Talk:Profanity

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Profanity in different languages:German[edit]

I changed "Schweinehunde" into "Schweinehund", because "Schweinehunde" would be the plural. --DidT

Whether "cunt" as an insult is gender-neutral in the UK[edit]

""cunt" in the UK has attained the status of a gender-neutral insult, akin to arsehole/asshole etc"

That's pretty obviously not true. Using the word to insult a man carries the intention of calling him a woman. Duh. Why try to fit in nonsense "gender" agenda? Would that be agender? Pretty fitting, I think. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.163.0.42 (talk) 20:05, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I think otherwise unsupported pronouncements about the details of non-US culture would be more belivable from people not coming from a US IP address . The Wednesday Island (talk) 14:26, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Being from the UK, I'd agree it is pretty much gender-neutral as an insult. One example that comes to mind is "Trainspotting" by Irvine Welsh, where the word is used frequently & indiscriminately of people. Obviously it's a work of fiction but he is depicting how certain groups of people talk. Not sure if that qualifies as a "reference" for Wikipedia standards?

I dont think anyone is ever going to fix this article.. I would if i could, but it looks just fine to me

Does some pedant want to bother explaining to me how one is expected to cite SPOKEN English? Or shall I simply put under the citation, "Visit the UK, pick a fight, and see what they call you." 129.128.148.75 (talk) 17:01, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Ha :) I think the point is that we're a tertiary source; we'd quote secondary sources who had done this to see what happened. The Wednesday Island (talk) 19:18, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Also being from the UK I agree it is a gender-neutral insult - in my experience actually used more to refer to men than women. It is a strongly offensive way or referring to someone the speaker doesn't like, but, to my ears, does not mean in any way that they are implying the other person is effeminate. There are some other similar usages relating to body parts like saying someone is a cock or is a dick-head, or a twat. I guess it is just because these body parts (and referring to them directly by uneuphemistic words) are deemed to be taboo, hence the words associated with them become "offensive" by associationOrlando098 (talk) 17:29, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Answer to first question is yes, it is largely gender neutral, but to either a man or a woman it suggests that they are unutterably horrible. The effect of the word is much more to do with the very taboo nature of the word rather than any meaningful comparison, just as calling somebody a 'fucker', has very little connection to the literal meaning of the word.Pincrete (talk) 14:44, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Worldwide View[edit]

This article is suffering from a USA bias and an English Language bias. However it lacks sufficient references to the largest influence on American profanity views, the FCC. There might also be a Current Events section dealing with the FCC's recent policy change related to "passing profanity" and its historical campaign against so-called 'shock jocks' such as Howard Stern.

I have tagged the article as {{globalize/USA}} as the article tends to come over with a generally American perspective. These paragraphs for example:

The more vague and inclusive interpretation blurs the distinction between categories of offensive words (see Cursing in America by Timothy Jay ).

and

US obscenity laws were originally meant to prohibit symbolic attacks on religion and religious figures or to protect children from profane speech. Since the time of the Civil War in the late 1800s, restrictions have focused more on sexual speech. There has always been great difficulty in defining profanity. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, in response to complaints about a 1973 broadcast comedy routine by George Carlin, called: Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television, ruled that such language could not be broadcast at times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld this act of censorship in F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

and

In the U.S. today, terminology considered to be racist is often seen as more offensive than sexual or scatological terminology; this is most clearly shown in the attention given to use of the word nigger, now effectively banned in American public discourse, although many black people use the word "nigga" as a casual reference, more than most whites do in their normal conversations (though in certain racist or racially-biased social groups, "nigger" as a casual reference to black people is still in frequent use). Some mistakenly associate the word niggardly (meaning "stingy") with the word nigger.[1] As with other types of profanity, context is very important; thus, Americans of African descent might use the word nigger, or the related nigga, in informal situations among themselves, without being considered offensive.

The now deleted (which I agree with) list of profanities section, was also heavily biased towards US terminology. Where distinctions are made, it is predominately with UK variations.

There is a further assumption in this article that we are making an account "profanities in the English Language" rather than simply covering the universal concept of a profanity. The "interlanguage" section cements this idea by making this distinction, as does the sister article Foreign profanity - (foreign to what?).

I therefore propose the following:

  • This article be completely re-written from a language-neutral and nation-neutral perspective.
  • That Foreign profanity be blanked, redirected here and with the worthwhile prose transferred here.
  • That the recently deleted List of English profanities from this article, and the lists in Foreign profanity be combined into a new List of profanities article in an amended form.
  • That this article concentrate on the concept of a profanity rather than heavily on examples of profanities.

NB - I do not object in any way shape or form to the use of profane words in this article. I fully agree with WP:NOT#CENSORED, but at the same time feel that the purpose of this article is not to catalogue profane words, rather describe the concept of a profanity, and only use profane words where appropriate to these ends. A list article should exist as a support for this. To help with the balance, multiple language profane words ought to used as examples, with translations where applicable.

