Spanish is a language that tends to embrace swear words wholeheartedly, with many sentences peppered with expletives that might be deemed inappropriate in other languages. You will often see little old ladies swearing like troopers in Spain, and you soon get used to it. But there are also some swear words and phrases that could get you into trouble. We count down the strangest and funniest.
Referring to the nether regions of anyone’s mother is never advisable, but this phrase, popular in South America, quaintly substitutes ‘vagina’ for the euphemistic ‘sea shell’ (concha). It roughly translates as something like ‘motherfucker’.
This phrase, unfortunately, means that you’ll never look at the white stuff in quite the same way again. Spaniards let off steam after suffering bad luck by exclaiming that they have ‘shit in the milk’.
Piling insult upon insult, this phrase accuses someone of not only shitting (cagaste) but of then jumping in said shit. Nice.
While English has quaint phrases such as, ‘not on your nelly’, to mean ‘no way’, Spaniards get a little more creative, instead exclaiming, ‘Your whore mum on a bike!’ We’re not sure what the bike has to do with it, but it definitely provides an interesting mental image.
Be careful when calling someone a coward or wimp (pendejo) in South America, because the word is also slang for pubic hair.
If you want to show your displeasure at someone, you could do a lot worse in Spain than yelling, ‘I hope you get fucked by a fish.’ It’s a pretty good insult in our book.
Only in Spain, perhaps, would one of the most commonly used swear words – which translates as something like ‘bloody hell’ – also be a religious word; a little bit of blasphemy is perfectly normal in Spain. Hostia literally means, ‘host’, as in the body of Christ, or the wafers given out during Holy Communion.
This innocent word for female fox can also be used to refer to female genitalia in Chile. You have been warned.
One of the most commonly heard swear words in Spain is often used to call someone stupid, or an idiot. It means, ‘stupid dick’.
The Spanish C-word is used liberally by almost everyone in Spain and simply does not seem to have the same seriousness as it has in English. Just don’t forget to stop using it when you come home.
We might have the phrase ‘son of a bitch’ in English, but Spaniards take things a bit further with this classic insult that accuses someone of not being the son of a single puta, which literally means ‘prostitute’, but is often used as a generic ‘bitch’, but of a thousand of them. ‘Son of a thousand whores’ is a phrase you might shout at someone who has annoyed you.
We don’t quite know what Spaniards have against asparagus, but this phrase, that literally means, ‘Go fry asparagus’ is used to mean, ‘Go fuck yourself’.
This very descriptive way of calling someone ugly means that they have a face like the back of a fridge.
‘I don’t give a cucumber’ is a common way to say you don’t give a damn in Spanish, something similar to the old-fashioned ‘I don’t give a fig’ in English.
Last but not least, a simple swear word, but one you are likely to hear everywhere in Spain. Joder simply means ‘fuck’ and is used as an exclamation for many different situations.
Explore some of the best Spanish words we really need in English.