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The word ‘joder’ is one of the standard ways to say ‘fuck’ in Spanish, and probably the most common, though in countries like Mexico, ‘chingar’ is preferred. Like ‘fuck’ in English, joder is not limited to describing sexual activity but has a variety of other meanings and uses.

The word is vulgar by any definition. It is not used in polite speech, in formal situations, or when making presentations or giving an address. The Real Academia Española gives the following definitions for this word.

1. intr. malson. Practicar el coito.
2. tr. Molestar, fastidiar.
3. tr. Destrozar, arruinar, echar a perder.
1. interj. U. para expresar enfado, irritación, asombro, etc.

In other words, joder means ‘to fuck’, as well as ‘to annoy, anger, or piss off’, ‘to destroy’, and is also used to express anger, irritation, or surprise.

• Me jode que creas que he sido yo (I’m pised that you think it was me.)

• ¡No te jode! (Can you believe it! or No problem!)

• ¡Me has jodido mi carro! (You busted up my car!)

• ¡La jodimos! (Now we’re screwed!)

• ¡Que se joda! (Screw him!)

The word is also used as an exclamation, as seen below. Exactly how it might translate into English depends on the context. As with all slang, the translations here are loose.

• ¡Joder! No esperaba eso. (Shit! I wasn’t expecting this)

• ¡No jodas! (You’re kidding! Bloody hell!)

Finally, ‘joder’ is also used in its past participial form (i.e.: jodido/-a) to mean awkward, frustrating, or annoying, as seen below.

• Es un libro jodido. (It’s a damn difficult book.)

• Ni un jodido carro. (Not a damn car.)

Note that ‘joder’ is not always used with the same meaning in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. It is more common in Spain than Latin America, though can be heard virtually anywhere. You should pay careful attention to how people are using it so that you don’t misunderstand what someone is saying.

As with all curses, be very careful when using any form of joder. Even native speakers can cause offense, so non-natives are usually better off just avoiding them. But ‘joder’ and its accompanying idioms are so common that you have to know them.

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