Italian Swear Words pt. 2 – Readers’ Choice

tapemouthWell, since my Italian swear words post was such a hit, I thought I’d go back and pick through the many comments I got on that one – after all, the original list was my favorite Italian swear words. This list can be all yours – it’s the reader’s choice of Italian swear words!

Update: Now you can hear sample pronunciations for some of these words – wherever you see a blue arrow next to the word, click on it and you’ll hear exactly how to say it!

porca miseria (POR|kah mih|ZEH|ree|ah) – Gianfranco thinks this one should be separated out from the other versions of “porca” that I listed, and he’s probably right. It’s a damned fine one, literally meaning something along the lines of “pig poverty” and it’s used the way I’d use “dammit.”

minchia (MEEN|kee|ah) – Stefano submitted this one, saying it’s the “southern expression for ‘cazzo.'” It appears that it could be a word in the Sicilian dialect, it means “cock,” and can be used to describe something that’s boring or just plain bad (the way I might use “shitty”). “Che minchia” would be another way of saying “what the fuck.”

mizzica (MEET|tsee|kah) – This was in the comments as meaning “penis” in Sicilian, while “minchia” was the far tamer “wow.” But all the research I did says it’s the exact opposite, and that “mizzica” just means “holy cow” or “wow.”

leccaculo (leh|kah|KOO|loh) – Ahndi says this is the best Italian swear word ever, and it’s a pretty doggone good one, I agree. It quite literally means “lick ass,” but although I’d originally been told that it basically meant something was “kick ass” and therefore a good thing, I’ve been told by several people since then (see the comments!) that it actually means “kiss-ass,” so calling someone that isn’t a compliment at all. Just so y’know.




che cazzo (keh KAHTZ|soh) – This one comes from Gio, and while it’s literally “what dick” it’s used like I’d say “what the fuck” when something is unbelievable or irritating.

sticazzi (stee|KAHT|zee) – I’d never heard this one before, but dioz says it’s mostly used in Rome for when you want to say “who cares” with an attitude. The attitude part comes from its literal meaning of “this penis.”

porca puttana (POR|kah pu|TAH|nah) – Another in the series where you put “porca” in front of anything an it automatically turns into a swear word. This one is “dirty prostitute,” and SumBunni says this was her (his?) grandmother’s favorite expression. What a grandmother!

figlio di puttana (FEE|lee|oh dee pu|TAH|nah) – Literally “son of a whore,” this is the Italian version of “son of a bitch,” contributed to the list by Dinelli.

che stronzo (keh STROHN|zoh) – This is Paul’s favorite, and it’s kind of like “what a bastard” or “what an asshole.” But with more oomph. Much more.


testa di cazzo (TES|tah dee KAHTZ|soh) – This was on my list, too, but it got a vote of confidence from Grey, so it gets a second apperance on this list as well. Again, it’s literally “head of dick,” and is used in the way I’d use “dickhead” or “asshole.”

vaffanculo cazzo/stronzo (vah|fahn|KOO|loh KAHTZ|soh/STROHN|zoh) – Mele419 points out that if you put either “cazzo” or “stronzo” after my #3, “vaffanculo,” you get something like “fuck you, you asshole.” And that just might come in handy sometime, you never know.

fessa (FEHS|sah) – While in some parts of Italy, this merely means “stupid” or “a fool,” in southern Italy it can also mean “cunt” – a Puglian friend of tandmark’s apparently uses it frequently. But I’d recommend you proceed with caution on this one, folks.

Thanks for all your contributions, everyone! They’re all great additions to the original list. And this is clearly rich territory, so I’m looking forward to even more suggestions.

If you missed the first post, go back and read my favorite Italian cuss words. And you can comment on either post with your favorites, just in case we’re still missing some. (I’m being sarcastic. We’re still missing a ton.)

