Cussing – A swear phrase is a word or word this is typically considered blasphemous, obscene, vulgar, or otherwise offensive. These also are referred to as bad phrases, obscenities, expletives, dirty phrases, profanities, and 4-letter words. The act of the use of a swear phrase is called swearing or cursing.
“Swear words serve many special features in distinctive social contexts,” notes Janet Holmes. “They may additionally specific annoyance, aggression and insult, for example, or they will express cohesion and friendliness,” (Holmes 2013).
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From Old English, “take an oath.”
Swearing in Media
Profanities in latest society are approximately as ubiquitous as air, however right here is an example from media however.
Cussing – Spock: Your use of language has altered considering the fact that our arrival. It is currently laced with, shall we embrace, more colorful metaphors, “double dumbass on you,” and so forth.
Captain Kirk: Oh, you mean the profanity?
Captain Kirk: Well, it really is honestly the way they talk right here. Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every different phrase. You’ll find it in all the literature of the duration, (Nimoy and Shatner, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).
If using swear words is taken into consideration offensive or incorrect, why do human beings do it? As it turns out, there are many motives that people would possibly pick out to pepper their language with colorful curse phrases, and profanity sincerely serves a few meaningful roles in society. Here’s what the experts have to mention approximately why, while, and how human beings swear.
Uses of Swear Words
“A very last puzzle about swearing is the loopy range of occasions wherein we do it,” starts Steven Pinker. “There is cathartic swearing, as while we hit our thumb with a hammer or knock over a pitcher of beer. There are imprecations, as whilst we advise a label or provide recommendation to a person who has reduce us off in visitors. There are vulgar phrases for everyday things and activities, as whilst Bess Truman changed into asked to get the president to say fertilizer in place of manure and she responded, ‘You have no idea how lengthy it took me to get him to say manure.’
There are figures of speech that placed obscene words to different makes use of, along with the barnyard epithet for insincerity, the navy acronym snafu, and the gynecological-flagellate term for uxorial dominance. And then there are the adjective-like expletives that salt the speech and split the words of infantrymen, teens, Australians, and others affecting a breezy speech fashion,” (Pinker 2007).
Cussing – “Why can we swear? The answer to this question depends at the technique you take. As a linguist—not a psychologist, neurologist, speech pathologist or any other -ist—I see swearing as meaningfully patterned verbal behavior that with no trouble lends itself to a useful analysis. Pragmatically, swearing may be understood in phrases of the meanings it’s miles taken to have and what it achieves in any particular situation. …
Typically, a social swear phrase originates as one of the ‘terrible’ phrases but turns into conventionalized in a recognizably social form. Using swear words as free intensifiers contributes to the easy-going, imprecise nature of casual communicate among in-organization contributors. … In sum, this is jokey, cruisy, enjoyable talk wherein individuals oil the wheels of their connection as a lot by means of how they speak as what they communicate approximately,”
Cussing – Swearing, like any other feature of language, is subject to alternate over time. “[I]t could appear that during Western society the essential shifts in the recognition of swearing had been from spiritual subjects (extra especially the breaching of the commandment against taking the Lord’s call in vain) to sexual and physical features, and from opprobrious insults, which includes coolie and kike. Both of those developments reflect the growing secularization of Western society,” (Hughes 1991).
What Makes a Word Bad?
Cussing – So how does a phrase grow to be bad? Author George Carlin raises the factor that maximum terrible words are selected as a substitute arbitrarily: “There are 4 hundred thousand phrases within the English language and there are seven of them you can not say on television. What a ratio this is! Three hundred 90-three thousand nine hundred and 90-3 … To seven! They ought to simply be awful.
They’d must be outrageous to be separated from a collection that huge. ‘All of you over here … You seven, you awful phrases.’ … That’s what they informed us, you remember? ‘That’s a horrific word.’ What? There are not any terrible phrases. Bad thoughts, horrific intentions, however no terrible phrases,” (Carlin 2009).
David Cameron’s ‘Jokey, Blokey Interview’
Just due to the fact many humans swear does not suggest that swear words aren’t still debatable. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron once proved in a informal interview how quick conversations can turn sour while swear words are used and lines between what’s suited and what is now not are blurred.
“David Cameron’s jokey, blokey interview … On Absolute Radio this morning is a good example of what can appear while politicians try to be down with the kids—or in this situation, with the thirtysomethings. … Asked why he failed to use the social networking internet site Twitter, the Tory chief said: ‘The problem with Twitter, the instantness of it—too many twits might make a twat.’ … [T]he Tory chief’s aides had been in defensive mode afterwards, mentioning that ‘twat’ was now not a swear word under radio hints,” (Siddique 2009).
