The words for profanity
|Profanity is as integral to Spanish as it is to English|
Photo credit: Randal Sheppard licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
tacos (in Spain)
palabras sucias (in Panama)
lisuras (in Peru)
puteadas (in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay)
bardeos (in Argentina)
desvergue (in El Salvador)
groserias, majaderías, or maldiciones (in Mexico)
garabatos (in Chile)
plebedades (in the Colombian Caribbean)
The words of profanity
Spanish has a remarkably rich vocabulary of swear words that range in variety from single-word cusses like, cabrón, to full-phrase chants like, métetelo por el culo. It is this crude linguistic demeanor of native speakers that is bound to win you over despite their vulgarity. No matter what your take on using profanity in any Spanish-acquisition program is, you must agree that these words color the language in ways otherwise largely unexplored.
Phrases of profanity, like idiomatic expressions, are rarely translatable into other languages and hence most translations offered in this list are vague and do not reflect the truly intended sense most accurately. Nevertheless, this list should serve as an appropriate jumping-board for those learning Spanish profanity. Also it is worth keeping in mind that the same phrase or word could carry varying degrees of insult in different communities and while a word might be light-humored in one, it could easily be taboo in another!
By the way, just to tickle your curiosity, most words of profanity in Mexican Spanish begin with the letter, “p”!
Fuck! – ¡Joder! / ¡Hostia!
Fuck off/you/yourself! – ¡Qué te jodan! / ¡Jódete!
Don’t fuck with me! – ¡No me jodas!
What a rotter! – ¡Qué cabrón!
Stick it up your ass! – ¡Métetelo por el culo!
Don’t be such a wanker – No seas tan cabrón
Bastard! / Motherfucker! – ¡Cabrón!
Fucking hell! – ¡Manda huevos!
Cock sucker – Mama bicho / Mama guebo / Mamahuevo
Dammit! / Bloody Hell! – ¡Coño! (literally means “cunt” in English but much milder to Spanish ears)
Dickhead/Jerk/Idiot! – ¡Gilipollas!
Slut – Malparida / Piruja / Zopupla / Zorra
Go to hell! – ¡Vete a la mierda! / ¡Vete al infierno!
Shit! – ¡Mierda!
|Pinche: A keyword of Mexican profanity|
Photo credit: hiperkarma licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
How annoying! – ¡Qué putada!
Son of a bitch! – ¡Hijo de puta! / ¡Puta madre!
Eat shit and die! – ¡Come mierda y muerte!
To be the best – Ser el puto amo
Fuck in hell! – ¡Manda huevos!
Ass-face – Cara de culo
Wanker – Pajero
Faggot – Marica
Blow me! – ¡Chupame la pija!
Gay – Joto
Fucking whore – Pinche puta
Suck my dick! – ¡Mamame la verga!
Asshole! – ¡Capullo!
Stupid idiot! – ¡Tonto del culo!
Fucking pussy – Pinche punetas
Fucking dickhead – Pinche pendejo
Slander – Injuria
To swear – Echar votos y reniegos
I shit on everything that moves! – ¡Me cago en todo lo que se menea!
Asshole – Forro (Used mostly in Argentina)
Idiot/Stupid – Boludo
To Blaspheme – Renegar
Before you start cursing
Now, that we have learned some of the most common words of insult used all over the Spanish-speaking world, it is about time we laid down some ground rules before we start stringing them into sentences to be used with unsuspecting locals in your neighborhood.
Swearing is more prevalent in Spain; Latin America is relatively gentler when it comes to slinging insults. Not sure if this has anything to do with their cultures but it is infinitely important that you thoroughly understand the subtle tones and contexts of each of these words so you don’t end up offending someone with more refined ears.
And just in case you are guessing this is all there is, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. The world is big and so is your average Spanish-speaker’s vocabulary of profanity. In fact, there are hundreds and thousands of profane words and phrases that native speakers use in their daily lives. Besides, the same profanity could have different meanings in different contexts or regions. Knowledge of such subtle differences is very important before you start incorporating these cuss words or any strongly negative adjective into your daily speech. In fact, this vocabulary is better acquired for the sake of knowledge instead of active usage. Know them so you understand when someone is using them but be safe and avoid using them at all under any circumstances whatsoever.