I love Spanish… especially Spanish profanity.

Whether you want to insult someone, express extreme displeasure, or do it doggy-style…

I’ve got an expression for you!

The fun thing about these obscene Spanish expressions is that the most unexpected people use them at the most unexpected times.

“¡Me cago en tus muertos!” says the guy working at the bank, after 27 minutes ignoring you and another hour trying to get you to go to a different branch.

“¡Que te folle un pez!” says the 98-year-old woman at the bus stop, as she shoves you out of the way to make room for her carrito de la compra.

Ok, not really.

Or not usually, at least.

But I was often shocked during my past life as some schlub with a job at how often serious corporate types will drop a pair of cojones into their business conversations.

Anyway, try these 10 obscene Spanish expressions on for size – actually, with all the variations, it’s probably more like 30.

And don’t forget to leave your favorites down in the comments.

Here goes…


This one refers to the Host from the Catholic mass, but it’s also a sort of an exclamation meaning “I’m shocked!”

Here’s a typical conversation you could have after a few glasses of wine  and a romp in the hay with that special someone on a Sunday afternoon…

A: Ay lo siento, Pepita, se me ha roto el preservativo.

B: ¡Hostia! ¿Y ahora qué hacemos?

If you’re feeling more timid, try ¡Ostras!

It’s a bit less sacrilegious that way.

Also, as an exclamation, ¡Hostia, puta! The meaning isn’t much different, and you can’t go wrong adding puta to everything. Or ¡Te voy a dar una hostia! which is more or less “I’m gonna kick your ass”.

It was my karate teacher’s favorite expression, back in the day.

Moving on…

¡Qué coñazo!

The literal translation: “What a big pussy!”

But it’s not to be taken literally…

Usually you’d use this to say that something is really boring or annoying.

Qué coñazo… ¡otra reunión!

Of course, there are many things you can say with “coño” – the Spanish version of the C-word. Most commonly, it’s used as an exclamation to emphasize what you’re saying.

No me llames más, ¡coño!

Otra cerveza, ¡coño!

I guess you could also technically use it in its literal sense to refer to a part of the female anatomy… or you could use it in the typical Spanish proverb “Tira más un pelo de coño que un carro de bueyes” – a pussy hair can pull more weight than an oxcart.

obscene spanish expressions
Toro Osborne, symbol of Spain. Photo by Luis Miguel Castro on Flickr.

(No Spanish girl has ever used the word coño in my presence except as an exclamation, if memory serves. But maybe some day. Here’s an article about Spanish vocab where I explain a bit more.)

Speaking of your mom and things she’s never said to me, there’s also…

De puta madre

“Of whore mother.” It’s used, apparently, as an adverb. And in Spanish, is actually a positive thing… it means something went really well, or you had a great time.

For example…

Q: How was the party last night?

A: Great… ¡Me lo pasé de puta madre!

I believe the most important thing there is the proper emphasis on the syllables.

Say it like you mean it!

Don’t confuse this expression, in any case, with ¡Su puta madre! which would be more appropriate if you’ve just mashed your thumb with a hammer.

Also, puta isn’t really a good translation for “bitch”, in case you didn’t get the memo. (And incidentally, I’ve got a whole article about Prostitution in Spain if you’d like to know much more.)

And don’t forget about…

Me cago en (basically anything)

Spanish people sometimes express frustration with the term “I shit in” (or perhaps on) a variety of things.

Me cago en la leche, me cago en la hostia, me cago en tu puta madre.

You can be creative with this one… it just means you’re not particularly happy about a situation.

Me cago en tus muertos.

Me cago en la hostia.

Me cago en la mar.

Whatever floats your boat.

Ha ha. Get it? La mar.

Never mind. (¡Me cago en diez! Don’t you understand humor?)

Here’s another one…

Mirando pa’ Cuenca

La puse mirando pa’ Cuenca is a humorous expression referring to doggy style sex.

The theory about its origin is that it refers to the position of Muslims praying towards Mecca – Cuenca being a small Spanish city on a straight line in that general direction.

In that case, though, why wouldn’t you just say “I put her mirando pa’ Meca”?

I’m unconvinced by the explanation – but it’s still a fun thing to say.

Other sexy phrases to trot out on a first date: mojar el churro (moisten your churro, sort of a Spanish equivalent of “hide the salami”) and no comerse ni una rosca (not eat even one donut, a way to say you’re not getting any action.)

And while we’re at it, why not “la puse a veinte uñas”?

I put her on twenty finger / toenails – which is basically the same as mirando pa’ Cuenca without the geographical reference.

la puse miranto para cuenca and other spanish profanity
The skyline of the city of Cuenca as seen from GR-66. One of my favorite underrated places in Spain.

