
Chile is famous for its absurd amount of alternate names and euphemisms for the penis. These range from the inoffensive (pito (lit. "whistle"), diuca (after a small bird)), through vulgar (pichula, pico) and euphemistic (cabeza de bombero (lit. "firefighter's head"), dedo sin uña ("nail-less finger")) to markedly euphemistic and humorous ("taladro de carne" (lit. "meat drill"), "cíclope llorón" (lit. "crying cyclops"), "chacal de las zorras" (lit. "cunt jackal", in the sense of the jackal being a relentless predator), et cetera).
Something similar happens in Argentina. From the classic "pito" or "pirulín" (a cone-shaped lollipop), which are innocent and even used by children, you can go all the way to the most vulgar ways as "pija", "verga" (lit. "yardarm"), "choto/chota" (after "chotar" which means "to suck"), "porongo/poronga" (a popular "gourd"), "banana", "salchicha/chorizo" (two kind of sausages), "pedazo" (lit. "piece"), "garcha" (also used as the verb garchar, which means "to fuck"), "palanca de cambios" (gear stick), "joystick", "bombilla de cuero" (lit. "leathery bombilla". Bombillas are used for drinking mate by sucking into them), etc. Among young people, almost every word can be made to mean "dick": -"¿Me pasás el encendedor?" -"¡Acá tengo un encendedor para vos!" (-"Can you give me the lighter?" -"I have a lighter for you right here!").
References to the female genitalia
Concha / Chucha / Chocha
Concha (lit.: "mollusk shell" or "inner ear") is an offensive word for a woman's vulva or vagina (i.e. something akin to English cunt) in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Mexico. In the rest of Latin America and Spain however, the word is only used with its literal meaning. In such regions, it is commonly heard in the phrase ¡(La) concha (de) tu madre! ("The cunt of your mother"), which may be used as an expression of surprise or grief, or as a highly disrespectful insult. The contracted term conchatumadre/conchetumadre is very common and extremely offensive in Chile as well.
In Mexico concha, which is used in its literal meaning, is also a type of sweet bread, round conch-shaped and covered in sugar, as well as having the aforementioned meaning and is offensive when used in said context. In Spain and Mexico, "Concha" is a common name for females (corruption of Concepción). Also in Puerto Rico there is a popular hotel called La Concha Resort (The Seashell). Key West, Florida also has a famous hotel named La Concha.
Chucha/¡Chuchamadre! and ¡Chucha de tu madre! are Panamanian, Chilean, Ecuadorian, Peruvian or southern Colombian equivalents. Random examples and expressions: Vení, oleme la chucha ("Come and sniff my pussy"), ¡Ándate a la chucha! (roughly "Fuck off").
Chocha (or chocho) employed term for "pussy" predominantly in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic. In the Spanish province of Albacete is also used choto (var. chotera, chotaco) in the same sense. The word is a homonym as it is also synonymous with "senile" when used as "He/she is chocho/chocha". In Chile, the word is used to mean "happy", and is used for old people; for example, the sentence "La abuelita quedó chocha con el regalo que le dí" means "Granny was happy with the gift I gave her".
In Venezuela, chocha is also a type of round seed or a particular type of bird
Coño (from the Latin cunnus) is a vulgar word for a woman's vulva or vagina. It is frequently translated as "cunt" but is considered 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 Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Panama it is amongst the most popular of curse words. The word is frequently used as an interjection, expressing surprise, anger or frustration. It is also common to use the expression ¿Pero qué coño? to mean "What the fuck?"
In Ecuador and Chile it means stingy, tight-fisted, although in the latter country the variation coñete is becoming more common.
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 and some places in Cuba), however, it often refers to the female genitalia. Use of this word has been known to cause embarrassment among Mexicans from Mexico and their American-born relatives.
The word is a combination of penuche and panoja meaning "ear of corn", from the Latin panicula (from whence comes the English word "panicle"—pyramidal, loosely branched flower cluster).
