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 (pleb 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
- 7.1 Pendejo
- 7.2 Cabrón
- 7.3 Gilipollas
- 7.4 Capullo
- 7.5 Huey/Güey
- 7.6 Joto
- 7.7 Gonorrea
- 7.8 Madre
- 7.9 Pinche
- 7.10 Attacks against fornicators
- 7.11 Other attacks against one's character
- 8 Profanity related to religion
- 9 Racial and ethnic derogatives
- 10 Other terms
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
References to sexual acts
- bellaco (lit.: "rogue")—used in Puerto Rico it means "horny", but in Perú and according to the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española means "bad", "sleazy", "clever".
- cachar—commonly used in Peru. In Chile, the noun form cacha is used with this connotation (pegarse una cachita, "to have a quickie"). It is also used as a loanword from the English "to catch," and, by extension, "to understand" ("to catch someone's drift").
- 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.
- In Mexico, chingar means "to fuck" or "to make a mistake" ("to fuck up"). For example: Chinga a tu madre or Vete y chinga a tu madre ("Go and fuck your mother") are often considered very offensive in Mexico. Vete a la chingada translates to "go fuck yourself." Other uses are considered less offensive.
- A Mexican might say No me chingues ("Don't fuck with me")—a fairly strong way to say "Don't annoy me", "Are you serious?" or "Get out of here!" If a Mexican is cheated in a business deal or defeated in sports, me chingaron ("they fucked me") might be used. Also used is the expression Estás corriendo de la chingada, literally "You are running very badly".
- Soy chingón could mean in English "I rule" or "I'm the man", ¡No chingues! or (its euphemistic form) ¡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 an aggressive way. ¡Qué chinga! could translate to "What a pain in the ass!" while ¡A la chingada! can be a curse at someone or an expression of shock. Un chingadazo can refer to a blow, or a strong punch.
- Machín (a contraction of lo más chingón) could translate to, "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.
- shimar—another variant used in Guatemala. The "sh" sound does not occur in formal Spanish, and is used as a variation of the "ch" or "y" sounds.
- chinquechar—equivalent to chingar, used mostly in northern and western Mexico.
- chichar—used interchangeably with chingar or singar in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
- clavar (lit.: "to nail")—In Puerto Rico and Cuba it can be used in both vulgar and obscene expressions. For example: La clavé ("I nailed her"), Me la clavaron ("I was screwed"). In Mexico clavar generally means to penetrate.
- coger (lit.: "to seize," "to catch,", "to get", "to take" (e.g., a bus), "to pick" (e.g. fruit from a tree), "to pick up")— is employed most commonly in Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, as a term for "fuck" but it is used with either connotation (literal or obscene). To solely express the literal meaning, some people in these regions opt to use the word tomar ("to take") or agarrar ("to grab" or "to hold") instead. In most other places it is analogous to the English "to get (some)" in the sense of a sexual encounter or "take (in or from)" in some sexual sense but not "fuck" per se. In Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia and Spain for example coger is not considered sexual at all, unless used in an unambiguously sexual context. In Chile, Uruguay and Argentina coger always carries a sexual connotation but its literal meaning is nonetheless recognized. In Cuba, for the verb's usage to be sexual it is extended with explicit phrases like "coger el culo" (fuck the ass), "coger el bollo" and "coger la chocha" ("fuck the pussy").
- comer (lit.: means to eat)—used in Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Cuba, is considered crude and used mostly by youth, e.g. "Me la comí" (literally: "I ate her," metaphorically: "I ate her out"). In Chile its means "to reach third base without going further." It is similar to comerla (or comérsela), chuparla ("to suck it") or mamarla.
- culear (lit.: "to move one's ass")—used in Panama, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina to refer to the act of having sex.
- correrse (lit.: "to get off'," "to get out of the way")—means to have an orgasm. Used commonly in Spain.
- dar (lit.: "to give")—used in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. In Mexico darlas ("to give them"), depending on the context, means "to give oneself (to another)" (sexually speaking).
- dar por el culo, dar por culo — means "to sodomize", also "to disturb"
- dar un poco de caña—identical to the British "give a bit of stick" or the American "give a kick in the ass", meaning 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 also 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 astilla (lit.: "to give a splinter")—used in the Dominican Republic. This phrase is a common among youth.
- Dar pinga, dar cabilla and dar tolete. Terms used in Cuba meaning to fuck (from the male perspective).
- hacer(lo) (lit.: to do (it))—used in Panama, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, and every country of South America. 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.
- echar[se] un polvo (literally "to throw a powder")—used in Spain, Argentina, and Chile, usually with a connotation of infidelity or of casual sex. 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—used particularly in Spain and to a lesser extent in Cuba, but rarely found elsewhere.
- hacer tortilla—used in the Cuban gay scene, meaning to have sex without penetration; lesbian sex.
- hundir (lit.: "to sink")—refers exclusively to heterosexual intercourse. Common uses and variations are voy a hundírselo and hundirle los pelos ("sink the curlies"; pelos is a reference to female pubic hair).
- joder—considered very vulgar. Also used with the connotation of "fucking with (teasing, harassing)" someone or "screwing up" something.
- In Spain, the word is also used as an interjection, as in, ¡Joder! ("Fuck!"). For example: ¡¿Joder, sabes español?! ("No kidding, you know Spanish?").