In any case, you should go to Cuenca. It’s awesome.

Also, if I were a rapper, they’d call me Doggy-Style D. But that’s neither here nor there for this discussion of obscene Spanish expressions.

Continuing on, let’s head for…

La quinta puñeta

Also known as el quinto coño, el quinto pino or la quinta forca. 

Today, we use these expressions to mean that something is very far from town.

Que no me voy a la quinta puñeta para el cumple de Rafa… ¡Joder!

There are interesting theories as to the origin of the expression – it possibly came from the tradition of hanging people publicly outside of cities (on “forcas” or gallows). Or maybe there was actually a hotel on the road from Salamanca to Valladolid that was called El Quinto Pino.

As always, I take these etymologies with a grain of salt. A lot of them are total B.S.

Either way, it refers to a miserable place somewhere far beyond Tres Cantos… Maybe around El Molar or something.

See also…

Vete a la mierda / vete a tomar por culo

These both mean “go fuck yourself”, although the literal translations are more like “go to the shit” or “go get assfucked”.

I remember seeing an expression in a dictionary decades ago that amounted to “go fry asparagus” – I assume it was a toned-down version of these bad boys.

Remember several sentences ago when we were saying “la quinta puñeta” meant somewhere really far away? Well, you can also say “I live a tomar por culo” with the same meaning. It’s like calling a place “buttfuck”.

Incidentally, I grew up in buttfuck myself, so I can say these things (with no offense to sodomites).

Please, say it in Spanglish. These things enrich the language.

Next time you’re in a meeting with your boss at the language school, tell him “You don’t really expect me to go to a tomar por culo at 8 AM, do you?”

Maybe we’ll get it in the OED sooner or later…

Que te folle un pez espada

Another good one: I hope you get fucked by a swordfish!

I guess the subjunctive could be translated as “I hope” in this case. Maybe, if you preferred, you could translate it as “If only a swordfish would fuck you!”

Either way it sounds painful and unlikely. (But if you wanna get all Led Zeppelin on Friday night, call me. I hear there’s plenty of things you can do with a few fresh fish and a consenting partner – or blog groupie.)

In any case, it being a swordfish is sort of optional – take out the “espada” and you’ve still got a painful and embarrassing sexual situation with some other kind of fish.

Jellyfish? Sea urchin? A few dozen prawns?

The only limit is your imagination…


Estoy pedo / trompa

Ok, I guess these two aren’t really obscene.

They both mean “I’m drunk” – pedo is fart and trompa is an elephant’s trunk. So I’m not sure why they say it like this.

For example: Tronco, me puse tan pedo en la fiesta que tiré los tejos a Mónica. ¿Te lo crees?

Which of course leads to the question: why is throwing roof tiles (“tirar los tejos”) at someone considered to be seductive?

No idea.

But that’s what all the kids are saying these days.

(Update: Julio, down in the comments, explained that “tejos” is actually a kids game, in which you would throw stones close to someone you liked. Thanks, Julio!)

And finally…

Me importa tres cojones

It’s as important (to me) as three testicles – meaning it’s not at all important.

Basically, “I don’t give a shit.”

Why three testicles? I don’t know. Why is “I don’t give two shits” about something less important than “I don’t give a shit”?

Questions that keep me up at night…

Also: Me importa un pimiento or Me importa un bledo.

About those words, “pimiento” is a pepper. And I just had to look up “bledo” – it’s apparently a sort of bush that I’ve never seen.

Amaranth, maybe? That’s what WordReference says. It’s sort of non-descript.

One of my favorite Spanish expressions is a variation on this: “Me lo paso por el forro de los cojones.”

Literally: “I pass it through the lining of my balls.”

Makes no sense, but whatever. (Can I buy a nice ball-liner at Zara Man, perhaps?)

About those obscene Spanish expressions…

I hope you liked this article – it was pretty fun to write.

And like I said, these sort of expressions are a lot more common than you might expect.

Now while we’re here…

What are your favorite Spanish expressions? Obscene or otherwise – let me know right here in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

Profanely yours,

Mr Chorizo.

P.S.  Seems I’ve created quite a stir on some expat Facebook groups lately with some of my generalizations. Any time somebody sees one of my articles online and just assumes (for no reason whatsoever) that I don’t speak Spanish I just wanna whip them with my C2-level certificate from Instituto Cervantes and tell them that I cago on their puta madre… ¡Hostia! Now I can point those hopeless wastes of oxygen to this article, too. Not that it’ll help. Trolls gonna troll.

P.P.S. Wonderful reader Julio has pointed out that “tirar los tejos”, mentioned above, refers to a children’s game, and he’s right. I was thinking it was the same as “tejas” all this time. And I was wrong. Thanks for clarifying, Julio!