Comments please. -- Fursday 18:06, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

This all sounds great to me. I'm happy to help in any way I can. The idea of the supportive list of words is good; there are vast regional and national variations of some universal themes that should be addressed and everyone likes learning new words. My only trepidation with a list is the fear that it would devolve into a childish, vandal-magnet, but that could probably be managed. If you can find a copy, you might want to check out the book Coincidance by Robert Anton Wilson. It contains an essay called the The Motherfucker Mystique wherin we are treated to a history of the word "motherfucker", the Signifying Monkey, and Stagger Lee. Cheers. Homefill 18:47, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

    • Comment: I've edited the introduction of the article. However to edit the other parts, it requires knowing where the references came from. The author of the article should provide ref/sources to the information, and from that can the rest be helped/edited for grammar and clarity. Breathe200 18:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Started[edit]

I've moved the listy stuff from Foreign profanity to the newly created List of profanities and proposed a merge of the prose to Profanity. Homefill 19:05, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Historically taboo???[edit]

The line that says that "profane words were historically taboo" is pretty dodgy. What does it mean? That profane words were taboo from the beginning? Doesn't seem likely. When do we designate the beginning of linguistics? Or does it mean that profanity itself was a taboo (and today isn't)? Hmmm... It needs clarification and corroboration from someone that knows the history of language (I'm prone to believe that it's the same for all languages so doesn't have to be English language history). Zoran M 05:49, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

The redirect fucking is being discussed.[edit]

Click here to join the discussion. TheBlazikenMaster 13:36, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

P.s. This message has been added to five pages related to this term so there will be real discussion. TheBlazikenMaster 13:36, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Christ's Cunt[edit]

It needs citations. Here is an example of it in modern writing:

 http://www.fanlib.com/fanfic/TheTrouble_With_Rum/2m580f

Here is an example of the same expression in Finnish:

 http://www.youswear.com/index.asp?language=Finnish
 "Kristuksen vittu" "Cunt of Jesus Christ"

The expression obviously exists in many languages. I used it myself just the other day, so I would like to add "Christ's Cunt" in English as another example. Rodent99 19:56, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Australia[edit]

Australia has a system of common usage. When a word becomes common it is no longer legally offensive and can be used in newspapers and on television. Fuck and cunt were added at the last update (in the early 1980's I believe) and as a result, only profanities with a racial connotation are now considered offensive here (ie: no one would bat an eyelid if a child uses those words today). I can't find a reference to it but recall reading about it in the newspaper at the time. If some one can find a reference it would be worth a mention in the paragraph about profanities changing over time.
Another interesting fact that may be worth including somewhere is how "fanny", which is an innocuous word for ass in America, came to mean something else here. over time the term "Fuck all" became "sweet FA" which in turn became "sweet Fanny Adams" (all three terms are still in use today to mean the same thing). As a result of this usage "fanny" came to mean a womans private parts. It always gets a good laugh here when the word fanny is used in American movies. Wayne 23:02, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, Sweet Fanny Adams was the original phrase, and it was shortened to Sweet FA. It's got fuck all to do with "fuck all" ;) It's a British phrase about a real 8 year old girl in the 1800s called Fanny Adams who was murdered and dismembered. The British Navy in their typically uncouth way described some of their food as being sweet Fanny Adams to convey how distasteful they found it, hence the origin of that term.

--80.2.209.44 (talk) 23:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

No surprise that we actually have an article on Fanny Adams. It's beyond doubt that she was a real person, but that doesn't mean that it's a coincidence that "sweet fuck-all" and "sweet Fanny Adams" share the same initials: people then as now make macabre jokes. It's also less than clear what that has to do with the difference in meaning of the word "fanny" among English-speaking countries. The Wednesday Island (talk) 14:30, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

What the fuck is being discussed[edit]

And I highly encourage EVERYONE to post their opinions here. Thanks. TheBlazikenMaster 21:39, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Books containing famous uses of profanity[edit]

Would Huckleberry Finn merit an inclusion on this list for its use of the n-word? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.165.177.128 (talk) 22:05, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it merits the inclusion, seeing as how the word used to be a commonplace word at the time the book was written. History has to be taken into account here as well. To put it into more understandable terms - when HF was written, the times were different and the word 'nigger' didn't have the social stigma it has today, so therefore the perception of the word was not the same as it is today. It's one thing when some mindless contemporary KKK propaganda leaflet uses the word, and another when Mark Twain does. TomorrowTime (talk) 21:18, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Aren't entirely profane?[edit]

I take strong exception to the notion that insulting people for being Chinese ("chink") or Hispanic ("wetback") is only offensive "in the company of certain people". More generally, I'm unsure what "aren't entirely profane to a society" is meant to convey. If the idea is that these words are only mildly or moderately derogatory, I think it's best to just say so. If the editor meant to say that these slurs are profane to some segments of society but not others, I don't think that's accurate. Granted, there are people who use these terms and accept them, but there are also people who assault and murder members of the same targeted groups. Valerius (talk) 17:47, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

- Offensive words are only offensive around people being offended by them. Its not to say its NICE or MORAL to say them at any time. Shooting a gun at an empty space is ok, shooting it when someone is there is a problem, its really the same thing. You can only possibly offended by someone being said that offends you if you are aware of it, a tree falling in the forrest and all that.
I think it stands in contrast to some things, like joking about child rape, maybe the word cunt, which appart from a minority would likely offen most people.

