Spanish curse words and slang to sound like a native

Curse words are often the first thing people learn when approaching a new language. They cannot be used in all contexts, but some of them are really funny and interesting to learn. Besides, the literal translations of some Spanish curse words and expressions are just hilarious. This is the Spanish slang you need to know to sound like a true native. We suggest using it sparingly, though!

15 curse words in Spanish and their meaning in English

Spanish curse words and phrases people use in colloquial speech

There are so many curse words and phrases in Spanish

There are so many curse words and phrases in Spanish. | Shutterstock

We will start by mentioning some four-letter words that people use constantly in Spain. If you want to say “fuck” in Spanish, “joder” is a safe bet.  You can use it to start a sentence, like “Joder, I left my wallet at home”, or simply as an exclamation. “Joder” is also a colloquial way of referring to sexual intercourse, but it is not common to use it in that sense anymore.

“Hostia” and “coño” are other common swear words Spanish people use all the time to express anger or frustration. The former means blow or slap too, and the latter is a vulgar way of saying vulva or vagina.

Oddly enough, there are a couple curses in Spanish that involve mothers. One of the most popular examples would be “la madre que te parió”, which literally means “the mother who gave birth to you”. However, it has nothing to do with anyone’s parents. It is mostly used to express dissatisfaction towards a situation or a certain person — but not their mother.

Similarly, we have “de puta madre”, something like “of fucking mother” in English. It sounds angry and aggressive, but it is actually a cheerful exclamation. We could compare it to “fucking awesome” or something of the sort.

Spanish people seem to have an odd obsession with “shitting” as well. Here you have three variations of a popular phrase and their meaning in English:

  • Me cago en la leche (I shit on the milk)
  • Me cago en Dios (I shit on God)
  • Me cago en todo lo que se menea (I shit on everything that moves)

Regardless of their literal meaning, which is at best quite disturbing, these curse phrases mean just the same as “joder”. They can be used interchangeably and people in Spain are so used to them, that they do not even sound weird for native people.

There are many more poo-related curse words and expressions in Spanish. “Mierda” is the direct equivalent of “shit” in Spanish, and it is not really offensive. Just an informal word one can use to curse in most contexts. There is also “y una mierda”, literally “and a shit”, whose actual meaning is “no way”. If someone asks you to stop reading a great article about swear words in Spanish, you can tell them “¡Y una mierda!”. It would be slightly rude, but they should understand the cultural and educational nature of the text… right?

One of the funniest curse phrases in Spanish is related to a vegetable. If you say “me importa un pepino”, you are literally saying “I care a cucumber”. Do people in Spain measure how much they care about something in cucumbers? Not that I know of! Its actual meaning is “I don’t care”, but it sounds funnier the other way. If you want to sound natural in Spanish and add some spice to your way of speaking, you should definitely use this expression!

How to insult someone in Spanish

Now, we do not encourage insulting people as a rule, but knowing the words does not harm anyone, and it can be a fun way of understanding a language and its people. Do what you will with this information. That being said, let’s go over the most common Spanish insults.

A “gilipollas” would be an “asshole” in Spain. Another synonym is “cabrón”, which is also the Spanish word for male goat. If you wanted to be even ruder, you could call someone “hijo de puta”, which means “son of a bitch”. The feminine version of this insult is “hija de puta”.

If you want to politely tell someone to, well… F themselves, you can either say “que te den” or “que te jodan”. The latter is stronger than the former. You can also tell them “vete a la mierda”: literally “go to the shit” — once again, the Spanish obsession with poo. A funnier and more naive approach would be “vete a freír espárragos” (“go to fry asparagus”), a peculiar phrase you can use when someone is being annoying. They could not possibly get mad for a vegetable-related rejection!

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