Censoring Swear Words
Cussing – In an effort to use swear words without offending, many writers and guides will replace a few or most of the letters in a bad word with asterisks or dashes. Charlotte Brontë argued years ago that this serves little purpose. “[N]ever use asterisks, or such silliness as b—–, which are only a cop-out, as Charlotte Brontë recognised:
‘The practice of hinting by means of unmarried letters the ones expletives with which profane and violent humans are wont to garnish their discourse, strikes me as a proceeding which, however well-meant, is weak and futile. I can’t tell what excellent it does—what feeling it spares—what horror it conceals,'” (Marsh and Hodsdon 2010).
Supreme Court Rulings on Swear Words
Cussing – When public figures are heard the usage of specially vulgar expletives, the law will from time to time get involved. The Supreme Court has dominated on indecency endless times, spanning many many years and more than one activities, though often brought to the court docket with the aid of the Federal Communications Commission. It seems that there aren’t clean guidelines as to whether the general public use of swear words, although normally deemed incorrect, ought to be punished. See what New York Times writer Adam Liptak has to say approximately it.
“The Supreme Court’s closing principal case concerning broadcast indecency, F.C.C. V. Pacifica Foundation in 1978, upheld the commission’s willpower that George Carlin’s traditional ‘seven dirty words’ monologue, with its planned, repetitive and innovative use of vulgarities, became indecent. But the court docket left open the question of whether or not the use of ‘an occasional expletive’ will be punished.
Cussing – The case…Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, No. 07-582, arose from two appearances via celebrities on the Billboard Music Awards. … Justice Scalia study the passages at problem from the bench, even though he substituted suggestive shorthand for the grimy words.
The first worried Cher, who contemplated on her profession in accepting an award in 2002: ‘I’ve additionally had critics for the closing 40 years pronouncing I changed into on my way out every 12 months. Right. So F-em.’ (In his opinion, Justice Scalia explained that Cher ‘metaphorically counseled a sexual act as a method of expressing hostility to her critics.’)
The 2d passage got here in an trade between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in 2003 in which Ms. Richie discussed in vulgar terms the problems in cleaning cow manure off a Prada handbag. Reversing its coverage on such fleeting expletives, the commission said in 2006 that both broadcasts have been indecent. It did not count, the fee stated, that some of the offensive phrases did now not refer immediately to sexual or excretory capabilities. Nor did it depend that the cursing became remoted and apparently impromptu.
Change in Policy
Cussing – In reversing that decision, Justice Scalia said the trade in coverage turned into rational and therefore permissible. ‘It became simply affordable,’ he wrote, ‘to determine that it made no experience to distinguish between literal and nonliteral makes use of of offensive words, requiring repetitive use to render simplest the latter indecent.’
Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting, wrote that now not each use of a swear word connoted the identical factor. ‘As any golfer who has watched his accomplice shank a brief method knows,’ Justice Stevens wrote, ‘it might be absurd to just accept the thought that the resultant four-letter word uttered on the golf direction describes sex or excrement and is consequently indecent.’
‘It is ironic, to say the least,’ Justice Stevens went on, ‘that while the F.C.C. Patrols the airwaves for phrases which have a tenuous courting with intercourse or excrement, commercials broadcast throughout top-time hours frequently ask visitors whether they’re struggling with erectile dysfunction or are having problem going to the rest room,'” (Liptak 2009).
The Lighter Side of Swear Words
Cussing – Swearing doesn’t usually ought to be so severe. In truth, swear phrases are frequently utilized in comedy like this:
“‘Tell me, son,’ the demanding mother stated, ‘what did your father say while you advised him you’ll wrecked his new Corvette?’
Curse like a Sailor, Study like a Scholar
Are you equipped for your most risqué English lesson ever?
I promise no longer to curse at you or offend, however I will be introducing the subsequent seven phrases the usage of—gasp!—their actual spelling. No dashes, stars, or hashtags may be covered to defend your sensitive eyes, however considering it is all within the call of getting to know, it’s ok! (Fun truth for you: Did you already know that the aggregate of various symbols to represent an obscenity—like this: %@#$^!—is known as a grawlix?)
The essential definitions furnished for every word were taken from the Oxford Dictionary of English.
Origin: Old English scitte (“diorrhoea”), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schijten, German scheissen (verb).
The Dutch and German words from whence shit got here proportion the equal meaning because the English phrase; that is, all of them essentially imply “poop” or “to poop.” They don’t suggest “to defecate,” as that phrase is a chunk too classy and non-vulgar to clearly replicate the that means of shit.
Some more exciting history for you: the words from which shit originates come from even older phrases which means “to part with, separate, or cut off.” (Don’t reflect on consideration on that one an excessive amount of.) Even extra exciting is the truth that the phrase shit virtually used to be neutral, with out a vulgar connotations.
