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I hear it quite often in movies, radio , books, songs even in some interviews with actors .In my native language is a word like that very strong and awfully offensive but I think it is not that strong in English since I hear people say it very often .

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, KitFox May 5 '13 at 1:58

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Offensive words may be profane and/or indecent depending on the context and, depending on the context presented, use of the F-Word or other words as highly offensive as the F-Word may be both indecent and profane, However the Suprem Court has held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned. Thusly, you have to hear F-Word more often you expect. Don't worry, it is normal and acceptable. –  user19148 May 4 '13 at 21:45
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See (better yet, hear) George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say On TV", the only piece of linguistic research that has ever been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. –  John Lawler May 4 '13 at 21:51
    
In the UK it is generally bleeped out during the day and early evening but increasingly heard in late night programmes. It is generally accepted in drama but would be totally inappropriate if eg a presenter used it when interviewing a politician. It is also heard in riskier comedy and chat shows. –  Mynamite May 4 '13 at 23:30
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The bottom-line for you Katka is, don't use it until you are sure you understand it, its use, and its implications in context and are willing to accept the consequences. –  Jim May 4 '13 at 23:31
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I think this question is not well-formed because it is too broad. It needs to be positioned relative to a context: political life; family / children; etc. Everything is appropriate somewhere. I encourage you to make the question more specific. The answers thus-far demonstrate that there is no good direct way to answer it. –  New Alexandria May 5 '13 at 1:54

3 Answers 3

It's offensive enough that:

  • Politicians who are caught saying it in public, incidentally, are lambasted on the news.

  • It's censored on many television shows, even the ones known for their raunchy humour.

  • It will the MPAA rating of a movie up from PG-13 to an R, which means that your movie will (usually) require mandatory age checks.

That all said, it's a pretty commonly-used word, enough such that it won't cause riots, offend most people on the street, and won't even cause most little children to blink an eye.

However, just because it's common doesn't mean that it's appropriate to use in polite company or in public. It is definitely unprofessional in most workplaces but there are many in which it's not really that worrisome.

So really, it's just an impolite word, but not a critically offensive one. It does not have long-lasting implications in general - it is more of a severe expression of annoyance.

Nonetheless, my advice is to avoid the use of the word unless you're with people that you know well.

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Also, it is considered too indecent for parents to say around children. This compared with 'hell', 'damn' or an ocasional 'shit'. These latter examples are all considered impolite as any curse or profane word. Genital slang regardless of reason-for-use is essentially inappropriate. So, context context context –  New Alexandria May 5 '13 at 1:51
    
@NewAlexandria: There's only one way to turn this self-righteous & false opinion ("it is considered too indecent for parents to say around children") into a truth: Some people consider the word fk too indecent for parents to say around children. Using the passive voice to state one's opinion in this way implies that the opinion is universal when, in fact, it isn't. Like all opinions, it's held by **some but not all people. [NB: This is a basic usage lesson intended for the EFL students reading this question, the answers, & the comments, & for usage-challenged native anglophones.] –  user21497 May 5 '13 at 4:32

Profane and offensive? Yes. Pervasive? Oh, yeah! Here is the transcript of an audio file I had years ago using "f@@k" in many parts of the English language.

The most versatile word in the English language

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Hilarious! Especially that penultimate sentence: "...use this unique flexible word more often in your daily speech. It will identify the quality of your character immediately." When I joined the US Navy 50 years ago, I heard that word more often than other but "sir". It was so versatile that at least half of my fellow swabbies used it as a synonym for half their non-existant vocabulary & 25% of their modifiers. As American as apple pie. –  user21497 May 5 '13 at 1:47
    
@BillFranke, I'm still laughing at this. My favorite is the sentence that uses it in every position, "F the f'ing f'ers!" I have to say though that I'm still startled to hear people, often young people, talk like this loudly in public. –  Kristina Lopez May 5 '13 at 1:57

How offensive is the F-word? The answer depends on whom you ask!

In the interest of full disclosure, I neither use the F-word myself, nor do I take any pleasure in hearing other people use it flagrantly and indiscriminately. Frankly, I think the repeated--and in some cases habitual--use of the word and others of its ilk serves only to reveal a lack of common decency, sensitivity, self-control, and a host of other commendable virtues.

A deplorable desensitization has occurred in American culture over the past six-plus decades of my life, particularly in the area of cursing and scatological language. It's not that people didn't use the F-word as I was growing up, it's just that it was not used in public, in mixed company, or in the presence of children. Generally speaking, people back then had couth; today, not so much.

Is it good at times to "push the envelope" of the current status quo in language usage? Sure, why not, particularly when shocking new words serve to elevate a people's social conscience. What was once called "separate but equal" in America is now called what it really is: racism. Now that's progress! The same cannot be said of the words tripping off the tongues of potty mouths!

Personally, I enjoy expanding my vocabulary, thereby enhancing my ability to speak and write with greater understanding, clarity, depth, nuance, and--wait for it!--grace. Words have great potential to elevate, edify, encourage, entertain, and educate. They also possess the power to debase, put down, discourage, titillate, and dumb down.

If I sound a bit prudish, so be it. Would that more people in America were prudish. Sometimes I feel I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness with no one seeming to take notice. On further reflection, however, I'm sure there are many more folks out there in Middle America who also decry the indiscriminate use of obscenities. I encourage them to speak up and make their voices heard.

Our precious First Amendment should not be used as a justification for scatology and obscenity, but as the basis for untrammeled, robust, and open debate in the marketplace of ideas. Now I can deal with ideas I find personally repugnant, irrational, and harmful. As someone said, "I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

On the other hand, to even suggest that the torrent of obscenities so much in evidence today even approaches the same level as the freedom of speech envisioned by the framers of the First Amendment is ludicrous and unworthy of debate. Rather, it is part of the darkness that the light must expose for what it truly is: a blot on American culture.

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One day about 50 years ago, my father defended his couth self by righteously declaring that he had never said the f-word in front of us kids. That never stopped his drunk self from walloping our mother (his wife) in front of us kids and threatening to do the same ("Get outta here or you're next") to my 5-year-old knight-in-shining-tinfoil self when I rushed in to defend her. I suspect that the word is akin to a verbal weapon that will never be relinquished except when pried from a dedicated user's cold dead larynx. –  user21497 May 5 '13 at 1:59
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@BillFranke: Your poignant true story reminds me that self-righteousness can be an insidious thing. Evidently your dad was proud of his accomplishment of not using the F-word, which would have been commendable had he at the same time been a loving, gentle, and caring dad and husband. How did Jesus put it? We see a speck in someone else's eye and feel free to point it out to them, but at the same time we forget about the log in our own eye! (Matthew 7:3-5) There's a saying to the effect that before you point the finger of judgment, remember there are three fingers pointing back at you. –  rhetorician May 5 '13 at 14:17

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