All the Catalan Swear Words You Need to Know

CC0 Pixabay
CC0 Pixabay
Tara Jessop

The Catalan language is rich in expressions that reflect the history and culture of the Catalan identity – and the swear words are just as creative. Whether it’s telling someone they’re being a nuisance to letting them know they’re just a bit dim, the Catalan swear words and expressions are sure to impress the locals.


Literal meaning: ‘happy belly’

How to use it: A panxacontenta is someone who puts up with anything, never complains about anything or has anything to say about anything. Rather than been seen as a positive, here it’s considered a sign of passivity and indifference.

Cap de suro

Literal meaning: ‘cork head’ or ‘bark head’

How to use it: Calling someone a cap de suro is basically the same as calling them an idiot. A similar insult is cap de meló or ‘melon head’ or cap de fava meaning ‘bean head’.


Literal meaning: ‘reed peeler’

How to use it: A pelacanyes is someone who you consider to be your inferior, someone insignificant and often ignorant. It can also mean someone who is very poor, a little like calling someone a ‘peasant’.


Literal meaning: ‘Host’ or ‘Sacramental bread’ (i.e. the wafer of bread given in church during Holy Communion).

How to use it: This is the equivalent of shouting a good old fashioned ‘f**k’ when you remember you’ve forgotten something important, realise you’ve messed something up or just slammed your finger in the door.

Llum de ganxo

Literal meaning: ‘hooked light’

How to use it: If someone is being a llum de ganxo then it means they don’t have their head screwed on right and are chatting rubbish.


Literal meaning: ‘bad fig’

How to use it: In the gardening world, a figaflor is a fig which grows on the previous year’s shoot growth and as a result doesn’t usually ripen as well or taste as nice. Someone who’s a figaflor is someone who’s not really that bright.


Literal meaning: ‘ball burner’

How to use it: If someone is getting on your nerves and you really want to let them know, calling them a torracollons – similar to calling someone a ‘ball ache’ – should get them off your back.


Literal meaning: ‘guitar shitter’ (a bandúrria is type of Spanish cord instrument)

How to use it: A cagabandúrries is someone who is generally pretty inept and bothersome but always has an excuse for their sub-average behaviour.


Literal meaning: ‘Arse licker’

How to use it: A llepaculs is someone who knows how to suck up to the right people to get what they want. That person who always laughs at your boss’s bad jokes, they’re definitely a llepaculs.

Cul d’olla

Literal meaning: ‘Pan’s arse’

How to use it: Telling someone they’re a cul d’olla is the same a telling them they’re about as useful as a carpet fitter’s ladder or an ashtray on a motorbike. The point is, they’re really pretty useless.


Literal meaning: ‘little skilled’

How to use it: Someone who is pocatraça is someone clumsy, awkward and generally lacking skill. Like telling them they’re ‘no bright spark’.

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