The whole "interlanguage" section[edit]

Does the "interlanguage" section really need such a laundry list of instances? I gather from the above discussion taht this used to be even worse, but you read through this section and think, alRIGHT, we get it already! I hesitate to just excise large swaths of material, but I think that's what's needed here.... /blahedo (t) 20:30, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

The whole section is unneeded and slightly ridiculous, IMO. One word in one language sounds like an insulting one in another. So what? A word for a dish in one language may meen something completely else in another language as well, but does that mean that an "interlanguage" section is needed in the Food article? There's thousands of languages out there, it'd be more encyclopedia-worthy if not a single profanity in any language sounded like something unprofane in any other language... TomorrowTime (talk) 14:58, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

-Phallus Thumper

Somehow I don't think a list of profane words is appropriate for an encyclopedia article. If you want to learn more creative ways to swear, try the site in the extermal links section. But I'd recommend learning creative ways to not swear instead. --Angelastic (talk) 01:16, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Certainly it isn't appropriate for this article, though wikipedia does seem to have many examples of of separate "List of..." articles. -- Fursday 03:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Why isnt it appropriate if the article is about profanity.
The problem with this effort is that no word is inherently profane. As the article accurately points out, even the most profane of words become terms of endearment or even routine fun depending on context and company. Your list would not be definitive at the present time, and in a few decades linguistic drift would render it ever more inaccurate. You're doomed to failure. Truddick (talk) 13:29, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Its impossible to list all words and expressions considered profane. For the creative linguist, the possibilities for expressing profanity are limitless. Your idea, while well intentioned, is ill concieved and I shit on it from considerable height.


Um, in what way is "bitch" a profane word? But also, I agree that it would be an inappropriate thing to put in the article, as there are children on Wikipedia and also a random article button. ♥I'm Out ~ 76.187.190.10 (talk) 20:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Censorship?[edit]

For christ's sake: changing "fuck" to "f*ck" or "cunt" to "c***". Of all the places to impose your irrational and fascist obsession with forcing the world to speak and behave in ways that make you comfortable (all the while of course perpetuating the words' state of profanity rather than eliminating it), it is NOT in a fucking encyclopedia--y'know, where one supposedly goes in the hope of accessing unbiased and comprehensive information and education on virtually any conceivable subject? The place that is NOT about toting one's own viewpoint, that is NOT about hushing up the things that make one uncomfortable and pretending they don't exist, that is NOT about censorship to avoid offending people? You familiar with that, the encyclopedia? Information--sober fact--can never offend; and to think that it can, to be offended by fact, is grossly irrational. To try and cover up concepts or words is the pinnacle of intellectual subversion, and to do so because you, for whatever rationalization you may offer, don't like them is the pinnacle of dogmatic, fascist oppression.

Hopefully this will suffice in demonstrating, if anything the offensiveness of censorship, and how severely inappropriate it is in an encyclopedia of all places. However, if some of you dogmatic little fucks continue on with your narrow-minded, intellectually oppressive bullshit, then sadly I will have to play the "it's in the rulebook" card: Wikipedia:Profanity, Wikipedia:NOT#Wikipedia_is_not_censored, Wikipedia:Content_disclaimer. --Iamthedeus (talk) 01:16, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

The discussion about the appropriateness of this comment and whether it qualified as a personal attack was not relevant per se to the Profanity article or to the content of what I was saying; as such I've moved it to my talk page. —Iamthedeus (talk) 21:05, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not censored.[edit]

Follow this Wikipedia link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not#Wikipedia_is_not_censored —Preceding unsigned comment added by WadeSimMiser (talkcontribs) 23:31, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I deleted the interlanguage section[edit]

The purpose of the interlanguage section has been questioned before, and no defenses were uttered, so I deleted it. It was steadily becoming a cesspool of "I heard this here and that there". It was meaningless to start with - c'mon, a non-profane word in one language sounds like a profane one in another is hardly encyclopedic; and has grown over all possible proportions, in fact to the extent where it was almost half of the article itself. Not to mention, it was patently false in many parts - the word Mittwoch in German is never pronounced Mitfuck, and the word kurba(whore) in Slavic languages ethimologically stems from the same Romanic languages' curva(curve) the interlanguage section was claiming it had an unerringly similar yet unrelated ring to. TomorrowTime (talk) 21:59, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Deleted section:

