Advice, Culture

How to Swear in Spanish: Curse Like a Mexican

Swearing in Spanish and cursing like a Mexican

Human beings, generally speaking, have an obsession with knowing how to say “bad” or “dirty” things in another language. Odd as it may be, who are we to deprive you of the knowledge you so desperately crave? In many languages, the swear words native to them are an important part of the local lexicon, adding emphasis and flavor to otherwise normal sentences. 

There are varying degrees of “bad” within the realm of swear words, too. Some of them simply help you get your point across in an intense discussion, and others should remain strictly for overheated discussions—used sparingly and with great discretion. While we’re certainly not telling you to go scream any of these are the first person who crosses your path, to learn how to swear in Spanish is an interesting skill set to possess, and who knows? You might even impress a person or two once you can curse like a Mexican.

A Mexican swear word or two

  1. pendejo (idiot)

    In Mexican Spanish, pendejo means “idiot,” but historically, it comes from a Latin root that means “pubic hair” and thus was first used in the 16th century to refer to overly confident pubescent teenage males. Over the years, the meaning of pendejo evolved to mean “coward” in the 17th century until its present-day meaning of “idiot” decided it was here to stay.
  2. culero (asshole)

    Breaking down the Mexican swear culero to its roots couldn’t be easier. The word culo means “butt,” or “ass” if you’re feeling vulgar. Hence, the word “culero” is used to call someone an “asshole.” Voilà!

    In Spain, they use culero differently—as an adjective that means “lazy”—but there are plenty of derivatives of the word culo that they also use. Someone can dar por culo, or “be a pain in the ass.” You can also say a tomar por culo, which is an exasperated “f@^% it,” or tell someone, Vete a tomar por culo, i.e., “f@^% off.”

Spanish swears from around the world

While there are some swear words shared among all Spanish dialects, each country has its own set of swears, too, so here’s a handful from some other Spanish-speaking countries to get you started. (Hey, we don’t want to be that bad of an influence.)

  • Shared swears
    • ¡La madre que te parió!
      • “Son of a bitch!,” although literally translates to “the mother who birthed you!”
    • ¡Vete pa’l carajo! or ¡Vete al carajo!
      • “Go to hell!” or “f@^% off!,” similar to ¡Vete a tomar por culo!
    • ¡Mierda!
      • Shit!
    • ¡Hostia!
      • “Damn!”; there is also ¡Qué hostia(s)!, which means “Never!,” “No way!” or “My ass!,” like “Yeah, right!”
  • Argentina
    • Me chupa un huevo
      • “I don’t give a shit”
    • ¡Ni en pedo!
      • “Hell no!” or “No damn way!”
  • Colombia
    • ¡Hijueputa!
      • “Son of a bitch!”
      • While hijo de puta is used in other dialects, this spelling and pronunciation is specific to Colombia.
    • ¡Despégala pues!
      • “f@^% off!”
  • Peru
    • ¡Qué cojudo eres!
      • “What a damn idiot you are!”
    • ¿Qué chucha tienes?
      • “What the f@^% is your problem?”
  • Puerto Rico
    • ¡Qué jodienda!
      • “What the f@^%!,” though jodienda on its own, however, can also mean a “pain in the ass.”
    • ¡Me cago en ná!
      • “Damn!” or “Shit!”

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