- 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 and México, joder means either "to annoy" (no me jodas = "don't annoy me"), "to kid with someone" (no jodas = "no kidding") or "to have fun" (vamos a joder = "let's have fun") and is deemed mildly vulgar but not obscene. In Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic and Panama, joder can be used as a vulgar substitute of the verbs to annoy, or to fool/mock or to do monkey business (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" (e.g., la joda loca = "great fun, wild party"), and the word jodido as "difficult" (examen jodido = "hard exam").
- In Cuba and Puerto Rico, it is used least in reference to sexual intercourse.
- limar ("to smooth out")—used in Guatemala by the small population who speak Caló (a slang language).
- In Argentine slang, it means to be out of your mind, and also to be very amazed by something.
- mámalo (lit.: "suck it")—not considered insulting when used between males (as in the adjective mamalón, which means "outstanding"), but derogatory when spoken to females.
- Comes from the verb mamar which means "to suckle" and is used metaphorically in reference to oral sex.
- meterla (or metértela, metérsela, etc.) doblada, literally "sticking [the penis] into someone after bending it" is slang for any malicious, duplicitous or mischievous action taken on a naive, well-meaning, unexpecting or permissive individual.
- mamabicho/mamabichos (lit.: "one who sucks bichos','") which means penis sucker —used in Puerto Rico.
- meter (lit.: "to place" or "to insert")—sometimes used in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, 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 (lit: "to sting")—a metaphor for the insertion of the penis.
- pisar (lit.: "to step on")—used in Cuba and Central America (mostly El Salvador and some parts of Honduras) and to some extent in Chile, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. It means being on top during intercourse, like the rooster does to the hen.
- ponchar (lit.: "to pinch")—used in Mexico. In other regions, it means "to strike out" (in baseball) and is not considered offensive. In Panama it is used in with either connotation.
- ponerla (lit.: "to put it")—used in Argentina. For example: Hoy la puse means "I had sex today."
- rajpar' (corruption of "raspar"—"to scratch")—used in the Dominican Republic. Its "s" is corrupted to an aspirated voiceless stop.
- 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.
- singar (corruption of chingar)—most commonly used in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
- tirar (lit.: "to pull", "to shoot", or "to throw away")—sometimes used in Spain, Nicaragua, Perú, Chile, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico, and is commonly used in Venezuela and Colombia. For example: Me la tiré ("I fucked her").
- In Argentina, tirar la goma (lit.: "to throw the goma," see goma below) refers to fellatio.
References to male masturbation
Paja (lit.: "straw", used in farms for cattle and other animals to lie on): the expression hacerse/tirarse la/una paja is used in Spain, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Panama, meaning "to masturbate."; in Chile, Peru and Ecuador, correrse la paja is used instead. In most parts of Central America and the Spanish Caribbean (and Chile as well) to masturbate is to pajearse. Pajero, or pajillero ("one who does paja") in Spain, is a masturbator (wanker) and also can imply a weakling or a fool, due to a cultural association of masturbation with mental weakness.
In certain regions, such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, pajero (fem. pajera) can refer to someone who is lazy (similar to the American English sense of a "jerk-off"). In Guatemala and Honduras it means "liar". For example: 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"). Calling someone pajoso or pajosa means he or she either lies a lot or speaks nonsense. Someone who is ignorant may be called a pajudo/a or pajúo/a' (lit.: "full of paja").
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors introduced a sport utility model called the Pajero. The name was derived from a South American wildcat, but became a running joke. 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.")
Puñeta (a "wrist stroke", from puño, meaning "wrist" or "fist") refers to the act of masturbation. It is an expression widely used in several Spanish-speaking regions and in the Philippines (where it is spelled punyeta). Over the centuries, it has become a more generalised interjection (¿Dónde puñeta estabas?/"Where the fuck have you been?"). Its also a Portuguese expression written as punheta.
By itself, it is used as a vulgar expression of any strong emotional reaction. For example, one may say ¡Puñeta! when noticing at a beautiful woman, or when hitting oneself on the head. Una puñeta means "a wank", in reference to male masturbation. It does not refer to female masturbation, which is dar dedo ("to give the finger") or apuñalar(se) (to stab with a puñal, i.e., a "dagger"). Hacerse una puñeta means "to have a wank". Puñetero ("wanker") is also very commonly used.
To refer to masturbation, the word is used generally in the singular. When used in the plural, it carries a completely different meaning. For example: Vete a hacer puñetas could be translated as "Go to hell". It refers to the adornments that lawyers and judges wear in the wrist (puño) of shirts. These adornments require many hours of labor, so making such adornments (hacer puñetas) is supposed to be unpleasant and tedious.
¡Ay, puñeta! was a favorite expression of former pornstar Carmen Luvana, who frequently uttered it as an expression of intense feeling during sex scenes. Although American-born, Luvana was raised in Puerto Rico, where the expression is very common.
Other references to male masturbation
- cascársela (lit.: "to break a part of oneself")— a reflexive form of a verbe used as synonymous of masturbate oneself
- chaquetear (lit.: "to use a jacket")—a verb that can be used as "to masturbate" mainly in Mexico. Used in European Spanish by fighters on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, used as "traitor or coward." In Chile and Spain, it means "to change one's posture rapidly".
- In Mexico, it has another meaning—"to create false hopes" or "to hallucinate". Hacerse una chaqueta mental ("to engage in mental masturbation") is similar to paja mental.
- güirero (lit.: "one who uses a güira," a short, thick pole that is played as an instrument by rubbing it with a stick)—used as an insult, similar to "huevón."
- Macaquear(se) (lit.: "to act as a macaque")—used in Chile. Implies frequent masturbation; derives from the belief that macaques are wankers.
