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



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”?


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

Reputation: 1 325

1Quick comment: Es una china en el zapato. China also means small stone.Serabe 2011-11-15T23:19:25.500

so is that actually used on Spain as well? Interesting...isJustMe 2011-11-15T23:20:13.547

Not that much, quite uncommon for people and barely used. But would be understood without difficulty.Serabe 2011-11-15T23:22:03.263

Es un dolor de huevos (offensive, Mexico)Luis Carlos 2011-11-26T03:00:02.443

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 2011-11-15T23:30:26.980

@Serabe: Depends on the region. But as I know it, china means Marble (little glass ball with colors).Joze 2011-11-27T21:28:52.470

1Since 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 2011-11-16T11:29:19.927



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


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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@Joze Perú: jodido, espeso, ladillaCésar 2012-01-02T15:22:58.260

2You can add: porculero (very vulgar), pesao, cansino, toca-pelotas, to the Spanish list.Rellikiox 2012-01-02T22:00:28.757

1Also: pesado (less offensive than hincha-pelotas) in Argentina.Ghanima 2012-03-01T02:36:29.907

Northeast México we also say "patada en los huevos"motilio 2017-08-07T04:32:45.983

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 2012-05-02T19:30:43.380

@SergioRomero thanks man!Joze 2012-05-03T16:02:54.037

@SergioRomero It is "huevón". I already corrected it.Alfredo Osorio 2012-05-03T21:49:42.917

@Rellikiox: Never heard "porculero" after 40 years in Spain. Must be a regional thing.CesarGon 2012-05-04T19:31:57.797


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 ...


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

Reputation: 766

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 2012-06-14T20:05:20.073


"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


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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2I like your answer better than mine. I don't know if it's used a lot outside Argentina, though.Diego Mijelshon 2011-11-15T23:32:40.847

1In Uruguay is used as well.fabikw 2011-11-15T23:35:31.890

haha nice one +1isJustMe 2011-11-16T02:38:42.113

2not even whole of South America, it's mostly Argentinianvartec 2011-11-16T10:41:48.760


In Spain a similar one would be:

Es como un grano en el culo.


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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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.

Roman LittleStork

Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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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 2012-05-14T03:39:12.433


  • Es un pelmazo.
  • Es un pesado.
  • etc.

Diego Mijelshon

Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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yeah, just pesado is very common in spain, or pesao in its slang form :)rupps 2016-04-11T22:36:28.240


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


Posted 2011-11-15T23:16:35.987

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