Italian swear words: the ultimate guide

Italians are spontaneous and outgoing people, so it won’t come as a surprise that they have a vast repertoire of Italian swear words to choose from.

How do you say swear word in Italian?

Parolaccia / Parolacce
Swear word / Swear words

Italian swear words are so common that people may let something bad slip from their tongue even when they are working behind a desk (but never in public contact positions).

Need to vent out of frustration? Fanculo! Want to tell your friend that he’s a total douchebag? Coglione! You did something very, very wrong? Merda!

There are Italian swear words for all tastes and all emotions. So, what are some of the most colorful of them? Let’s find out.

Culture shock!
A few words of warning. This lesson on Italian curse words may be fun, but it features insults and other nasty swear words that can be quite rude to use in the real world. Don’t go around saying What’s wrong with you, stupido? like Luca and his pal. That’s bad manners.
But if in your language learning journey you ever happen to find yourself subjected to unprovoked Italian verbal abuse, then by all means feel free to retaliate with all you’ve got. This lesson will provide you with quite an arsenal of Italian swear words! 😉


Italian swear words for the self

The Italian swear words you are about to learn are not directed at anyone in particular, but at whatever entity or deity is listening. They are bad words, but they are pretty much ok to use in private settings such as at home or even at work, such as when your office computer crashes and you suddenly become aware that you lost half a day’s work.

Cazzo

A rather crass translation of dick (neutral translation would be pene, penis, but that’s not a curse word). Depending on intonation, can be used to convey surprise, anger or worry at having done something wrong. It is very, very common.

It can be used as an exclamation or inside a whole sentence to give more emphasis like the English adjective fucking.

Cazzo
Fuck, shit, crap
Fucking
Shitty

italian curse words - cazzo
Cazzo!
Shit!

Examples

Note: when used to translate fucking, cazzo is followed by the preposition di. Shitty is usually translated as del cazzo.

Cazzo. E ora che faccio?
Shit. What am I to do now?

Spegni quella cazzo di radio!
Turn off that fucking radio!

Non mi va mai bene un cazzo di niente!
Nothing ever goes as I fucking planned!
(Andare bene → To go right)

Che idea del cazzo.
What a shitty idea.

italian curse words - idea del cazzo
Che idea del cazzo!
What a shitty idea!

Help Lingookies grow with a 👍!


E che cazzo

Literally, “and what penis”. It is quite common and is used to express frustration.

E che cazzo!
Fuck!
What the hell!


Che cazzata, che cagata

Cazzata and cagata are very common Italian swear words.

Cazzata is derived from cazzo while cagata derives from cagare (to take a shit). Both translate to bullshit. You can use them as a vent or with the expressions dire cazzate or dire cagate, to tell bullshit, as an insult.

Che cazzata!
Bullshit!

Che cagata!
Bullshit!


Merda

Another favorite in the Italian swear words reservoir. It’s as commonly used as cazzo to express frustration and anger, and it has such a nice sound. It… kind of flows. Literally translates shit.

Merda
Shit
Shitty

Smerdare, to shame someone, comes from merda.

Smerdare
To shame someone

Examples

Merda! Ho dimenticato il portafoglio in macchina.
Shit! I forgot my wallet in the car.

italian curse words - wallet
Merda! Ho dimenticato il portafoglio in macchina.
Shit! I forgot my wallet in the car.

In conjunction with the preposition di, it can mean shitty.

Che bella giornata di merda!
What a nice, shitty day!


Minchia, minchiata

These Italian swear words are derived from the feminine equivalent of cazzo.

Minchia is a very common word and can be used to convey both frustration and positive surprise.

Minchiata is similar to cazzata/cagata, but a tad less common than those.

Minchia
Shit
Damn

Minchiata
Bullshit

Examples

Minchia, non hai ancora finito?
Shit, aren’t you done yet?

Hai vinto alla lotteria? Minchia!
You won the lottery? Damn!

