On Language Spanish Curse Words

Curse Words

Raul Guerrero


Coño, from the Latin cunnus, “female pudenda.” 

1. Noun, vulgar for female genitalia. 

2. Adjective, in Ecuador and Chile, stingy, synonym of tacaño

3. Interjection, very Caribbean, and hip, versatile, and urban. Coño, mi amor, estás irresistible is a compliment for both men and women. But with anger, after waiting two hours for a date in a restaurant, stressing the second o, if words could kill, coñó would. Coño also connotes surprise, astonishment: ¡Coño que grande!

Carajo, noun, archaic for penis. Today carajo ranks top next to coño and puta as the most used and versatile interjection for anger: Carajo, ¿qué es esto? "Damn it, what is this?" For pleasure: ¡Ay, carajo, que rico! "Gee, how delicious!" For Surprise: ¿Qué carajo es esto? "What the heck is this?" Threatening: ¡Mucho cuidado, carajo! "Watch it, you little F...!" 

The noun is used for a despicable person: Pedro es un verdadero carajo. "Pedro really is a piece of work!" In the diminutive, carajito, in Santo Domingo is a young child. In Spain carajito is an espresso with brandy.  

Puta, noun, ‘whore.’  Since mothers are the object of deep sensitivities, hijo de puta, "son of a whore," is quite ominous. A student asked me, considering mothers are so revered in Latin America, is hijo de puta the worst insult? The worst, I said, is hijo de la gran puta!

Raúl Guerrero


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