As stated in Dictionary.com and UrbanDictionary.com, pendejo is a Spanish slang word that means someone who is considered an idiot. But if you trace the history of pendejo back further, you will find out that the translation for pendejo was originally “pubic hair.” But as descriptive as the word pendejo is, it doesn’t get used as an adjective; it is a masculine noun for a man being referred to as stupid or a dummy. When it comes to insulting a woman in the same manner, the feminine form of the word pendejo is actually “pendeja.”
Pendejo in the Spanish language is a commonly used mild insult, and it isn’t intended to hit as hard as a harsher phrase like “hijo de puta,” which translates into English as “son of a bitch.” Pendejo is a singular masculine noun; the feminine form is pendeja. For a quick background look at pendejo, it stems from the Latin root meaning “pubic hair” and dates back to the 16th century in Spain. In those times, pendejo was used to talk about young teenagers that were going through their puberty stage and looked at themselves as “grownups” because they grew some pubic hair.
As time progressed in the 17th century, pendejo made a shift and began to be used to make fun of people in a different way; by calling them a coward. Once the 1900s began rolling in, pendejo was used less as a way to call someone a coward and more as a term that called them stupid.
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Who Usually Uses Pendejo?
Generally speaking, the word pendejo gets used throughout countries that speak Spanish as their predominant language. People of Mexican heritage commonly use pendejo, whether in the country of Mexico itself or in United States regions such as the Southwest. In fact, pendejo has become so popular in Spanish-speaking areas in the United States that it could pop up in conversations that are spoken mostly in English.
There is a Mexican saying that refers to pendejos as people, the idiots that you may care about but aren’t able to spend too much of your time with. This proverb is “amor de lejos, amor de pendejos” which translates into “love from afar, love for pendejos” in English.
In Argentina and several other Latin American countries, pendejo is still being used similarly to how it was originally intended back in Spain during the 16th century, which is as a way to informally refer to a young boy or a young man who is acting older than they actually are.
Even though pendejo, by all means, is considered a put-down and is definitely not a compliment, there are still ways in which it can be spoken in a friendly tone that isn’t meant to be harmful. But in order to get this lighter approach towards pendejo across, it really depends on who you are saying it to and the context in which it is being used.
One example of using pendejo in a funny way could be when you are hanging out with a close friend who makes fun of how your shoes look. You might sarcastically reply with, “Thank you for your approval, pendejo.”
The word pendejo meaning by Spanish-speaking people of Latino heritage is used to talk about someone that is considered stupid or foolish; it is also commonly adopted by many American English speakers.
Getting Stress Off of Your Chest
When people are highly upset, getting their anger out through words is much safer when then letting it erupt into physical confrontations of violence. The adrenaline rush that comes with using a curse word, like pendejo, could be just the form of verbal fury that someone needs to get their frustrations out without resorting to throwing punches.
However, if the person saying pendejo uses the word in every other sentence, it loses its effect and may not feel like an anger release because it is a regular part of their daily vocabulary. Just remember, it may be much better to say pendejo to yourself in private when you are really mad with a person for the sake of deflating your frustration because this insult could provoke an actual fight.
Being Funny with Friends
There are many occasions when people using the word pendejo are doing so with a sense of humor to make people laugh. When you are among close friends, and you are socially bonding, you may be able to get away with using the word pendejo more easily because there is an understanding that you aren’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, and you all respect each other.
You should know right away before you ever use the word pendejo that it is considered highly offensive and. is not a charming way to talk about other people. Avoid calling anyone a pendejo in professional settings or formal situations to prevent yourself from losing your job or upsetting loved ones during special occasions. Putting pendejo in business emails or professional meetings is a really bad idea.
Only use the word pendejo when you are in a casual setting on the rare occasions where you are in a private company with people that understand that you are only joking or they are in agreement with your usage.