Che minchiata!
Bullshit!


Figa, figata

Figa translates to pussy and is a very common word to convey surprise. It can also be used to address a very beautiful woman, but it’s pretty rude as a compliment.

Figa
Pussy

Its masculine form, figo, is not even a curse word. It addresses a cool, trendy guy.

Figo
Cool, trendy guy

Figata is used to express admiration.

Che figata!
Cool!

Examples

Dexter è proprio un gran figo.
Dexter is such a cool and trendy guy.

italian curse words
Dexter è proprio un gran figo.
Dexter is such a cool and trendy guy.

Hai preso un cane? Che figata!
You bought a dog? Cool!


Sfiga

Sfiga is a crass way to say bad luck. It’s a curse word, but it’s not very harsh and it’s very common.

It literally means without pussy.

Sfiga
Bad luck

Che sfiga!
What a bad luck!


Sega

It literally means handjob, but it’s used in expressions such as I couldn’t give a damn.

Sega
Handjob

Non me ne importa una sega.
I couldn’t give a damn.

From this comes farsi una sega, to jerk off.

Farsi una sega
To jerk off

Now let’s look at some stronger Italian curse words and exclamations…


Fanculo, vaffanculo

These can be both Italian swear words and insults, depending on context. Although they are common, they are pretty harsh, worse than just a cazzo or a merda, like the English fuck.

When you use it to vent at an object, you’re basically telling that object to go fuck itself. Works the same way with people too, hence the amount of crass.

These Italian swear words derive from culo, meaning arse. Vaffanculo is the contraction of vai a fare in culo, literally “go do it in the arse”, but as stated above it can be used to vent at nothing in particular.

Fanculo
Fuck, fuck it

Vaffanculo
Fuck
Go fuck yourself

italian swear words
Vaffanculo!
Fuck!

Examples

Fanculo, mi sono rotto un’unghia.
Fuck, I broke my nail.

Vaffanculo! Me ne vado.
Fuck it! I’m outta here.


Puttana, puttanata

Puttana means whore. It can be used as an exclamation for anger and frustration or in sayings like andare a puttane, to be fucked. It’s common, but quite rude. It can be used with other words to form other common Italian swear words (see examples below).

Puttanata is similar to cazzata/cagata in that it translates to bullshit, but it’s harsher.

Puttana
Whore
Fuck

Che puttanata!
Bullshit!

Andare a puttane
To be screwed, to go kaputt

Examples

Note: vacca means cow, while troia is another synonym for whore. Taken by itself, vacca is not a curse word, but it’s used in conjunction with other Italian swear words to give more emphasis. These are very harsh words!

Puttana vacca!
Fuck it all!

Puttana troia!
Fuck it all!

Note: porco means pig. This swear word I’m about to write is one of the harshest.

Porca puttana!
Fuck! Fuck it all!

Porca troia!
Fuck! Fuck it all!

Culture shock!
Porco and puttana are Italian swear words that used in conjunction with other specific words to generate blasphemies. Maybe you’ve already heard them, maybe you have not. Whatever the case and although I’m not religious, I’m not comfortable enough to write them down here and record myself pronouncing them. Be aware, though, that they exist, and they are very, very bad.

fuck this shit italian curse words

Italian swear words for other people

This is where the Italian swear words get funny, interesting and… just plain rude.

Andare a cagare

Basically telling someone to go take a shit. It’s often used between friends as a joke.

Vai a cagare!
Fuck off!


Andare a fanculo

This one is harsher than andare a cagare. It’s pretty crude.

Vai a fanculo!
Go fuck yourself!
(Harsher version)

It derives from culo, meaning arse. It may be the worst Italian insult word out there, along with its variations.

Vaffanculo is the contraction of vai a fare in culo, literally “go do it in the arse”, but as stated above it can be used to vent at nothing in particular.

