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Italians are known for being colorful and emotional people. They love to talk long and loud and often have many different ways to express themselves and their feelings.
It shouldn’t be that surprising then that Italians have a lot of “colorful” words and phrases in their daily vocabulary. They are quite fond of using what they call “parolacce” in their everyday speech.
Parolacce basically means curse words in Italian or cuss words. Swear words in Italian can be mild, basically expressions of emotions that are used in everyday conversations and they can be angry, cutting insults that don’t just disparage you but your family.
Here is a list of some of the most colorful and interesting curse words in Italian.
Cavolo is actually the Italian word for “cabbage”, so basically this phrase translates to “what cabbage”.
It is used as the equivalent to “what the hell”. This is a mild Italian cuss word that you can use in everyday settings to express either disbelief or amazement.
Palle translates to balls. It is actually used to refer to the toy or the piece of sports equipment, but in this case it is one of the Italian slang words that refer to a part of the male anatomy.
You can basically use this as an expression of annoyance, if something is happening that you don’t like but it is beyond your control. So, it’s a mild swear word you can use if you drop something, if the weather turns bad, or if your sports team loses.
This is one of the “bad” angry Italian phrases that you might hear being flung around. The literal translation of “cazzo” is actually a slang term for male genitals. Its use, however, is more similar to that of the f-word in English.
This is one of the strongest Italian swear words. It is basically the equivalent of “Go f—k yourself”. This should be used sparingly and only if you’re really, really, mean it.
This is an Italian expression that translates to “how disgusting.” So if something gross happens, like a pigeon pooping on your head or a dirty bathroom, you can say the situation is “Che schifo!”
This Italian phrase is a descriptive slang phrase that can be used to convey your discontent or dissatisfaction with a situation or even a product or a person. It basically translates to “It makes me poop.”
This phrase in Italian basically translates to “But, how silly or stupid are you?” Italians use it to express disbelief, so something like “are you joking”.
This swear word translates to “pig misery” and it is a way to express dissatisfaction with something. If you start a sentence with “porca miseria” it’s implied that you are about to complain or rant about something.
This is basically the slang word for “turd” and is usually used when referring to a person. Of course, it’s not a flattering thing to say about a person so use it sparingly.
Note that this is a gendered term, though just saying “stronzo” is usually acceptable and will get your point across.
10. Accidenti - Damn
This is usually translated as “damn” and can be used to express anger or irritation. It can also, however, be used to express amazement, so the equivalent to a disbelieving “wow”.
This is one of those angry Italian phrases you can use to insult someone. It basically means “ass licker” and describes someone who is what we call in English an “ass kisser” or someone who is servile to someone else.
This is a Sicilian swear word that translates to the male genitals. It is usually used to express surprise, shock, or anger.
This is an Italian word that means “I am enraged.” It is a phrase that is used to express anger or displeasure.
This phrase literally translates to “son of a whore”, so it’s the equivalent to calling someone a “son of a bitch”. This phrase is a strong insult in almost any culture, but in a culture as family oriented as Italy, where one’s mother is revered, this is really a serious thing to call someone. Don’t just toss it around casually.
Again, this is an insulting term that refers to someone’s family, but it’s not considered as bad as the words above. It basically translates to “your feeble ancestors”. It can be used as a joking insult among friends.
“Porca” is Italian for cow, while “vacca” is Italian for “cow”. So ,the phrase basically translates to “pig cow”. If it’s not obvious, it is a nonsense phrase, but a useful one that you can use when you want to express your surprise over something.
This is the Italian equivalent to “go to hell” and can be used to express anger at someone or disbelief at a situation. It can also be exclaimed in shock or surprise.
This is the Italian word for “bastard” and it means the same thing it does in English. It goes without saying that this is used as an insult in Italian and you shouldn’t call someone this unless you mean it.
This is the Italian word for “whore” and is a grave insult that is used to disparage a woman.
This is yet another Italian word for “whore”, so use it cautiously. A popular way to use this word is in the phrase “andare a puttane”, which means go to a whore and get f—k. This is a way to tell someone off or express anger at them.
This phrase mean’s “sh-t” in Italian and is used pretty much in the same way.
This is a slang term for testicles. It can also be used as an insult. When you use this to refer to someone you are inferring they are lacking in intelligence. So, it can be seen as the equivalent to “fool”.
This phrase literally translates to “you have cracked my testicles”. When you tell someone this or use this phrase to describe them, you are basically saying that you find them very annoying.
This is the Italian word for “cunt”. It is used as a slang term to refer to female genitalia but it can be an exclamation of emotion. Usually when you exclaim “fica” you are expressing strong disappointment or frustration at a situation, but it can also be uttered in surprise.
Unlike in some cultures, where a reference to female genitalia is insulting, “fica” or “fico” can actually be a compliment. While it is considered crass, calling a female “fica” means she is attractive or “hot”. Calling a man “fico” means that he is cool and handsome, something of a “stud”.
You can also use “fica” to refer to something that was excellent or “awesome.” So, if someone asks you how you find something, you can say “fica”.
This phrase translates to “face like an ass”. While it sounds like an insult, it’s actually a bit of a compliment. It is used to refer to someone who doesn’t get embarrassed and is unafraid to stand up to someone else and for what they believe in. So basically, in Italian, if you have a face like an ass, you have “a lot of nerve”.
Again with the pigs, though in this phrase it’s combined with the whores. This phrase translates to “pig whore” and it’s basically a colorful exclamation that is used to express mild anger. Do not use this if you are angry at someone, but rather at a situation like stubbing your toe or getting stuck in traffic.
This word basically means bulls—t. A common way to use this word in Italian is in the phrase “Non dire cazzate”. When you say that, you are telling someone to stop talking nonsense or “stop bulls—ting me”
This short word translates to the phrase “suck my dick” and is used similarly. It is used to indicate that someone has made you angry.
This is basically the Italian equivalent of “loser”. So you can disrespect and disparage someone by saying “Sei uno sfigato” or “sfigata” if you are referring to a female.
This basically translates to “becoming senile.” It can be used as an Italian slang phrase to call someone stupid or just absent-minded.
Sega refers to a handjob and this phrase translates to “someone who masturbates.” It is a mildly offensive way to call someone unpleasant or annoying.
This is an insulting phrase to refer to someone who doesn’t matter or who you consider insignificant. It can also be used to say that you “suck” at something or are bad at it.
This is a slightly homophobic Italian slang word as it is a disparaging term for homosexual. If you call someone a frocio, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, you are basically calling them unmanly.
This phrase means “horned” and usually means a man who is “cuckold” or being cheated on. Now it is a catch-all insulting phrase to call a male person.
The Italian word “fottere” is a verb that means “to steal”. However, it is also a slang phrase that means “to sleep with someone.”One of the most common slang uses of “fottere” however is this phrase “Me ne fotto.” This means that you are indifferent to something. So if you answer a question with “Me ne fotto” you are saying “I don’t care.”
While many of the Italian cuss words we listed here are commonly used by Italian speakers, you need to be careful when choosing which ones to pick up and use.
It’s important to consult with a native speaker before you start just peppering your own speech with Italian swear words. Work with a native Italian speaking tutor who can help explain to you the appropriate times to use the different cuss words we listed down in this post. After all, you are learning Italian to forge relationships, not to inadvertently mortally offend an Italian because of what you said about his mother.
Fanabla means Go to hell.
Mettersi insieme, Mollare qualcuno, Ricco sfondato, Veloce come un razzo
Che palle, Cazzo, Vaffanculo, Porca miseria, Stronzo or stronza, Leccaculo
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