Spanish Language Swear Words: What To Say And When To Say It

Spanish Language Swear Words: What To Say And When To Say It

Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith

Surely the most fun part of picking up a new language is learning how to curse in it. Until you can swear like a native speaker, you’re not fluent. You’ve decided to learn Spanish - so let’s get to the good stuff and discover all the Spanish curse words that you really need in your life.

Best Spanish Swear Words

Spanish is a fine language to swear in. There’s not much that’s more satisfying than yelling some VERY bad words at the table you just stubbed your toe on, and doing so in Spanish is even better, due to the expressiveness of the language. Below are some of the ultimate Spanish curse phrases and words to help you manage every situation:

Gilipollas

One of the most common curse words in Spanish is ‘gilipollas’ which translates as idiot or jerk. Try it out on the idiot in your life with the phrase, ‘no seas gilipollas’ which in English is along the lines of ‘don’t be a dumbass.’ Cute.

Mierda

Of all curse words in Spanish, this is likely to be one of the most useful in daily life. Bring this into play when you’ve banged your head on a low beam, have overcooked your dinner, or just witnessed your team missing a penalty. ‘Mierda’ translates as ‘crap’ or ‘sh*t’. In the literal or the, you know, how totally annoying sense.

If you want to practice your pronunciation of this particular curse word, the popular Spanish tv series, ‘14 de Abril, La Republica’ - available on the Lingopie language learning platform - is a great place to start. It’s a cracking drama focused on the life of a wealthy family living in Madrid during the Second Republic. As well as being an excellent source of Spanish curse words, it’s a sweeping love story, too, so tissues at the ready.

Bad words in Spanish - WTF banner

Joder

If we’re going to learn Spanish swear words then this one’s vital: it’s the Spanish version of the F-bomb. It doesn’t carry quite the same shock value, though. It’s probably still best not to start shouting it in the streets unless you’ve got a seriously good reason. Like you’ve discovered, some total gilipollas have used the last of the milk and not replaced the carton.

Que Cabron

Many swear words in Spanish, when translated into English, aren’t an exact equivalent, although the sense in which they’re used might be the same. Like this one. ‘Que cabron’ means, literally, a big male goat. But it’s used in the way we would say, ‘what a bastard!’ This particular curse is rarely used as an angry insult, but most often in friendly bants.

La Concha de tu Madre

Looking to say bad words in Spanish with meaning? Then this is the invective for you. It translates as ‘motherf*cker’ and definitely should NOT be used in friendly bants.

Best Spanish swear words shock granny

Puto

Use this as a great all-rounder of an insult. It’s the equivalent of both ‘asshole’ and ‘f*cking’ and has a variety of amusing applications. To learn how to use it as an authentic Spanish speaker would watch ‘Bajo le Red’ on Lingopie. The characters are very fond of it, which makes for a great educational opportunity. The program is about a sinister figure who wreaks digital havoc by setting up a system of ‘favors’ online - intriguing and dark, ‘Bajo le Red’ offers much more than just an opportunity to pick up some colorful language. Although it’s great for this, too.

Why is Spanish Such a Satisfying Language to Curse In?

Many people describe Spanish as almost a ‘sung’ language due to the nature of its intonation and flow. The language’s pronunciation, too, helps, and its consistency in this regard is one of the things that makes it widely regarded as the easiest language to learn. The creative elements of the vocabulary also make cursing immensely satisfying in Spanish.

Here’s an example. ‘Tonto del culo’ means ‘an idiot of the bum.’ Which is much more joy-inducing than simply calling someone a plonker.

Cursing plays a significant role in conversations between folks of all ages in Spanish-speaking countries, and many of the swear words and phrases don’t carry the weight they do in English. That said: it’s still worth approaching with caution in order not to risk offense or inadvertently inducing raucous laughter.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that some Spanish curse words and phrases have a stronger, or more shocking, meaning in different countries; for example, what might be considered a mild curse word in Spain itself could be regarded as a much more offensive word in Peru. So before busting out your new-found swear skills, it’s a good idea to take a bit of time to get a handle on the acceptable local usage.

Regional Curse Words

For the true aficionado of cursing in Spanish, the below words and phrases are highly localized:

Verga - Mexican

This is a useful swear word to add spice to your Mexican conversations. It means ‘f*ck’ although it can be brought into play to mean ‘awesome.’

Culiao - Chilean

A nifty little curse, this translates as something like ‘dumbass’ or ‘idiot.’ It’s widely used in Chile but not heard so much in other Spanish-speaking countries; confusingly, Chileans also use this word to refer to a very close friend…

Chapiodora - Dominican

This translates as ‘gold-digger’ and is only used in the Dominican Republic and a small number of islands in the Caribbean.

What’s the Best Way to Learn Spanish (including the curses)

If you’re genuinely committed to the art of learning Spanish curse words - ok, and possibly the rest of the language, too - then one of the best techniques to do so is to practice immersive learning techniques alongside traditional methods of study. Traditionally, this would have meant heading off to a country where Spanish is the official language and staying there for an extended period.

In reality, this isn’t a practical option for most people; however, with new methods and techniques for immersive learning now available, packing up and taking the next flight to Spain for the foreseeable future isn’t the only way to access and enjoy an immersive learning experience.

Instead, simply try surrounding yourself with the language as much as you can. Have a go at reading books in Spanish, listening to music, and, best of all, watching subtitled Spanish tv programs and movies: these are a rich source of the best Spanish swear words.

Plus, you get to learn the language while being thoroughly entertained. Watching tv in the language you’re learning has been proved to be a very effective way of gaining proficiency; plus, there’s nothing likely to keep you more motivated than a binge-worthy series.

And if you’re wondering ‘how long does it take to learn Spanish?’ then, pleased to tell you, immersive techniques can speed up the process significantly, which means that you’ll be swearing like a native in no time.