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I understand that calling a woman a bitch is a very strong language. However, is the word vulgar per se? Specifically, when used as a verb to bitch in the meaning of to complain (see What's the meaning of "bitching"?), is it also so strong? Could you use it in front of your grandmother? :)

ADDED: Is it acceptable to use it towards kids?

As a parent:

Stop bitching about the food.

As a teacher:

If you keep bitching about the homework, I'll give you even more.

As a bonus, could you place here some examples of to bitch in the above mentioned meaning so the wider context (such as prepositions which may follow etc.) is made apparent?

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You don't know what "vulgar" means (check dictionary). Vulgar means lower-class. Nothing could be more lower-class than using "bitch". It is utterly inconceivable in English that a parent would use the word "bitch" in talking to children. try to understand that in many ways it is EVEN MORE TABOO IN ENGLISH that swear-words such as "cunt" or "fuck". It's in the same category as using "n___er" or "sl___-eye" to refer to racial groups. The word "bitch" must not come out of your mouth. – Joe Blow May 16 at 15:34
    
@JoeBlow: to bitch and the bitch probably differ in strength. – Honza Zidek May 16 at 17:18
    
@JoeBlow: According to Merriam-Webster, vulgar has several meanings: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vulgar. I mean the number 5: " offensive in language, lewdly or profanely indecent". I have seen/heard bitching about something in many American movies, and it was not a matter of class. And you probably are aware that the offensive language is not felt taboo for non-native speakers, as we lack the "instinct" which you native ones learned throughout your childhood. – Honza Zidek May 17 at 12:46
    
Set aside the meaning of vulgar. So, there are swear words (such as cunt or fuck). But even worse, there are racial and group slurs. You have probably heard n _ _ _ _ er and sl _ _ _ -eye and f _ _ _ ot many times in movies, am I right? Allow me to explain again, worse than swear words are racial/group slurs. Is it making sense? (1) you hear these racial/group slurs in (bad) movies quite often - right? OK we're clear on that! (2) I would urge you to never have the word you ask about, come from your mouth, you know? Same with the other three I mention herein. Cheers. – Joe Blow May 17 at 13:26
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It is somewhat vulgar and I wouldn't use it in front of my grandmother.

Anything you can follow 'talk' with, you can follow 'bitch' (in the verb sense) with:

That guy is always bitching about his job

Don't come bitching to me about your job

And so on...

In reference to your edit:

A teacher certainly wouldn't use it, and neither would a responsible parent (of younger children - teenagers perhaps). While it's relatively mild, it is still something of an expletive.

In short, you wouldn't use it in any polite conversation. You would only use it a situation where you would otherwise be comfortable cursing/swearing.

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"somewhat vulgar" - so is it (much) less vulgar than a bitch about a woman? – Honza Zidek Jul 11 '14 at 11:03
    
Well, yes, mainly because it's not pejorative - it's not a direct insult. – ElendilTheTall Jul 11 '14 at 11:17
    
Is it not pejorative??? I have understood that using to bitch about someone complaining is always pejorative! By saying that about someone I express my disgust from his behaviour. – Honza Zidek Jul 11 '14 at 11:20
    
Well, maybe a little, but not as pejorative as actually calling someone a bitch. – ElendilTheTall Jul 11 '14 at 11:39
    
I would change the last part to "comfortable with mild cursing/swearing." I definitely know a lot of people (including myself) who would, in certain contexts, use bitching but would balk at stronger curses such as fuck, shit, or cunt. To put it another way, saying someone is "bitching" would be used in the same contexts where you might also use the word bitch as a noun. (The exception being that the noun is sometimes seen as misogynistic.) – trlkly Jul 17 '14 at 23:45

Neither of my grandmothers would have used the word "bitch" except in relation to dog breeding, and perhaps not even there. That said, I know many grandmothers who regularly use the word, and who do not object when the word is used in their presence, that it's safe to say that the status of the word is in transition, and it is considerably less vulgar than it once was. It is frequently used as an alternative for "complain", and takes pretty much the same prepositions and other usage as that word. Further complicating usage is that in some subcultures, "bitchin" is used as an adjective that I understand has favorable characteristics.

That said, I generally refrain from using the word, because over use of the word is obscuring its meaning and impact.

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Brasshat: Your last sentence makes an excellent point: "bitch" should be rarely used but profoundly meant. If it becomes neutral, what (probably horrible) word will replace it? – ab2 Jul 17 '15 at 21:46

It's not something my grandmothers say. Some parents may use it, but it is still definitely vulgar.

But I think it's definitely misogynistic, both the noun and the verb. The noun is specific to women. The verb implies that acting in a certain type of specifically female way is wrong/annoying. Just think about if you substituted a different pejorative term for a different group of people:

"Stop complaining about the homework" ->
"Stop bitching about the homework" ->
"Stop n*****-ing about the homework" ->
"Stop sp$cing about the homework"->
"Stop f*ggoting about the homework"

Now, none of those are actual verbs. But if they were, and you heard it, wouldn't you find it offensive?

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