Cuca (short for cucaracha, lit.: "cockroach") is used in Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, southeastern México and Colombia. Slightly milder than coño, and is almost inoffensive in the Dominican Republic.
In the Dominican Republic it is a common term for a parrot.
In Chile it is criminal slang for paddy wagon. In general, it is used to refer to something considered scary.
It is also an inoffensive word for penis that many children use in Spain. It also has a slightly archaic use in Spain.
In Latin America it may 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.").
In Nicaragua and in the Canary Islands, it is used as slang for "penis."
It is often the diminutive of the name María del Refugio.
References to the buttocks
Culo is the most commonly used Spanish word for "ass." In El Salvador and Honduras, culero ("one who uses the culo") refers to a male homosexual, while In Mexico it refers to an unjust, unkind, aggressive or insensitive person likened to the connotation provided by the word asshole but usually more offensive. Vete a tomar por el culo ("Go and take it in the ass") is an expression used in Spain, it is like Vete a la mierda but more offensive.
In Chile, culo is considered offensive (as it sounds very much like culear); poto is used instead.
In Argentina culo or culito are almost innocent words, though they can also be considered vulgar depending on the context. Expressions like en el culo del mundo (lit. "in the ass of the world"), en la loma del culo (lit. "In the ass hill"), which mean "too far away" or cara de culo (lit. "ass face", used to describe an unpleasant face expression) are regularly used.
In Panama culo is used in to construct slang terms and phrases which range from slightly inappropriate to offensive but commonly used regardless. Cara de culo (ass face) refers to an unattractive person especially when the person in question has a round face with protruding cheeks. Culo del mundo (asshole of the world) and casa del culo (ass house) mean far away e.g. Vivo por casa del culo/en el culo del mundo lit. I live by ass house/in the asshole of the world. Culear means to have sexual intercourse—the same as fuck in its literal meaning— but does not imply anal sex. Culito (little ass) is used by younger men to refer to women in a sexual context; it is also used to refer to the buttocks in an inappropriate but affectionate way. Culo de botella (bottle ass) refers to thick eyeglasses. ¡Ponte placa en el culo! (put a license plate on your ass!) is a phrase yelled by motorists at pedestrians who are standing or walking in the middle of the road, particularly in heavy traffic. Recular means to go on reverse while estacionarse/parquearse de recula means to reverse park. Culillo means fear while culilloso/a refers to someone who gets scared easily. Hablar hasta por el culo (To talk out of the ass)—a local, impolite variant of the well-known frase Hablar hasta por los codos (to talk through the elbows)—refers to someone who talks a lot; this variant is used to refer to a person in a negative way (as in "He/she won't shut up") while Hablar hasta por los codos does not necessarily imply annoyance.
Fundillo/Fundío—heard in Mexico and the southwestern United States as an obscene term specifically for the human anus. It carries about the same weight as the American usages of the words "(someone's) asshole" or "the crack of (someone's) ass." Fundío refers literally to the anus and is not used as a personal insult. For example, ¡Métetelo en fundío! (or in Mexico, Métetelo por el fundillo) is an expression of reproach. ("Shove it up your ass!") The variant fondillo is also found in Puerto Rico and Cuba. In the Dominican Republic, the milder term fullín and the very offensive cieso may also be used.
Ojete (lit.: "eyelet")—refers to the anus in some countries, and also is used to mean "asshole": Se portó para el ojete conmigo ("He was a really bad person with me", or "He was an asshole to me"). A popular obscene graffito in Mexico among schoolchildren is OGT; when the letters are pronounced in Spanish, they sound like ojete. In Argentina and Uruguay, "ojete" and also its synonyms culo and orto can all be used to mean "good luck": "¡Qué ojete tiene ese tipo!" (He's such a lucky guy!), "Ganó de puro ojete!" (He won just because he was so terribly lucky).
