Swearing in Italian: 9 Italian curse words

We keep saying that learning a language goes beyond mastering grammar rules and conjugation, if only someone would listen…

We continue our tradition of shouting into the void with this article on Italian swearing as we’re topical and have our finger on the pulse. Are you in the process of learning Italian? Want to spice it up a little, like the proverbial spicy meatballs of American clichés? You should.

Italians are passionate about many things: generous portions of food, hand gestures and colorful language including insults and curse words. Much like French curse words and Spanish insults, or the many ways of using “fuck” in English, Italian parolacce can convey a wide range of emotions, from surprise to anger, frustration to disappointment, feelings that you’re likely experiencing while reading this article.

Without further SEO-oriented ado, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 5 Italian parolacce in Italian from the little black book we always keep hidden from Nonna.

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Colorful Italian curse words to swear loudly and proudly 

Sti cazzi 

If you’ve started your day on the wrong foot, and your Italian coworker has pushed you over the edge with their fake tales of San Severo, this first entry should help. Your coworker has unknowingly given you the opportunity to slip in a sti cazzi – a way of saying “so what?”,“who cares” or “I don’t give a damn” in Italian.

Example: – Sapevi che avevo vinto un viaggio a Parigi?

 –    E sti cazzi.

Translation: – Did you know that I won a trip to Paris?

      – Who gives a damn?


Dirty, famous and satisfying, like this article, vaffanculo is a timeless classic. Surely someone will yell this at you while you’re traveling through Puglia, Calabria or Lazio, and frankly, how can you blame them? Translated as “f*ck you”, “screw you” or “go f*ck yourself”, it’s the Maserati of swear words. Do they still make those? Throw in a hand gesture or two for good measure if you’re going to try this one at home.


– Lasagna sono troppo cotte.

– Vaffanculo!


– Your lasagna is way overcooked.

– F*ck you!


Someone not respecting your personal space? Your boss continually thwarts your attempts at union organization? Perhaps you’re dealing with a stronzo. This colorful term translates as “a*shole” or “jerk” in English and can be used in just about any situation. The word is actually of Germanic origin and borrowed from the Lombardic term strunz which means “dung”.

Pro tip: make sure you use the masculine “o”  ending or feminine “a” ending depending on whom you want to insult.

Example: Hai dimenticato di nuovo il mio compleanno, sei veramente uno stronzo.

Translation: You forgot my birthday again, you really are an a$@hole.

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Pezzo di merda 

Although pezzo di merda may sound like a fun food dish. the insult literally translates as “a piece of sh*t” in English – not so appetizing. Next time someone crosses you, just call them out for what they are: a pezzo di merda.

Example : Ero sulla bici e quel pezzo di merda mi ha quasi investito!

Translation: I was riding my bike and that piece of sh*t almost ran me over!


This word comes from the Latin capitium (which means “little head”) and refers to the male genitalia. In English, the curse word cazzo is slang for “pecker” or “prick.” Use it to express your anger or disapproval – as you would when using “sh*t”, “damn it”, or “f*ck” in English.

When talking to or about somebody, feel free to use the expression testa di cazzo when you have really strong feelings about somebody. This insult means “d*ckhead” or “c*cksucker”. 

Example : Cazzo ho dimenticato di nuovo di fare la lezione d’italiano online di Saga Baldoria!

Translation: Damn it, I forgot to complete my online Italian lesson again!


With the same meaning as cazzo but mostly feminine, the cuss word minchia comes from the Sicilian language and is now common anywhere in Italy. Descending from the Latin mentula, it mostly means “d*ckhead” but can also be used as exclamation of surprise or appreciation. 

Example : Minchia! L’ultimo posto sull’aereo è stato appena venduto mentre lo stavo comprando!

Translation : Damn! The last seat on the plane has just been sold while I was buying it!


Along the same line as the English swear word “shit”, this one might be the easiest yet. This insult charges its roots with its cousins, mierda in Spanish or merde in French. 

Example : Merda, sono già in ritardo e non riesco a trovare le chiavi.

Translation: Sh*t, I’m already late, and I can’t find my keys


While puttana may sound like a pretty poetic word, we recommend you remain cautious when using it, bearing in mind that it means “prostitute” and “wh*re”. Even stronger and more vulgar, puttana can be transformed into porca puttana which literally means “pig wh*re” and is used to express a really strong anger. 

Example : Ma porca puttana, mi si è rotta la macchina!

Translation: For fuck’s sake, my car broke down!

Bonus : Rompicoglioni

This last curse word is a variation of the Italian swear word rompiscatole which literally translates to “box breaker” but actually means “pain in the neck”. Rompicoglioni, on the other hand, is a step-up for those irritating people you may cross paths with and translates as “pain in the a$$.”

Example: Ti lamenti sempre, sei davvero un rompicoglioni!

Translation: You are always complaining, you are a real pain in the a$$! 

Can’t get enough of these colorful insults and curse words? We can’t f*cking blame you. Check out our online Italian lessons Saga Baldoria. Try for free for 7 days today.

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2 thoughts on “Swearing in Italian: 9 Italian curse words

  1. Joe

    Bravo! Very well-written article. Whoever wrote is this is a fottuto genio. Ben Fatto! My Italian grandmother is rolling over in her grave laughing at this.

    1. Olivia

      Dear Joe,

      We can only thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot! And if this piece gave your Nonna a good laugh, then we’ve done our part 🙂

      We look forward to welcoming you on our blog very soon!

      A presto,

      The Gymglish team

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