Interlanguage[edit]

The situation is rendered even more complex when other languages enter the picture. Merde in French, and Mist or Scheiße in German (both usually translated as shit) are also quite common, as are the Italian and Portuguese Merda and the Spanish Mierda. While German and some other languages' profanity seems to focus on elimination, profanities in many Romance and northern European languages tend to make reference to religion, and English profanity tends to be sexual in nature. Italian represents an exception with its extensive use of Cazzo and Fica (translated as dick and cunt, with the latter being less insulting than the English equivalent) in common speech; each is very common in the Italian language and each has, for the most part, lost its vulgar meaning. Likewise, in European Spanish, coño (usually translated as cunt in English) is in some places very common in informal spoken discourse, and means no more than "Hey!" Its frequent use by Spaniards led to the labelling of the class of Filipinos with Spanish ancestry as konyos. In other locales, however, the word has a much stronger negative connotation.

Some scholars have noted that while the French and Spanish are comfortable hearing native speakers use these words, they tend to hear the "stronger" meaning when the same words are spoken by non-native speakers. This may be similar to the differences in the acceptability of queer or nigger depending on who is saying the words. Or it may be an example of how it is easier to learn swear words in a new language or dialect than to learn the fine shades of intensity which accompany their use.

A profane word in one language often sounds like an ordinary word in another; such words are called false friends. Fuck sounds like the French words for "seal" (phoque) and jib (foc), the Spanish words for "seal" (foca) and lightbulb (foco) or the Irish word for "words" (focail), as well as the Latin and Romanian words for "do" ("I do" can be facio as well as the imperative fac in Latin or fac eu in Romanian, which sounds a lot like the English "fuck you"). Arabic for "think" sounds just like "you fucker". Also, the Croatian word fakat sounds similar to the English "fuck at" when it actually means "factually". "Fuck" also sounds like the Latin imperative singular form of "do" or "make" (fac) and the Swedish word for "union" (fack); shit sounds somewhat like the Russian for "shield" (щит). The Cantonese words for "flower" and "bridge", when said together ("fa kyu"), sound vaguely similar to "fuck you". Also, the Latin singular imperative of "say" (dic) and the Dutch word for "fat" (dik) are pronounced like the English "dick". The German word for "fat" is both spelled and pronounced as the word dick in English. Sometimes in the German word for Wednesday, "Mittwoch", the "-woch" in it would sound like fuck. And the Dutch word for "cook" or "chef" (kok) sounds exactly like cock. Several European translations of the English word "bassoon" sound very similar to the American English slur faggot; an example is the Albanian "fagot". Even names in one language may appear as vulgar words in another linguistic community, which causes many immigrants to change their names (common Vietnamese personal names include Phuc and Bich; a fairly common Thai name is Porn; in Bengali, Fukeer is a personal name). In Latin, cum means "with", but it can be a profane word for "ejaculation" in English. Both cum and precum are prepositions in Romanian but can have profane, explicitly sexual meanings in English. However in Romanian cum and precum sound like coom and priecoom when pronounced.

A particular coincidence is the Hungarian and Spanish and Italian words for curve: Spanish curva sounds like the Slavic, Romanian, Hungarian and Polish kurva meaning "prostitute" (or, more offensively, "whore"), and Hungarian kanyar sounds like coño, mentioned above. The word con is a profanity in French, but simply means "with" in Spanish and Italian. Apparently, L.L. Zamenhof chose kurba as the Esperanto word for "curved" to avoid the Slavic profanity evoked by the more etymological *kurva. This phenomenon occurs even between Slavic languages. The word kokot is a offensive Slovak (and, to a smaller extent, Czech) word for penis, while in Croatian it means "rooster" with no offensive meaning at all. (The French word cocotte meaning "Dutch oven", is pronounced exactly the same, giving Slovak students of French language good laughs.) Also, the Croatian word piće, meaning "a drink", means "cunts" in Czech and Slovak. Additionally, puta is the genitive and accusative case of two often-used words in south Slavic languages, but in Portuguese and Spanish, it means "whore"; and filho da puta (Spanish: "hijo de puta") is an offensive phrase, similar to "son of a bitch" but actually worse: "son of a prostitute". In Finnish, katso merta means "look at the sea", but to speakers of Italian it sounds very similar to cazzo merdacazzo is the English equivalent of cock or dick, and merda is equivalent to shit. While "cazzo merda" does not make much sense grammatically (the words are just two nouns put one after the other), hearing such a thing would be funny for Italians, to say the least. This is even more true for Spaniards, since the same sentence, katso merta, sounds just like the offensive expression cacho mierda ("piece of shit") in Spanish. The Spanish word puse (the first-person past-tense of "to put") sounds similar to the English pussy. This is often a source of discomfort for Spanish teachers and humor for Spanish students when the conjugation is being taught. Also Finnish word for bag, pussi resembles pussy. Similarly, the Latin word amabit ("He will love") is pronounced exactly like Ah, ma bite! ("Oh, my dick!") in French, and is a frequent pun in Latin classes. The chemistry term gel, which means the same thing in Spanish as in English, sounds like the English hell when said by a Spanish speaker. The French word vite ("quickly") sounds like the Estonian word for pussy.

