When referring to someone you don't like Americans (or English speakers) often use the sentence "he is a pain the ass". The literal translation to the Spanish is

(Él) es un dolor en el trasero

However, at least in Mexico is not used like that. Some sentences I can think of but wouldn't say that they denote the same feeling are:

  • Me cae mal.
  • Es una piedra en el zapato.

How should I translate “he is a pain in the ass”?

  • 1
    Quick comment: Es una china en el zapato. China also means small stone. – Serabe Nov 15 '11 at 23:19
  • so is that actually used on Spain as well? Interesting... – isJustMe Nov 15 '11 at 23:20
  • Not that much, quite uncommon for people and barely used. But would be understood without difficulty. – Serabe Nov 15 '11 at 23:22
  • The answers probably depend on the dialect, as this is a common enough phrase that each place has its own way of saying it. – Javier Nov 15 '11 at 23:30
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    Since this is a colloquial expression it's best to translate into the colloquial Spanish of the region where you want to express it, which will vary greatly from place to place. How best to say it in a way that works for all Spanish speakers is a good question though. – hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 11:29

There are many many ways to say this, here are some examples: (With the help of other answers, more like a compilation)

Be aware it really depends on where you are, although most will be understood in all the spanish speaking countries. If you use one from another place you will likely receive a you are an outsider look


  • hincha-pelotas


  • huevón
  • jodón
  • cansón


  • molestoso
  • cabrón


  • cabrón (vulgar)
  • Es un hígado
  • mamón


  • jodido
  • espeso
  • ladilla


  • ladilla


  • Como un grano en el culo.
  • porculero (vulgar)
  • cansino


Insultos regionales

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  • @Joze Perú: jodido, espeso, ladilla – César Jan 2 '12 at 15:22
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    You can add: porculero (very vulgar), pesao, cansino, toca-pelotas, to the Spanish list. – Rellikiox Jan 2 '12 at 22:00
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    Also: pesado (less offensive than hincha-pelotas) in Argentina. – Ghanima Mar 1 '12 at 2:36
  • In Mexico: Non swearing ways - "es un hígado", "es insoportable". Swearing ways - "es un mamón", "es un jodón". And as a side note, if you are in Mexico "Guevón" has a different meaning, is a very impolite way of saying that the person es extremely lazy. – Sergio Romero May 2 '12 at 19:30
  • @SergioRomero It is "huevón". I already corrected it. – Alfredo Osorio May 3 '12 at 21:49

Despite the good answers also is worth to mention the following expression:

Es un dolor de cabeza.

Spanish has a wide variety of ways to say the same thing (specially bad things).

Usage example:

Fulanito es un dolor de cabeza, siempre hace ...

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  • 2
    +1 for the universality of this translation, and I think it really captures the spirit of "pain in the ass." A lot of the other ones would be (at least for me) closer to just "bothersome," which of course would lead you to being a pain in the ass. – Junier Jun 14 '12 at 20:05

"es un hincha-pelotas" if we want to keep the translation in the lower area of the body XD

It might be only used in south america

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    I like your answer better than mine. I don't know if it's used a lot outside Argentina, though. – Diego Mijelshon Nov 15 '11 at 23:32
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    In Uruguay is used as well. – fabikw Nov 15 '11 at 23:35
  • haha nice one +1 – isJustMe Nov 16 '11 at 2:38
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    not even whole of South America, it's mostly Argentinian – vartec Nov 16 '11 at 10:41

In Spain a similar one would be:

Es como un grano en el culo.

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"Aquel se pone gorro" is another option. The word "gorro" directly translates to bonnet, but the slang on the Texas/Mexican border is as such that it basically means he overshadows you. It comes from the old habit of a mother forcing a child to wear a bonnet to protect your head and is unwanted but you just can't get rid of it as it is tied to you.

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  • Gorro is “bonnet” for you? Really? What do you mean by bonnet? Isn’t that a fancy thing a lady wears? I should think un gorro is a hat while una gorra is like a baseball cap type of thing. – tchrist May 14 '12 at 3:39

The English Wiktionary has a couple of variants.

Spanish: patada en las bolas, patada en los huevos

My Larouuse gran diccionario has translations for several English variants:

he's a pain (in the neck) es un plomazo or pelmazo or Méx sangrón; US Fam to give sb a pain (in the neck) dar la paliza a alguien; Vulg it's a pain in the Br arse or US ass es Esp un coñazo or Méx una chingadera or RP un embole

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  • Es un pelmazo.
  • Es un pesado.
  • etc.
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  • yeah, just pesado is very common in spain, or pesao in its slang form :) – rupps Apr 11 '16 at 22:36

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