Italian Swearwords and Insults
We’ve all been there. You stub your toe on the coffee table, spill coffee on your freshly pressed shirt, or miss the bus by a mere second. In moments like these, there’s nothing quite as cathartic as letting out a good curse word or insult. And if you happen to be in Italy, why not use Italian swearwords? After all, when in Rome… or anywhere else in Italy, right?
So, if you’re in Rome, (or in Florence, or Venice), here are 20 must-know Italian curse words and insults to add to your linguistic arsenal for those moments when you need to let off some steam, Italian-style!
Is your pasta cold? Did they just serve you less ice cream than your friend? No worries. Let out one of these Italian swearwords to express frustration without going too far.
1. Accidenti! – Damn!
Use it when you’re frustrated or annoyed, like when you drop something or make a mistake.
For example: “Accidenti! Ho dimenticato le chiavi a casa!” (Damn! I forgot my keys at home!)
2. Cavolo! – Crap!
Similar to the English word “crap,” you can use “cavolo” to express disappointment or frustration in a less offensive way.
For example: “Cavolo! Ho perso il treno.” (Crap! I missed my train!)
3. Che palle! – What balls!
As English speakers, we might mean this phrase as a backhanded compliment. However, Italians use it to curse bad weather, when something unfavorable happens to them, or just to express annoyance or boredom.
For example: “Che palle! Un altro incontro?” (What balls! Another meeting?)
4. Porca miseria! – Damn luck!
In Italian, porca means “female pig,” and miseria means “misery” or “poor thing”. Which — as it happens with the literal translation of many Italian swearwords — doesn’t seem to make much sense…! Just remember it as a stronger version of “accidenti” and you’ll be alright.
For example: “Porca miseria! Altro ingorgo!” (Damn luck! Another traffic jam!)
Sometimes, we are not angry at the world, our luck, or the weather, but at somebody else. If you want to insult someone else, here are some great Italian swearwords and insults to let them know what you really think.
5. Stronzo! – Asshole!
This is a strong insult that can be used to call someone an asshole. It can be used for both males (stronzo) and females (stronza).
For example: “Quel tipo è proprio uno stronzo!” (That guy is a real asshole!)
6. Mortacci tua! – Your weak ancestors!
In a culture that places so much importance on family and tradition, it’s only natural to have a phrase like this. Used typically to insult someone else’s family in an aggressive way, it can be seen as quite offensive (especially if you don’t know the person very well).
For example: “Mortacci tua! Smettila di mettere il formaggio su quei ravioli!!” (Your weak ancestors! Stop putting cheese on those ravioli!)
7. Testa di cazzo! – Dickhead!
This is a fairly strong insult and should be used with caution. It literally translates to “dick head” and, just as in English, it is used as a way of calling someone an idiot or moron.
For example: “Penso che il tuo ragazzo sia una testa di cazzo” (I think your boyfriend is a dickhead!)
8. Mangia merde e morte! – Eat sh*t and die!
This insult is a vivid way to tell someone to go away or to express extreme dislike. One of the strongest curse words in Italian, it should be used only in extreme situations.
Imagine, for example, that someone makes a very extreme joke about someone’s death. After realizing that they’re just kidding with you, you may say “Mangia merda e morte, idiota!” (Eat sh*t and die, you idiot!)
9. Bastardo! – Bastard!
If you’ve ever seen Titanic (as you should), you may remember the scene in which Fabrizio spits this word in anger at the man who shot his friend Tony. This is one of the most common Italian curse words and it can be used in many different situations.
For example: “Quel tizio è proprio un bastardo!” (That guy is a real bastard!)
10. Figlio di puttana! – Son of a b*tch!
In Italian culture, mothers are sacred. So this insult, which literally means “son of a whore,” is one of the strongest curse words in Italian. As a result, you should save it for extremely angry situations:
“Figlio di puttana, hai mangiato l’ultima fetta di pizza!” (Son of a bitch, you ate the last pizza slice!)
While there’s no exact equivalent of the F word in Italian, there are some Italian swearwords that come close to conveying similar intensity and frustration:
11. Cazzo! – Damn!/Fck!
“Cazzo” is a versatile Italian curse word that can be used in various ways, similar to the English word “damn”, “sh*t” or “f**k.” It can be used to express surprise, annoyance, or anger.
For example: “Cazzo! Ho versato il caffè sulla mia nuova maglietta!” (F**k! I’ve spilled coffee on my new shirt!)
12. Che cazzo?! – What the…?!
Every once in a while, something happens that is so unexpected or ridiculous that you just have to express your disbelief. “Che cazzo” is similar to saying “What the f**k?!” in English, and is a great way to show how utterly in shock you are at something or someone.
For example: “Che cazzo? Giuro che c’erano un sacco di soldi in questo scaffale!” (What the fuck? I swear there was a lot of money in this shelf!!)
13. Vaffanculo! – Go f**k yourself!
Are you done with someone? Do you want them to leave you alone? Then “vaffanculo” – literally translated as “go f**k yourself” – should be one of your favorite Italian swearwords.
Mind you, this is a very direct and offensive way to express anger or frustration. But it surely serves it purpose. For example: “Vaffanculo! Non voglio parlarti mai più!” (Go f**k yourself! I don’t want to talk to you ever again!”).
In Southern Italy, pigs are an essential part not only of Italians’ diet but also of the region’s culture. In fact, in older times even the blood of pigs was collected to make sanguinaccio, a dessert made of cinnamon, orange zest, vino cotto, and yes, pig blood.
Therefore, it makes sense that some of the strongest insult words in Italian involve pigs. Here are a few Pig-related Italian curse words:
14. Porca puttana – Pig whore
Literally meaning “pig whore,” this insult is used to express anger. It’s a creative way to insult someone, but it’s also quite strong.
For example: “Che casino hai combinato, porca puttana?” (What mess have you made, pig whore?)
15. Porco Giuda – Pig Judas
This insult combines “pig” with the name “Judas,” and it’s used to express anger at a someone that the speaker perceives as treacherous or disloyal. For example: “Esci con lui? Sei come un maiale Porco Giuda!” (You’re going out with him? You’re such a Pig Judas!)
16. Porca Eva – Pig Eve
Yeah, 2023, and we’re still blaming Eve!
Similar to the previous Italian insults, “Porca Eva” combines “pig” with the name “Eve” and it’s a strong but sophisticated way to insult someone.
For example: Porca Eve, hai incasinato tutto! (Damn you, you messed up everything!)
17. Porca vacca – Pig cow
This insult confusingly combines “pig” with “cow” and is another unique way to insult someone in Italian.
For example: “Che ritardo, porca vacca!” (What a delay, pig cow!)
In conclusion, while we don’t condone using offensive language, knowing some Italian swearwords and insults can help you understand the language better and even further grasp its cultural nuances.
Just remember to use them sparingly – and only in appropriate contexts!
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Send us a quick inquiry today and get ready to make incredible progress with our tailor-made Italian courses.