Profanities are both routine and widely accepted in most social situations in Spain.
Whether it’s mierda (shit), coño (c**t) or puta (bitch), pretty much anything goes.
Swear words tend not to carry as much clout as they do in English, so much so that calling someone a clown (payaso) or an imbecile (imbécil) can often cause more offence.
Not everyone in Spain has a potty mouth though, so don’t feel obliged to start hurling palabrotas (swear words) to sound like a local. It also depends on how the obscenity is delivered.
READ ALSO: How to ‘swear’ politely in Spanish
One of the most colourful habits Spaniards have when it comes to swearing is the expression me cago en… (I shit/crap on…). They use it to express frustration or anger about something, or if it is followed by the possessive adjective tu (your), it’s more likely to be an insult directed at someone.
Although what you choose to verbally defecate on is completely up to you, there are some particularly evocative expressions that Spaniards use very often.
I crap in the milk – Me cago en la leche
As weird and off-putting as this may sound, Spaniards ‘crap in milk’ a lot. It’s a bit like saying ‘shit’ or ‘damn’ to express disappointment about something.
I crap on the Virgin – Me cago en la Virgen
As you will see in this list, blasphemy and defecation go hand in hand, and as the Virgin Mary is important to Catholic Spain, she often gets brought up. Spaniards also ‘crap’ on the Almighty when saying me cago en Dios.
I crap on the sacramental bread – Me cago en la hostia
Shouting ¡hostia! (communion wafer!), as in the host that Catholics eat during mass, is part and parcel of the daily lingo in Spain when something surprises or angers you. With that in mind, it’s logical that Spaniards also express their intent to crap on sacramental bread when they get frustrated.
I crap on your dead relatives – Me cago en tus muertos
Here’s where things start to get personal. Verbally defecating on someone’s ancestors is a way to let them know that you’re very disappointed with them. Again, it all depends on the context, but more often than not it won’t cause too much offence, especially if they deserve it.
I crap on your molars – Me cago en tus muelas
If you don’t want to mention the person’s deceased family members, you can avoid this by instead crapping on their molar teeth. It’s a euphemism given that muelas (molars) and muertos (dead people) start with the same syllable.
I crap in the salty sea – Me cago en la mar salada
We know what you’re thinking, as if the sea needed any more toxic waste dropping into it. This poetic expression is another euphemism, this time to avoid expressing what Gerard Piqué said about someone’s madre (mother), which could well be considered the worst insult in Spain.
I crap on your bitch mother – Me cago en tu puta madre
It’s not a mental image anyone of us wants but bizarrely this is a widely used insult in Spain. People also replace the madre (mother) with padre (father), although they usually drop the puta for that. Remember that this is an offensive expression in most people’s eyes and it could involve an unpleasant reaction. Saying me cago en la puta (I crap on the bitch) is different as it’s not aimed at someone’s mother.