Cojones (Spanish pronunciation: [koˈxones]) is a vulgar Spanish word for testicles, denoting courage when used in the phrase "tener cojones" (equivalent to English "have the balls to"). It is considered a curse word when use by itself as an expletive in Spanish. In English, as a loanword, it means courage, brazenness, "nerve", "guts", etc.


English usage

In US slang, cojones denotes “brazen, brave attitude”, pronounced /kəˈhoʊneɪz/ and /kəˈhuːnəz/ in English. Contextually, its usage is like that of the Yiddish chutzpah (nerve), the Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian muda (balls), the French couilles (balls) and the Finnish sisu (perseverance). A common euphemistic misspelling of cojones is cajones (furniture “drawers” and "wooden box drums", see cajón).

The first English-language text to contain the word cojones as a metaphor for bravery is Ernest Hemingway's 1932 book on bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon. "It takes more cojones," he wrote, "to be a sportsman where death is a closer party to the game." '[1]

Spanish etymology and usages

Cojones (s. cojón [koˈxon]) and huevos (eggs) or bolas/pelotas (balls) are vulgar Spanish curse-word usages for testicles. The singular form, cojón contains the augmentative suffix -ón (implying magnitude), and derives from the Vulgar Latin coleonem, the accusative form of coleo (testicle), an augmentative form of cōleus (leather bag for liquids); its variants are cūleus and culleus. The lej or lij pronunciation shift is common to Latin and Spanish, e.g. foliahoja (leaf), which is a cognate with the English word "foliage".

The exclamation ¡Qué cojones! is used to express pain, anger, excitement or irony, and is approximately synonymous with the interjection ¡coño! (vulva) expressing anger and surprise. [2] Analogues to the Spanish cojones exist in Galician collóns, Valencian and Catalan collons French couilles, Italian coglioni, Portuguese colhões, Romanian coaie, Leonese coyones, Dutch kloten, German Klöten, the Welsh ceillion.



  1. ^
  2. ^ El pequeño Larousse ilustrado 1999 p.285

External links

  • Rincón de Chistes – humorous page in Spanish describing various slang uses of the term (in Spanish)
  • [1] – Cojones in Immigration Politics

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cojones — courage, lit. balls, 1932, from Sp. cojon (Cf. It. coglione) testicle, from L. coleus, culleus, lit. a leather sack, related to Gk. koleos sheath, scabbard (see CELL (Cf. cell)). First attested in Hemingway …   Etymology dictionary

  • cojones — [kō̂ hō̂′nes] pl.n. [Sp] Informal 1. the testicles 2. [with sing. v.] courage; guts: Sometimes considered vulgar …   English World dictionary

  • cojones — excl. exclamación de fastidio, enfado. ❙ «La puerta se cierra y cojones, digo yo que tengo un poco de razón en todo esto.» José Ángel Mañas, Mensaka. ❙ «¡Cojones con la que nos ha venido encima» DE. ❙ «Más alto, cojones..., más alto...!» Armando… …   Diccionario del Argot "El Sohez"

  • cojones —    American    the testicles    A borrowing from the Spanish:     But Burton spoke fluent Arabic, and he would have learned Maghrebi Arabic for such a venture, and his cojones were of legendary size. (Theroux 1995, of Burton s visit to Mecca,… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • cojones — {{#}}{{LM C09193}}{{〓}} {{SynC09419}} {{[}}cojones{{]}} ‹co·jo·nes› {{《}}▍ interj.{{》}} {{※}}vulg.malson.{{¤}} Expresión que se usa para indicar extrañeza, sorpresa, admiración o disgusto. {{#}}{{LM SynC09419}}{{〓}} {{CLAVE… …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

  • cojones — n pl a. courage, guts . A word (pronounced [co honays]) introduced to many English speakers by Ernest Hemingway, it is the Spanish slang word for balls in both the literal and metaphorical senses. b. the testicles. The word sometimes has its… …   Contemporary slang

  • cojones — n. the testicles. (Spanish. Usually objectionable.) □ He kicked that old cat right in the cojones and sent it flying …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • cojones — noun plural Etymology: Spanish, literally, testicles Date: 1932 1. slang nerve 3 2. slang testes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cojones — /kaw haw nes/; Eng. /keuh hoh nays, neez/, n. Spanish (sometimes vulgar). 1. (used with a pl. v.) testicles. 2. courage. * * * …   Universalium

  • cojones — noun a) testicles b) balls, courage, machismo, chutzpah …   Wiktionary

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