Vaffanculo
Go fuck yourself

Other variations are:

Vai a dar via il culo
Go fuck yourself
(Go give your arse away)

Vattelo a prendere nel culo
Go fuck yourself
(Go get it in your arse)

There’s even a word for “to tell [someone] to go fuck themselves”: sfanculare.

Sfanculare qualcuno
To tell someone to go fuck themselves


Testa di cazzo

You already know that cazzo means dick. Testa means head.

Combine the two and you get…

Testa di cazzo
Dickhead

Testa di minchia

Another synonym of testa di cazzo, but uses female genitalia instead.

Both these Italian swear words, testa di cazzo e testa di minchia, can be used to address either sexes.

Testa di minchia
Dickhead


Mezza sega

Not very common, but interesting nonetheless. It literally translates to half handjob.

Mezza sega
Pipsqueak


Sfigato/a

It literally means without pussy and translates to loser.

Sfigato, sfigata
Loser (male / female)

Che sfigato!
What a loser!
(Male)


Stronzo

Translates to turd and means asshole.

Stronzo
Asshole

Che stronzo! Sei uno stronzo!
What an asshole! You’re an asshole!

italian curse words
Sei uno stronzo!
You are an asshole!

Troia

Very harsh. Used to address females only, with the meaning of whore.

Troia
Bitch, whore


Zoccola

Same translation and meaning as troia. Very bad word to address women.

Zoccola
Bitch, slut


Puttana

Same as zoccola and troia.

Puttana
Bitch, slut


Coglione/a

A crass synonym for testicle. It has the same meaning of idiota, idiot, but it’s harsher. From this word comes rincoglionito, which is another harsh translation for idiot.

Coglione, cogliona
Dickhead, idiot
(Male, female)

This word is featured in many common Italian sayings.

Note: coglioni is the plural form of coglione.

Stare sui coglioni
To get on someone’s nerves
Literally: To stay on the testicles

Rompere i coglioni
To bust someone’s balls
Literally: To break the testicles

Avere i coglioni girati
To be angry
Literally: To have twisted testicles

italian curse words
Avere i coglioni girati
To be angry

Examples

Il nuovo capufficio mi sta altamente sui coglioni.
The new department head is such a pain in the neck.

Hai rotto i coglioni con questa storia!
I’ve had it with this topic [of yours]!

Oggi Marco ha i coglioni girati. Stagli alla larga.
Marco’s in a bad mood today. Steer clear of him.


Stare sul cazzo, stare sul culo

Whenever there’s someone who bugs you so very much, use these Italian swear words. You can say that s/he sta sul cazzo, like stare sui coglioni.

It stays on my dick.

Mi stai sul cazzo, non ti sopporto più!
You’re a pain in the ass, I can’t stand you anymore!

Stare sul culo has a very similar meaning. It stays on my ass.

Mi sta sul culo non poter uscire di casa.
It’s a pain in my ass to be stuck at home.

fuck off italian curse words

Very mild Italian swear words

Here’s a section for those who don’t like to speak dirty. These Italian swear words are mild and some of them (the exclamations) are almost not even considered to be Italian swear words at all.

Accidenti!
Damn!

Idiota!
Idiot!

Bastardo/a!
Bastard!
(Male/female)

Stupido/a!
Stupid!
(Male, female)

Cretino/a!
Idiot!
(Male, female)

Mannaggia!
Damn!
(Quite common in Southern Italy)

Cavolo!
Damn!
Literally: Cabbage

Porca vacca!
Damn!
Literally: Pig cow

Porca miseria!
Damn!
Literally: Pig misery

This is it! Now you know everything you need to know about the Italian swear words. Feel free to use them whenever you need to vent your frustration! 😉


What next?

Now that you’ve heard how to say many swear words in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

You can also do some Italian interactive exercises!

If you liked this lesson on Italian swear words, consider sharing it with your social media friends who are also studying Italian.

1 thought on “Italian swear words: the ultimate guide”

Leave a Comment