20 thoughts on “Italian Swear Words pt. 2 – Readers’ Choice

  • hans

    Great post–I have more for you that must be added:

    -Che Palle (what balls)
    -Stronzo (idiot)
    -Porco Dio (quite possibly the most offensive of the Porco prefixes)
    -Facce di Cazzo (dick face)
    -Managia la Miseria (that damn misery–my horrible luck)
    -Stronzo (idiot)

  • Cherrye at My Bella Vita

    Ha! Great list, Jessica (and readers!) Seems like those of us in the south have a dirtier mouth, no? Or maybe we are just creative?

    I hear stronza a lot, too, ya know, when talking about a girl!

  • Alex

    Great article! Potentially very useful – and I like the pronunciation guide too.

    Actually, if you add -etto or etta – stronzo, which literally means ‘turd’ or ‘stool’ or pos, if you like, becomes quite polite and can be used by children, or in polite company.

    There is something curiously intriguing about Italian profanities, and I sometimes find myself using them in English too! I guess they add a little variety, or something like that.

    Funny old world.



    • Andre

      I would be careful with that, my friend. It is true that stronzetto o stronzetta are much milder than the plain stronzo/a, but they are NOT polite and are definitely not used by children.

      I am Italian, so I am pretty sure about that!


  • Diego

    Leccaculo isn’t really intended to be a compliment or something like that. It’s alike a “yesman” but more vicious and dirty. For this reason, never used it, expecially in job environment. 🙂

  • antux93

    – Minchia is the noun that in the Sicialian dialect means “cock”.
    Anyway, it’s also an esclamation that replace “fuck!” “damn!” (as a matter of fact, “fuck” (cazzo!)
    in italian literally means “cock”).
    I repeat what I sayd in the precedent comment:
    “Testa di minchia” means “dick head” (it’s a variation of “testa di cazzo”).
    “Che minchia è?” means “What the fuck is it?”.

    – I’m not form South Italy, but I’m pretty sure that “mizzica” is only an esclamation that means “wow!”, and not a noun that means “penis”.

    – First of all, leccaculo is not a entire word: it’s Lecca culo.
    You can also say “Lecca piedi (literally “lick feet”)” or “lecchino” (leck-kee-noh, which is bad way to say “toady”)…
    Lecca culo is vulgar, lecca piedi and lecchino are not vulgar.
    And, lecca culo HAS NOT a good meaning!! Lecca culo IS NOT a compliment.
    A student who toady the teacher is a “lecca culo”, for example.
    To toady= leccare i piedi/leccare il culo /fare il lecchino (literally: to lick feet/to lick ass/to act like a toady).

    – Che cazzo can be preceded from “ma” (Ma che cazzo!) or “e” [eh] (E che cazzo!).
    “Che cazzo è?” means “What the fuck is it?”.

    – I LOVE the word “sticaaaazzi!” X°DDDD it’s fantastic!!!! unfortunately not very used…
    The litearally meaning is “these dicks”, not “this dick”:
    ‘Sti [stee], which is the abbreviation of “Questi”(These), very used in the center and south Italy, and Cazzi (dicks).
    It NOT means “who cares”… it’s an esclamation that you say when something is unbelievable, exaggerated, or really cool. For example… a very stupid example xD :
    Jessica: “Ieri ho mangiato una torta intera a merenda!” (Yesterday I ate a whole cake for break!)
    Antux: “Sticazzi!” (Fuck! Or whatever you’d answer to such a sentence. It’s like “mizzica”, but used in all Italy, not only in the South.)

    – “Porca puttana” <– you can also say “Porca troia”.
    Troia and Puttana both mean “whore”.
    Troia in italian is also the city Troy 😛

    – In italian you can say “Vaffanculo, stronzo!” (Go fuck yourself you bastard! So is very vulgar…) but “Vaffanculo cazzo” doesn’t exist.

    – FessA is used only in the south and it means “cunt”… FessO, in all Italy means “stupid”, “fool”.

    – Another swear word with “porca” that i like is: “porca zozza!”

