It can be tossed off almost harmlessly like "damn'' or dropped like an F-bomb.
It can be heard expressing joy, frustration and outrage on the streets of New York's Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.
Now, a public high school teacher is suing the city after he was suspended and fined $15,000 after being accused of deploying the word "cono'' in his Manhattan classroom. School officials view the word as inappropriate for the classroom and accuse Carlos Garcia of misconduct.
The teacher's attorney says Garcia didn't use the word. But the city attorney agrees with the hearing officer's decision to suspend and fine him.