Learn Spanish for Real #7: “Pain in the neck/ass”
I remember talking with a language exchange partner years ago and I wanted to say that something was, as we colloquially say in English, a “pain in the neck”, so I made the mistake most inexperienced language learners make in such situations and just translated the English literally by saying “dolor en el cuello” – it didn’t work. I got a funny look and a complete lack of comprehension from my partner.
Spanish speakers don’t say “pain in the neck” to mean pain in the neck, they say that something is a pain in the molars, they say: “dolor de muelas” (well, Spanish speakers from Spain do, I’ll get to an alternative in a minute). “Dolor” means “pain”, “de” means “of” (in this case it’s giving possession of the pain to the molars), and “muela” means “molar”.
Additionally, and I suspect this is more common in Latin America, you can also say “dolor de cabeza”, which just literally means “pain of head”, or “headache“.
And the one you’ve all been waiting for…
Is there something…a bit stronger in Spanish than “dolor de muelas”, but which means basically the same thing? Do they have an equivalent to “pain in the ass”, in other words?
Yes…and I like it, it’s rather graphic and self-explanatory.
“Grano en el culo” means, literally, “pimple on the ass”.
“Grano” properly means “grain”, as in a grain of sand, but it’s also slang for a pimple. “Culo” is the direct equivalent of “ass” – it’s not the polite term for that area of the body, it’s slang and profane slang at that (I’m telling you to be a bit careful about when you use it).
Ok, that’s it. Sorry I don’t have any cool history or stories about these for you but there’s just nothing like that I could find for these two.
I hope that was interesting, and be sure to stay tuned for more episodes of Learn Spanish for Real!
Get my list of the internet's top 33 FREE Spanish-learning resources here!I put together a list of the internet’s Top 33 Free Spanish-learning resources, my favorite language exchanges and Spanish chat rooms, and more. I’ve spent a great deal of time putting together a 3-part series of articles for you on the internet’s best free resources for the Spanish-learner that you’ll get when you sign up for my newsletter–in addition to all of what you get below, I’ll be sure to send you any updates about cool new sites, resources, and learning tips and techniques that I come up with (I’m currently putting together a whole series that will teach you in great detail precisely how I go about learning a new language):
Part 1: A very long list of my favorite Top 33 free online Spanish-learning resources (tools, references, sites with free lessons, articles, blogs, forums, etc.) that’s far too long to include here, especially with all the other stuff I’ve got here that’s available just on this site alone, and I’d like to offer it to you (completely free, you don’t have to do anything other than sign up) right now.
Part 2: I explain what language exchanges are (essentially they allow you free access to an unlimited number of native speakers to practice your Spanish with), why they’re absolutely essential if you’re teaching yourself (I’m serious when I say this: it’s impossible to get fluent without them if you’re learning a foreign language on your own), how to use them, and which ones are the best.
Part 3: I cover chat rooms which are specifically devoted to connecting you with native Spanish speakers who want to learn English so you can chat with them in Spanish (and they’ll help and correct you) and then you do the same for them with their English (these are completely free to use, but rather hard to find, but I’ll tell you where the best ones are!). Sign up below!