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Randomly today, my thoughts have been occupied with rude words. Specifically; What makes some words 'rude', and others acceptable? In particular, I was thinking about words like, fuck, cunt, wank, shit, piss, etc. The commonly used ones (though most I can think of would apply to this). 'Fuck' just means 'sex'. It's merely another word for that act. So, when in 'polite' company, and the topic of discussion turns to sex, why is the use of the word 'fuck' unacceptable or even offensive? It means exactly the same thing. Similarly, cunt is just another word for vagina, wank is just another word for masturbation, etc.

So why is this, then? Technically speaking, these words should cause no more alarm than the other words which mean the same thing. Let's say hypothetically that you're watching David Attenborough on Wild Life On One, and there's a scene where two buffalo are mating (another word which fuck means the same thing as), and ol' Dave is going into great detail about the process. If he were to describe what is physically occurring, he would definitely not say "The bull mounts the female, and inserts his cock into her cunt, and fucks her. He fucks her several times over a period of a few hours."

Dave would say something else, which means exactly the same thing, but his choice of words would omit 'fuck', 'cunt', and 'cock', and in their place would be 'mate', 'vagina', and 'penis'. I know that's not the greatest example in the world, because a documentary would use the scientific terms wherever practical anyway, but you get my drift. There's no real reason why these words should be more unacceptable or offensive than their counterparts. It occurs to me, that what makes these words 'rude', is to do with how they have come to be used in society, and not with the reality of what they actually mean.

For example, 'cunt' carries a great many irrational connotations which vagina doesn't. Vagina is more of a 'clean' word. It even sounds cleaner, even though there is absolutely no logical reason for that to be the case. This is because, 'cunt' is typically used when someone is trying to make something sound dirty, or even undesirable. To the point where the word has now become a common insult, and has become almost completely detached from what it actually means. "You are a cunt", etc. You would never say "You are a vagina". It wouldn't have any impact, would not be a true insult, and you would just embarrass yourself.

I believe we only find all these 'unacceptable' words offensive because of the way they have been used over the course of history. It has become ingrained in our minds that these words are rude, even though, in reality, they are no more 'offensive' than a myriad of other words we feel that we can use freely. I also think they are linked to taboo subjects. I've been thinking about it, and I cannot recall any offensive word for say, a pencil. Or a piano. Or yawning. It's only things which one might consider a 'taboo'. For instance, you generally wouldn't strike up a conversation with your nan about sex, or your penis. You would generally feel uncomfortable doing so, even if you stuck to using the scientific terms.

So basically, I think it's society which makes certain words 'rude', and not the words themselves. As we are raised, it is ingrained in us. The words themselves, truly only mean what they 'say on the tin' (so to speak), but by using them in a certain way, one may imply many things which one could not with other words. Their usage has evolved from simple verbs to a whole host of other things. So in theory, saying "She's a fucking slut" is grammatically incorrect, because you've basically just said "She's a sexing slut". Again, slut being an example of an offensive word which deals with a taboo subject, and has a much more 'polite' alternative in 'promiscuous'. The use of the word 'fuck', in that instance modifying it into 'fucking', is a way of increasing or greatening the sentance. It seems more impactful in that sentance to include the word 'fucking' than to omit it and just say "She's a slut".

So the next time someone swears and it offends you, think about why you are offended. Half the time, it is utterly irrational to find the word/s in question offensive, or unacceptable.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 14:37 by Oni )

The stupid thing is; most people are too dumb to even look at it in that sense. If they think their being insulted they prefer to lash out first. Same goes for racial slang; if u don't react to it, it loses its power and so society finds new words. Best thing to do is learn another language and insult people in that; that way u can get away with it 90% of time depending upon what the main local dialects of the area are.

It always makes me laugh that western slangs so universal; even in the most remote locations and removed languages.

Enoch Powell was right, and you know it.

I can't see how the word Cracker can be seen as offensive! The only relation white people have to do with crackers are that they are often white.

However the N word is offensive because of the past slave organization and demeaning them by thinking of them as a lower person because of their background, So that does have Racist Conotaitions. Calling someone a Poppadom does not ground as racist.

Thanks for the thread Oni, that was quite true.

What sparked it off was a member in another topic today complaining about people using the word 'gay' on the forums as slang, citing it as 'homophobic'. I thought "Hang on a minute, if someone says to me 'Did you watch Big Brother' and I say 'No, I hate it. It's so gay', I'm not being homophobic at all, am I? It's just part of my natural language". Then my thoughts wondered onto other 'offensive' words and terms.