- (Hacerse una) Manuela (lit: "to pull a Manuela")-used in Chile and Cuba and considered vulgar. It's a play on the words "Manuela" (a female name) and "mano" (hand), because (most) masturbation is done with one's hand. The name "Manuela de Palma" (a further wordplay between the De Palma surname and "palma", a hand's palm) is used in a derogatory manner, being referred to as somebody's (nonexistent) girlfriend, with the implication this person can't get a girl. (Compare to "a date with Rosie Palms" in English.)
- sobo (lit.: "abrasion")—used in Costa Rica.
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 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/ … ("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," or, metaphorically, or a small cup of coffee) 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!.
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 brat!").
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.
The connotation of "far away place" is supposedly based on the name of the Cargados Carajos, which belong to Mauritius. Nationalistic chants commonly use the phrase: ¡Viva Cuba, carajo!, ¡Viva el Ecuador, carajo!, and ¡Viva el Perú, carajo!
It is said that the term carajo originated during the Moorish invasion in Spain. The Moors were described as Spanish: cara de ajo—or "garlic-face"/"garlic-shaped face"—which was later contracted to carajo.
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-sucker") 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's 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 usuallly 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" o "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 in Puerto Rico (to a lesser extent). 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.: "giant huevo")/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. In Panama, awebao is the popular form, and a good example of the clipping of consonants (and sometimes vowels) in informal Spanish. Youth in Argentina tend to use it as a culturally appropriated term of endearment. 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
- armado (lit.: "armed")—similar to the English term "hung." It is used in Mexico and South America to describe a man with a large penis.
- buzzarino—a famous Mexican pimp whose name is now slang for penis
- chorra- used in Spain.
- chota- used in Argentina and Uruguay for penis, but in Mexico and Honduras means the police.
- cipote - Used in Spain
- garcha - used in Argentina and Uruguay for penis
- goma (lit.: "rubber" or "glue")—can be used as a minced oath. For example, vete a la goma can replace vete a la verga or vete a la mierda. The word "goma" literally refers to a number of products derived from rubber sap, such as natural rubber, glue, crude gum base, car tires, or latex condoms.
- In Chile, goma is also an offensive term for an assistant. The plural form, gomas, refers to a woman's breasts.
- In Puerto Rico, a goma is a rubber tire.
- In Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador, goma means "hangover." For example ¡José está de goma! means "José has a hangover." In Panama, the past participle engomado ("glued on") is also used. For example: José está engomado.
- An old tradition among Taína prostitutes was to signal their availability by chewing gum (comiendo chicle). The chicle was made with the goma from the rubber tree.
- nabo (lit.: "turnip")—commonly used in Spain.
- miembro (lit: "member") — Used in Spain.
- paloma (lit.: "dove")—commonly used in Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela and also Nicaragua. In Costa Rica, means a homosexual.
- pepino (lit: "cuccumber") — Used in Spain.
- pito (lit.: "whistle") aside from its literal meaning it is commonly used in Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, and Spain as "dick". Although informal, it's not considered too vulgar.
- pipí—used in Panama and Peru. For example, Se me paró el pipí ("My dick has become erect"). It's also used by children to reference the penis. In Mexico, it is universally used to refer to the act of urinating and is not associated with a penis or considered offensive although it is very informal.
- pinga or less commonly pingo is considered offensive in most regions, although in Argentina, for example, its male form (pingo) may describe a horse. However, in Mexico it is also used as a term of endearment for an anti-hero, such as Puck, Huckleberry Finn or Dennis the Menace. The equivalent word in other regions for such people is travieso/traviesa (which in turn means "transvestite" in Argentina).
- In Mexico, Central America and other parts of South America, verga is more commonly used, also, to say ¡La verga! could mean "Fuck!" or "No way!" (the second in a sense of "I can't believe it").
- Pinga de la madre, pinga 'e la madre and pinga-la-madre are commonly used interjections.
- In Panama and Costa Rica, picha is used in the Chiriqui, whereas pinga is used elsewhere in the country.
- pija—very common in Argentina and Uruguay. The word pijudo ("one who has a big pija") is also used.
- pijo—quite used in the Spanish province of Albacete, La Mancha (so much that is known as "la tierra del pijo", 'the land of the dick'). In that region, very rich in slang, euphemistic, and humorous vocabulary, as well as polla is also used chorra, chucha, pita and minga to refer to the penis, and in a lot of interjections as tonto (de)'l pijo/la chorra, tócame la chucha/ pita, chúpame la minga etc.
- pico—used in Chile.
- pollancre— used in Spain.
- poronga-used in Argentina and Uruguay
- rabo(lit.: "scut")—commonly used in Spain.
- turca (the name for a species of bird) is commonly used in Nicaragua. The verb "turquear" means to physically beat someone up—perhaps as a verb form of a la turca (in reference to the Muslim ("Turkish") invasion into Spain).
Ecuador: bijama, huasamayete, casco de nazi, cabeza de gato, sin conciencia = dick.
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).
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! ("Go fuck 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 very 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's also synonymous of "senile" when used as "He/she is chocho/chocha".
In Venezuela, chocha is also a type of round seed or a particular type of bird
The name of the Latin American restaurant Chimi-Changa originated as a minced oath of chocha.
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, 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.
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.
Other terms denoting female genitalia
- almeja (lit.: "clam")—used in Spain
- bizcocho (lit.: "cake")—used in Central America
- bollo—used in Cuba (and to a lesser extent Puerto Rico).