P.P.P.S. Got any favorite obscene Spanish expressions of your own? Drop ’em in the comments… I’m happy to learn from you!

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. Muy divertido!! Se lo pasaré a mi novio americano para que vaya practicando!
    “Tirarle los tejos a alguien” significa ligar o flirtear con alguien.
    “Estaba tan borracho que le tire los tejos a Marta” o “Estaba tan borracho que me puse a ligar con Marta”

    Sigue así. Me encanta tu blog 👏🏻

      1. Hola Daniel, “flirtear” significa coquetear con el fin de seducir , es decir, ligar pero de una forma más sutil, más frívola, con miradas, gestos, roces casuales, conversaciones ligeras… el flirteo no busca un compromiso o una relación seria. También lo llamamos “tontear” que es más ilustrativo :o))

  2. El Tejo, es un juego parecido a la rayuela. La gracia es que cuando se jugaba en los pueblos, los chicos intentaban dejar su piedra, tejo, cerca de la chica que les gustaba para de esta manera tener una excusa para acercarse y hablar.

    Me encanta tu blog, y la manera que tienes de retratarnos. Lo haces de puta madre.

    1. Haha thanks Julio! You’re right, I’ve been thinking “tejas” this whole time, but “tejos” is a different word. I’m glad you like my articles about Spanish people… not everyone does 🙂

  3. Mirando pa Cuenca started when the king would take his women to his balcony and tell them he wanted to show them his telescope so that they could look towards Cuenca. And then the rest is history….

  4. I love the way in Spanish “ser de puta madre” is not the same than “ser un hijo de puta”

    I think “el quinto pino” is more usual than “puñeta” and there is another one but less usual that I find very funny: “donde Cristo perdió el mechero”.

  5. Very interested and very well explained. I amm going to recommend to foreigners who are learning Spanish.

    Kind Regards,

  6. jajaja, when I read these articles you write, I think I’m reading a free essay of a 15 year old boy with pimples on his face

  7. And the best thing about them is that they are totally combinable. You can very well utter: “!Me cago en la hostia que (no) te dio tu puta madre!”. There are no limits to Spanish obscenity. And it is so resounding, that´s why you can drop some “big” word into any conversation with adults and you won´t come across as a foul-mouthed

  8. Ja, ja, ja, me ha gustado tu “crónica” pero aún estás muy “verde”. Conocer y dominar las expresiones obscenas en Español es largo y complejo. Al inusitado número de expresiones se une nuestra calenturienta imaginación, siempre creando nuevas, sin olvidar que algunos de los otros idiomas oficiales de España, p.e., Gallego o Catalán, también aportan su granito de arena. Como curiosidad, busca el significado de la palabra gallega “carallo” y su variedad de aplicaciones (En Español sería “carajo”, poco utilizado, salvo en algunos países hispano-americanos).
    Como seguramente sabes, nuestro último Premio Nobel de Literatura, Camilo José Cela, recopiló una buena parte de tales expresiones obscenas en su “Diccionario Secreto”, lamentablemente ya falleció, de seguir vivo tendría material para una segunda parte.
    Ni aún siendo Español y tan viejo como yo, se llega a dominar una mínima parte de estas expresiones a las que se unen las procedentes del Nuevo Mundo, aportadas por la enorme cantidad y diversidad de hispano-americanos residentes en España.

    1. Also, Spaniards do use “coño” as “pussy” so they are referring to the vagina as that. It’s demeaning but instead of being an insult for a person who’s weak like charming folks would use in English, they use it every five minutes when something is lousy (mostly cruder types, of course). Que coño is much more commonly used than que cojones, naturally. And why not say something is a tiny penis or a limp dick instead of a big vagina? And notice how when something is “la polla” it’s good but “coño” or “coñazo” is bad. As usual, men’s dicks get to dictate what the language is, and complacent women go along with it.

      1. First up Breixo, “carajo” is not that “poco usado” in the company I keep. And its variants even less so and not necessarily as an obsecenity or even an exclamation either, A carajillo for anyone?

        Blue, I would usually agree with you on the issue of names for boys parts not being as rude/offensive as names for girls parts but I think Spanish actually differs from English in this respect.

        Coño may be more common than Cojones or Carajo but it is not as emphatic, negative or offensive. In English you can say cock, dick, balls, bollocks, nuts, knobhead, dickhead, or any of a wealth of other terms but none of them comes near being as unacceptable as the one female swearword – “cunt” – normally considered so offensive that it is referred to only in hushed terms as the C word. That seems unfair to me. Why is a lady part so much more offensive than a man part?

