I don’t usually start off my blog posts with a warning, but this one needs it: This blog post is NSFW and definitely not family-friendly. You won’t learn these dirty words in textbooks!
Let’s be honest. Whenever we learn a new language, we all get curious about how to swear. We all want to know those dirty words, the banned words, the bad words your mum would’ve washed your mouth out for saying.
There’s something compelling about learning swear words in another language. It’s almost like it gives you that insider feeling. The sense that you’ve got a little extra knowledge in the language that makes you closer to native speaking. Because, most of us curse – at least sometimes, right?
I think it’s especially appealing, too, because it’s a taboo. They’re words you can’t say on radio or most television, so they’re a bit harder to learn and find as you’re starting out in your target language.
Well, here’s a great place to get you started learning those bad words. But be careful when and how you use them! If you wouldn’t shout an offensive curse word in a certain situation in your native language, don’t use the equivalent in another language.
English Dirty Words
Up first, we have both American and British dirty words. Because for the rest of this article, you're going to need to know the gist of these (should you not already). Some of them also show up adapted in other languages. Especially one, in particular, is almost universal around the globe – you’ll know it as the top dirtiest word in most languages.
Fuck – “Sex”, or an Intensifier
That’s right. Let’s get it out in the open. There’s that swear word which has all the oomph and intensity behind it. It can be used for sexual references, but it’s most commonly used now as an intensifier to show your anger or irritation. In Ireland, we have a milder way of saying it with “feck”. This one has also integrated into other languages, like Japanese, where speakers often say this word instead of one from their own language.
Prick – “Terrible/Rude Person”
A word used when someone is being obnoxious, stupid, or rude.
Bastard – “Illegitimate Child”
Originally meaning a child born out of wedlock, now it’s used to call someone a jerk or to say a situation’s unpleasant. You could also say “git” (pronounced with a hard G).
Bellend – “Penis Head”
Ah, so many dirty words are associated with certain body parts. This one refers to a penis, or is used to call someone an idiot. There’s also knobend and dickhead.
Ass/Arse – “Butt”
Calling someone a jerk or a fool (“You asshole!”) or saying you couldn’t give a damn (“I don’t give an arse” or “I can’t be arsed”).
Cunt – “Vagina”
One of the most offensive dirty words (at least in English), referring to a vagina, typically used to call people stupid. In the UK, this word alone can mean a movie is rated “18”, so can only be seen by adults.
Balls – “Testicles”
Often thrown out there as a question of manliness or courage to do or not do something. “He doesn’t have the balls to do it.” or “He has some balls to say that.” (Like “he has some nerve.”) In the UK you might hear “bollocks” more often.
Shit – “Poop” or “Crap”
Now one of the most universal bad words there is in the English language. Shit is used in so many ways, like “piece of shit” to say something is worthless, or “shitty” as an adjective for something bad — like a “shitty day.” “You don’t know shit” means you don’t know anything, but “you know your shit” means you know quite a lot! It’s also used as an exclamation when something bad happens.
Irish Dirty Words
There are some really interesting ways to insult someone or curse in Irish – it gets pretty clever. But here’s some dirty words you need to know:
Gobdaw – “Dumbass”
A gullible idiot. Like calling someone a “dumbass” or “twat”.
Fecker – “Fucker”
Like I mentioned, “feck” is a milder form of “fuck”, and the same is true for fecker. It’s similar to “fucker”, but a little “kinder”.
Ráicleach – “Witch”
Or more accurate in this context: a loose woman, a lady of iffy morals, a slut.
Cúl Tóna – “Dickhead”
Used when someone’s being a jerk.
Aiteann – “Cunt”
Another unsavoury word for lady parts, it most closely translates to “cunt” or “pussy” and it’s one of the strongest words in Irish.
Téigh go dtí ifreann! – “Go to Hell!”
There are lots of creative variations of this one stemming from “devil” and “hell”. But this is the classic for when you’re really angry with someone.
Póg mo thóin. – “Kiss My Ass.”
For when you really want to tell someone to suck it.
French Dirty Words
La belle langue is about to get a bit dirty!
Merde – “Shit”
Definitely the most common of all the French dirty words, it’s used like “shit” in English. Your every day, all-situations curse word.
Putain – “Whore”
Although it means “whore”, it’s used more like “fuck”. You can use it to express exasperation, exclamation, and as an adjective. You can even combine it with merde to create putain de merde — “fucking shit.”
C’est des Conneries – “This is Bullshit”
Like in English, if you’re feeling frustrated with a situation, you can call bullshit. Or, grumble about it to yourself in your target language.
Salope – “Bitch*
Also, “slut”. It's a bit harsher than the English “bitch” which is sometimes used in a casual way.
Fils de Salope – “Son of a Bitch”
Obviously, use with care whenever you start referring to mothers. But you can use this as an exclamation like in English, too. Fils de pute (“son of a whore”) is a common alternative.
