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I was thinking maybe of "cabrón" or "chingon" ; however I think those two sound too Mexican specific. Does anybody know a better and less region specific equivalent?

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Describe something Super in a vulgar way? –  Omar Mar 4 '13 at 23:44
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"Cabrón" is also used is Spain. My guess is that most times there will be a regional popular vulgar saying because "badass" is also vulgar. Usually, vulgar slang has its own regional vocabulary in Spanish. –  JoulSauron Mar 5 '13 at 9:28
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I confirm that the polysemous word “cabrón”, in one sense and in the right context, is exactly “badass” in Spain (as it is in Mexico). “Chingón” (with a Mexican flavor and also polysemous, I believe) would be understood, but is not used. More specifically but probably only in Spain, “to be a badass” could be translated as “ser un broncas”, which is informal, but not vulgar or coarse as “cabrón” and “badass” are. This is by the way a strange informal construction, with the verb and the article in singular and “broncas” in plural (“Juan es un broncas”). –  Albertus Mar 5 '13 at 11:40
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For describing something extremely awesome de puta madre. For example Tengo una idea *de puta madre* = I have an awesome idea. –  Omar Mar 5 '13 at 16:43
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@Albertus: +1 to your comment, and I think you should post that comment as an answer. –  bernie Mar 5 '13 at 21:26

13 Answers 13

Huyendo de localismos y vulgarismos, creo que la palabra más apropiada, en español de toda la vida y de uso habitual es "energúmeno", que significa originalmente «persona poseída del demonio», aunque no se usa ya para describir a personajes como la niña de El Exorcista, que hoy día no abundan por las calles, sino simplemente a alborotadores o gente que se pone furiosa sin venir a cuento (estos sí que abundan).

Y digo que es un término "de toda la vida" porque viene del latín energumĕnus que a su vez viene del griego ἐνεργούμενος (poseído). Curiosamente, «ser un cabrón» o estar «encabronado» en el fondo también significa eso: ser la representación de El Gran Cabrón en persona O estar poseído por él, que no es otro que Satanás.

Si, como comenta Michael Wolf, "badass" puede tener también un significado positivo, tendría que ver ejemplos concretos para opinar mejor. Podría ser equivalente a usar "cabrón" o incluso "hijo puta" en ciertos contextos, pero una advertencia: son palabras demasiado gruesas incluso para los españoles nativos hablando con gente de confianza. Si tu interlocutor interpreta mal el "halago" (y es muy posible) pensará que lo insultas gravemente y puede que acabes mal parado. Es más seguro emplear en esos casos términos como "fiera", "lince" o "máquina" ... Más que vulgar, quizás sea cursi decir algo como "eres un lince" en lugar de "eres un cabrón" en cierto contexto, pero siempre será más seguro...

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Pero badass sí es vulgar. –  c.p. Mar 12 '13 at 0:43
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Ya, pero la equivalencia debería estar en el significado, no en el grado de vulgaridad. "Cabrón" puede ser tan vulgar como "badass" pero no es una buena equivalencia por su imprecisión: también significa macho de cabra, o cornudo, o proxeneta, o cobarde, o astuto, ... A menos que "badass" tenga también todos eso significados, "energúmeno" es más apropiado porque un significado preciso. –  Fran Mar 13 '13 at 5:32

You are looking for the phrase "de puta madre". I lived in Spain for three years and this is how they say "badass".

For instance:

Dude, sick fucking jacket!

¡Tío, esta chaqueta es de puta madre!

You may be interested in these words at this page.

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It depends.

If you mean badass as a joke (as in the badass meme) you can use "malote". I don't know how to translate it for the other meaning though.

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what about "bravo"? in possitive and negative way.

http://buscon.rae.es/drae/?type=3&val=bravo

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De poca madre is also a way to express this. I want to say it is less vulgar than puta madre because it lacks the word puta. But in my experience in Mexico, I have learned that the word madre itself can be used vulgarly. So I am not sure which expression is more or less vulgar.