- cajeta (lit.: a type of dulce de leche made from goats' milk)
- chumino/chuminaco—used in Spain
- conejo (lit.: "rabbit")—used in Spain. In Cuba as "coneja" (she-rabbit).
- crica (lit.: "cove")—similar to the French crique, used in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
- cuca—used in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
- micha (lit.: a type of oval shaped bread resembling the vulva)—used in Panama
- moñoñón (lit.: "big bun" as in hairstyle)—a vulgar slang. Used in the Dominican Republic.
- mota (lit.: puff i.e. powder puff)—used in Panama
- ñame (lit.: "yam")—used in the Dominican Republic
- pan (lit.: "bread")—used in Guatemala
- papaya—in some regions this word is only understood as a vulgar reference to the vagina. There are tales of American tourists who ask a grocer for a papaya (fruit) only to be angrily told "I'm not a pimp". Very common in the Western part of Cuba where fruta bomba is used to refer to the papaya fruit.
- papo—used in Venezuela
- patata—used in Spain.
- parrús—used in Spain.
- pepa—used in Uruguay, like a "soft" way
- pepita (lit.: "nugget", "pip", or "seed")—used in the Dominican Republic
- pupusa (lit.: a type of traditional cuisine in El Salvador)
- sapo (lit.: "toad")—used in Chile and in some parts of Panama
- semilla (lit.: "seed")—used in the Dominican Republic
- toto/tota—used in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
- torta—a variant of "tota", and a pun that also describes a type of small pastry.
- totona—used in Venezuela. It is similar to tostones, which is a serving of fried plantain slices.
- zorra (lit.: "female fox")—used in Chile
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 cilantro, but in Puerto Rico it can be used as a play on "culo." 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 misunderstanding.
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's 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 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 muy 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")—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.
Other references to one's backside
- de pedo ("by farting")—another Argentinean expression meaning "fortunate." For example: Lo adiviné de pedo ("I was lucky enough to guess it").
- al peo ("in a farty fashion")—used in Chile to express something done poorly or in a careless manner.
- nalga (butt cheek).
- poto - used in Chile and Peru for buttocks or anus.
- roto/rota (lit.: "route")—specifically refers to the anus.
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"). 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 Estas 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 to hell."
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" (what an stupidity), "comerán mierda?" (are they foolish or what?) or "vamos a prestar atención y dejar de comer mierda" (Let's pay attention and stop goofing off). It's also used in both countries to describe someone who is "stuffy" and unnecessarily formal. In Puerto Rico, comemierda refers solely to a snobbish person.
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.
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, came into general use later as a synonym of shit and 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.
In Spain, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Cuba the word has a stronger meaning with a very negative emphasis; akin to "faggot" or "poof" in the English language. In Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Mexico maricón or marica is especially used to denote a "chicken" (coward). In Chile, maricón also means "irrationally sadistic."
Some examples of the uses of this word are:
- Eres una marica. ("You are a faggot.")
- Mano, eres tremendamente maricón. ("Bro, you are so gay!"; here maricón is used as an adjective)
- Yo sí soy maricón, ¿y qué? ("I am certainly 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?! ("He's such a damn faggot, right?!")
- Devuelve la mamadera al bebé, que lo haces llorar. ¡No seas maricón! ("Give the baby back his bottle, because now you've made him cry. Don't be cruel!")
One important exception is Colombia, where marica is used as a slang term of affection among male friends or as a general exclamation ("¡Ay, marica!" being equivalent to "Aw, man!" or "Dude!" in English). as in Bucaramanga marica can also mean 'naive' or 'dull' you can hear sentences like "No, marica, ese marica si es mucho marica tan marica, marica", (Hey dude, that guy is such a fool faggot, boy) This often causes confusion or unintended offense among Spanish-speaking first-time visitors to Colombia. Maricón, however, remains an insulting and profane term for homosexuals in Colombia as well. A similar case is seen in Venezuela, where the word Marico is an insult; However, the word is widely used among Venezuelans as "dude" or "man." For example, "que paso marico" would mean "what's up dude"; the word carries at least a third meaning in Venezuela because it often is used to show that someone is being very funny. For instance, after hearing a joke or funny comment from your friend, you laugh and say "haha si eres marico haha" which would be equivalent to "haha you crack me up man."
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's 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. 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.").
In Eastern Guatemala, it is used the term mamplor.
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.
- bámbaro—used in the south of Colombia
- bugarrón/bufarrón/bujarrón/bujarra—used in Puerto Rico and Spain. In Cuba, the expression "bugarrón y bugarra" refers to a macho man fucking gays.
- cacorro—used in Colombia for denoting the active partner in a gay relationship.
- cueco—used in Panama
- cundango—used in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. In Cuba, cundango refers specifically to a male sex partner ("Tommy has been Robert's cundango for years"). It may mean "effeminate" or "sensitive" with a negative connotation
- cochón—used in Nicaragua
- cola (lit.: "tail")
- desviado (lit.: "deviant")
- fresa (lit.: "strawberry")—used to mean "fag" and can also refer to people who are preppy or yuppy. For example, pinche fresa means "fucking fag."
- fran (lit.:"fran")-used to mean "gay".
- hueco (lit.: "hole")—used in Guatemala. In Chile, depending on context, it can mean either "homosexual" or "vapid."
- 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.
