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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 Greek charax 'stick'. This also provides a single, phonologically coherent source for the cognates Portuguese caralho and Catalan carall. Attempts to attribute carajo and Italian 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. (obsolete, maritime slang) mainmast, crow’s nest




  1. (South America, Northwestern Spain, vulgar) shit!
  2. (slang, vulgar) go to hell, piss off, fucking hell, fuck, damn it
    ¿Qué carajo quieres? — What the fuck do you want?
    ¡Vete al carajo! — Go to hell!
    Me importa un carajo. — I don’t give a shit.
    ¡Aquí hay un pueblo digno, Yanquís 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.)

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.