In at least one case in Spanish, one word with one connotation in the native language of one of its colonies (in this case, the Philippines) was adopted with another profane connotation in Spanish. The Tagalog word pinga (which means a pole, particularly the one used as a whip to strike or otherwise drive a stray horse into walking on a straight line) is regarded as an equivalent of dick in some Spanish countries, particularly Cuba and Puerto Rico. Yet the word pinga in Portuguese is the slang name for Cachaça, a Brazilian alcoholic beverage.

The American pronunciation of the English word follow is almost identical to the Spanish word falo ("penis"), a non-profanity cognate with phallus. Similarly, the British pronunciation of the word after is identical to the German word After (anus).

Canadian French sometimes string a few basic terms from Roman Catholic liturgy into strings of invective of up to a minute or more. This is known as sacre. Some of these terms have euphemistic alternatives which are also religious terms, but not Catholic ones, for example, Tabarnak(Church tabernacle), Calisse (Holy Chalice), Ostie (Host (Holy Communion)), Christ, Batême (Baptism).

The German and Finnish interjection for surprise or admiration—Hui!—sounds identical to the Russian and Polish swear word literally meaning "dick" (Polish and Slovak chuj, Russian and Bulgarian xyй). The Maori word hui, meaning a meeting or gathering, is also very similar in pronunciation.Pula in Portugese means jump or verb to jump,but in Romaian,pula,pronouced exactly the same way way,means dick.

The word odbyt means "sales (department)" in Czech and Slovak, but it is a non-profane, anatomical term for "rectum" in Polish.

Fáklya, Hungarian for "torch", sounds similar to the English "fuck ya". The British pronunciation of fast sounds like the Hungarian faszt, which is the accusative form of dick or cock. The English pronunciation of the word bus is identical to Hungarian basz, which means "fuck". Czech and Slovak word "horný", meaning "upper", sounds like English "horny".

A more exotic example of interlanguage profanity is the English word carry which sounds exactly the same as a Sinhala (spoken in Sri Lanka) expletive, literally meaning "semen". It is originally a Semitic loanword. (See keri.)

The Afrikaans word kak, which is pronounced kuck literally means "shit". It is mildly profane compared with another Afrikaans word kaffir, considered extremely offensive, and having an equivalent meaning to nigger. In Dutch, the source of Afrikaans, kak means excrement (especially animal excrement), but is not particularly offensive. The English word wife is very offensive to the Dutch and Flemish, as the word wijf is a highly derogary term for a vulgar, offensive woman, to the point that it is almost exclusively used by natives cursing someone with disease: teringwijf implies tuberculosis, klerewijf cholera.

niga in Korean means "you". In English it is a swear word for a person from African American descent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Grt36YD69kSUCph8lA40sqDbHsrreVxp (talkcontribs) 12:06, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Books and films containing famous uses of profanity[edit]

I have a problem with these two sections.

The books section contains a heap of stuff, none of it sourced. While it should be easy to find a source stating that Catcher in the Rye or Glengarry Glen Ross are well known for their profanities, there are some more questionable entries.

For instance, I haven't read Gone With the Wind, but its article doesn't seem to imply that any well known use of profanity is in it.

A Polish book?? What does that have to do with the English language wiki?

Maniac Mcgee? A book, that according to it's article is a YA book? And that was written in 1990? How can that possibly stand out among all other books written in the nineties for its unique use of obscenity? Again, the article for the book is completely quiet regarding any obscenity in the book.

Hyperion? While this is a well known book in the space opera subgenre of SF, I hardly think that it has had a big enough impact on the general society to warrant inclusion here.

As for the movies section... First off, it was added recently, and the adder's rationale is this: "as many would watch movies before they read any those[books](or if ever))". Now that's iffy rationale, right there. The editor that added the section may not read books, but that is not wikipedia's problem. The editor seems to be trying to come up with a how-to (for those of you that don't read books, here's some movies with swearing in 'em, enjoy!), which is discouraged here, IIRC. I will take out the section on movies, as it is likely to bloat beyond control in less than a month, until somebody comes up with a better rationale for having a "movies" section and clear criteria for inclusion - existance of profanity in the movie alone is not enough - if it were, we could list about half of the big screen movies made after the 50s and pretty much every big screen movie since the 80s. I will also trim down the books section and borrow some sources from the respective books' articles to back up the claims of obscenity. If anyone objects any of the removals, please revert them - I haven't read all of these books, and I may be wrong about some of them.

