There’s a kind of myth that there are no swearwords in Welsh, so let me first debunk this, and then we can get onto the HILARITY of Welsh profanity.
Welsh is a bit funny on the swearing front, because until the anglicisation of the language, there weren’t really any specific swear words. There were words that were generally kind of rude, like fart and dick, but not much specifically profane, like shit or fuck. Most of the swear words that we now use come from English (eg ‘pisso’ = piss, ‘ffyc’ = fuck), which isn’t really that interesting.
However, this doesn’t mean that people didn’t swear in Welsh before the language became more influenced by English. Oh no. It means that the more traditional Welsh swearwords and profanities are absolutely hilarious, because they’re almost completely idiomatic, and are only rude in context. They are, to put it bluntly, funny as fuck.
Archaically, most Welsh profanity was derived from either religion or from the rural background of the country, meaning that most swearwords or phrases are about various livestock and their bits and bobs, and so I decided to find some (plus the ones that our Welsh teacher taught us in year 12, good on you Mrs Evans) and now I am dead.
- coc y gath - this literally means ‘the cat’s dick’, but its closest English equivalent would probably be ‘bollocks’ - used when something doesn’t work out the way you planned, eg ‘dw i wedi colli fy waled, coc y gath!’
- cachu hwch - similar to ‘coc y gath’ in meaning and use; when something has gone wrong (literally ‘pig’s shit’)
- coc oen - similar to the above (literally ‘lamb’s willy’)
- cer i grafu - bugger off (literally ‘go and scratch’)
- mewn cachiad / mewn dau gachiad / mewn cachiad chwanan / mewn cachiad nico - very quickly (literally ‘in a shit’ / ‘in two shits’ / ‘in a flea’s shit’ / ‘in a goldfinch’s shit’)
- pric pwdin - a gullible idiot (literally ‘a pudding prick’)
- dim gwerth rhech dafad - completely useless (literally ‘not worth a sheep’s fart’)
- cont caseg - a woman of loose morals (literally ‘a mare’s vagina’, except it’s not vagina, it’s the REALLY RUDE WORD)
- esgob annwyl - the equivalent of ‘oh my God’ (literally ‘the dear bishop’)
- sgleinio fel ceilliau ci - something amazing (literally ‘shining like a dog’s testicles’ - kind of an equivalent to the English ‘the dog’s bollocks’)
- dos i chwarae efo dy nain - bugger off (literally ‘go and play with your grandma’)
- rhech capel - a quiet fart (literally ‘a chapel fart’)
- llawes goch - a vagina (literally ‘red sleeve’)
- mae hi wedi cachi arna i - I’m done for (literally ‘it’s shit on me’)
- min dŵr - an erection you get when you’re really intoxicated (literally ‘a watery erection’)
- bustachu - to have sex without the capacity to impregnate your partner (literally ‘to have sex like a castrated bull’)
- piso gwidw - a weak drink (literally ‘widow’s piss’)
- fel rhech mewn pot jam / potel - useless (literally ‘like a fart in a jam jar / bottle’)
- rhech benfelen - a fart that stains your pants (literally ‘a blonde fart’)
- diawl - a complete bloody bastard (literally ‘the devil’, but it’s ruder in Welsh)
And then you just have the boring ones:
- cachu - shit
- ffyc - fuck
- pisso - piss
- anws - anus
- slebog - slut
- cont - … the really rude word that I am not comfortable saying (although hilariously, ‘cont’ is a friendly term of endearment in some areas, particularly in the North, so you hear it said A LOT in casual conversation and no-one bats an eyelid - people in my office call each other ‘cont’ all the time and I always do a double take)
And now you just have to look up all these words and see how to pronounce them using the Welsh international phonetic alphabet, and you’re set - I can’t give you approximate English pronunciations because there are phonetics here that don’t have an English equivalent (eg ‘ch’) and I have no idea how to write them down so that you’ll be able to understand the pronunciation. Oh, Welsh. Coc y gath!