Of path, there are many different methods to use the phrase shit as an expletive. Here are some examples of contexts wherein the word can be used:
- Oh no—I stepped in canine shit.
- He’s behaving like a little shit.
- Don’t you dare give me that shit.
- This is a sincerely shitty movie.
- Don’t touch my shit!
Origin: Middle English, from Old French pisser, likely of imitative starting place.
Cussing – In preserving with our theme of bodily waste, we’ve got piss, a notably moderate swear phrase, however really no longer some thing you need your grandmother to hear you assert. The starting place story for this one is quite boring, but right here’s any other little tidbit for you:
the Old French pisser seems to refer no longer to urine itself, but to that which dispels the urine. It essentially approach “person who pisses” or “that which pisses,” which means it may refer to both a person or a sure male appendage that I may want to in reality give you some vulgar phrases for. As with shit, there are many innovative ways to use piss as a swear phrase.
- I need to take a piss.
- That cat just pissed everywhere in the carpet.
- Oh, piss off!
- I’m so pissed which you just ate my ultimate French fry.
Origin: Variant of arse. Old English ærs, of Germanic beginning; related to Dutch aars and German arsch.
Depending on where you live, ass or arse can be the extra common variant of this phrase. While this phrase does not talk to excretion itself, it does of direction discuss with the body element responsible for that in particular unpleasant (however very necessary) feature, and as a result is the butt (pun meant) of many jokes and insults.
A donkey is also known as an ass after its Latin subgenus name, Asinus, and ass is often used as an insult basically which means “a stupid or silly individual.” This is absolutely break free its bum-related which means. It need to be mentioned that, even as it isn’t at all insulting to name a donkey an ass, it would be quite rude to tell a donkey that it has a fat ass.
- He fell proper on his ass.
- Don’t be such an ass.
- That asshole referred to as me unsightly!
Origin: Old English hel, hell, of Germanic foundation; related to Dutch hel and German Hölle, from an Indo-European root that means “to cowl or hide.”
Cussing – Most swear phrases have to do with three matters: bodily functions, God, or intercourse. We covered the physical functions with the primary two, and now we are onto blasphemy. It’s interesting to consider how the meaning of hell has evolved through the years.
Though the info are particularly debated by means of theologians and internet trolls alike, the fundamental that means of Hell in the Christian religion is an area or state of eternal struggling and separation from God. As a swear phrase, but, hell has many extra meanings. For a few motive, it’s a notably slight expletive, so that you’re probable to listen it crop up pretty frequently.
- Who within the hell do you watched you’re?
- Go to Hell!
- What the hell is going on here?
Origin: Middle English, from Old French dam(p)ner, from Latin dam(p)nare “to inflict loss on,” from damnum “loss, damage.”
If you’re headed to Hell in a handbasket, how do you get there? And what are you after you’re there? You’re damned, of route. You can apprehend why damning someone to Hell—in other words, wishing them to suffer wonderful pain and soreness for the rest of eternity—is a quite insulting factor to say. However, much like hell, rattling isn’t a totally robust or harsh swear phrase compared to others. Isn’t English bizarre?
- Oh, rattling it! Damn it to Hell!
- Damn, I forgot my keys.
- Oh, damn it, I’m late again.
Origin: Old English bicce, of Germanic beginning.
The Old English bicce comes from even older root words that each one suggest the identical element: a lady dog. The word complain still does suggest “girl dog” and is utilized in its literal feel in lots of one-of-a-kind animal-related contexts. However, it has also developed as an insulting term used to consult an ugly woman.
Bitch was once one of the maximum insulting matters to name a lady—take into account, in any case, the consequences of saying someone is behaving like “a bitch in heat.” Not most effective are you reducing the character to canine fame, but you are also commenting on the character’s reproductive cycle. This simply did now not fly in the extra conservative societies of days beyond.
Today, but, whinge has a wide form of meanings, a number of which truly have fantastic connotations.
- She became being so rude to me. She’s this type of whinge.
- Quit your bitching and get your work achieved.
- Bad bitches like me are tough to come back with the aid of.
- Bitches get stuff completed!
Origin: Early 16th century, of Germanic beginning (compare with Swedish dialect focka and Dutch dialect fokkelen); likely from an Indo-European root which means “strike,” shared by way of Latin pungus, that means “fist.”
Cussing – I wish you experience like as plenty of a rebel studying these swear phrases as I did at the same time as writing them. (Can you consider I got paid to do that? I love my task.) We’re scoundrels, all of us! Don’t forget to sign up for the a laugh next week while we scooch forward in time a chunk to take a look at expletives and obscenity laws. It’s going to be effin’ top notch!