Orto (a euphemism for "recto", that is rectum, from Latin ortus, as both rectum and orto are Latin words that mean "straight". Although due to its lower class origin it is also believed (and more likely) to be the vesre form of roto, which means "broken", for "culo roto".)—in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile, refers to buttocks (as either an object of appreciation or disgust): "Qué tremendo orto tiene esa mina" (in praise of a woman's buttocks), "Qué cara de orto" ("What an ugly/bitter/moody face"); or luck—either good or bad. "Me fue para el orto" and "Me fue como el orto." mean "I had an awfully bad luck on that". "Tiene un orto que no se puede creer" may mean "He/She is incredibly lucky" but can also be an appraisal of a someone's derrier, depending on context.
References to scatological acts
Cagar also in Portuguese is a verb meaning "to shit." It also means to screw (something) up, e.g. ¡Te cagaste los pantalones! ("You shit your pants!"). Particularly in Spain and Cuba, 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 communion host"), Me cago en el copón ("I shit in the Ciborium"), Me cago en tu madre ("I take a shit on your mother"), Cágate en tu madre ("Take a shit on your mother"), ¡Me cago en la leche! ("I take a shit in your [bad] milk!"). "Me cago en el coño de tu madre" (Lit: I shit in your mother's cunt) is the strongest offense among Cubans. In Cuba, to soften the word in social gatherings, the "g" is substituted by the "s". See below.
In Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Chile and Panama it also means to make a big mistake or damage something i.e. fuck something up, e.g.: La cagaste (lit.: "you shat on it") or "Nos van a cagar." ("They're going to fuck us"). In Argentina and Chile, it can also mean "you screwed" or "scolded" somebody (e.g.: Te cagaste a ese cabrón, "You took a shit on that guy"). In Panama "la cagada" ("the shit") refers to something or someone that makes everything else go wrong or the one detail that is wrong about something (and is thus the complete opposite of the American slang the shit); e.g., Ese man es la cagada ("That dude is the shit" i.e. a fuck up/fucks everything up), La cagada aqui es el tranque ("Traffic jams are the shit here" i.e. are fucked up, fuck this place/everything up).
In Mexico City it may be used ironically to refer to a fortunate outcome: Te cagaste ("You really shat on yourself") or an unfortunate outcome such as Estás cagado meaning "you're fucked".
In Chile and Cuba, cagado ("full of shit") means "stingy" or "miserly". It can also mean "depressed" in some contexts ("Está cagado porque la polola lo pateó." translates as "He's depressed because his girlfriend dumped him.").
Mierda is a noun meaning "shit." However, phrases such as Vete a la mierda (literally: "Go to (the) shit") would translate as "Go fuck yourself."
In Cuba, comemierda (shit-eater) refers to a clueless idiot, someone absurdly pretentious, or someone out of touch with his or her surroundings. Ex. "que comemierderia" (how stupid), "comerán mierda?" (are they stupid or what?) or "vamos a prestar atención y dejar de comer mierda" (Let's pay attention and stop goofing off). It is also used in both countries to describe someone who is "stuffy" and unnecessarily formal. In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic comemierda refers solely to a snobbish person, while in Panama it refers to someone who is both snobbish and mean and/or hypocritical.
In Peru, irse a la mierda or estar hecho mierda can also mean "to be drunk as Hell." However, in Mexico, Cuba and Chile estar hecho mierda means to be very exhausted.
In northern Mexico and the southwestern United States (particularly California), the phrase mierda de toro(s) (literally "shit from bull(s)") is used often as a Spanish translation of bullshit in response to what is seen by the Spanish speaker as perceived nonsense.
It is also used generally to describe anything that is vexing or unpleasant, such as tiempo de mierda ("shitty weather") or auto de mierda ("piece-of-shit car"). 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.
Caca is a mild word used mostly by children, loosely comparable to the English "poop" or "doo-doo." Comecaca is functionally similar to comemierdas.