- joto (see below)
- loca (lit.: "crazy woman")—used in Puerto Rico and Cuba (where "loquita" and "loquísima" are commonly used as well). Although normally derogatory, this term is also used as a culturally appropriated term of endearment among male and female homosexuals
- macha (feminine form of macho)—refers to a "dyke". In Costa Rica, however, macho or macha is not derogatory but common slang for caucasoid, or similar to "blondie."
- mamapinga (lit. "cock-sucker"). Extensively used in Cuba.
- mamaverga/mamavergas (lit.: "cock-sucker").
- maraco—used in Chile, only against male homosexuals; see maraca below.
- mayate-used by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to denote someone who is gay, or overtly flamboyant (lit. an iridescent beetle).
- muerdealmohadas (lit.: "pillow-biter")—used in Peru. In Spain, it denotes the passive partner of a gay relationship.
- pargo (lit.: "porgy" or "red snapper")—used in Venezuela and Cuba, to mean "gay" or "flamboyant". This, as well as other fish in the grouper genera ("cherna" in Spanish) are used in Cuba as well.
- pájaro (lit.: "bird")—used in the Dominican Republic and Cuba; in the latter country, the feminine forms "pájara" and "pajaruca" are also used. In each case, the use is either affectionate or derogatory, depending on context.
- parchita (lit.:"passion fruit")-used derogatively in Venezuela, for someone who is gay.
- partido (or partí'o (lit:"broken one"; also "political party")—used derogatively in Cuba.
- pato (lit.: "duck")—used in Puerto Rico, Panama, Cuba and Venezuela. This word is probably related to the Latin pathus meaning "sexually receptive.". In Cuba, by extension, other palmipedes's names are used to denote gayness: "oca" (Greylag Goose, "cisne" (swan), "ganso" (goose) and even "gaviota" (seagull).
- pirobo—used in Colombia for denoting the passive partner in a gay relationship. However, much as 'marica', is often used to refer to someone. As in 'Vea ese pirobo' ('Look at that dude')
- playo ("flat")—used in Costa Rica.
- plumífero (lit. "feathered (bird)"). Common derogative use in Cuba.
- puto (see below).
- raro/rarito (lit.: "weird").
- soplanucas (lit.: "nape-blower")—used in Spain for denoting the active partner in a gay relationship.
- tortillera (lit.: "a female who makes tortillas")—one of the most common insults to lesbians. Lesbian sex is often referred to as tortillear or hacer tortilla ("to make a tortilla").
- parcha/parchita (corruption of "parga", a female pargo)
- sucia (lit.: "dirty woman")—used as an ironic term of endearment among male homosexuals
- trolo—used in Argentina
- trucha (lit.: "trout")
- tragaleche (lit.: "milk-swallower," with "milk" as a metaphor for ejaculate).
- tragasables (lit.: "sword-swallower").
- Other terms: afeminado, chivo, colizón, comilón, fleto, homo, homogay (combination of the English loanwords "homo" and "gay"), julandrón, julai (shortened form of julandrón), plon, plumón, puñal, rosquete, sarasa, roscón, et cetera.
- In Cuba, bombero (firefighter), capitán (captain), general (general) and other military (male) grades showing masculinity are used as slurs against lesbians, painting them with an un-feminine, dykelike appearance.
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 a flamboyant man or as a transgendered male 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" 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." The term however, has very highly offensive connotations in Puerto Rico. An older usage was in reference to a man who is in denial about being cheated (for example, by his wife).
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" or to an "idiot." In Mexico there are many proverbs that refer to pendejos.
In Peru it means a person who is opportunistic 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 (or perhaps a swindler). 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 Argentina the word refers to male children who try to act like they are adults. The word, in Chile, Colombia, and El Salvador, can refer to a cocaine dealer or it can refer to a "fool."
In Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, it has different meanings depending on the situation. It can range from ¡Te cogieron de pendejo! ("You were swindled!") to ¡Qué tipa pendeja! ("What a dumbass!" as when a strange woman behaves offensively, then suddenly leaves). In Mexico and some countries of Central America—especially El Salvador—una pendejada/pendeja is used to describe something incredibly stupid that someone has done.
In many regions, especially in Cuba, pendejo also means coward (with a stronger connotation), as in ¡No huyas, pendejo! "Don't run away, chicken-shit!" or "No seas pendejo!" ("Don't be such a coward!").
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". Also, in Argentina, as "pendejo" literally means "pubic hair" it usually refers to someone of little to no social value.
In Peru, however, it does not necessarily have a negative connotation, and can just refer to someone who is clever and street-smart.
In the The Philippines, it is usually used to refer to a man(husband) whose wife(or partner) is cheating on him.
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.
In the American film Idiocracy, Joe Bauers' idiot lawyer is named Frito Pendejo.
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. Although 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), 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:
- a person displaying a mix of obnoxiousness and stupidity;
- stupidity in its own right, to the point of eliciting animosity, whether faked or real, in whoever uses the word.
Occasionally it may be used for people who appear to be unpleasant or stupid (without necessarily being either) out of extreme social ineptitude. Fictional character David Brent from "The Office" is a classical example.
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.
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 above) or a colloquial evolution thereto of the Latin pulla (bladder).
Gilipollas is also a very old sport of the 17th and 18th centuries, invented by the Greeks in Spain. The word "gilipollas" comes from (gilus-pola). It is played with two balls with a radius of 4 inches and with a bat of two inches wide and 9 long. At stake may only be two teams, usually of boys against girls, each with between 6 and 9 players.
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 an euphemism have at times become popular, as is the case with gilipuertas (puerta standing for door). Recently, similar phrases have appeared, especially in Spain, although most of them (such as soplapollas, "cock-blower") delve much further into plain profanity.
