How To Swear In Spanish


Now that Yago repeats everything he hears, Rogelio is finally becoming aware of just how much he swears in Spanish.  You see, he “swears” that he doesn’t swear.   But people from around here are famous for their foul mouths.  Some of these I have already heard Yago spit out.

  • Picha (Penis) That is what Rogelio calls his brother.  He claims it is a term of endearment.  And considering that I hear mothers calling their daughters ChoCho (girly private bits) it actually doesn’t sound too bad. 
  • Me cago en la puta (I shit myself in the whore) This one is especially popular while driving, but also comes in handy while  assembling Ikea furniture or burning yourself on the stove.
  • Me cago en la leche, me cago en la mar, me cago en… (I shit myself in the milk, I shit myself in the sea, I shit myself….)  Shitting yourself is extremely popular here in Algeciras.  Non-personal crap recipients are less offensive takes on the puta version.
  • De puta madre (Of the whore mother) This is the Spanish equivalent of “friggin awesome.”  It is used for everything from cold beer to days off.
  • Tu puta madre (Your whore mother) Careful with this one.  It sounds dangerously similar to “De puta madre” above, but is a back-handed insult via the dude’s Mom.   And in Spain, you cannot insult some dude’s Mom.  Because she probably still washes his underwear.
  • Tiene cojones (This has got balls) Used to describe a situation or person that has nerve, in the negative sense.  For example, often used to describe someone who just stole your parking space.  Particularly popular in  combination with “Me cago en la puta.
  • Tomar por el culo (Take it by ass) My personal favorite.  A graffic but creative twist on the always useful F@%K YOU.

12 comments

  1. Considering Darius is working on his PhD in Profanity, I must share these with him.
    I’m sure he will be kicking himself for not completing that Spanish course. LOL

  2. Just wait until Yago is in school for more fun times, if he’s anything like my eldest, who will get his younger brother to do things like “Say ‘llaspo” lots of times fast over and over” and then, in all innocence, tell me, “But he’s the one who said it, not me!” Variations on this theme are endless: “tapu” is popular, and today the more elaborate “llasgilipo.” Hours of fun…

  3. You forgot the always useful “Hay que joderse!” The picha, chocho thing pretty much only happens in the south. Up here if you call someone that, they’d be kind of shocked. Yep, there’s a lot of swearing going on around here, and kids pick up on it really fast, but somehow I think it’s not as taboo as in English speaking countries. Over here the swear words aren’t bleeped out on the tv or anything like they are in the U.S., and it seems like people don’t make such a big deal about it.

  4. Great list, some of those were unexpected but spot no :-) Just a few comments to add more depth:

    “Tomar por culo”, in itself, doesn’t mean anything. It’s like “puta madre”, its meaning depends on the prepositions and/or verbs you use with it. It’s not the same telling someone “vete a tomar por culo” (fuck off), that saying that a place “está a tomar por culo” (it’s very very far away). Another popular use of this expression is “a tomar por culo” which means you can’t stand something anymore, like for example “¡A tomar por culo ya! No pienso echarle más horas a este trabajo, así se queda” (I’m done with this. I’m not spending any more time working on this). If you are unconfortable using the word “culo” you can exchange it for “saco” without changes in the meaning.

    Also, the “vete a…” construction used to tell someone to fuck off, is very popular and doesn’t have to always end in “tomar por culo”. “Vete a la mierda” and “vete a freir espárragos” are also very common and you can mix them to bring more variety into your swear sessions.

    But, by far, I think the “me cago en…” sentences are the more common. You can add pretty much anything at the end, so you can be creative even while swearing aloud. Some of the more “standard” ones: [Equivalents to “Fuck!”] –> “Me cago en la ostia”, “me cago en la leche”, “me cago en la mar”, “me cago en la mar salada” “me cago en todo”, “me cago en todo lo que se menea”… [Autocompassion] –> “me cago en mi suerte”, “me cago en mi vida”, “me cago en mi puta vida”, “me cago en mi sangre”… [The strongest ones (very rude and disrespectful, you don’t really wanna use these)] –> “me cago en tu puta madre”, “me cago en tus muertos”… [Blasphemy] –> “me cago en Dios” (in some places like Galicia this is used as an interjection, sort of like saying “you know” all the time. Wierd, isn’t it?), “me cago en Cristo”, “me cago en la virgen”, etc, etc. The wierdest one I’ve ever heard (autocompassion category): “Me cago en mi puta sangre a caballo” (I shit myself in my blood riding a horse) WTF does that mean??

    OK. Enough with the class today. Sorry if my comment is innapropiate. Keep up your good work, I love your blog and check it almost daily :-)

  5. And for a far more technical explanation, see David’s comments. But English speakers, if you are looking for something simple, and quick easy “Joder”, will do in just about any situation.

  6. Wonderful! Diving into etymology, I recently discovered “Me cago en la leche” originally had “…de tu madre” attached to it, which kind of makes sense. I still haven’t figured out, however, why people feel the urge to defecate in the sea, especially “…en la mar SALADA”, as my grandad used to say.

    Also, Spanish seems to have made a particular brand of humour out of translating vernacular idioms literally into English. Google “speaking in silver”, and you will come across things like this http://perso.wanadoo.es/jcfs/ingles.htm

  7. I laughed so hard…and then I wasn’t sure I should be laughing. I don’t know how you keep a straight face through some of these. So now that Yago repeats, is your husband trying to curb his swearing or just trying to teach him the right way to say them? :-)

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