The etymology is uncertain, but the most plausible source on the basis of both semantics and historical phonology appears to be unattested Vulgar Latin *c(h)araculum, which would have been a Latinized diminutive of Ancient Greek χάραξ (khárax, “stick”), from χαρακτήρ (kharaktḗr).
Certain cognates include Portuguese caralho, Galician carallo and Catalan carall. Attempts to attribute Italian same-meaning cazzo to the same etymon fail on phonological grounds, as the /r/ of carajo (or its absence in cazzo) remains unexplained, and no Latin phonological sequence develops as both /x/ in Spanish and /tts/ in Italian.
carajo m (plural carajos)
- (Spain) penis
- (un carajo) shit (US), jackshit (US), sod all (UK), bugger all (UK)
- No me importa un carajo. — I don't give a fuck.
- (al carajo) hell
- (South America, Northwestern Spain, vulgar) shit!
- (slang, vulgar) used as an intensifier, similar to the fuck
- ¿Qué carajo quieres? — What the fuck do you want?
- Portuguese: carago