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¡Ay, caramba! (pronounced [ˈai kaˈɾamba]) comes from the Spanish interjection ¡ay! (denoting surprise or pain) and caramba (a minced oath, a euphemism for carajo, a word with different meanings), which is an exclamation used today in surprise (usually positive) in Spanish. The term caramba is also used in Portuguese, where it used to be a minced oath for caralho, the Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish carajo, both of which descend from the Latin "caraculus"[citation needed].

In literature and the artsEdit

The exclamation was the signature nickname of the flamenco dancer and singer, La Caramba, in the 1780s in Madrid. Her head-dress of brightly coloured ribbons became known as a caramba too.[1][2]

Also often used in frustration by the character General Alcazar in Hergé's 'Adventures of Tintin' comic books.[citation needed]

Ay Caramba! was the name of a 1998–2006 Spanish-language television series featuring funny home videos. It was broadcast on Mexico's TV Azteca network.[citation needed]

The fictional character Bart Simpson from the American animated sitcom The Simpsons further popularized the phrase in modern pop culture. It became one of his most notable catchphrases, and something he would say when he was positively surprised by something or in connection with women.

On ChalkZone in the episode Bullsnap Rudy said it with a red scarf with a bull running over him.

On the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, whenever Craig curses on air, his mouth is usually censored with a Spanish flag and the phrase "Ay Caramba" has been dubbed over the curse word. This has become the most common method of censoring on the Late Late Show after Craig announced he wishes to broadcast the final show of 2010 in Spanish. Previously, Craig's mouth had been censored over with the French flag and the phrase "Oh la la!"

See alsoEdit


uk:¡Ay, caramba!
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