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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

¡Joder! An expert guide to correctly using the F-word in Spanish 

As in many other languages, there’s an art to swearing in Spanish. Here we discuss the different ways you can properly use the Spanish versions of the F-word and their derivative uses and how they compare to English. 

¡Joder! An expert guide to correctly using the F-word in Spanish 
There's plenty to unwrap when learning how to use the Spanish F-word, but remember you shouldn't be sprinking too many expletives in your speech unless really necessary. Photo: Etienne Girardet/Unsplash

Disclaimer: For the sake of not angering global English-language search engines, this article may include a f*cktonne of f*cks with an asterisk, but we’re sure you’ll get the drift.

Spanish doesn’t have the versatile expletive equivalent of the F-word in English.

By this we mean that depending on whether you’re referring to having sex, getting angry about something or emphasizing a word by adding a ‘f*cking’ as an adjective in front of it, you’ll use different swear words in Castilian Spanish. 

The two main translations of the verb ‘to f*ck’ are joder and follar in Spanish. 

As for the adjective or adverb ‘f*cking’ you can either use jodido/a or puto/a, the latter also being the word for ‘whore’ in Spanish.

And when it comes to a translation of the noun ‘f*ck’ in terms of sexual intercourse, the most common use is un polvo.

There are also expressions which in English include the F-word but in Spanish they opt instead to use mierda (shit), coño (the Spanish C-word but less shocking), carajo (similar to damn), cojones (testicles) or cagar (to poo) . 

In order to help you understand how to properly get your (pardon our French) f*cking message across in Spanish, we’ll now list examples of English uses of the F-word with their correct translation into Castilian Spanish. 

One last thing before we proceed. Spaniards of all ages are renowned for swearing more often than many of their European counterparts. While it’s true that expletives are not as frowned upon as in other societies, it doesn’t mean you should be effing and blinding all the time (only when the situation really requires it and in the right social context).

READ ALSO: How to ‘swear’ politely in Spanish

Anger

F*ck off! – ¡Vete a la mierda! or ¡Vete a tomar por culo!

F*ck you! – ¡Qué te den por el culo! or ¡Qué te folle un pez!

Shut the f*ck up! – ¡Cállate la puta boca!

Dismissal

I don’t give a f*ck! – ¡Me importa una mierda! or ¿Y a mi qué coño me importa?

F*ck it! – ¡A la mierda!

No f*cking chance – Ni de coña

Surprise

What the f*ck?! – ¿Qué coño? or ¿Qué putas? or ¿Qué carajo? or ¿Qué cojones?

F*ck me! Are you kidding? – ¡No jodas! ¿Estás de broma?

Fucking hell! – ¡Jooodeerrr!

Questioning 

Who the f*ck are you? – ¿Quién coño/carajo/cojones eres?

What the f*ck do you want? – ¿Qué coño quieres?

Where the fuck are you? ¿Dónde coño estás?

Bad situations

We’re f*cked! – ¡Estamos jodidos/as! 

We f*cked up – La cagamos

F*ck! – ¡Joder! or ¡Mierda!

It’s really f*cked up – Es una puta mierda

F*ck my life – Puta mierda de vida

If you want to tell someone to stop f*cking around in Spanish, you say ‘deja de joder la marrana’. Photo: Tycho Atsma/Unsplash

Orders

Quit f*cking around and wasting time – Deja de joder la marrana or Deja de hacer el gilipollas

¡Don’t f*ck with me! – ¡No me toques los cojones!

Sex

¿Shall we f*ck? – ¿Follamos?

Fancy a f*ck? ¿Quieres echar un polvo?

Emphasis

He talks too f*cking much – Habla jodidamente demasiado

She’s f*cking beautiful – Es jodidamente hermosa

A f*cktonne of gente – Un puto huevo de gente

Tired as f*ck – Cansado de la hostia or Cansado de cojones 

It’s f*cking great – Es la puta hostia 

Celebration

You’re the f*cking man – Eres el puto amo 

F*ck yeah! – ¡Sí, joder!

We f*cking won! – ¡Hemos ganado, joder!

It’s f*cking great! – ¡Es la puta hostia!

Insults 

What an absolute f*cker – ¡Qué cabrón! or ¡Qué hijoputa!

What’s up, motherf*cker? – ¡Qué pasa, hijoputa! 

John is a f*ckwit – John es un puto imbécil

F*cking idiot – Puto/a idiota or Jodido/a idiota

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SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘No dar un palo al agua’

What do a stick and water have to do with working in Spain?

Spanish Expression of the Day: 'No dar un palo al agua'

One of the main clichés foreigners perpetuate about Spaniards is that they’re work-shy hedonists with a “mañana mañana” attitude towards any sort of responsibility.

Even among Spaniards themselves, there are regional stereotypes about southerners that claim they’re all vagos (lazy), especially those from Andalusia and the Canary Islands. 

Studies have actually shown that people in Spain work longer hours than Germans and other northern Europeans, so it’s understandably frustrating for many Spaniards to hear the same stereotypes regurgitated again and again.

Without a doubt, there are idle people in Spain, just like anywhere else in the world. So what’s one way to describe this laziness in Spanish?

No dar un palo al agua, which in its literal sense means to ‘not hit the water with a stick’. 

In fact, it’s the equivalent of saying in English ‘to not lift a finger’, ‘to never do an ounce of work’ or ‘to do sweet FA’ (FA standing for ‘fuck all’, or Fanny Adams, but that’s another story). 

Even though we initially thought that this Spanish metaphor drew a parallel between not being able to do something as simple as throwing a stick in a lake or a river, the origins of this saying are actually from the world of sailing.

Sailors who weren’t willing to put in the work and let everyone else do the rowing were called out for loafing around and told ¡No das un palo al agua!, in the sense that their oars (the palo or stick refers to the oar) weren’t even touching the water. 

So the next time you want to describe the fact that someone is not pulling their weight, remember this interesting Spanish expression. You can also use the shortened version – ‘no dar ni palo’.

It’s an expression which is widely used in all manner of settings (including formal ones), so you don’t have to worry about offending anyone, apart from perhaps the person who you are describing as working very little or not at all. 

Examples:

Pedro no da un palo al agua. Se pasa el día en las redes sociales aunque haya un montón de trabajo que hacer.

Pedro doesn’t lift a finger, he spends his days on social media even if there’s loads of work to do.

¡No das un palo al agua! ¡Eres un holgazán! ¡A ver si te pones las pilas!

You do sweet FA! You’re a right lazybones! Get your arse in gear!

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