Here are the two sections prior to my edits.

Books containing famous uses of profanity[edit]


Movies containing famous uses of profanity[edit]

I put back Gone with the Wind for the famous line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" which was very notable profanity for the time period. I didn't know what to do with the title, since the movie was what made the line famous and the book used it differently, so I changed the title to Books and movies containing famous uses of profanity. Postofficebox (talk) 16:18, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Fictional Curse Words[edit]

Where the frak is the list of fictional curse words. I know I saw it somewhere on Wiki last year. --John R. Sellers (talk) 19:41, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe you mean Minced oath? Temblast (talk) 09:57, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

List of Profanities[edit]

This list seems completely ridiculous too me. Fuck is minor and bastardchild (is this world remotely widespread?) is major. I am deleting it for the time being. If someone wants to make a more considered list at a later date I have no objection to it but this is simply ridiculous.

I don't think it was very serious. The Wednesday Island (talk) 21:43, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I seem to remember seeing a list of fictional profanities on here a long while back, but now, I can't find it. --User:Datalyss (talk) 18:31, 6 December 2009 (UTC)


swearing to me is like letting it all hang out. it releaves stress it calms your fucking anger. swearing is better then keepign it all bunched inside of you. i beleave that without swaering this world wouldnt be worth my time. bassically i live for swearing. i ♥ swearing!!!!

Sln is cool[edit]

Hi I'm Pie Bye! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.228.233.51 (talk) 01:13, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Words meaning "profanity" vs words meaning "oath"?[edit]

Is it a specific of the English language that the meanings "profanity" and "oath" have blended in some words, such as "swear" and "curse"? Or is this common across languages? Please add this info if you have it! -- 92.229.155.131 (talk) 18:49, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Conversationally, people often conflate different types of foul language. But they still have more-precise meanings. Maurreen (talk) 19:17, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes it's English specific that "oath" and "profanity" shares the same word. At least that is not the case across most langauges. --Kvasir (talk) 20:15, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

sucks?[edit]

Okay sucks is not a profanity. I know what it means but its just a regular word in my book. Like crap or darn or shoot. Take it off please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by XGrantBx (talkcontribs) 21:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree. The word is simply too common nowadays to be considered profane. I would argue the same is true of the phrase "Oh my God!" as well. Cylith (talk) 13:52, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree also. Waterrockhannah (talk) 12:00, 11 July 2013 (UTC)Waterrockhannah

%&$\#[edit]

Do we have an article about the use of a string of non-alpha, non-numeric characters in print to represent cursing?

E.g., "Where's the %&$\# dictionary?"

I expect this is covered somewhere in Wikipedia but I don't know how to search for such a thing. Thanks, Wanderer57 (talk) 17:17, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

I found it appears in the illustration. Wanderer57 (talk) 02:41, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Really?[edit]

Do we REALLY have to write down these words? Even if we do, I don't think we should have articles on these them. - MarioLuigiWarioWaluigi

There's an issue that hasn't been addressed[edit]

You notice that this whole page reads like that joke where a high schooler explains he can cuss by using historical references and facts from TV and the Internet along with "common sense"? That isn't enough to prove you can cuss or are using profanity in an educated way. As far as the high school thing, those arguments are valid if they add up and are proven. This page still looks like Wikipedia's mar on the internet. You have poll's stating that a certain percentage of the population cuss but there are no studies that point to cussing being wrong or in low use? Where are the facts that cussing is viewed as lower class? Certainly that's been documented. There are studies of corralations between cussing and lower intelligence AND it is a flawed way of controlling one's anger. No article for these studies. This page is not written in a way ANY encyclopedia would except, it is not balanced on the main subject of profanity at all, and it is very embarrassing and amateur. BRiMaTiOn (talk) 14:59, 27 November 2010 (UTC)bRiMaTiOn

  • correlations. Differences in the amount people swear would be down to cultural and contextual reasons, not intelligence. Any studies of this type should only be mentioned in an historic sense.

Skorpius83 (talk) 23:15, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Blanking is VANDALISM, even here[edit]

Replacing every profanity with "*EDIT*" on a page about profanity makes it unreadable. You can't talk about something without even naming it. KiloByte (talk) 09:18, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

You removed the line that rounded out the paragraph. The line that explains what those lists mean to the scientific community. Be fair to the reference. Don't misconstrue the information.24.117.161.169 (talk) 20:37, 17 December 2010 (UTC)bRiMaTiOn

Vandalism from all sides[edit]

People have started to vandalize the page with insults and even more cuss words. I know the erasing of cuss words is pretty serious vandalism by some of the editors but what measures can we take to prevent this page from being a circus? An encyclopedia meant to inform and stand neutral cannot contain source that is meant to distrupt these principles. 24.117.161.169 (talk) 02:06, 18 December 2010 (UTC)bRiMaTiOn

