Well, we’re back to this topic, the topic that started this blog. A topic that, as it seems, people enjoy reading about way too much! You know, come to think of it, one must wonder why people enjoy reading about such things as the unrestrained fecal matter output of the population of the kingdom of Spain, but humans are strange.
After writing my first post, thanks to Sukil‘s and other Spaniards’s comments, I realized I had left a few interesting expressions and figures of speech out. Most importantly, I had neglected something very dear to us Spaniards. A word that, for many centuries, has found so many uses in popular culture that it is possibly one of the most polysemic words in the Spanish language.
The word “cojones”, by itself, is a generally inoffensive (by Spanish standards) term to refer to the testicles. Used as an exclamation, this word becomes a generic interjection with any meaning you could possibly need from it (annoyance, frustration, surprise, admiration, etc). This in itself already grants the word an elevated position in the list of words with the most meanings. The beauty of “cojones”, however, lies in the sheer amount of expressions you can throw it into. I will try to list a few of the most remarkable ones here:
- De cojones (of balls): This quite versatile expression is usually employed to signify extremes, such as in weather conditions (“hacía un frío de cojones”=it was extremely cold). It can also mean something is really good in one way or another. To underline the magnitude of what we are trying to express, we sometimes add the number of pairs of testicles we are speaking of, usually either three or a thousand (de tres/mil pares de cojones).
- Estar hasta los cojones (to be up to one’s balls): This one I did discuss in my last post, but it is still worth mentioning. You are up to your balls in something when you are absolutely sick and tired of it. Speaker gender is irrelevant.
- Los cojones (the balls): Believe it or not, this is actually a full statement that everyone in Spain will understand. It has a similar meaning to “y una polla como una olla”, its English equivalent could be something like “Yeah, right”.
- Con dos cojones (with two balls): Usually, this expression by itself is a sign of admiration towards something someone did while showing bravery or tenacity. In certain situations, however, it is common to use this expression with the opposite intent in sarcasm.
- ¿Qué cojones? (What/which balls?): This is possibly the closest Castilian equivalent to the very common “what the fuck?” in English.
- Un cojón (one ball): This is actually a unit of measurement. Although it is currently not accepted by the SI, it is universally accepted by every Spaniard as the largest unit of many measurable magnitudes. You can say, for example, that something “cuesta un cojón” (costs a lot/is very expensive), “me duele un cojón” (is causing me extreme pain) or “mola un cojón” (is insanely cool). While this unit can usually only have a value of one, it is sometimes accepted to move it up to 1.5 (un cojón y medio).
- Me importa tres cojones (it matters to me three balls): For some reason, this is the Spanish equivalent to “I don’t give X shit(s)”. Except that in our case, for once in the history of Spanish vulgar language, we do not speak of feces, but rather of testicles, and in an immutable quantity of three, which makes me wonder about the origin of this expression, as testicles (usually) show up in groups of no more than two.
- Tocar los cojones (to touch one’s balls): When something is touching someone else’s bals, it means they are bothering or otherwise causing them discomfort. It is irrelevant whether the receiving entity possesses testicles at all, and whether whatever is touching this entity’s balls is actually capable of touching anything at all, let alone the receiver’s privates.
- Tocarse los cojones (to touch one’s own balls): In fact, tactile stimulation of one’s testicles alone possesses a second meaning. When someone is touching their own balls, it means they are doing absolutely nothing at all or being lazy in some other way.
- ¡Tócate los cojones! (Touch your own balls!): By this time you are probably thinking that Spaniards spend half their time talking about who or what exactly is currently feeling their (sometimes hypothetical) nuts. In this case, when you order someone to touch their own balls, you are simply expressing extreme surprise or unbelief towards a situation. This is sometimes accentuated by the addition of a second part to the exclamation, “tócate los cojones y baila” (touch your balls and dance). Whether the recipient of the exclamation follows your command or not is entirely irrelevant and you should not, by any means, attempt to enforce anyone to carry out your orders. Not these, at least.
- Por mis cojones (by my balls): This one actually translates pretty nicely. It is usually utilized when something poses a challenge to you and you want to make sure your interlocutor understands that you will face the challenge and succeed: “lo haré por mis cojones” (I will do it by my balls).
- Tener los cojones cuadrados (to have square balls): This expression, the origins of which I simply cannot figure out, signifies pure exhaustion. How exhaustion affects the shape of one’s testicles, I do not know.
- It is also common to add a couple of prefixes and suffixes to the word to form others: Acojonado (scared), acojone (fear), cojonudo (amazing), descojonarse (to laugh uncontrollably)…
Bonus: A few more vulgar expressions
- Me cago en la mar (I shit in the sea): This expression accurately reflects the environmental awareness (or rather, the lack thereof) of the Spanish population. Don’t worry, we do of course complain about the high level of pollution of the ocean. Every sensible person does that. And yet, the sea is still one of the most common hypothetical substitutes for the toilet in my country.
- Cagando leches (shitting milks): No, the plural form of milk is technically not correct in Spanish either, and neither are we able to excrete this liquid straight from our rear ends. When something or someone “va cagando leches” (is going while shitting milks) it is going at an insanely fast speed.
- Esto parece el coño de la Bernarda (this looks like Bernarda’s pussy): For a situation or place to resemble this unknown Bernarda’s pussy, it must be loud and containing or concerning many people of disparate opinions. Little needs to be said about the most likely origin of this expression.
- Mira quién va a llamar puta a María Marta (look who’s calling Maria Marta a whore): This, obviously, is a more verbose way of saying “look who’s talking”.
- Qué tiene que ver el culo con las témporas (what does the butt have to do with ember days?): This strange expression is, yet again, a more interesting way to convey the meaning of a simpler phrase: “What does that have to do with anything?”. Instead of “el culo con las témporas”, you can also use “el tocino con la velocidad” (bacon and velocity/speed), “los cojones con el comer trigo” (testicles and eating corn) or la gimnasia con la magnesia (gymnastics with magnesium oxide).
- Tener una flor en el culo (to have a flower in one’s ass): Someone who is said to have, or to be born with, a flower in their ass is someone who is considred very lucky. Obviously it would be pretty weird to actually have such a thing coming out of your butthole, but apparently, every Spaniard wishes they did. In this, I am an exception.
- Tener los huevos de San Arcadio (to have Saint Arcadio’s balls): Someone in possession of the balls of Saint Arcadio is someone who is absolutely shameless, insolent and/or cheeky.