Words Just Too Dirty to Say Out Loud

Discussion in 'Community' started by medea, Jul 19, 2003.

  1. medea macrumors 68030

    medea

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    Madison, Wi
    #1
    Get a bar of soap. Wash your mouth out. This is how bad our language has gotten: Only a handful of words are so foul-mouthed and truly awful that they can be considered taboo, according to the authors of the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary, which is published in Great Britain.

    In fact, there are only 16 such words left in the English language. You can guess one of them. It begins with an "f."

    London's Telegraph newspaper says the rest have been downgraded to mere "slang." In fact, these same editors predict that the asterisks writers use to soften taboo words in print will soon become an historical nicety. No ****!

    To come to this radical conclusion that there are only 16 really nasty words left in our language, the editors of the Collins English Dictionary examined hundreds of millions of words that are used by the media. The reasoning is that if a word is commonly uttered by TV reporters or written by newspaper journalists, then it's acceptable in everyday conversation. Jeremy Butterfield, the dictionary's editor, told The Telegraph, "There is a certain amount of subjectivity about this. It is not automatically the case that repeated use 'de-taboos' words. It's to do with the majority view that such-and-such a word is not acceptable. There can be new taboo words, not ones to do with body parts, but ones addressing race or sexuality."

    When we hear these bad words on television, it has an interesting effect, according to a British media watchdog group called Mediawatch-uk: It devastates our communication skills. "Far from there being a natural evolution in language, there has been a consistent effort to promote obscenity, swearing, and profanity against the wishes of most people," Mediawatch-uk said in a statement. "The effect of this on educational standards and communication skills has been devastating."

    And that's part of the point: We curse in order to shock. But we've cursed so much, it's lost it's ability to shock. There was a time not too long ago when it was just not acceptable to curse. Parents didn't swear at their kids, and kids--if they had any sense at all--didn't swear (within earshot) of their parents. Teachers didn't swear at their students. Coaches never swore--publicly. And remember those seven words that were never ever uttered on television? Yeah, you can hear them almost every night now on your favorite cable TV shows. Something has changed.

    James O'Connor says that what we say and how we say it is a reflection of who we are. And we don't look so fine right now. To that end, O'Connor has founded the Cuss Control Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois and written a book called "Cuss Control."

    O'Connor has devised the cure for the common curse:

    10 Tips for Taming Your Tongue
    Recognize that swearing does damage.
    Start by eliminating casual swearing.
    Think positively.
    Practice patience.
    Cope, don't cuss.
    Stop complaining.
    Seek alternative words.
    Make your point politely.
    Think of what you should have said instead.
    Work at it.

    And it never hurts to hear Mom's voice in your head telling you to mind your mouth.

    http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/package.jsp?name=fte/taboowords/taboowords
     
  2. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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  3. job macrumors 68040

    job

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    #3
    Well, we can't really post them here now can we. ;) :p
     
  4. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #4
    haha true...but nobody is posting those 16 words anywhere and I'd really love to know what they are..but i have a clue as to what some of them are.
     
  5. MrMacMan macrumors 604

    MrMacMan

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    #5
    Yeah I mean some would be obvious, but 16?

    Hm... supprised they haven't been posted anywhere... :confused:
     
  6. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

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    #6
    well after much research i found out that all 16 words start with * and end with *.

    iJon
     
  7. MrMacMan macrumors 604

    MrMacMan

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    #7
    Does the forums even have 16 asterisked words?

    I would have thought less...
     
  8. Durandal7 macrumors 68040

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    Feb 24, 2001
    #8
    I'm getting curious as to what the 16 are. I am willing to guess that almost all of them refer to genitalia.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    C***!!! :eek: Take it to be whatever you want it to be. I think there are at least a couple of words starting with the letter "c" that always get a rise out of people.

    The "f" word is another one.....it says so in the article.

    [mod. edit - No politics.]
     
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #10
    But what about words that are totally clean, but have really filthy connotations?

    Examples include girth and chafe. If is almost impossible to say these without people thinking you are being rude!
     
  11. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #11
    For some reason this reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch, "Are You Embarrassed Easily?" :)
     
  12. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #12
    it's prolly all genitalia

    without genatalia, none of us would be posting here
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    I wonder how many of them actually have 4 letters.
     
  14. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #14
    i think they come in all lengths

    in some contexts, shorter words like box, or longer words like pecker could be inappropriate in general conservation
     
  15. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #15
    the top 16!!!!!!!!!

    1. ****
    2. *******
    3. *****
    4. ******
    5. *********
    6. ******
    7. ********
    8. ******
    9. ****** ****
    10. ****** *****
    11. *************
    12. ********
    13. *****
    14. ******
    15. ******** *****
    16. *********

    :D
     
  16. pEZ macrumors 6502

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    Feb 2, 2003
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    Madison, Wisconsin
    #16
    I'd imagine 7 of them are those used in George Carlin's sketch "7 Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television", which of course are s, p, f, c, cs, mf, and t. And five of those 7 have 4 letters :D
     
  17. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

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    #17
    it's true that we've become desensitised to bad language, i am trying to cut down on my usage of it, my mouth is filthy, i swear all the time, and i don't like that i do either. yes it has it's place sometimes, but in general every day conversation it ain't good. here in america everything is messed up, i was watching the travel channel and they blur out any shots of a woman showing too much of her rear in a bikini. yet i can wake up in the morning to kiss fm and hear the dj say the N word every sentence, and if i was to say that in nyc, i'd probably get the stuffing knocked out of me. that's one word that should NOT be on the radio or TV fo shizzle
     
  18. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    London, England
    #18
    I'm with evo here, my language is terrible generally, I try to moderate it in lectures, but with limited success, one of my students approached me last year after a particularly fruity studio session, and asked me wether it was necessary to swear so much in class, to which my (genuine) response was "F*ck, yes":eek:

    It's got to the stage where the students will respond to things like "This compressor is bolloxed" with the chorused response "Thats a technical phrase, obviously". The joys of higher education.