In that instance, A; 'gay' is not even an offensive word, and B; it didn't even mean homosexual originally, it was another word for 'happy'. Either way, if you say something is 'gay' as a way of making it sound stupid, it's not homophobic, and it's altogether very silly to get in a twist about it. If I say "You are a stupid gay. Men were supposed to go with women, not other men", then that is homophobic.

But then, in that instance, the whole sentence is homophobic. The word 'gay' is nothing but a verb within that sentence.

Shig Guevara said:
However the N word is offensive because of the past slave organization and demeaning them by thinking of them as a lower person because of their background, So that does have Racist Conotaitions. Calling someone a Poppadom does not ground as racist.

'Nigger' is a particularly interesting word, because black people often use it as a term of endearment to each other. So it is both a highly offensive word, and the extreme opposite; used as an expression of friendship and/or love. No other word I can think of has the same properties as 'nigger'. It is a remarkable word.

Shig Guevara said:
Thanks for the thread Oni, that was quite true.

My pleasure ^_^

( Edited on 01.06.2007 14:48 by Oni )

Thank you Monty Python.

The Word Fuck!
Perhaps one of the most interesting words in the English language today, is the word fuck. Of all the English words beginning with f, fuck is the single one referred to as the "f-word". It's the one magical word. Just by it's sound it can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love. Fuck, as most of the other words in English, has arrived from Germany. Fuck from German's "fliechen" which mean to strike. In English, fuck folds into many grammatical categories. As a transitive verb for instance, "John fucked Shirley". As an intransitive verb; "Shirley fucks". It's meaning is not always sexual, it can be used as an adjective such as; John's doing all the fucking work. As part of an adverb; "Shirley talks too fucking much", as an adverb enhancing an adjective; Shirley is fucking beautiful. As a noun; "I don't give a fuck". As part of a word: "abso-fucking-lutely" or "in-fucking-credible". Or as almost every word in a sentence: "fuck the fucking fuckers!". As you must realise, there aren't many words with the versatility such as the word fuck,as in these examples used as the following words;
- fraud: "I got fucked"
- trouble: "I guess I'm really fucked now"
- dismay: "Oh, fuck it!"
- aggresion: "don't fuck with me, buddy!"
- difficulty: "I don't understand this fucking question"
- inquery: "who the fuck was that?"
- dissatisfaction: "I don't like what the fuck is going on here"
- incompetence: "he's a fuck-off!"
- dismissal: "why don't you go outside and play hide and go fuck yourself?"

I'm sure you can think of many more examples.
With all these multipurpose applications, how can anyone be offended when you use the word?
Use this unique, flexibel word more often in your daily speech. It will identify the quality of your character immediately. Say it loudly and proudly:
FUCK YOU!

Temporarily banned until further notice.

As far as I know most swear words are considered offensive because they just sound so harsh. I think most people consider 'cunt' to be the worst one (I do anyway...) because it just seems so... Plosive and... Mean I guess...

Really anything can sound like a swear word if you say it aggressively though. If you say 'swear words' really calmy they sound really sound offensive at all... Except maybe cunt

Still a proud member of the 'omfg amazing water in games' society

Yeah I've got that on my computer somewhere Smilie Any serious input from you, master Oldschool?

Oni-Ninja said: Nigger is a particularly interesting word, because black people often use it as a term of endearment to each other. So it is both a highly offensive word, and the extreme opposite; used as an expression of friendship and/or love. No other word I can think of has the same properties as nigger. It is a remarkable word.

Yeah I guess, but its only really if you know the person so it can go either way depending on the person.

It's all relative. No one word is rude in all cases to all people. It depends on the context of the situation and the way people interpret the word. I mean you could call me a blasphemer and I wouldn't really care, wouldn't take it as an insult. Say that to an evangelical and he would quite rightly pissed. Smilie

A brilliant example of a previously inoffensive word evolving into an offensive one is the word 'spastic'. Back in the eighties, SCOPE (that charity for disabled people) was known as the Spastics Society. But then the word started to be used as an insult (not helped by the appearance of that Joey guy on Blue Peter) so the charity eventually decided to change it's name. The same goes for words like 'nigger' which was just another way of saying 'black' but came to be considered a racial slur as time went on.

Also many words that we might find offensive, other English-speaking countries don't. Like spaz, pom, or retarded (which although many Americans find it offensive in everyday speech it's still used by doctors as in 'mental retardation'). Same the other way around.

Noone says 'I'm feeling very gay right now' as another way of saying they're happy do they?

Why's crap not as offensive as shit?

Why is the dog's bollocks a good thing?

I suppose how offensive someone finds a word is is completely subjective.