'Mojon' A term originally meaning a little marker of the name of the street or a particular place in a road, it later went into general use to refer to a turd and thus became a synonym for shit; it is used freely as a substitute. In Cuba, the term "comemojones" is frequently used instead of "comemierda"; "Es un mojón." ("He's a piece of shit.") is also commonly used in said country.
Maricón (lit.: "big Mary" [see below for explanation]) and its derivative words marica and marico are words used for referring to a man as a gay, or for criticizing someone for doing something that, according to stereotypes, only a gay person would do (marica was originally the diminutive of the very common female name María del Carmen, a usage that has been lost). The suffix is -on is often added to nouns to intensify their meaning.
Derivatives of marica/maricón:
- maricona—used in southern Spain to refer to a drag queen, in an often humorous manner. Elsewhere, maricona refers to a lesbian. In Cuba it is used in a friendly manner among gays.
- mariquita (diminiuitive of marica)—means a wimp or sissy in Spain. For example, ¡Eres una mariquita!, means "You're a pussy!" It also means ladybug. In Cuba, however, the term refers both to a dish of fried plantains and to being gay.
- marimacha (combination of maricon and macha)—an insult common in Peru, Chile and Cuba, usually referring to lesbians or to women trying to do something seen as a males-only activity. It is considered offensive as mari prolongs the original insult macha. In Colombia, Macha is the feminine form of macho and thus refers to a tomboy (it is not really an insult, but more of a derogatory way to describe a masculine/unlady-like girl).
- maricueca (combination of maricon and cueca (female cueco, see below))—used in Chile
- mariconzón (combination of maricón and colizón) In Cuba, a slang term of affection among gays.
- mariposa (lit.: "butterfly")—used as a minced oath. The word mariposón ("big ol' butterfly") may also be used.
Manflor (combination of the English loanword "man" and the word flor meaning "flower") and its variant manflora (a play on manflor using the word flora) are used in Mexico and in the US to refer, usually pejoratively, to a homosexual female or lesbian. (In Eastern Guatemala, the variation mamplor is used.) It is used in very much the same way as the English word "dyke." For example: 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."). It can be used as an ironic term of endearment between friends, especially within the gay and lesbian communities.
Other homosexual expressions
Many terms offensive to homosexuals imply spreading, e.g.: the use of wings to fly.
- bugarrón/bufarrón/bujarrón/bujarra—used in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Spain. In Cuba, the expression "bugarrón y bugarra" refers to a "macho" man fucking gays. It is originated from French bougre and it is also cognate to "bugger" in English.
- invertido (lit.: "inverted"). A term ubiquitously used in old times to avoid the strong word "maricón". It was the official word used by the regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in Spain.
With Spanish being a grammatically gendered language, one's sexuality can be challenged with a gender-inapproriate adjective, much as in English one might refer to an effeminate male identified person as her. Some words referring to a male homosexual end in an "a" but have the masculine article "el"—a deliberate grammatical violation. For example, although maricona refers to females, it may also be used as a compounded offensive remark towards a homosexual male, and vice versa.
Attacks against one's character
Pendejo (according to the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española, lit.: "a pubic hair' is, according to the Chicano poet José Antonio Burciaga, "basically describes someone who is stupid or does something stupid." Burciaga said that the word is often used while not in polite conversation. It may be translated as "dumbass" or "asshole" in many situations, though it carries an extra implication of willful incompetence, or innocent gullibility that's ripe for others to exploit. The less extreme meaning, which is used in most Spanish speaking countries, translates more or less as "jackass."
Burciaga said that pendejo "is probably the least offensive" of the various Spanish profanity words beginning in "p," but that calling someone a pendejo is "stronger" than calling someone estúpido. Burciaga said "Among friends it can be taken lightly, but for others it is better to be angry enough to back it up."
In Mexico, "pendejo" most commonly refers to a "fool", "idiot" or "asshole". In Mexico there are many proverbs that refer to pendejos.