Vandalism of this article has always been present, it's not something that's started recently. Also, I'm not sure what you are saying - do you suggest we loose this article in the name of what you call "neutrality" because it's a vandal magnet? Are you suggesting censorship in light of some peoples immaturity and other peoples sensitivity (even if the two are more or less the same)? TomorrowTime (talk) 02:31, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Censorship can be positive. Guess another reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.117.161.169 (talk) 05:42, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Article Title and Introduction[edit]

As indicated in the second paragraph, "profane" means secular or the opposite of sacred. To profane something, is to treat it as though it isn't sacred, or according to Miriam-Webster(the source actually cited in the article), 1: To treat (something sacred)with abuse, irreverence, or contempt 2: to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use. Thus profanity is specifically the same as blasphemy. It is not, as the article suggests, "words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, desecrating, or showing disrespect." I think the word "obscenity" more closely fits this broad bill, but really no more so than "rudeness" or "vulgarity". Furthermore, this article is actually just about obscene language, not gestures or behaviors. --184.229.111.133 (talk) 18:10, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

No, because sense 2 says you can debase somebody, it's not restricted to the religiously sacred.Rememberway (talk) 19:27, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Something can be obscene without being profane and vice versa. Obscenity is about the act/utterance itself, whereas profanity is about what it implies about somebody else.Rememberway (talk) 19:27, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Obviously the thing being debased must be held in a reverential or at least less than profane light in order to be profaned. So in sense 2 profane may be used in hyperbole of things not truly sacred but still retains the sense of insult specifically by irreverence. What's more, the definition given in the intro is still quite far off from the cited source. As to your second point, I agree, which is why I don't think "profanity" is the appropriate title for an article about obscene language in general.--108.124.20.244 (talk) 02:57, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
This seems to be a non sequitor; this isn't an article about obscene language; although many things that are obscene are profane. It's about profanity. Not all profanity is obscene, and not all obscenity is blasphemy, probably not all blasphemy is obscene. So they're obviously all different concepts, (albeit with large overlaps), and they have different articles blasphemy, profanity and obscenity.Rememberway (talk) 04:44, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
As I said, "obscenity" is simply closer to what is discussed in this article than "profanity". I'm not trying to name the page "Obscenity". My complaint is that "profanity" is not an accurate title for this article about "words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, desecrating, or showing disrespect." According to the article Obscenity, "An obscenity is any statement or act which strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time, is a profanity, or is otherwise taboo, indecent, abhorrent, or disgusting, or is especially inauspicious". Wouldn't you agree this is pretty much what is being discussed in this article? Of course this article seems to be focussed mainly on vulgarity in language, so I don't think the articles should be merged. Could you try explaining to me why this article should be named "Profanity" instead of something like "Strong Language"?--107.32.248.224 (talk) 15:54, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
It's called profanity, because it's about profanity, and the Wikipedia needs an article on profanity. This is its article on profanity.Rememberway (talk) 18:46, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
It's not very good though; it covers profane language too much. It almost profanes the Wikipedia by its very presence, but it's not quite that bad.Rememberway (talk) 18:46, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Also, I would not agree that cursing someone, or merely uttering a rude word is the same as profaning the listener, regardless of how much they take insult. Profanity in both senses 1 and 2 is an insult to the word or object being used, not to the listener or witness.--108.124.20.244 (talk) 03:08, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Profanity in Japanese[edit]

This article states that "Swearing and cursing are modes of speech existing in all human languages", but I have heard arguments that certain languages are considered "swearless", i.e. without this mode of speech. In particular, Japanese seems to often be designated as such; see for example Kosugi 2010. Others refute this; see these two articles from Roger Pulvers in the Japan Times. Further complicating the matter is the lack of a Japanese Wikipedia page on swearing, or any page on swearing in Japan on the English language Wikipedia. Does anybody more knowledgable want to weigh in on this? —Spudtater (talkcontribs) 12:10, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Shimatta! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.231.156.175 (talk) 08:18, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

'technical'[edit]

The more technical alternatives are Latin in origin, such as "defecate" or "fornicate". What on earth could be said to be 'technical' about defecating or fornicating ? The writer of these words may be thinking of what used to be known as the 'decent obscurity' of a dead language.

The Latin word for 'fuck', not uncommon in Catullus or Martial, is 'futuo'.

Not commenting on previous, but I do believe that I have heard it hypothesised that Anglo-Saxon words tend to be the root of swear words because, following the Norman Conquest, French (and Latin) were the languages of the ruling class, whereas Anglo-Saxon languages were 'of the people', and therefore both tending towards - and being regarded as 'vulgar'. 'Anglo-Saxon' is still in the UK an occasional, humourous euphemism for 'strong language'.Pincrete (talk) 23:07, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Dung & piss & Shakespeare[edit]

I don't know how dung & piss (in King J Bible) qualify as profanities, dung (even today) is not profane, earthy/indelicate at most, and are we sure that piss was profane at the time the KJB was written (rather than just now). Also, while Shakespeare is definitely full of allusions to body parts, body functions and sex in a way that would probably make strong men blush NOW, I'm not clear that these were profane according to the definitions or purposes given in the article. If they were (at the time), could we have some examples?Pincrete (talk) 22:55, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Muddled intro ?[edit]

I think the intro - at present - is a bit muddled as to whether profanity is an abstract idea (disrespect for the sacred), or set of words that offend, or both of these.

