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I heard that Carajo means the highest spot on a ship's mast. Is this true?

The RAE lists no such sense at least. — Hippietrail 06:01, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, it seems to be that the story is like this: "carajo" originally meant "penis", it was then used by sailors as a slang word for the main mast in reference to the male organ. It is interesting to note that the RAE does not list this meaning while most of Latin American languages recognize it. It is a colloquial meaning and should probably be marked as maritime slang. — ThePhilologist (talk) 04:03, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I've been having an argument about the etymology of this word and the crow's nest story. The fact that RAE doesn't list it makes me skeptical as to whether it's a real etymology or just a plausible story... Quasinanopraeverbium (talk) 00:37, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Taboo word?[edit]

This word is commonly used in Costa Rica by men and women, and it's not a taboo word. It's also the most common word used to translate 4-letter words in movies on TV, which children are watching. How about specifying where it's taboo? DBlomgren 03:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

RAE marks it as malsonante. Without a good dictionary handy I guess this means offensive as well as bad sounding. — Hippietrail 06:01, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback HT. You can always check for translations (malsonante=rude, so you were right on). For me, there's a difference between rude and taboo. According to this forum thread in wordreference (self-published yeah, but better than nothing IMHO) the meaning of the word varies depending on how you were brought up (su educación). In a conservative environment, it's offensive; in a liberal one, it's not.

For me, the litmus test is seeing it freely used to translate everything from d*mn, sh*t, sonofab... and f*ck. My Costa Rican friends agree that it's not such a bad word and subtitlers probably use it to avoid teaching people how to really swear in English. DBlomgren 03:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

In my experience all the nasty English words are rendered as maldita sea and diablos, with a lot less variation and imagination in spanish subtitles than Mexican ones (-: — Hippietrail 08:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Phallic Reference[edit]

As far as I'm concerned -being a native Spanish-speaker- the word carajo doesn't convey any phallic reference at all. Notwithstanding this misinterpretation I find the article rather accurate.

En es:carajo, afirman que en español castizo, es nombre vulgar para el pene. Sin embargo, en el Caribe, esta acepción no se usa. —Stephen 10:45, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Taboo word[edit]

In Mexico this word is considered a taboo word, and you never hear it in Mexican novels or movie translations. In many dictionarys it dosen't even exist.