[quote="bluerose, post:17, topic:184280"]
My sister, the priest, and the majority of the congregation are quite fluent in Spanish (I grew up in this parish--in El Paso, TX--so I know!) and the word is hardly ever used any way BUT as a vugarity.
The word (if you'll excuse me for using it) is "pendejo", which is NOT a word used in polite language, under ANY circumstances. Although it can be used as a euphemism for "stupid", the most common usage (around this area, perhaps other areas not) is "m-f"... and this is the context in which it was used, by a priest, during a homily! (I don't have the exact quote, something to the effect of how different racial, ethnic and religious groups make derogatory references to each other... but surely a priest, of all people, could come up with a better example than THAT!)
And to clarify, my sister did not make her daughter go to confession... she said if her daughter had used the word the priest used, she WOULD HAVE made her go to confession (even an 8-year-old, on the border, knows this word is not one to be used in church!)
She is, as I said, going to speak to the priest today, and the pastor if necessary.
Pendejo may be translated as "dumbass" in many situations, though it carries an extra implication of rank and willful incompetence. The less extreme version, which is used in most Spanish speaking countries, translates more or less as "jackass". The term however, has very high offensive connotations in Puerto Rico.
In Mexico, Central and Northern South America, pendejo refers to a stupid person (estúpido), synonymous with idiota ("idiot") or imbécil ("moron"), although it carries a much stronger connotation than the words in English may imply. It is a much stronger word in Mexico and Central America than it is in Panama, where, while still impolite, it is not as offensive, especially not among younger people. In Peru it means a person who gains benefits from an advantageous situation in an immoral or deceptively persuasive manner (usually involving sexual gain and promiscuity, but not limited to it), and if used referring to a female (ella es pendeja) it means she is promiscuous (but the sense of female con-man can also apply). There the word pendejada and a whole family of related words have meanings that stem from these. In South America pendejo¡Te cogieron de pendejo! "You were fooled!" (e.g. by a con-man), to ¡Qué tipa pendeja! "What a dumbass !" (as when some unknown woman unexpectedly offends you with no apparent motive, and just leaves turning her back on you). In Mexico and some countries of Central America, especially El Salvador, una pendejada is used to describe something incredibly stupid that someone has done. In many countries, pendejo also means coward (with a stronger connotation), as in ¡No huyas, pendejo! "Don't run away, chicken-s*t!". **is also a vulgar, yet inoffensive word, for children. It also signifies a person with a disorderly or irregular life. In Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, it has different meanings depending on the situation. It can range from *
In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, pendejo or pendeja refers to a child, usually with a negative connotation, like that of immaturity or a "brat".
In South America it refers to a person regarded with an obnoxiously determined advancement of one's own personality, wishes, or views (a "smartass").
In the Philippines, the word pendejo is a very offensive word meaning "cuckold". When said to a certain person, its intent is to degrade that man and rob him of his pride.
In North Sulawesi, Indonesia, pendo (a derivative of pendejo) is used as profanity but with the majority of the population not knowing its meaning. The word was adopted during the colonial era when Spanish and Portuguese merchants sailed to this northern tip of Indonesia for spices.
In Spain, this word is hardly ever used.
I think there's much ado about very little here.