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Common Italian general-purpose expletive. (cf. the many uses of "fuck" in English). In its literal meaning it is one of the usual hundreds of words for penis that most languages have, but non-literal use is rife. Omnipresent, but obscene enough to cause considerable offence, and not infrequently asterisked out in print; cavolo (cabbage) is frequently employed as a bowdlerized version.

Common usages (apart from just shouting it loudly when annoyed, that is) include:

  • Che cazzo fai? - What the hell are you doing?
  • Non me ne frego un cazzo. - I don't give a fuck.
  • Testa di cazzo - Dickhead (literal)
Note that it is not (unlike its literal English equivalents - "prick", say) generally used as a abusive description of a person.
This node is provided for passive use only (ie figuring out what those foreigners are saying about you). You should always be aware that trying to swear in a language that you don't speak pretty fluently almost always makes you sound like a complete prat and is liable to get you laughed out of town, while the scope for creating offence (or substantially more offence than you intended) in unfamiliar cultures should not be underestimated ...

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