Cabrón (lit.: "big goat" or "stubborn goat" – in the primitive sense of the word, "cabrón" is an adult male goat; "cabra" is an adult female goat) is used in Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, as a generic insult. An old usage is similar to that of "pendejo", namely, to imply that the subject is stubborn or in denial about being cheated, hence the man has "horns" like a goat (extremely insulting).
The Mexican Spanish version is offensive as it means "asshole" and other insults in English. The seven-note musical flourish known as a shave and a haircut (two bits), commonly played on car horns, is associated with the seven-syllable phrase ¡Chinga tu madre, cabrón! (Fuck your mother, asshole!). Playing the jingle on a car horn can result in a hefty fine for traffic violation if done in the presence of police, or road rage if aimed at another driver or a pedestrian. In Mexico, "cabrón" refers to a man whose wife cheats on him without protest from him, or even with his encouragement.
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 used with an ironically positive connotation meaning great, amazing, phenomenal, or bad-ass. Such expressions would be said as: ¡Estás cabrón! or ¡Yo soy cabrón!. 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 in an offensive manner. One might say, "Esta cabrón" to describe something as very good or very bad depending on the circumstance.
In Panama, it is used as an adjective to mean something/someone very annoying (who pisses you off). The verb cabrear can mean "to piss off (someone)". This verb form is also used in Chile.
In Peru, cabro is a reference to a homosexual, hence cabrón is a superlative form ("big faggot"/"flaming faggot").
The term cabrón also means a handler of prostitutes, 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 chula is a completely benign reference to an adorable female or feminine object, as in "¡Ay, que chula!". In Chile, however, "chulo" and "chula" always mean "vulgar".
Gilipollas (and rarely gilipolla) is a term used mostly in Spain and lacking an exact translation to English; the most frequent equivalents when translated in books, films other media are "jerk", "jackass", "douchebag", "asshole" or "buffoon" (in English), con (in French), and boludo or pendejo (in Latin American Spanish, see below).
When selecting a word denoting low intelligence, most Spanish speakers 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.
A usual derivation of the word gilipollas into an adjective form (or a false adjectival participle) is agilipollado/agilipollada. For example: … está agilipollado/a would mean "… is behaving like a gilipollas." Regardless of whether or not such condition or irreversible, the verb estar is always used, as opposed to ser. Another Spanish construction with similar rationale is atontado, derived from tonto ("silly").
A noun form of the word is gilipollez, meaning "stupidity" or "nonsense."
Capullo (lit: "cocoon" or "flower bud", also slang for glans penis) is nearly always interchangeable with that of gilipollas. The main difference between the two of them is that while a gilipollas normally behaves as 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.
Huey/Güey is a common term in Mexico, coming from the word buey that literally means "ox" or "steer." It means "stupid" or a "cheated husband/boyfriend/cuckold."
It can be used as a less offensive substitute for cabrón when used among close friends. Mexican teenagers and young Chicano men use this word routinely in referring to one another, similar to "dude" in English. "Vato" is the older Mexican word for this.
Joto (lit.: the "jack" or a "knave" in a Western deck of cards) is used in Mexico and the southwestern United States, usually pejoratively, in reference to an over-sexed male. Arguably more offensive than maricón, joto usually refers to a man who is indifferent to pertinent matters, or who is a "loser", with perhaps a hinted accusation of closeted homosexuality. For example, a gay man in Mexico might derisively refer to himself as a maricón, but probably not as a joto. Recently the use of joto in Mexico have changed, and is being embraced by the gay community, mainly as an adjective: Es una película muy jota ("It's a very gay movie"). Not to be confused with the word jota, which refers to a traditional Spanish, Mexican or Argentine parlor dance.