Shig Guevara said:
Oni-Ninja said: Nigger is a particularly interesting word, because black people often use it as a term of endearment to each other. So it is both a highly offensive word, and the extreme opposite; used as an expression of friendship and/or love. No other word I can think of has the same properties as nigger. It is a remarkable word.
Yeah I guess, but its only really if you know the person so it can go either way depending on the person.

Well yes, but even so. I suppose you might say "Oh, you silly cunt/fucker!" to a friend on the odd occasion. Even then, those words are neither as offensive, or as friendly as the word 'nigger'. You would only say it when your friend does something stupid, too. 'Nigger' truly is quite an amazing word.

Z said:
Its all relative. No one word is rude in all cases to all people. It depends on the context of the situation and the way people interpret the word. I mean you could call me a blasphemer and I wouldnt really care, wouldnt take it as an insult. Say that to an evangelical and he would quite rightly pissed. Smilie

That's different though. That's based on that person's beliefs. 'Blastpheme' is not a universally insulting word. I'm talking about swearwords. 'Cunt' is a swearword. If I say "You are a cunt", it is much more offensive than if I say "You are stupid", though they basically mean the same things. Nes pas?

( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:05 by Oni )

Well the Chavs in my area don't find cunt too offensive, its all about how you say it. "Oh my god, your a fucking cunt." That could be interpreted as a joke between friends or an attack. But then again, in almost all cases cunt is seen as more offensive than git. I guess that cunt is usually quite crude and is said harshly in more cases than not. I guess people have just been conditioned, we usually expect more aggression and hostility when someone says cunt than we do when someone says git, so we associate the cunt stimulus with hostility.

Oni-Ninja said:
Yeah Ive got that on my computer somewhere Smilie Any serious input from you, master Oldschool?

Yes, I was going to make a serious point eventually.

I would classify myself as being in the middle ground. Swearing is a completely normal part of our language and we shouldn't get too hung up on it. As I have said before, I took Ripley as a 6 year old to see South Park: The Movie. It was a swear-fest. I have never attempted to pretend swearing doesn't exist from my kids - it is an act of futility.

What is important is to learn self control. I tell them that swearing with their friends is no big deal, although I would like to think that they do have some self control. What is important, is that they taught that there is a time and place for swearing. One place not suitable is in front of your grandmother.

Parenting is about empowerment. Let the kids do something, but teach appropriateness. Growing up on alternative music, swearing has been part of their entertainment.

As for use of the word 'fuck', the reason not to use it too often is, it is the strongest word in our language. Use it too much and it loses its power. I do not regularly swear. At work, people know I am very angry when I use the word, because it is not something they expect. It keeps its power.

Swearing all the time can also show a lack of imagination. There are far more creative ways to talk. I remember the first time Ripley swore and it was at school. She was in Grade 2 and a kid in front of her kept moving his head all the time and it was distracting her. She told the kid to - "keep your fucking head still." Naturally, we received a note from the teacher. Whereas my father would have belted me severely back in the day, I responded by telling Ripley that she would have been more effective had she said - "keep you fat ugly head still." Not orthodox parenting, but effective.

The word 'slut' originally meant, a woman who kept a unclean house. I remember reading some old english poetry about faeries to the kids, and it referred to a woman as a slut. I had to explain the change in meaning over time. From memory, one of the possible origins of 'fuck' (there are many, no-one is sure), is from the old practice where you had to get permission from the King to marry and have children. It is supposed to be, Fornication Under Consent of the King.

The only word I draw the line on, and will not use is 'cunt.' I hate the word and it makes me cringe. Of course, I have no logical or rational reason to hate it so, I just do. So if you don't mind Oni, don't refer to yourself as a 'cunt' unlike you, a 'cunt' is useful, you can fuck itSmilie (Seriously, that was a joke and a commonly used one in Australia, England?)

So, to conclude my random ramblings: Yes, they are just words, but we should exercise self control and discretion in their use. Over use will see you defined as lacking in class. Pick your moments.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:36 by oldschool )

Temporarily banned until further notice.

All very fair points. Swear words dont actually offend me ion any way shape or form, and I honestly dont understand how/why they would offend anyone.

The whole "gay" thing has got to do with this idea of Political Correctness, which is a whole load of bullshit, imo. My little nephew is not allowed to sing "Bah Bah Black Sheep" in school, as shocking as it sounds they are made to sing "Bah bah racialy differant yet equal sheep" which is an absolute piss take!

