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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"courage," literally "balls," 1932, from Spanish cojon "testicle," from Latin coleus, culleus (source of Italian coglione), literally "a leather sack," related to Greek koleos "sheath, scabbard (see cell). In English, first attested in Hemingway.


n. 1 (context slang usually considered vulgar English) testicles 2 (context slang usually considered vulgar English) balls, bollocks, courage, machismo, chutzpah


Cojones is a Spanish word, and a loan word in English, that can mean:

  • Testicles, in profane slang
  • Courage or boldness, as in the expression "tener cojones", equivalent to the English idiom "having a lot of balls"

Usage examples of "cojones".

His hairy hind end glared at me, his garrancha and cojones swinging back and forth like those of a bull about to mount a cow.

Not even the fray would expect me to risk my own manhood to save the cojones of another.

True, I had spoiled his sale, but it was Cervantes's name that had driven Mateo muy loco ciego, almost costing me my cojones and my head.

The man had threatened my cojones once if I mentioned Cervantes's name again.

Years ago I heard Fray Antonio and Fray Juan talk about harem guards the Moors used called eunuchs, men whose cojones had been cut off.

Even the part about him having no cojones was, in its way, mortification of the spirit.

He will allow two days for the movement, and if he has even the ordinary ration of cojones he will be beginning the march now with plans to march into the evening and begin early in the morning.

If you disturb me with too much yelling I may have him skin your cojones or maybe one of your eyeballs.

If the federales caught him and squeezed his cojones he might betray me.