T’as Pas de Couilles – “You Don’t Have the Balls”
Want to call someone out on their bluff? Tell them they don’t have to balls to go through with it.
Je M’en Fous – “I Don’t Give a Shit”
When you’re looking for an eloquent way to express your lack of shits to give, here’s your phrase!
Osti de Calisse de Tabarnak (Quebec only) – “Goddamn Motherfucking Shit!”
This is the mother of all curses in Quebec. Each word on its own (osti, calisse and tabarnak) is itself a swear word that can be used individually, but they combine to form a phrase that will have your mother washing your mouth out with soap in no time flat.
Spanish Dirty Words
Such a passionate language is bound to have colourful dirty words. Here are some creative ways to express frustration:
Mierda – “Shit”
This literally refers to faeces but can be used in any situation to express frustration.
Váyase a la Mierda – “Fuck off”
Also using “mierda” but in a stronger way. Could also be translated as, “Go fuck yourself.”
Que te Folle un Pez – “I Hope You Get Fucked By a Fish”
I have no idea where this one started, but talk about a creative way to tell someone off!
Puto – “Fucking”
Used as an adjective, like Mira este puto – “Look at this fucking guy.”
Verga – “Cock” or “Prick”
Basically, an arrogant idiot.
Cojones – “Balls”
It wouldn’t be right to leave this one off the list. Men love to talk about los cojones and whether another person has them, or rather the courage and muster. Sometimes you’ll hear Tienes cojones – “You have balls” – like in English.
Coño – “Cunt”
This one has various meanings, depending on where you hear it. It can also be “twat” or even “damn” in Spain. It’s not always considered as offensive as the English equivalent, depending which country you’re in and who you’re talking to, but use it carefully just in case.
Italian Dirty Words
You may know a few inappropriate hand gestures in Italian – so here are some passionate expressions to go with them.
Cazzo – “Dick”
Also “fuck” or “shit”, it’s the common swear word for everything in Italian.
Che Palle! – “What balls!”
When someone has a lot of nerve, that’s what this line is for.
Tette – “Tits”
I can just picture you giggling at this one.
Stronzo – “Asshole”
Or, stronza for a woman.
Fanculo – “Fuck”
You can use it as an exclamation, or to express your anger with someone.
Vaffanculo – “Fuck You”
This is definitely one you’ll see with some not-so-nice hand gestures, and it ranks amongst the strongest terms in Italian.
Pompinara – “Cocksucker”
A strong noun to call someone in your wrath. Keep in mind, these may be fighting words to Italians.
German Dirty Words
German has some amazingly descriptive words for all occasions… And swear words are no exception.
Arschgesicht – “Ass Face”
Yes, “ass face”, or a little harsher – “fuck face.” It’s a pretty intense (and humorous) insult.
Scheißkopf – “Shithead”
Basically, a “dumbass” or “idiot” you can’t stand.
Küss meinen Arsch – “Kiss My Ass”
A handy phrase for when someone’s getting on your last nerve.
Verpiss Dich! – “Fuck Off!”
When you want to get the hell away from someone.
Zur Hölle mit… – “To Hell With…”
Like, Zur Hölle mit ihnen – “To hell with ‘em!”
Wichser – “Wanker”
Like “prick” or “asshole,” and used the same way.
Arschgeige – “Dickhead”
Similar to Arschgesicht, but this one translates to “ass fiddle” which is just an incredible insult.
Portuguese Dirty Words
While there are some differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, these are some standard bad words from the language.
Cabra / Cabrão – “Bastard” or “Fucker”
Cabra is feminine, and Cabrão is masculine, and both are offensive.
Monte de Merda – “Piece of Shit”
Merda means “shit”, so you can use it as you would that word.
Caralho – “Dick”
While it means penis, cock, or dick, it’s used more like “fuck.” You can also say *foda-se which is used like an exclamation when something bad happens.
Vai Para o Caralho – “Go Fuck Yourself”
For when you’re really pissed off.
Rego Do Cu – “Ass Crack”
A noun for someone who’s being very irritating or arrogant.
Puta Que Pariu – “Holy Shit”
Used as an interjection or exclamation to express surprise (and often slips out in the moment).
Chupa-mos – “Suck it”
Perhaps a bit nicer way to say Vai para o caralho.
Russian Dirty Words
Russian curse words are quite an art form. They start with a few basic words that morph into thousands of variations and ways to offend someone.
Xуй (Khui) – “Dick”
While it translates to “dick”, it transforms into a catch-all dirty word, like for the next phrase….
Хуй тебе́! (Khui tebé!) – “Fuck You!”
Хуй is often the root of all major insults in Russian.
Cучка (Suchka) – “Little Bitch”
A noun for when someone’s pissed you off.
