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The etymology is unknown, but the most plausible source on the basis of both semantics and historical phonology appears to be unattested Latin *c(h)araculum, which would have been a Latinized diminutive of Ancient Greek χάραξ ‎(khárax, stick). This also provides a single, phonologically coherent source for the cognates 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)

  1. (Spain) penis
  2. (un carajo) shit (US), jackshit (US), sod all (UK), bugger all (UK)
    No me importa un carajo. — I don't give a fuck.
  3. (al carajo) hell
    ¡Vete al carajo!go to hell! bugger off!
    ¡Aquí hay un pueblo digno, Yanquis de mierda! ¡Váyanse al carajo cien veces! — We are a dignified people, you piece of shit Yankees! Go to hell 100 times! (Used by Hugo Chávez about George W. Bush.)




  1. (South America, Northwestern Spain, vulgar) shit!
  2. (slang, vulgar) used as an intensifier, similar to the fuck
    ¿Qué carajo quieres? — What the fuck do you want?

Usage notes[edit]

This is considered to be a taboo word by many in South America and is replaced by the euphemistic forms caramba or carrizo depending on the context and in which country the term is used.