Is it an insult to call someone 'cabrón' in Mexico?

A: Hola
B: ¡Hola, cabrón!

  • Just as a "nice to know", in Chile cabrón refers to someone that is good at something (good sense) but also to someone who's arrogant about that (bad sense). You can use it even as a reflexive verb, like acabronarse, which is usually used in a negative sense. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 0:37
  • Not in Spain, but it depends on the context. I am Spanish and I don't really know if it's an insult in Latinamerica. Here it's an insult just if the person that you are talking with is not a really close friend. Sometimes even some friends will be offended if you say to them "cabrón".
    – Ryuzaki
    Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 18:40

9 Answers 9


No, it isn't exactly an insult in Mexico. It is just for a person with not a kind personality.

According to RAE definition:

adj. Méx. Dicho de una persona: De mal carácter. U. t. c. s.

  • 2
    I've heard it in Mexico it in the meaning of "dude!". Not being an expert, I think nevertheless that the answer deserves more than a line. And I wouldn't care what RAE says about regionalisms. They usually provide really poor entries.
    – c.p.
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 17:26
  • 1
    Depends on the context and tone of voice.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 17:10

Depends on context.

If it's your friend, there's nothing wrong because you are calling as a affectionate way, more or less.

For example, in Spain we have a famous corrupt treasurer called Luis Bárcenas, and in his party, the Popular Party, her colleagues calls him "Luis, el Cabrón".

But in fact it is an insult. Also a very hard one. If you don't have a close relationship with the person you should avoid it.

  • 1
    Ops, I see the Q before the edit. Note that this question is only spanish-point-of-view, not México.
    – Arkana
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 7:47
  • In the philippines, it's an insult to call someone cabron, however, in obregon mexico its ok to call someone cabron. i do not know in other parts of mexico Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 7:49
  • @DerPolyglott33, I'm curious to know from what source you got cabron as an insult in the Philippines. I am a native Filipino speaker and honestly I never heard anyone, even from the TV and movies that word used but that's just me. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 17:12
  • Please note the very hard link between this question and spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/4496/…
    – Envite
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 0:05
  • @user75782131-I heard this word in an old movie in the early 1970s but nowadays it's not used anymore probably the older generation still uses it. like what Rico said below it means like "asshole". Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 22:35

In México, cabrón has different meanings. The first one from your example:

A: Hola

B: ¡Hola, cabrón!

In this case it's just used as dude or man when it's used to refer to your friends, but it certainly sounds vulgar and you should avoid to use it in front of other people than your friends. However it can also be used as an insult, example:

  • Ese cabrón no se quita del camino! (that jerk/asshole won't move out of the way!)

There's also a third meaning, very common by the way, and it's used to refer to someone who is really good at something specific, for example:

  • Ese wey es muy cabrón jugando fútbol (that guy is so good at playing soccer)

another example:

A: Mira cómo baila salsa ese chico(look how that guy dances salsa music)

B: Qué bien baila, está muy cabrón (he dances so good, he is really awesome at it)

These 3 meanings are used in México and I know them from my experience as a native Mexican.

  • +1 because the answer explains all meanings I have heard 'Cabrón' used for (I'm mexican too). But please! use proper punctuation marks and capitalization! Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 20:04
  • "Wey" se escribe correctamente "bùey."
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 17:27

Why look regionally but leave out other Spanish speaking cultures? In the Caribbean, a cabrón is less than a man. A cabrón is a man who's woman is cheating on him (giving him horns. Hence the root word cabrón/goat) knows about it and does nothing.

When dealing with friends its permissible to call your friend cabrón but it's usually used in a context to get their attention or to express a deep emotion and to joke around

Mira cabrón

Ah. No seas cabrón.

Jajajaja, qué cabrón eres.

In these instances, to us, it's akin to asshole or fucker.

México is not the only one that uses that word. I've seen a Mexican get knocked out for calling a Puertorican he didn't know cabrón.


Yes, if it's someone you don't know well.

No, if it's someone you know well and have an informal, comfortable teasing relationship with.

In addition to the other meanings given on this page (including jerk, tough, cuckold, incredibly good at something, dude), another meaning is

unfaithful, bedhopping

Example: A young couple had a baby. These young people were university students but were unbelievably ignorant about basic science, e.g. genetics. A whole saga took place because the young man didn't feel the baby looked like him. All their friends and acquaintances became embroiled in the debate about whether the young woman had been unfaithful (e.g. "No creo que Chela sea cabrona"). The young man pressured the young woman to have another baby right away. I learned this usage from hearing the saga through the paper-thin walls between their apartment and mine.


Also can mean "difficult; hard to do" as in:

  • "Can you fix my engine today?"

  • "La neta, amigo?... va a estar medio cabrón.. => ("Really man?.It's going to be pretty hard.")

(Mexican - Guadalajara.)

  • Que curado, gracias! Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 18:41
  • Translatio: "The truth, man?.It's going to be pretty hard."
    – C Soltero
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 18:42
  • In English it would be like "gonna be kind of a bitch to do". Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 0:05

Cabrón is like the word "jackass" in English. Literally it translates to a male goat, but it seems the meaning (depending on context) would be usually closer to "horny fornicating billy goat". If you wouldn't call someone a jackass, don't use cabrón!

  • There are certain subcutures in English speaking countries where the same word can be ok among friends, but an insult in other contexts. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 1:38

In Puerto Rico, the word "cabrón" also means "nigga", because when we talk about guys or guys we know we refer them a "cabrón".


Cabrón, ¿qué haces? Watchu up?, ma nigga.

¿Johnny Sins? ¿ése calvito cabrón de Brazzers? Johnny Sins?, is that the bald-headed nigga from Brazzers?


I'll talk about its usage in Spani, altough I'm pretty sure it works in other places, such as Colombia.

It depends on how you say it. The intonation will show your intentions.

IF you say it in a friendly way, it's not an insult. Caution: this implies being effusive, warmly. For example:

Ey, eres un cabrón.

Said warmly, it means that you've been smart, it's like "nice move", you're a master. So this is good. It's actually (uh you beat me, I could feel dissapointed/offended, but I don't, because I admire your intelligence of doing that move, you're a good one". So it becomes a good thing.

It can also be used for lazy people. IT's like "you don't bother to move your ass and you don't care what people say". Yes, thath's a bad thing, but it is understood as "you manage yourself to save work, altough many people don't like it, but they don't dislike it so, so much. So you end up getting what you want without effort. Good move". And yes, that's a good thing, or at least not a bad thing haha.

HOWEVER, if you use that very sentence speaking seriously, or angrily, iti s definitely an insult. It's all about if you're showing joke or seriousness when saying it. I know, Spanish is hard haha.

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