‘!Qué asco!’ – Meaning / in English

‘Qué asco‘ is an extremely common expression used to show disgust. It can be translated to something along the lines of ‘How disgusting!’, ‘That’s gross!‘ or ‘Eugh!‘.

According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the noun asco means a disagreeable impression caused by something repugnant.

You’ll hear it used frequently on the streets of Mexico City, particularly if the restaurant / taco stand you opted for wasn´t so good (just kidding, literally all food in Mexico City is good!).

It’s actually thought to have derived from the word ‘usgo‘, used in old Spanish folk-poetry, and evolved into its modern form in the 13th century.

Interestingly, its roots are thought to be different from those of the adjective, ‘asqueroso‘ (‘disgusting‘).

Uses / meanings of ‘que asco‘ in Spanish

‘¡Qué asco!’ can be used in the following ways –

  • To express disgust

  • To criticize bad behaviour / people

To express disgust

Being the Spanish equivalent of ‘that’s gross‘, ‘qué asco‘ can be used to show revulsion to pretty much anything.

It’s the go-to phrase here in Mexico if anything is visually repulsive –

Sandra – ¡Híjole! Se está poniendo negro mi barro.

Denise – ¡Qué asco!

Sandra – Yuk! My spot is turning black!

Denise – Gross!

It’s also commonly used to describe really disgusting food (or if a stray hair is found in the sopa / mole) –

¡Qué asco, sabe echado a perder!

Gross, it tastes mouldy!

¿Es un pelo? ¡Qué asco!

Is that a hair? That’s disgusting!

Finally, as in English, ‘Qué asco‘ is frequently used to express disgust at an unpalatable mental picture that has been painted, or somebody’s not-so-pleasant actions.

Óscar – Se me cayó una uña anoche, wey.

Franco – Ay wey, no me digas eso. ¡Qué asco!

Óscar – My nail came off last night, dude.

Franco – Don’t tell me that, man. That’s disgusting!

Erika’s note – if you’re looking for more ways to express disgust, you should head on over to our article on all the different ways to say gross‘, ‘yuck‘ and ‘eww’ in Spanish!

To criticize bad behaviour / people

Qué asco‘ can also be used to describe actions or people who are morally wayward.

In English, too, we can describe reprehensible actions as ‘disgusting‘, although other words, such as ‘horrible‘ and ‘horrific‘ are perhaps used more frequently.

Mauricio – ¿Leíste de ese hombre terrible en las noticias? Hizo unas cosas horrorosas.

Lupe – Sí, ¡qué asco!

Mauricio – Did you read about that terrible man in the news? He did some truly horrific things.

Lupe – Yeah, really horrible!

Qué asco de persona‘ is commonly used when you want to describe someone as ‘horrible‘ or ‘repulsive‘.

Javier – Me choca que el vecino pega a sus perritos.

Fernando – Sí, qué asco de persona.

Xavier – I hate how the neighbor hits his dogs

Fernando – Yeah, he’s a horrible person!

Qué asco‘ song lyrics

Señor Wooly’s eponymous song illustrates the meaning of ‘¡qué asco!’ extremely well.

The song is about a man who isn’t fazed by bizarre food combos (grapes wrapped in monkey brains, french fries with fish sauce, etc.) which would turn your average-joe green in the face before they could say ‘¡Qué asco!’.

Here’s the song itself, it’s well worth checking out!

Qué asco‘ pronunciation

The ‘as‘ is said like the ‘as‘ in the English word ‘alas‘ and the ‘co‘ like the ‘co‘ in the U.S. wholesale behemoth Costco.

Qué‘ is pronounced ‘ke‘ (said as we would the consonant ‘k‘ in English).

As regards word stress, the emphasis is on the first syllable – ¡Qué ASco!

Other expressions with ‘asco

Tener asco

This means that you have a general sensation of disgust / malaise due to having seen something really disgusting and not quite being able to get over it!

Think of it as the Spanish equivalent of the English phrase ‘to be disgusted‘, or the more informal ‘to be grossed-out‘.

Ya no voy a ver la película. La neta, tengo mucho asco.

I´m not going to watch the film anymore. Honestly, I´m really grossed-out.

Me das asco

This expression is used when someone has done something ‘disgusting‘, and the speaker wants to express his disapproval.

¡Honestamente, me das mucho asco!

Honestly, you make me sick!

Estar hecho un asco

This one translates to ‘messy‘ or ‘filthy‘. Erika has used this a few times when she’s gone away for a week or two and come back to a (kinda) messy house.

No me lo puedo creer, está hecho un asco la casa.

I can’t believe how filthy the house is.

Ser un asco

If you want to tell someone that they’re disgusting in Spanish, this is the phrase to use! Just trust me, you want to avoid being called this at all costs!

¿Me estás diciendo que no has lavado las sábanas en 3 meses? ¡Eres un asco!

You’re telling me that you haven’t washed the sheets in 3 months? You’re disgusting!

Final thoughts

And that, folks, is all we have time for today! We’re sure you’ll no longer have problems communicating in Spanish the next time something grosses you out!

If you’re looking for a fun, less serious alternative to ‘qué asco‘, the Mexican word ‘fuchi’ might just tick all your boxes. Definitely check it out!

¡Hasta luego!