Further to Gianfranco Fini’s recent outburst of ‘stronzo’ (see post below) it might be useful to give a quick guide to a few commonly used swear words in Italy. Like most other things they may vary from region to region, province to province, town to town, but these are all fairly standard and to be used with caution:
stronzo: see previous post.
examples “Sei uno stronzo!” – you’re an asshole!
See also female equivalente, “Che stronza!” “what a a bitch!”not to be confused with’Che stronzata‘ , what a load of bull(shit).
cazzo: literally the vulgar term for ‘penis’ but used in a variety of grammatical contexts (English equivalent ‘fuck’)
‘Che cazzo dici?‘ – what the fuck are you saying? / talking about?
‘Cazzo!’ – fuck (it)!
E’ una testa di cazzo – he’s a jerk, fucking idiot
Quel cazzo di macchina – that fucking car
Ho fatto una cazzata – I fucked it up (similar to stronzata)
Non me ne frego un cazzo – I couldn’t give a fuck
Vaffanculo! – fuck off! although more literally ‘sod off’ (Brit English) as ‘culo‘ is the vulgar word for ass(hole).
Often abbreviated to ‘fanculo‘ or neutralised with synonymous phrases such as ‘Vaffanbrodo‘, avoiding the actual swear word!
Merda! – literally shit and used as an exclamation as in English. Similar use to cazzo
e.g. tempo di merda – shit weather
NOTE: for much milder exclamations use accidenti! cavoli! caspita! which are not swear words at all (gosh, crikey, etc.)
Palle or balle – balls (meaning testicles)
Che (due) palle! – what a pain in the ass!
Non rompermi le palle / balle! – don’t break my balls, don’t give me a hard time
You may hear the more ‘refined’ synonym ‘coglioni‘ instead of palle
Often considered much stronger than the above ‘swear words’ are blaspehmous words and phrases which are sadly quite common. I won’t go into those here although suffice it to say that they usually involve the use of Dio (God) or Madonna together with the name of an animal….! *** NB For experts only and to be on the safer side NEVER USE THEM!