    I don't think bad language is as affecting as it used to be, anyone whose ever been to a football match will know all 16 mentioned above and a few more besides.

    I knew the case was lost when c*nt was being used regularly on the BBC:D
     
  19. voicegy macrumors 65816

    voicegy

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    Sandy Eggo - MacRumors Member since 1-1-2002
    #19
    The "c" word, that refers to a part of the female anatomy, to me is one of the most vile words one can utter, way worse than the "f" word, which has so many uses and connotations. I'm very surprised that the BBC "regularly" utters it...it is considered very rude and shocking here in the states, and usually reserved for reference to a female who is considered an EXTREME "b" (female dog)

    Odd how a "slang" for one of the most desired female parts of the human body to heterosexual men became such an angry, vile slur.:confused:
     
  20. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #20
    Strangely the use of the "C" word, (for our sensitive US brethren;) ) has become almost a term of enderment in many parts of the UK, it's not an unusual word, and can be heard on TV with some regularity.

    It's rarely used to describe anything to do with women, and is still mostly an insult man to man, although like the "N" word amongst the gangs, it's a form of familiarity.

    The use of w*anker amuses me, a lot of other countries don't use it and don't understand it, the US is beginning to catch on though, much the same for b*llocks and b*gger, and other amusing English epithets.
     
  21. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Los Angeles
    #21
    The Department of Motor Vehicles keeps a list of dirty words so they can disallow them on license plates. It includes offensive words in many languages. I wonder how often Joe X, for some last name X, is unable to get his own name on a plate because it's an offensive word in a language he doesn't even know.
     
  22. medea thread starter macrumors 68030

    medea

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    #22
    well to be honest the only dirty word I say often is the S word for, um, poo. Other than that I keep it pretty clean, but it nerves me when I'm talking to someone and every other word is F this or that. When and why did the F word become so funny to some people?
    I guess it really depends on what area/region you live in, I mean even though the stereotypical British are very eloquent and articulate in lower level areas the language is as dirty as anywhere here, if not more so. Same goes for France.
    It's true though, your language is part of your image and if you don't mind looking like a filthy idiot then I guess you wouldn't be worried.....
     
  23. BaghdadBob macrumors 6502a

    BaghdadBob

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    #23
    Oh yes, the C word is about one of the least acceptable words in American culture. I mean, I'm pretty hardened, and have been known to sling together profanities that really shouldn't go together -- at length -- but even I cringe when I hear that word.

    There was a time when I was a pizza guy and a new guy came back and was talking about some older lady he had delivered to, and over something stupid he called her a c***. I thought that was pretty damned foul, and the guy had been cussing like a sailor since I met him, none of which had made me take pause. Except, of course, when someone cusses like a sailor and you don't even know them it speaks volumes about their level of class.

    Really, the reason it seems so vile is because it is a dual slur for, basically, b****+vagina=nasty b**** whore.

    It's all in the colloquial usage. You can't expect these things to line up in any reasonable way internationally...

    --------

    On the "how these things are a reflection of yourself" it often amazes me when coworkers of mine look at me sidewise and express shock when they hear me cuss -- "Did you just swear?!?" This is generally due to the fact that they will have known me for months sometimes without hearing any profanity come out of my mouth...and usually it's females. It's a matter of class, IMO. I do my share, often way more than my share, but there's a time, place, and company.

    It makes it much easier when you're coaching kids football and you need to remember to say "dagnabbit" and "doggonnit'... :)
     
  24. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

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    back in NYC!
    #24
    Cuss words are stupid. They are just words - who cares.

    If you truly want to insult someone, the best way is with ordinary words. A good example is Horace and his use of simple diction in the most insulting way.

    Cuss words are becoming slang - who the **** cares? Yeah i'll call someone a bitch and not feel guilty - it already IS slang. Same with words like ****, *****, and cock.

    I don't think anybody should get their panties all tied up in a knot over cuss words - there are more serious things to worry about.

    scem0
     
  25. BaghdadBob macrumors 6502a

    BaghdadBob

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    #25
    Right, not a really big deal, but basically -- especially with the amazing flexibility of f*** -- when it becomes a replacement for normal language you have a problem.

    I said this on another thread, and it is widely held to be true: English is the most expressive language in the world. Ergo, one should be able to express oneself very easily without constantly resorting to slang.

    When you have a person who cannot get through a sentance without saying "f***" you have a person you wouldn't want around ladies and children, and also someone who obviously does not know how to express themselves with our gloriously flexible language without inserting completely unnecessary epithets, slang, or ejaculatory language.

    The ability to communicate efficiently, eloquently, and expressively is a way of showing intelligence and class. Like obfuscatingly deliberate and multi-syllabic verbiage, expletives should be used in moderation for the desired effect, unless the effect one is going for is the impression that they do not know how to control their tounge.

    "You never know just how you look through other people's eyes..."

    [edit:] scem0, you seem to be awfully bitter lately, or is it just me?
     

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