Before trying to 'tidy up', I'll try to detail MY understanding, in the hope that someone might correct me if I'm wrong … … 1) the ancient meaning and root is given, though further exposition might be in order … … 2) since at least 1450, the word has been used to describe a lack of respect - by deeds or words - to something 'sacred' (including - in Christian societies - the use of 'God', 'Christ' etc. as expletives), the injunction against doing this in words is in the 3rd commandment (name in vain) … … 3) modern use (and possibly some historical use), extends the use of the term 'profanity', to include ALL highly offensive language (swearing). This extended use is regardless of whether anything 'sacred' is being disrespected. Of course, what is considered a disrespectful act in a sacred place, and what is considered offensive language is going to vary over time, place etc.

I'm NOT of course suggesting the above text is suitable for the article, merely outlining my understanding which - in general terms - is that the term has BOTH meanings 2 and 3, these meanings overlap, but are distinct and that the article should make the distinct usage clear.Pincrete (talk) 15:47, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

I've asked some questions above about King James Bible and Shakespeare, but I also question whether gestures are profane under either definition (giving 'the finger' in Church would qualify of course). If this is doubtful/doubted perhaps a reword is appropriate (apart from anything else, variations on 'the finger', seem to be the only gestures that cross the threshhold of 'extreme offensiveness' … or have I lived a protected existence ?). Thoughts? Reactions? Which wrong tree am I barking up? Pincrete (talk) 15:47, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Update, I've just attempted to rephrase the intro, makin g the two distinct usages clearer. I again draw attention to questions about King James Bible and Shakespeare, and gestures above.Pincrete (talk) 11:46, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that "formal" is the correct word in this edit. Perhaps "traditional" or "historical" could be better? Mitch Ames (talk) 12:25, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
My only reason for using 'formal', was that the dictionary used it. NOT as part of the definition, but as 'usage'. I would be happy with either of your suggestions, preferring 'historical' … or 'original' or 'literal' perhaps, since this is the root meaning? Is the intro now generally clearer? Pincrete (talk) 16:55, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I am happy for YOU to choose any of your or my alternative suggestions to formal. I realised after writing, that some suggestions (historical and original), carry the implication that this use is now NOT normal, rather than now less common. I draw your attention to questions above about KJ Bible & Shakespeare, if I'm wrong please tell me, you seem to have been on this page much longer than I have. Pincrete (talk) 11:35, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I've just changed formal to literal, though I would be happy with other suggestions if preferred.Pincrete (talk) 14:50, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Before looking at this discussion, I put the "formal" definition below the most common usage and apparent primary topic of the article, which seems to be swear words that are not necessarily "profane", such as "fuck". It seems that only the Etymology section deals specifically with disrespect to sacred things. 93 01:23, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I put things the other way round ONLY because the 'everyday' use is - in a sense - an extension/evolution of the original/literal use. I am happy to 'go with the flow' as to which order is more helpful. I question by the way that gestures are profanities, though behaviour can be profane (in the older, literal sense) … btw, it's noticable that many dictionairies record the 'modern' usage for the noun, but continue to record the original usage for the verb/adjective.Pincrete (talk) 11:07, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

By country - only UK[edit]

Can more countries be added?

Yes as long as it is reliably sourced.Pincrete (talk) 07:45, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, I know they can be added - what I meant was that I was recommending that someone add additional countries. It seems silly to have a "by country" section with only one nation present. KaJunl (talk) 02:30, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Apologies for misunderstanding, yes it is silly, but no one seems to have done/be willing to do other countries and maybe there aren't sources. Perhaps the section should be re-titled.
To be honest, I don't think there are any editors currently involved with developing the article, I became involved ONLY to 'tidy up' some bits and a number of us have this on our watch lists MAINLY because it often gets amended by people wanting to add rather infantile 'bad words'. Pincrete (talk) 09:40, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
I've renamed the section as nobody seems likely to add other countries in the near future. Pincrete (talk) 17:55, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

the difference between cursing[edit]

yes, they're similar in some ways, but they have a difference: swearing is when you say " i swear to G__ and cursing is saying a bad word. Valehd (talk) 04:58, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

The various uses have distinct origins, yes, but as the definitions show, in modern use they have become ordinarily synonomous. 'Cursing' would anyway originally meant 'putting a curse on someone', rather than simply using 'bad language'.Pincrete (talk) 13:12, 8 March 2015 (UTC)