Gonorrea (lit. gonorrhea) is commonly used in Colombia to express strong contempt. For instance, it would be used to insult an unremorseful murderer, e.g.: Ese hombre es una gonorrea ("That man is a despicable person"). In some cases it may be similar to hijo de puta/hijueputa. Gonorrea can also refer to objects: ¡Este trabajo es una gonorrea! ("This work is very hard"); ¡¡Una gonorrea de trabajo!! ("An absolutely disgusting work").
Madre, depending on its usage (for example: madrear—"to beat" or hasta la madre—"full"), can be profane in Mexico, where there is a cultural taboo against matriarchial families (because of associations with pagan witchcraft). Chinga tu madre ("Fuck your mother") is considered to be extremely offensive.
Madre could be used to reference objects, like ¡Que poca madre! ("That's terrible!") and Esta madre no funciona ("This shit doesn't work"). It can also be used with an ironically positive connotation, as in ¡Está de poca/puta madre! ("It's fucking awesome!").
Madrazo, in Colombia, refers to insults in general, and "echar madrazos" means "to insult/curse somebody out."
Pinche has different meanings:
In Spain, the word refers to a kitchen helper. It mainly means a restaurant chef assistant or a kitchen helper who helps cook the food and clean the utensils. Another meaning is used as an insult, as in pinche güey ("loser"), or to describe an object of poor quality, está muy pinche ("It really sucks"). Many restaurants in Spain have the name "El Pinche", to the great amusement of Mexican and Chicano tourists.
In Mexico, the saying can range anywhere from semi-inappropriate to very offensive depending on tone and context. Furthermore, 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 ya no ha venido… ("Freakin' Mario hasn't come yet"); or ¿¡Quieres callarte la pinche boca!? ("Would you like to shut your fuckin' mouth?"), but most likely should be translated to the euphemism "frickin'" in most situations. Therefore, it can be said in front of adults, but possibly not children, depending on one's moral compass. Sometimes pinchudo(a) is said instead. It refers to a mean-spirited person.
In Puerto Rico pinche simply refers to a hairpin, while pincho has the same meaning in Dominican Spanish.
In Chile, pinche isn't vulgar, and it refers to the people involved in an informal romantic relationship with each other. The verbal form pinchar can be translated as "kissing" or "make out". pinchar also means "to ping" (the act of calling someone and then hanging up with the intent of having them call back).
In Mexico it is also a derogatory name for someone who is stingy: "Él es muy pinche." ("He is very stingy.").
Attacks against fornicators
Puta literally means whore, and can be extended to any woman who is sexually promiscuous. 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 the Vulgar Latin putta (from puttus, alteration of putus "boy"), although the Royal Spanish Academy lists its origins as "uncertain" (unlike other dictionaries, such as the María Moliner, which state putta as its origin). It is a derogatory way to refer to a prostitute, while the formal Spanish word for a prostitute is prostituta.
Other attacks against one's character
- chocho means literally a senile person, from the verb chochear.
Racial and ethnic derogatives
- word endings such as aco. arro, azo, ito or (in Spain) ata are used to confer a falsely augmentative or diminutive, usually derogative quality to different racial and cultural denominations: e.g. negrata or negraco (and, with a more condescending and less aggressive demeanor, negrito) are the usual Spanish translations for a black person. Moraco would be the translation for "raghead" or "camel jockey".
- Sudaca, in spite of its etymology (sudamericano, "South American"), is a derogative term used in Spain for all Latin Americans, South American or Central American in origin. In Mexico, the term is solely used to refer to people from South America.
- Frijolero is the most commonly used Spanish word for beaner and is particularly offensive when used by a non-Mexican person towards a Mexican in the southwestern United States.
- Gabacho, in Spain, is used as a derisive term for French people—and, by extension, any French-speaking individual. Among Latin American speakers, however, it is meant as a usually offensive term for white people of Northern European heritage or people born in the United States no matter the race of the people.
- Similarly, Musiu—A (somewhat outdated) word used in parts of Venezuela, used to denote a white foreigner. Stems from the contemporary pronunciation of the French word "Monsieur". Is now generally superseded among younger Venezuelans by the term below.