Also, the word "retard" is frowned upon in everyday situations, yet the medical term for someone with "deminished mental capacity", aswell as its self, is "mental retardation". Curoi's post also supports this with the word Spastic (beat me to it...git Smilie)

CuRoi said:
A brilliant example of a previously inoffensive word evolving into an offensive one is the word spastic. Back in the eighties, SCOPE (that charity for disabled people) was known as the Spastics Society. But then the word started to be used as an insult (not helped by the appearance of that Joey guy on Blue Peter) so the charity eventually decided to change its name.

The idea of PC-ness is going too far now, the idea of being all prim and propper is just beyond a joke. Freedom of speach in the UK? My arse.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:33 by Takeo )




"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." Deviantart Profile-||-Myspace

Indeed. However, I was trying to be utterly objective over these words. Not the pros and cons of using them in certain places. What is it that truly makes these words 'offensive'? Is it parenting? There's no logical reason for them to carry any extra weight than their counterparts. Imagine, hypothetically, if, just for one day, the relationships and connotations of 'rude words' and their counterparts were polarized for a single day.

So 'fuck' would be the polite way of saying 'sex', the latter word being extremely offensive. The same for cunt/vagina, cock/penis, etc. What a strange day that would be. Technically, nothing would be different. But everything would be weird.

Takeo said:
Political Correctness, which is a whole load of bullshit, imo. My little nephew is not allowed to sing Bah Bah Black Sheep in school, as shocking as it sounds they are made to sing Bah bah racialy differant yet equal sheep which is an absolute piss take!

A different topic entirely (maybe you can make one?), but a good point. At work, I must not ask for a "black coffee". I have to ask for a "coffee without milk". I mean, no-one owns the word 'black' We are all free to use it in any way we want. I hate 'Political Correctness' more than anything else in the world. It serves no purpose, other than to make everyone's lives ultra-family-friendly, and difficult. It is a bane on our society.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:41 by Oni )

It is to do with the origin of the words in a lot of cases. The etymology of words like 'fuck' and 'cunt' led to them not becoming part of the popular lexicon. A lot of swear words also sounds 'vile'. The hard 'uck' in 'fuck' or the 'hit' in 'shit' and the word 'cunt' is a far cry from being as soft as 'vagina' or even something like 'pussy'. In the case of 'fuck' I think it was first used in the late C16th in writings and was considered a nasty little word for sex with particular resonance of whores. It was just never a nice word with nice intent.

'Cunt' is a bit of an odd one it stems from the word 'quaint' (quiet and secluded), as a vagina is (arguably...). Anyway, this is a bit of its origin

c1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 172/12 In wymmen {th}e necke of {th}e bladdre is schort, & is maad fast to the cunte. c1425 Castle of Perseverance (1904) 1193 Mankynde, my leue lemman, I my cunte {th}ou schalt crepe.

In the early C20th it was used as a word for abuse, etc.:

2. Applied to a person, esp. a woman, as a term of vulgar abuse.
1929 F. MANNING Middle Parts of Fortune I. viii. 159 What's the cunt want to come down 'ere buggering us about for, 'aven't we done enough bloody work in th' week? 1932

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Reminds me of that episode of Spongebob where they start swearing all the time, because Patrick thinks the words are 'sentence inhancers' (they words are bleeped out by dolphin sounds...unless the dolphin sound was actually meant to be the word, I could never really tell).

I also think they are linked to taboo subjects. I've been thinking about it, and I cannot recall any offensive word for say, a pencil. Or a piano. Or yawning. It's only things which one might consider a 'taboo'. For instance, you generally wouldn't strike up a conversation with your nan about sex, or your penis. You would generally feel uncomfortable doing so, even if you stuck to using the scientific terms.

I think basically we need SOME words that we're allowed to say to describe things like sex, but because it's uncomfortable people want as few as possible, so any words that aren't considered acceptable are said out of context until they can mean pretty much anything (I think Patrick was right, they're just sentece inhancers really).

Now on twitter, predicting celebrity death headlines! @thedaytheydie

Social conditioning makes them offensive. You are right, there is no logical or rational reason as to why. Even replacing the offensive word with something can get get you in trouble. In Farscape, they replaced 'fuck' with 'frell' and used it a lot. I found myself using it. The point is, if you and all of your school mates started saying "frell you" to a teacher, you would still get in trouble. It is not the word, but the intent.

Anyone old enough to remember The Sex Pistols getting in court over the word "Bollocks"? Who the hell determined bollocks as an offensive word? It is the puritans, religous types of course, who attempt control.

Temporarily banned until further notice.

In Farscape, they replaced 'fuck' with 'frell' and used it a lot. I found myself using it. The point is, if you and all of your school mates started saying "frell you" to a teacher, you would still get in trouble. It is not the word, but the intent.

Like that episode of Recess!

This WHOMPS.