        I think spanish has it right though I´m not sure that I really like grandmas and 3 year olds using any obscenity however common or mild, but at least there´s nothing sexist in it.

        I also believe that we should be normalising use of the C-word in English as a move to defuse it of its sting as has happened with “Bugger” which was deemed years back to no longer be an obscenity due to its generalised use. When I can say Cunt in the same tone, context and company as bollocks or dickhead, as my Spanish friends can, then I believe we Anglo-hablantes will have achieved gender equality.

        1. Just my $.02:

          On the “Carajo”.
          Several years (centuries, it is) ago, it was the name of… the crow’s nest. Yup. the basket at the top of the mast in a ship.

          Now think of a dark, stormy night, a sail ship in the middle of the Atlantic – wind, rain, waves higher than my belly – and you’re some seaman unfortunate enough to have drawn the ire of the boatswain. A mild punishment (‘mild’ compared to be whipped or thrown overboard, that is) was to be sent to the nest (as in ‘vaya usted al carajo’, the navy equivalent to the Army’s ‘vaya vuesamerced a la porra’).

          So, picture yourself climbing the mast (we’ve mentioned the wind, the rain, the mast slippery with ice, and the whole boat oscillating by thirty degrees in rough seas, haven’t we?) and spending four hours holding for dear life to a small basket shaking, jerking and rocking, a hundred feet over a small wooden deck, the only solid surface in hundreds of miles.


          Of course, once authorized to regain the deck, your extremities are numb from the cold (‘hace un frío del carajo’) and the effort, you walk on wooden legs, and you’re definitely ‘acarajotado’. And, if you’re lucky, the boatswain’s heart will have softened a little, and he’ll order someone to bring you a hot cup of black coffee, liberally laced with rhum. Yep, that’s a ‘carajillo’.

          With the passage of time, the carajo became, not the nest, but the mast it was fixed to.

          I know there’s no trustworthy source of this version, but… se non è vero, è ben trovatto.

  9. Very funny I have laughed a lot…. And we use all of this and other hundred more everyday. Some of they are used in all social stratum.

  10. My sister is visiting me here in Spain come March so she’s taking Spanish classes now. I sent her this and said “all the Spanish you need to know.” This is great 😂

  11. And then there are piropos, pretty unique to Spain (and other Latin countries?). My fave: “Quiero ser bizco para poder ver dos de ti.” “I want to be crosseyed, so that I can see two of you.”

  12. Daniel….stumbled upon this blog as a result of (finally) studying Spanish..in hopes of expanding my vocabulary. That it has, and cracked me up as well. Very fun. I’ve lived in Texas for quite some time and have absorbed a bit of the language, the rest is effort I guess. Now I can legitimately say I can get my face slapped, order a beer, find a restroom and cuss someone out in seven languages. Everyone needs goals.

  13. I have laughed so hard at these! My husband said that they use most of these in business meetings and didnt believe they were basically vulgar words at first. And our sons football trainer throws these around too at training. We have tried really hard not to swear around our kids and here in Spain we are surrounded by it 😂 Love your sense of humor and writing style.

    1. Thanks a lot Marjo! I’m afraid your own kids will be saying “Me cago en la puta” before too long. That’s just how people talk around here. Glad you liked the article.

  14. You explained it very well! It?s not that people from South America and Mexico don?t have as much bad words and nasty expressions as we have in Spain. We share a lot of them but we Spanish use them much more often. I have friends from Peru, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama and they all get very surprised about how Spanish use these bad words for almost everything.

  15. You explained it very well! It?s not that people from South America and Mexico don?t have as much bad words and nasty expressions as we have in Spain. We share a lot of them but we Spanish use them much more often. I have friends from Peru, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama and they all get very surprised about how Spanish use these bad words for almost everything.

  16. You explained it very well! It?s not that people from South America and Mexico don?t have as much bad words and nasty expressions as we have in Spain. We share a lot of them but we Spanish use them much more often. I have friends from Peru, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama and they all get very surprised about how Spanish use these bad words for almost everything.

  17. Thank you for sharing this information about obscene Spanish expressions. It was useful and interesting. You indeed have written it in a layman way so that anyone can understand and work accordingly. You have done a great job… Great post!!

  18. Mi favorito siempre ha sido “de puta madre,” que parece que tiene que ser una cosa muy mala, pero es al reves, una cosa muy buena. Aprendi casi todas estas expresiones cuando vivi en un pueblo en la provincia de Granada. “Me cago en Dios” tambien me gusta.

  19. I enjoyed this! What I didn’t find was what people say when they hurt themselves. I always cuss in English when I get hurt. It eases the pain. ¿Que diría en español cuando me golpeo el dedo del pie? ¡Muchas gracias!

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