- Argentuzo, argentucho an offensive term used in Chile and some Latin American countries to refer to an Argentine.
- Bolita, offensive term used in reference to Bolivians in Argentina
- Chilote - this is actually the demonym for the people of the Chiloé archipielago in Chile. However, in Argentina it is used as a slur to refer to all Chileans.
- Cholo, was used in reference to people of actual or perceived mestizo or indigenous background. Not always offensive. In Chile it is used to refer to a Peruvian. In Peru it is used to refer to someone from the more purely indigenous population or someone who looks very indigenous. When used in the more mixed coastal areas to describe someone, it can be slightly more offensive depending on the way it is said or the context. In Mexico and the United States the term is usually used to refer to a Chicano gang member.
- Coño, offensive word used to denote a Spaniard or the Castillan dialect in Chile.
- Ignorante used by Chileans, Colombians, Mexicans, Paraguayans and Peruvians to describe Argentines. The word "argentino" (Argentine) is an anagram for "ignorante" (ignorant) in Spanish.
- Kurepí used by Paraguayans to describe Argentines. Literally translated from Guarani meaning pig skin.
- Mayate (lit: June bug) is a very offensive term used in Mexico and primarily by Mexican-Americans to describe a black person or an African-American.
- Mono used in reference to Ecuadorians in Peru
- Paragua, used in reference to Paraguayans in Argentina.
- Pinacate (lit.: dung beetle)-mostly used by Mexicans or Mexican-Americans referring to dark-skinned or black individuals, similar to English "blackie".
- Gallego (lit.: Galician)-mostly used in Latin America as synecdoche, referring to all Spaniards. Not always offensive.
- Gallina Used in Ecuador to describe Peruvians.
- Gringo - generally used in most Spanish-Speaking countries in America. It denotes a person from the United States, or, by extension, from any English-speaking country or even anyone with a Northern-European phenotype.
- Panchito is used in Spain for native looking Central and South-Americans, as well as guacamole, machupichu, guachupino. They don't necessarily mean offense.
- Payoponi is a Caló word widely used in Spain referred to native looking Central and South-Americans. It is composed by payo (lit. non Romani person) and poni (lit. pony, due to their average height).
- llanta (lit.: tire)-a general prison slang used by Mexicans or Mexican-Americans referring to very dark skinned individuals.
- Prieto Used to describe dark people.
- Roto, used in reference to Chileans in Peru and Bolivia
- Yorugua, used in reference to Uruguayans in Argentina (Uruguayo in vesre).
- Japo used in reference to people of Japanese ancestry, similar to Jap; used mostly in Spain. In Rioplatense Spanish slang, the word used is Ponja, which is vesre for Japón (Japan).
- Moro (lit.: Moor) used in Spain in reference to people of Maghrebi, Arab or Middle Eastern ancestry; also used to describe Muslims in general.
- Polaco (lit.: Pole) used in Spain in reference to Catalan people. Its origin is unclear.
- Maqueto (Basque: Maketo), used in the Basque Country in reference to Spanish immigrants and descendants of Spanish immigrants with origins outside the Basque Country.
- Charnego (Catalan: Xarnego), used in Catalonia in reference to Spanish immigrants and descendants of Spanish immigrants with origins outside Catalonia.
- Tano (from Napolitano: Neapolitan). Used in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay as a synecdoche, to refer to an Italian. Not offensive, at this time.
- Pirata (lit.: Pirate). Used in Argentina to refer to an English people.
- chucha—used in Colombia in reference to offensive body odor.
- so'—used to imply "such a …" but not always capable of direct translation in English. For example: "¡Cállate, so' puta!" ("Shut up, you bitch!")
- vaina (lit.: "sheath or pod"; cf. Lat. vagina)—in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela it is a commonly used generic filler. For example: Esta vaina se dañó ("This thing broke down").