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. A near-exact English translation is wanker. 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 distinct 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 because 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 ya, no seas ___ ("come on, don't be silly") would use capullo more frequently than gilipollas.
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". In Mexico it also a derogatory name for someone who is stingy: "El 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.
The word is used in quite a few common expressions. hijo de puta 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 US by Spanish-speaking immigrants. "De puta madre" is an idiomatic phrase generally meaning "(This is) fucking great!" and can be used in both a direct and ironic manner.
It is also widely used in the Philippines, where it also generally means "whore". The phrase Putang ina mo is a contraction of the Tagalog Puta ang ina mo, meaning "Your mother is a whore."
Hijo de puta
While hijo de puta 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 oneself. In informal spoken Spanish, hijo de puta may often be contracted to hijueputa or jueputa. In Spain, the contraction hijoputa is commonplace. Milder corruptions include juepuña and juepucha.
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 film's title was a reference to Jonathan Swift's book Gulliver's Travels, in which Laputa is the name of a flying island. In the Spanish-language version of the movie, the flying island was referred as Lapuntu as a euphemism. There was also a Japanese car with the same name: the Mazda Laputa.
The expression hijo de puta is often transformed to hijo de la gran puta (literally: "son of the great bitch"), hijo de la grandísima puta (literally: "son of the really great bitch"), maldito hijo de puta ("cursed son of a bitch") or simply hijo de la gran … (literally: "son of the great …") to add emphasize to another insult. Another possible derivation is hijo de mil putas (literally: "son of a thousand bitches"). In Colombia the word is emphasized by adding the word doble or triple (double or triple) as a prefix, as in triplehijueputa.
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 the speaker is displeased.
In Spain, puta (as well as its masculine form puto) is very frequently used as an adjective (hence it can be use in superlative as putísima/o). 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 (fucking great) time." It can be also ironic: De puta madre, ¿ahora qué hacemos? "Bloody brilliant (or fucking great). What are we supposed to do now?"
In the Dominican Republic, the phrase Tu maldita madre! ("Your damned mother") is used instead.
A puto (literally "male prostitute") is also a derogatory word for a homosexual male. It is perhaps the most offensive word referring to a homosexual male in Spanish, but is sometimes used by members of the gay community to refer to themselves, as a form of reappropriation (similar to the use of "bitch" between English-speaking women or incarcerated homosexuals).
In many places, such as Mexico, it is a pejorative reference to a gay man (this usage is present in Don Quixote). During Mexican soccer games, a popular cheer is screaming "puto" during the opposing team's goal kicks. 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 teasing). In Puerto Rico puto or palgo may refer to a womanizer. In the Philippines, however, the term is unoffensive as it is used instead to refer to rice muffins.
Less-offensive uses of puto/puta
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 virgin whore!" but better translated as "I shit on the fucking Virgin!").
Puta madre (lit.: "whore or fucking mother")—used in phrases such as de puta madre in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Chile. It can also be used as an ironic expression of praise. For example: Me siento de puta madre 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 mean "He writes motherfucking great"; Es una tía de puta madre can mean "She's a motherfucking awesome chick." There is also a pejorative way of saying it, which is ¡Vete con la puta madre que te parió! which means "Leave with the whore-of-a-mother who gave birth to you!"
The phrases En mi puta vida … and En la vida de mi puta madre … mean "Never in my life …" and are considered vulgar although not personally insulting, per se.
The verbal form putear could mean: "piss off", "harass", "mistreat", "tease", "beat up".
Zorra can be used as a synonym of puta in the same way that hija/o de zorra can be used instead of hija/o de zorra. Zorra in Spanish translates as (female) fox, and the name is used mainly because female foxes are known to be promiscuous, and in some places because foxes are associated with certain places, like England. For example in the northwest of Spain, where English pirates like Francis Drake tried to attack and pillage several times, the expression zorro or zorra is also used to refer to someone that can betray you, and hijo de zorra is used more often than hijo de puta.
Other attacks against fornicators
- cuero (lit.: "leather" or, metaphorically, "skin")—used in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to mean a "hooker." It is also used in Panama for referring to women Mira ese cuero ("Check out that woman"). Botas de cuero ("leather boots") is a pun that also means "hooker boots" (literally, "boots for a hooker").
- In Mexico, it may be a playful reference to any sexually attractive woman.
- avión (lit.: "airplane") and avionazo (lit.: "big airplane") are Dominican equivalents to the English word slut.
- In Colombia, avion is an ironic reference to someone who is street-smart or clever. For example: El es mucho avion ("He's very clever").
- maraco/maraca: in Chile and Argentina, the former (male) form means maricón, as stated above. However, the latter (female) form means "prostitute", not "lesbian". Not to be confused with maracas which is a pair of rattles used as a traditional musical instrument.
Other attacks against one's character
- analfabestia (contraction of analfabeto, "illiterate" and bestia, "beast")—refers to someone who has made a fundamental error in spelling or grammar. In Latin America, education is highly valued and some people have little patience for native Spanish-speaking adults whose mastery of the Spanish language is questionable.
- chocho means literally a senile person, from the verb chochear; it's also used as a synonym of cunt. The feminine form chocha is identical to the word used for cunt in many countries (see above).
- cerote (lit.: "a wad of wax", or, metaphorically, a wad of dry feces)—used in Guatemala and El Salvador as an insult similar to "piece of shit"
- connorito—slang for a male Spanish prostitute
- mal nacido or mal parido (lit.: "badly born")—sometimes shortened in one word (malnacido/malparido), is used in many Latin American countries as synonyms for "motherfucker", particularly in Colombia.