Now on twitter, predicting celebrity death headlines! @thedaytheydie

Yes, I remember Farscape. 'Frell' leads me quite nicely on to something else actually; substituting swear words for something else, or censoring the swear word with a bleep, or stars for printed text. Why do it? It means exactly the same thing. You knew in Farscape when they said "Frell!", they were actually just screaming "Fuck!". Your brain knew it meant 'fuck'.

In text, when they sanitize words like 'cunt' and print them as 'c**t', etc. Why? When people read it, they know what it means. They know that that word there, with the two letters omitted, is the word 'cunt'. So, therefore, how is it any less offensive when presented as 'c**t'? Shig Guevara reminded me earlier when he said "The N word" instead of just saying 'nigger'.

I don't understand this logic. It is no less offensive. It carries the exact same meaning and intent. So just say/print the actual word, or don't say/print it at all.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:59 by Oni )

Oni-Ninja said:
Yes, I remember Farscape. Frell leads me quite nicely on to something else actually; substituting swear words for something else, or censoring the swear word with a bleep, or stars for printed text. Why do it? It means exactly the same thing. You knew in Farscape when they said Frell!, they were actually just screaming Fuck!. Your brain knew it meant fuck. In text, when they sanitize words like cunt and print them as c**t, etc. Why? When people read it, they know what it means. They know that that word there, with the two letters omitted, is the word cunt. So, therefore, how is it any less offensive when presented as c**t? Shig Guevara reminded me earlier when he said The N word instead of just saying nigger. I dont understand this logic. It is no less offensive. It carries the exact same meaning and intent. So just say/print the actual word, or dont say/print it at all.( Edited on 01.06.2007 15:59 by Oni )

The problem is censorship is about not intentionally offending society. If a paper used the real word, all hell would break loose. They still want their story, so they compromise. Keep in mind that 30 years ago, they couldn't even do what you mention.

The radio station I listen to is a Government broadcaster. It is a youth station, Triple J. They play NIN - Closer, without censoring it. They did however get in a fight with the Government back in the 90's for playing a rap song, name escapes me, about killing cops, perhaps Niggers With Attitude, could be wrong. They were put off air for a week. It wasn't the swearing, but the theme that got them in trouble. They payed Golddigger with Nigger uncensored, amongst other songs using it. However, they are instructed by law, not to use the word cunt. When that rule came in, they ran a story on not being able to say cunt, it was kind of funny because they repeatedly said the word for the story.

The word cunt can alos be broadcast on television here - only after 9-30pm. You may (or maybe not) remember a whole episode on Sex In The City was about cunts. Not that many people complained. This is free to air we are talking about. In America, they can only do that on subscription television.

Temporarily banned until further notice.

Yeah, I reckon censoring is pointless.

Yeah, I know they do it because it's illegal to print the word properly. That's not what I meant. What I meant was; Who decided that words like 'cunt' are less offensive of you star out some of the letters? Who decided that bleeping parts of certain words out makes them less offensive? How does 'sanitizing' these words actually lessen their impact in any way? By what rational does this act make any meaningful lessening of the word?

It's like if I cover up half of the Mona Lisa. You still know it's the Mona Lisa, instantly. The only difference is, you've got this annoying thing covering it up. If, for instance, I say to Z "Z, you are a stupid f***ing c**t, and I spit in your general direction", he would be no less-offended than if I had just posted "Z, you are a stupid fucking cunt, and I spit in your general direction".

I know they do it so that they aren't breaking the law. I'm questioning the law. That process of 'sanitizing' those words has accomplished nothing. Anyone who would be offended by the word 'cunt' is going to be equally offended by 'c**t'. Etc. Even in quoting. If you're going to quote Keith Richards, there's going to be some swear words. That's the material you've decided to use. So just print his swear words properly, or don't quote him at all.

It's a little pet-hate of mine, actually. I find it quite patronizing.

( Edited on 01.06.2007 17:30 by Oni )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Swearing is stupid, they're just words. Why should fuck be considered rude if it's pretty much just another way of saying sex? I don't get it. How strange humans are, some air vibrations make you happy, & some air vibrations make you cringe. Like any animal I guess, but while that's mostly instinctual for other animals, with humans you only know fuck as a rude word because someone told you it was.

I'm betting the amount of people who swore would drop consideringly if they didn't know it was a swear too. Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

It's not likely to change in your generation though - get used to it. I am happy that they don't use them to be honest. Once you do, then you have to expect and accept some 6 year old calling you a stupid cunt when you, say, fall off your skateboard. There has to be some sort of standards - yes, I know that is incredibly difficult and subjective.

Temporarily banned until further notice.

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