- It can also be used in phrases to denote any strong emotion. For example: ¡Vea la vaina!, can mean "Isn't that something!" (expressing discontent or surprise). Esa vaina quedó muy bien (lit.: "That vaina came up really well") would translate to "It turned out really well" (expressing joy or happiness) and … y toda esa vaina would translate to "… and all that crap".
- In the Dominican Republic it is commonly used in combination with other profanities to express anger or discontent. For example: "¡Qué maldita vaina, coñazo!" meaning "Fuck, that's bullshit!" or "¡Vaina'el diablo coño!" which translates as "Damn, (this) thing (is) of the devil!" but would be used to refer to a situation as "fucking shit".
In the Spanish region of La Mancha is very common the formation of neologisms, to refer with humoristic sense to a certain way of being some people, by the union of two terms, usually a verb and a noun. E.g., capaliendres (lit. (person) who gelds lice, "miser, niggard"), (d)esgarracolchas (lit. (person) who rends quilts, "awkward", "untrustworthy"), pisacristos (lit. (person) who tramples Christs—"blasphemous person"), and numerous other such phrases.
- Gladstein and Chacón (editors) 39.
- "Chingar," Diccionario de la lengua española, Real Academia Española (Spanish)
- DRAE, follar1, Der. del lat. follis, fuelle, Soplar con el fuelle.
- La Ficha Pop, La Cuarta, 31 October 2006.
- Alvarez Catalunya Alimentos Selectos & Ylos Diseño páginas web Tiendas Virtuales. "Esparrago Cojonudo 8-12 frutos—Lata 850 Grs—Tienda Gourmet Delicatessen". Llantarbien.com. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
- "Publicidad QUILMES Mundial 2014 - Vamos Carajo".
- María Josefina Tejera et al., Diccionario de venezolanismos, Tomo I (A-I), Universidad Central de Venezuela / Academia de la Lengua. Caracas. 1983. p.360.
- es:Vesre#Formaci.C3.B3n de las palabras
- Peter Aggleton; E. Antonio de Moya; Rafael García (1999). "Chapter 7: Three Decades of Male Sex Work in Santo Domingo". Men Who Sell Sex: International Perspectives on Male Prostitution and HIV/AIDS. London, U.K.: UCL Press Ltd. p. 128. ISBN 1-85728-862-9. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Gladstein and Chacón (editors) 40.
- Gerrard, Arthur Bryson, ed. (1980). Cassell's Colloquial Spanish (3rd revised ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. ISBN 978-0-02-079430-1.
- Fitch, Roxana (2006) [http://www.jergasdehablahispana.org/index.php?pais=Espa%F1a&palabra=panchito&tipobusqueda=1 panchito]
- Fitch, Roxana (2006) [=http://www.jergasdehablahispana.org/index.php?pais=Espa%F1a&palabra=guachup%EDn&tipobusqueda guachupino]
- Fitch, Roxana (2006)[http://www.jergasdehablahispana.org/index.php?pais=Espa%F1a&palabra=payopony&tipobusqueda payoponi]
- Wegmann, Brenda & Gill, Mary McVey. Streetwise Spanish: Speak and Understand Everyday Spanish, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-146086-1.
- Cabellero, Juan. Dirty Spanish: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!", Ulysses Press, ISBN 1-56975-659-7.
- 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.
- Gladstein, Mimi R. and Daniel Chacón (editors). The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga. University of Arizona Press, 1 September 2008. ISBN 0-8165-2662-1, ISBN 978-0-8165-2662-8.
- Munier, Alexis; Martinez, Laura (2008). Talk Dirty Spanish. Adams Media; Newton Abbot. ISBN 978-1-59869-768-1
|Look up Category:Spanish vulgarities in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Real Academia Española—Details pendejo and other slang in its dictionary
- La página de la chingada[dead link]—Different variations of chingar