- mal criado (lit.: "badly raised", "spoiled")—used to scold a misbehaving child or a delinquent adult.
- saco de huevas/"sacoweas" (lit.: "ballsack")—used in Chile to mean useless. This insult is directed much more to men or objects than to women.
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 Christian terms, especially those concerning Catholic rites.
- Bodily destruction—whether by slapping, smacking, smashing or punching: e.g. se pegó una hostia con el coche (he/she smashed his car up badly). For example, Te voy a meter dos hostias ("I'll put two hostias in you") means I'll beat the shit out of you.
- A variation of this is no tener media hostia (lit.: "not having half a host"), which means having a weak or frail disposition—the implication being that the subject couldn't win a fight.
- An abstract or distant point of reference or comparison. For example, Hace un frío de la hostia means "It's freezing like Hell." Más feo que la hostia roughly translates to "Uglier than the host", but means "Uglier than Hell" or "uglier than sin." Eres la hostia ("You're the host") might be a vulgar way of saying "You are something else."
- It's customary to describe something by saying la hostia de …, for instance Este chocolate está la hostia de bueno (lit.: "This chocolate is as good as the host") would mean "This chocolate is so fucking delicious."
- An idiom which is frequently used in Spanish (and sometimes in Catalan, without translating 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 might mean "Who knows where Juan works now; I heard that they sent him to the boonies."
- A toda hostia means "quickly" or "hurriedly."
- It is also used as a generic 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 hostia!" but would translate to "Holy shit!" Minced oaths include ¡Ostras! (lit.: "Oysters!"), ¡Ondia! and ¡Óstima! (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 to mean "bullshit", "stupidity" or anything trifling. 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. It is usually the translation for English expressions such as "mean disposition", "bad attitude", "short temper."
- 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").
The phrase cagando hostias (lit.: "shitting hosts [over and over]") means "as fast as possible"—or even faster than possible. Cuando llegó la pasma, nos abrimos cagando hostias, "When the cops arrived, we got the fuck away immediately."
Compare "hostie" in Quebec profanity.
A word used almost interchangeably with all profane uses of hostia is leche (lit.: "milk"), possibly derived either from a common slang term for sperm, or from the milk that one had from his mother as a baby. Tener mala leche—literally, "to have bad milk", figuratively referring to the child of a promiscuous or otherwise despicable woman—refers to someone who is mean-spirited.
- Te voy a meter una leche means I'll beat the fuck out of you.
- eres la leche: "you're unbelievable." (used with an ironically positive connotation, e.g.: Este juego es la leche.—This game is awesome.)
- leche or leches (minced oath: leñe) means "Goddamnit", usually inserted at the end of a sentence.
- Déjate de leches means "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 cranky 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 so mean!" or even "You're such a badass!"
- Siempre tuvo muy mala leche con sus inversiones—"He was always so damn down on his luck with his investments."
Minced oaths for mala leche include mala idea or mala baba (lit.: "bad drool").
Copón, used mostly in Spain, stands literally for the ciborium, but also shares virtually the same profane usage as the second listed definition for hostia. For instance: Más feo que el copón roughly translates to "uglier than the ciborium", but means "uglier than Hell." ¡Copón bendito! ("Blessed chalice!"), would means something like "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 Catholic iconography or Catholic rites. Note that many of these blasphemous expressions are more severe in Latin America than in Spain, as many countries in Latin America contain more practicing Catholics than Spain. Many of them involve acts of, such as cagar, "to shit", e.g.:
- Me cago en Dios ("I shit on God"),
- Me cago en Cristo ("I shit on Christ"). In Spain, quite often, is common to exaggerate that expressions, adding more elements, to emphasize the anger: Me cago en un tren lleno de santos, curas y obispos con Jesucristo de conductor ("I shit on a train full of saints, priests and bishops, with Christ as the train driver"). Expressions like this are highly blasphemous; therefore, it is advisable not to use them, if one is not familiar with the language and culture of the audience, or in polite company.
- Me cago en la madre de Dios / en la Virgen ("I shit on the Mother of God / on the Virgin"),
- Me cago en la hostia ("I shit on the Host").
- Me cago en (todos) tus muertos ("I shit on (all) your ancestors"). Me cago en todos tus muertos, uno a uno ("I shit on all your ancestors, one by one").
- Me cago en vosotros ("I shit on you all", prevalent in Spain).
- Me cago en vos ("I shit on you", prevalent in Argentina).
- La concha de Dios ("The cunt of God")
- Me cago en Dios y en la puta Virgen ("I shit on God and on the fucking Virgin", prevalent in Spain and Argentina).
- ¡Maldita sea! (lit.: "May he/she/it be cursed [by God]")—a common interjection used almost universally across Spanish-speaking regions (except for Argentina). Despite the literal meaning (and similarity to the North American phrase "Goddamn it"), it is widely used in Spanish-speaking television, since it is not considered very offensive; it is always much more preferable than ¡Coño!, for instance.
- It is considered offensive when combined with other phrases to form a personal insult. For example: ¡Maldita sea la madre que te parió!' ("God damn the mother who bore you!"), ¡Maldita sea la chocha que te parió! ("God damn the cunt that bore you!")
- ¡Demonios! (lit.: "demons!")—used to express grief. For example: ¡Qué demonios! would be "What the hell!"
