Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to say "what the hell", "what the f***", or "what the heck" in Spanish and have come across the following translations:

¡Qué mierda!

¡Qué demonios!

Which of these is the most natural translation to convey what I am trying to say? Is there yet another translation what is used more than the above two? Please mention your country so that one can understand what region your response pertains to.

share|improve this question
"¡Qué demonios!" is a deliberately bland / inoffensive / archaic way of saying it, used frequently in television and movies as a sort of "lowest common denominator" exclamation to avoid causing offense to anyone at all. Similarly bland exclamations: ¡Rayos!, ¡Caracoles! – Paul Legato Jun 21 '14 at 23:09
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'm from the north of Spain.

The most usual translations here for What the hell and derivatives could be:

¿Qué cojones?
¡Pero qué cojones!
¿Qué coño?
¡Pero qué coño!
¿Qué mierda?
¡Pero qué mierda!
¿Qué puta mierda?
¡Pero qué puta mierda!

Usually the expressions starting with "Pero" are used as an exclamation, while the expressions without it usually conforms questions, like in ¿Qué cojones está pasando?, although it's not always the case.

share|improve this answer
Highlight that theses phrases vary greatly depending on the area even within the same country – Emilio Gort Jun 19 '14 at 14:54
IN Cuba we also say ¿Qué pinga es esto? – Emilio Gort Jun 20 '14 at 0:50
In most of Spain these are valid. The last pair is just an enhancement on the previous. – Envite Jun 20 '14 at 7:11
"Qué demonios" es la traducción que se suele hacer para series y películas. – Darkhogg Jun 21 '14 at 7:31

I Mexico we say:

¡Qué chingados!
¡Pero qué chingados!
¡Qué mierda!
¡Pero qué mierda!
¡Qué pedo!
¡Pero qué pedo!
¡Qué puta madre!
¡Pero qué puta madre!

Sometimes "chingados" is spelled and/or pronounced as "chingaos."

share|improve this answer
+"¡qué mádres!" o "¡qué carajo!" – c.p. Jun 19 '14 at 21:00

In Argentina:

¡Qué mierda!
¡Pero qué mierda!
¡Qué carajo!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.