Dirty Italian: How to Cuss Like a Local


Arguably one of the best ways to feel like you belong in a foreign country is to speak like a local. Using some of these choice phrases in conversation with an Italian you’re comfortable with is sure to be a big hit. If not, at least swearing in Italian makes you feel like a local. Attenta, these are NOT to be used in polite company…

My faves:

  • Ma che cazzo vuoi? = What the f*ck do you want?
  • Ma che cazzo dici?  =  What the f*ck are you saying?
  • Ma che cazzo fai?    =  What the f*ck are you doing?

By far my favorite phrases, the above three can be used in almost any situation. Although, literally, ‘cazzo‘ means ‘dick’, Italians can get pretty creative with how they use it.

Others you need to know: 

  • Merda!          =   Shit!
  • Bastardo!     =   Bastard!
  • Stronzo/a!    =  Asshole!
  • Vaffanculo!  =  Go F*ck yourself!

These phrases will get you through even your most aggravating day in Italy. For more Italian slang, I highly recommend you pick up Dirty Italian: Everyday Slang from “What’s Up?” to “F*% Off!” by Gabrielle Euvino. It makes for an fun, entertaining airplane read and you’ll find the Italians have a beautiful (and visual) way of saying even the most profane expressions. And, it’s only $7!

More on Swearing in Italian

Here are some colorful ones for the road

Swearing in Italian can be fun, but be careful with these (can you imagine saying these to someone in English?):

Mortacci tua!  can be translated as ‘your feeble ancestors’ or ‘your f*cking dead ones’. Use this, and you’re basically cursing your enemy’s dead relatives. Not very nice.

CAUTION: You might come across “Bruto cornuto!” in your travels. Use this only if you’re dying to get in a fight with someone. A physical fight. An aggressive, long, bare-knuckle fight. Pair it with the devil horns hand sign and it literally translates to “you’re ugly and your spouse is cheating on you and you allow it!” Do not say this. Ever.

swearing in italian

Got any ideas on swearing in Italian to add? Add them in the comments below! 

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Practice Italian Online for Free

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