- Diablo or Diablos (lit.: "Devil" and "devils", respectively)—used as expletive fillers, similar to "Hell" in English and analogous to the British usage of the word "devil." No sabemos qué diablo/diablos hará ese cabrón means "We don't know what the hell/devil that jerk will do!"
- Diablo is often used in the Dominican Republic to express extreme displeasure (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 translate as "Yeah, right!") is also used often in the Dominican Republic to express incredulity (Ese examen fue fácil—más que el diablo = "That exam was easy—yeah, right!").
- Diantre—used as a minced oath for diablo. Diañe, and Diache are also used as substitute terms in the Dominican Republic. Equivalents in English would be "dickens", "deuce", or "heck" (example: ¿¡Pero qué diantres has hecho!?—"Uh, what the heck have you done!?").
- "¡Santa María!"/"¡Ave María!" ("Goddamn it!")
- "Ay, Dios" ("Oh, God") or "Ay, Dios mío" ("Oh my God"). Alternatively, women may say "Ay, Virgen" or "Ay, Santa." Not considered personally offensive, but blasphemous nonetheless.
- Lavincompáe (contracted form of "la Virgen compadre")—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.
- ¡San … (usually involving one or more Catholic Saints)
- "¡Puñeta!" may be short for "¡Una puñeta en la cruz!" or "¡Me hago una puñeta en la cruz!" ("I masturbate onto the Cross!")
- The "… tu madre" component in a phrase can be changed to the elongated "… la madre de Dios." For example: "¡Maldita sea!" can be changed to "¡Maldita sea tu madre!" or "¡Maldita sea la madre de Dios!" ("Damn it", "Curse your mother", "Curse the Mother of God"). Similarly, "Concha-tu-madre" can be changed to "Concha-la-madre-de-Dios."
There are some creative variations, usually involving to addition of puta/puto ("fucking") to any of the above or combining words (e.g. Me cago en Dios y en su puta madre). Occasionally, the rather incongruous Me cago en San Dios, when heard, is usually indicative of a low social standing. In Spain, youths perpetuate such idiomatic expressions as a form of linguistic audacity; often phrases that seem most shocking, archaic or otherwise eccentric are favored. Thus it is not uncommon to hear Cago en tu dios ("I shit on your god"), or the more elaborate and blasphemous Me cago en la boca del Papa ("I take a shit into the Pope's mouth"), Me cago en el copón ("I take a shit into the Holy Chalice") or Me cago en el sagrado corazón de Jesús ("I take a shit onto the Sacred Heart of Jesus"). Expressions like these are considered more offensive than those previously listed and, surprisingly, are actually condemned as blasphemous—even by those who would not hesitate to utter an occasional "Me cago en Dios."
- These are most common in rural regions of Spain, where Catholicism 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 holds 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'' ("I shit into the ace of cups" (from deck of cards)) or ''Cago en la copiona'' ("I shit onto the copy-cat") instead of Cago en el copón. In this case copón, literally "large 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" "I shit on ten" and somebody else may add Cago en veinte que es más potente "I shit on twenty, because it's much more plenty" and so forth.
A common way that new phrases are developed is through the habitual avoidance of formal swearwords by substituting euphemisms. Instead of Me cago en Dios one may hear such expressions as Me cago en Dena ("I shit on Dena") or Me cago en Diógenes ("I shit on Diogenes") or Me cago en Dío ("I shit on Dío") or Me cago en Diosle ("I shit on Diosle") or Me cago en diéresis ("I shit on the umlaut"). Some of these rhymes and euphemisms are rather obscure but once they spread, they become common lore among those speakers who rejoice in discovering 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 ("I shit on Mohammed, who has balls of plastic and of rubber").
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 Italian 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 an effigy of the Virgin Mary as a sign of awe and belief (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 philosopher Xavier Rubert de Ventós, is Déu, si existeix, és un fill de puta ("God, if He exists, is a son of a bitch"). 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.
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 USA 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's used as a slur to refer to all Chileans.
- Cholo, 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.: Gallician)-mostly used in Latin America referring to all Spaniards as a synonym for dumb people.
- Gallina Used in Ecuador to describe Peruvians.
- Panchito is used in Spain for native looking Central and South-Americans, as well as guacamole, machupichu, guachupino. They don't necessarily mean offence.
- 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. Source: people from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
- Roto, used in reference to Chileans in Peru and Bolivia
- Yorugua, used in reference to Uruguayans in Argentina.
- Japo in reference to people of Japanese ancestry, similar to Jap; used mostly in Spain.
- 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 rejoice 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 geld nits, "miser, niggard"), (d)esgarracolchas (lit. (person) who rends quilts, "awkward", "untrustworthy"), pisacristos (lit. (person) who tramples Christs—"blasphemous person"), and much more.
- Gladstein and Chacón (editors) 39.
- "Chingar," Diccionario de la lengua española, Real Academia Española (Spanish)
- 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.
- María Josefina Tejera et al., Diccionario de venezolanismos, Tomo I (A-I), Universidad Central de Venezuela / Academia de la Lengua. Caracas. 1983. p.360.
- Gladstein and Chacón (editors) 40.
- Gerrard, Arthur Bryson (ed.) (1980). Cassell's Colloquial Spanish, 3rd rev. ed. London: Cassell Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 0-304-07943-X (UK) Check
- RAE entry for "puto"
- Rowland, Ingrid (2010)Giordano Bruno p.280
- Ruffino, Giovanni (1998) Atti del XXI Congresso internazionale di linguistica e filologia romanza p.115
- 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
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