Oбосра́ться (Obosrat'sya) – “Shit” or “Crapping One’s Pants”
This can refer to the object “crap” or the action “crapping oneself.” Quite the lovely image!
Не будь жо́пой! (Ne bud' zhopoy!) – “Don’t Be an Asshole!”
When you need to tell someone to lay off.
блядь (blyad') – “Whore”
Another catch-all word, this one is used as an exclamation like “damn” or “shit.” But also used to call a woman a “slut” or a man a “dickhead”.
Да ебал я это! (Da yebal ya eto!) – “I Fucked Up!”
Or “I don’t fucking care anymore!” for when you’re exasperated, or messed up.
Chinese Dirty Words
Chinese has some very interesting ways to insult someone, so I’m going to start right out with my favourite:
王八蛋 (Wáng Bā Dàn) – “Tortoise Egg”
Yes, this is a highly insulting phrase in Chinese, and basically equates to “bastard” in English. The interesting thing about this phrase is it's become such a common bad word that it spurred tons of other “egg” related insults.
混蛋 (Hún Dàn) – “Mixed Egg”
This is like throwing out a “yo mama” insult because it means that the family line is “mixed” or messed up from promiscuity. Since the family name and ancestry is huge, this is a major insult. But its English equivalent is closest to “prick.”
狗屁 (Gǒu Pì) – “Dog Fart”
You read that right: “dog fart”. It’s used like “bullshit”. As in 放你妈的狗屁 (fàng nǐ mā de gǒu pì) – “Your mom’s dog fart” or “That’s bullshit.”
混帳 (Hùn zhàng) – “Git”
Also means “bastard” and is a major insult.
他妈的 (Tā mā de) – “Fuck”
Like in English, it’s used as an exclamation or intensifier.
去你的 (Qù nǐ de) – “Shut the Fuck Up”
Or “screw you” and “fuck off”. It’s actually a bit milder than it sounds in English.
我肏 (Wǒ Cào) – “Holy Shit”
Used when you’re equally surprised and impressed.
Japanese Dirty Words
Japanese bad words don’t always have the same “oomph” they do in other languages, because giving offense in Japanese can be so nuanced. But here are some common offensive words:
くそ (Kuso) – “Shit” or “Fuck”
The most versatile dirty word in Japanese, kuso means “shit”, “damn” or “fuck” and is used the same as in English.
やりまん (Yariman) – “Slut”
Used when calling someone promiscuous, and it’s highly insulting. There’s also the male version — やりちん (yarichin).
くそったれ (Kusottare) – “Shithead”
The equivalent of calling someone “Motherfucker” in English. It’s one of the stronger words in Japanese.
ぶす (Busu) – “Ugly Hag”
While this is a pretty mild word comparatively, it’s a common insult meaning “ugly woman”. You’ll hear rude kids sometimes call women this in anime (and real life).
死ねえ (Shi’ne) – “Die!”
A popular one you might’ve heard if you watch shonen anime, it’s the harshest way to tell someone “Die!” But when you’re not in a ninja battle to the death, it more accurately translates to “Go to hell” in everyday life.
くたばれ、ボケ (Kutabare, boke) – “Fuck Off, Idiot”
Although it’s a bit stronger than “idiot” implies in English. “Fuck off, you piece of shit” is a closer translation for this one.
Korean Dirty Words
There are lots of fun slang and dirty expressions in Korean, even some silly ones from kids’ shows like calling someone 빵꾸똥꾸 (bbang-gu-ddong-gu – “poopy fart”).
아, 씨발 (Ah, Sshi-bal) – “Ah, Fuck”
It can be used the same way as in English.
씨방새 (Sshi-bang-sae) – “Fuck You”
Here’s the intense way to tell someone to leave you alone in Korean.
개새 (Gae-sae) – “SOB”
“Son of a bitch” or “SOB”. It’s a shortened way to literally say “a dog’s offspring.”
년 (Nyeon) – “Bitch”
There are lots of other expressions that stem from this one, but this is your standard insult.
좆 (Jot) – “Penis”
Literally meaning a penis or dick. But it’s used in many fun sayings, like…
좆 같은 놈/년 (Jeot-gat-eun-nom/nyeon) – “You bastard/bitch”
Also like saying “you’re shitty,” but would more accurately translate to “bastard” or “bitch” in English.
아, 좆같네 (Ah, jot-gat-ne) – “It’s fucked up”
It means “It’s like a dick” but the English translation would be closer to “It’s fucked up.”
Now Go Learn Some (Bleep)ing Useful Words
Got that out of your system? You can go swear like a sailor in languages from around the world now! But if you get yourself in trouble using them, you’re on your own! Don’t forget to go learn some polite words to make up for the vulgarity, like essential phrases in other languages.
Did I miss your favourite, unique way to vent off some steam? Let me know in the comments!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.