Language is cool because you can use it to make nice with someone, and you can use it to tell them off in breathtakingly creative ways. The path to fluency should prepare you to encompass the full range of human emotion in your conversations with another, and you should, at the very least, be able to recognize when a complete stranger is fixing for a fight with you in public. It is for these reasons that we present you with these Spanish insults.
Of course, use these at your own risk, and bear in mind that many of these terms are only used in certain Spanish-speaking countries, or may have different meanings and levels of “naughtiness” depending on where you are.
Baboso/a — One who slobbers too much. (Like an idiot, get it?)
Cabrón — Lit. “male goat” (like “jackass”) or “cuckold.” In some countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, this can also be used as a good-natured moniker, like “mate,” “buddy” or “pal.”
Culicagado (Colombia) — Lit. “crapped ass.” This is usually reserved for kids acting a fool, or adults acting like kids acting a fool.
Eres tan feo/a que hiciste llorar a una cebolla — “You’re so ugly you made an onion cry.”
Gilipollas (Spain) — Douchebag; bastard.
Malparido/a (Latin America) — Lit. “poorly birthed” or “miscarried.” Has the same connotation as “bastard.”
Mamaguebo/mamaguevo (Dominican Republic) — Is there a way to put this delicately? Probably not. This word means “cocksucker.”
Me cago en todo lo que se menea — “I shit on everything that moves.” Hopefully not literally, but this is an effective way of conveying how upset you are. You can adapt this phrase to express your figurative desire to shit on, and thereby curse, whatever you want. Common variations include me cago en la leche (“I shit in the milk”) and me cago en tu madre (“I shit on your mother”).
Pelagatos — Lit. “cat peeler” (kind of like someone who sits around twiddling their thumbs all day). A nobody; a mediocre person.
Pendejo/a — This is one of the most common Spanish insults, and it generally means “dumbass” (though it literally translates to “pubic hair”). However, it might be more or less offensive depending on where you are. It’s considered strong language in Mexico. In Colombia? Not so much.
Que te folle un pez (Spain) — “Get fucked by a fish.” This is just a more colorful version of “screw you.”
Que te la pique un pollo — “I hope a chicken pecks at your dick.”
Tu puta madre en bicicleta (Spain) — “Your whore mom on a bike.” Because “whore mom” might not adequately get the point across.
¡Vete a freír espárragos! — “Go fry asparagus!” This is an old expression that dates back to the 19th century, a time when asparagus was usually boiled. Hence why frying asparagus was considered a pointless waste of time.