Estar de poca madre Estar de puta madre

If you want to avoid the use of puta, you can´t exactly throw it out and say.. Está de madre! This is where you could simply say -- Está de poca la chaqueta!

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For me badass only has a "good" connotation. "He is a badass= He is a person worth admiring". So, in Spanish a close equivalent could be "cabrón", which is very context dependent. "Chingón", as propossed above, could also be used.

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I think "rudo" or "cabrón" would be the best translation for someone who is badass. This word is not really easy to translate, in fact in Mexico we often say "este hombre es bien badass".

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Something like "fulano tiene mal carácter" or "fulano es agresivo" or "fulano tiene un carácter sanguíneo" (this one rarely used) are a few options.

They lack the slang color, but are standard (non-regional) Spanish.

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Btw, Fulano is originally an Arabic word Fulan and means someone. –  Omar Mar 5 '13 at 16:54
    
These only cover some of badass' meanings. It can have a more positive sense too, vaguely along the lines of "impressive" or "admirable" while retaining a tinge of rebelliousness. For instance, when I told my brother that I was thinking of moving to Mexico City he said, "that would be badass." Which is to say, it's very likely that, just as there's no one word equivalent in English to güey, there isn't one in Spanish for badass either. (I'd like to find out if there is, though.) –  Michael Wolf Mar 7 '13 at 1:49
    
@MichaelWolf The OP's example is "cabrón" ... which is clearly aligned with my answer –  belisarius Mar 7 '13 at 1:58
    
@MichaelWolf BTW "güey" is more regionally scoped than "cabrón" –  belisarius Mar 7 '13 at 2:01
    
I don't think cabrón is a good translation, though. Chingón comes a lot closer, but still misses the mark, and in any case it's only an adjective whereas badass is both an adjective and a noun. –  Michael Wolf Mar 7 '13 at 2:10

I would suggest "problematico" (accent on the a) or "cabeza dura" (hard headed) or "dificil". It realy depends on the situation. "Cabron" or "chingon" are actually insults, which for obvious reasons, you would like to avoid until absolutley necessary and when ready for a confrontation. Therefore, I would suggest avoiding such words.

Then there is the other meaning -positive. Sounds like you want a familiar or street tone. If your intention is positive then use "increible" (accent on the second i) or even "persistente" or "sumamente capaz".

I think "fuerte" would apply to both situations. "Tiene una personalidad fuerte" or "tiene un caracter fuerte" basically hard headed. And in a positive tone..."siempre es fuerte en su posicion"...strong will. How you say it and your manerisms, play a critical role.

Spanish is not just what you say, but also how you say it; it can be a very physical language at times.

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The more slanglike translation that I can think is "cabrón" or "hijo puta" for persons and "the puta madre" for objects or situations.

Although "cabrón" and "hijo puta" can be used on a positive way between close friends (mainly on the north of Spain) they usually have a very negative connotation, so handle with care this expressions and the tone you use with them, as you can get easily the opposite reaction to what you're looking for.

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If you mean it in its positive meaning I don't think there's any good translation for badass because all of them sounds totally lame (at least in Spain). There maybe are certain ways of translating it but it would depend extremely on the context and they would be localisms.

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Depends in what country you would like the answer to, although there are many ways to speak Spanish, the correct format of a slang word such as "badass" will change.

In some countries you might say "Genial!" or "Chevere" (That is more South American) but these words are not actually bad word (or words people might find offensive). Other Spanish speaking countries might say "De la fregada".

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Soy español. En España "badass" referido a alguien se diría "cabronazo": No es lo mismo que "cabrón". "Cabrón" se dice en sentido peyorativo a alguien malo, perverso, despreciable. "Cabronazo" se dice en sentido positivo, a alguien travieso, bromista, burlón; también que tiene "mala baba" o "·mala uva". Si bien la raiz es la misma, la terminación "...azo" le cambia el significado.

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