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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.
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.
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.
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’.