    Then, someone in the comments said…
    -Porco Dio (quite possibly the most offensive of the Porco prefixes) <– this is a blasphemy
    -Facce di Cazzo <– it’s FACCIA di cazzo… But I’ve never heard it, I think it doens’t exist… we say “Testa di cazzo” or “Faccia di culo (cuh-loh)” (culo=ass)
    -Managia la Miseria (my horrible luck) <– it’s MANNAGGIA. You can also say “Mannaggia ALLA miseria)

    Sorry for my bad english and if you wanna know more send me an email 😛

  • Jessica Post author

    Wow, thanks for all of that Antux! 🙂 The world of Italian swear words is definitely colorful, and I look forward to learning more of them… I’ll send you a note next time I’m working on one of these posts, that’s for sure!

  • Lynn

    this web page rocks!! I am trying to learn Italian and this is making it soo much more fun ^_^
    I actually tripped the other day and spit out Cazzo instead of my usual exclamation of shit of fuck lol it was great no one had any idea what I had said!!

  • Luigi

    The definition of Leccaculo is completely wrong. It never meant “To kick ass”, I don’t know who’s the person who gave you the wrong information. A Leccaculo is a “kiss ass” guy, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Miss Expatria

    “sticazzi” is usually heard in New Jersey as “stugatz” – if I’m not mistaken, I think Tony Soprano’s boat was named this, in some permutation.

    I also love cazzi with the possessive pronoun in front – cazzi miei, cazzi tuoi, cazzi loro, etc. By now you can figure it out literally, but it means “my business” as in, “if I want to run around Piazza Venezia naked, it’s cazzi miei.” That’s a rough example, but you get the drift I hope.

  • Miss Expatria

    OH, and Luigi is right, leccaculo is definitely not kick-ass, it’s kiss-ass.

    Also, porca troia is particularly bad as a version of porca putana, troia is a seriously harsh word for prostitute.

    Also, if someone is, like, lucky while playing cards, like unbelievably lucky, it’s rott’in fregna, which is so bad, I can’t even write it here because I’m embarrassed that I even know what it means.

  • calabresian

    my mother has frequently called me fessa.
    i would like to agree that the southern italians have a very colorful language. i new the italian swears before i new the english ones. thanks to my grandmother and many aunts

  • Cristiano Belena

    Fottere (the verb “to fuck”) is often used but left out of many lists. The way to conjugate the verb is the same as any -ere: (io) fotto, (tu) fotti, (lui/lei/Lei) fotte, (noi) fottiamo, (voi) fottete, (loro) fottono.

    Fottersi (to fuck oneself or someone else) (io) mi fotto, (tu) ti fotti, (lui/lei/Lei) si fotte, (noi) ci fottiamo, (voi) vi fotte, (loro) si fottono.
    To say “fuck you” correctly (instead of the incorrect “vaffanculo) would be either “ti fotti” or “fottiti.”

    BTW: Vaffanculo is actually a contraction of – va a fare in culo. Which translates to “go and make it in ass.)

  • rosalie

    hello, I am dutch but spent some time in italy to learn italian and since I have a real knack for languages I did really well, specially in the cursing department.
    cazzone : big dick ,any word ending in “one” means big…..
    pisellino,ucellino : small dick, literally little pea , little bird.
    baffone : woman with large mustache.
    non mi ne frega un cazzo : I don’t give a shit (dick).
    non mi rompere i coglioni : don’t break my balls. don’t annoy me.
    coglione : testicle, meant as asshole.
    fatti indietro: same as vaffanculo. do in behind.
    va farti la sega : go jerk off (sega means goat).
    va farti in cinque : see above ,cinque means 5. 5 fingers is a hand. these are very useful to keep unwanted guys of your back.
    buffone : big idiot.
    froscio, finocchio :lit. frog and a vegetable I don’t know the english word for. both used derogatively for gays.
    stronzone : large stronzo. by the way in dutch stront means shit,I cannot imagine these words not being related.
    fica :cunt , literally fig.
    hopefully this information can serve you all well.
    scoppare, bombare,trombare,: to screw.
    matto , pazzo, scemo : crazy.
    managgia madonna della miseria porco dio cane : all used in the same sentence for extra emphasis.
    ti amazzo : I’ll kill you.

  • Froggie

    How do you say hate or anger in italian? or flying shit as in “i dont give a flying shit” or flip a shit?

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