Questions related to words or phrases that may be considered offensive in English

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Origin of “name happened” form: from “s*** happens” via “magic happens”?

There’s a form in current English, then <THING> happened or just <THING> happened, where you transition the NAME of a thing (a person, character, or perhaps a thing like say a blockbuster ...
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3answers
4k views

What does “balls” mean as a reply word or interjection?

Here’s a question again in Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter. Richard (husband of Florentina Kane, the heroine of the novel) finds in The Wall Street Journal that Jake Thomas, chairman of ...
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1answer
133 views

“Karma is a bitch” [closed]

I recently sent a message to my credit union complaining about the misbehavior of some staff members (treating customers with contempt). I ended my message by writing: Karma is a b*tch. The ...
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2answers
49 views

How strong/vulgar is using “to bitch” in the meaning of “to complain”?

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 ...
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2answers
202 views

Why is saying “cr@p” more socially acceptable than saying “sh!t” is?

I know shit is generally considered vulgar swearing in any context, while crap (though it's normally used as a swear word) is often used and allowed in decent contexts. How did this happen, since ...
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1answer
199 views

Why the “give” in “I don't give a flying f***”?

I’m not a native speaker. I know that I don't give a flying fuck means "I don’t care", but how did it come to mean that? Specifically, why does the verb give mean "don’t care" here?
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3answers
2k views

Is the term “setting someone straight” offensive to queer people?

I replaced "Thanks for setting me straight" with "Thanks for correcting me" when editing an email to a recipient who is queer. Is the term "setting [someone] straight" inappropriate if the ...
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2answers
131 views

Word meant to describe a crime where women beat men

Word meant to describe a crime where women beat men and men often do not report it. Supposedly , the most unreported crime there is. This was famous term used around the time of Lorena Bobbitt's ...
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4answers
397 views

Polite swearing words? [closed]

I hate to swear, i.e to say "fuck you" or whatsoever of those words. However sometimes I get angry and I wish there are words that could be a polite replacement for those swearing. I wish there's a ...
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6answers
231 views

What is a good substitute word for the X-cum-Y construction? [closed]

I wanted to use the word "cum" to avoid repeating "and" in the following phrase: example.com is a teacher-cum-student search and listing site... But on second thoughts, the word "cum" is also a ...
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3answers
1k views

What to call someone who doesn't like foreigners who lack manners and basic knowledge of the country and culture they are mixing themselves in? [closed]

For instance, a French person is coming from a different culture and hence may come across as being rude in a British person's eyes. Moreover, he is ignorant about the different culture in Britain and ...
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8answers
467 views

Another word for cute or adorable used as diminutive, sarcasm or condescension

I'm looking for a word that one could use by itself as one would use "cute" or "adorable" in a sarcastic, emasculating manner.
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1answer
99 views

two uncountable nouns with and

If we had two uncountable nouns with and , would we use a singular or plural form? How much flour and butter is/are needed to make a pizza ?
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2answers
86 views

What are the main differences of swearing between American and British English? [closed]

Can anyone please tell me what are the main differences of the swearwords usage between American and British English?
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5answers
711 views

Slang names for souteneur

What are some common slang names for the souteneur - the illicit "manager" for prostitutes? I'm fairly sure there are a few, but I can't find any in the common online resources and I need it for a ...
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1answer
753 views

Formal word for 'emit anal air'?

Is there a formal single word for 'emit anal air'? I've heard 'eructate' being used, but this means air from the mouth only; not from the other end.
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2answers
348 views

Is the word “queer” an accepted and polite word for lesbian?

I was reading an article on the promulgation of the dental dam as a means of preventing sexually transmitted disease. Article here. The author of the article Arielle Duhaime-Ross consistently refers ...
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2answers
131 views

Etymological analysis of swearwords [closed]

I'm writing a thesis about the etymological analysis of swearwords (profanity) in the English language; that is, I need to compare British and American English regarding the etymology of their ...
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4answers
201 views

What language function does profanity serve?

I know that the use of profanity has a number of social and psychological functions like pain relief, a sense of control over helpless situations, intimacy and group bonding through release of social ...
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5answers
3k views

How many different parts of speech can the f-word be used as?

In an "interesting" thread of comments we began to look at the word fuck in several different uses. Most of them were interjections and verb uses as would be expected. But, perhaps dialectally, the ...
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11answers
1k views

Language Gibberish

Sometimes, in humor (or an attempt thereof), people will make up gibberish in a certain language in an attempt to poke fun at a language or its speakers. Made-up French, German, Italian, Chinese, most ...
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2answers
147 views

Freshman or Freshwoman

Can we use freshwoman to refer to a girl in her first year in college, or is freshman acceptable?
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9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
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1answer
226 views

Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women?

Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women? There seems to be a wealth of terms (both offensive and inoffensive) that are used in the other direction. I ask ...
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1answer
418 views

When Americans say someone has ''no accent'', what do they mean exactly? [duplicate]

As in my title question. Do they mean a specific region of the US, something else?
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7answers
4k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
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5answers
578 views

How to insult a Tory (or people holding a conservative viewpoint in general)?

I am writing a contemporary theatre play where one character - a senior businessman - first introduces himself as a not particularly conservative person. Later in the play, his protégé finds that the ...
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2answers
1k views

When and how do words become offensive?

Disclaimer: Not strictly English language question, but still a question on language use I've just had a discussion with a member, who argued that the word "lunatic" is offensive and therefore should ...
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3answers
370 views

How Offensive is ''Grow a Pair?'' [closed]

What does ''grow a pair'' mean exactly? Is it offensive? Does it bring a man to a level of a girl/woman? Is it more offensive when a woman says it? Thank you for the answers, especially from women. ...
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1answer
360 views

Is asking “come again?” to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...
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5answers
364 views

Why aren't there any common words for 'defecating' and 'urinating'?

Besides 'poo(p)ing' and 'peeing/weeing' used by and to children, besides 'shitting/crapping' and 'pissing' which are spoken, not polite, says the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, besides ...
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1answer
117 views

Looking for a list of “english words” that exist in other languages, but with different meanings

I had a terrible misunderstanding with a semi-conservative Turkish woman who was offended when I said "Let's have brunch, and I'll bring some platonic female friends" I'm told that in Turkey, ...
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3answers
77 views

Is there an expression for only offending the recipient?

Suppose one makes a statement that is likely to be offensive to its recipient, but will not offend most third parties. Is there a word or expression for this type of statement? Example: I see someone ...
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2answers
469 views

When and why did the N-word and “negro” go apart?

Both the terms nigger and negro come from the Spanish and Portuguese Negro which denotes "black". But today they have widely different connotations, the former is considered a horrible racial slur, ...
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4answers
385 views

Is 'she-woman' an acceptable counterpart of 'he-man'?

If this is, as it is, a real English example, I wanted to know what role his women played in persuading him that he was this incredible he-man. can this I wanted to know what role her men ...
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4answers
523 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
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2answers
934 views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
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1answer
1k views

How offensive is the expression “I am sick of you”?

Question 1: What is the meaning of "I am sick of you" exactly? Question 2: Does the meaning of this expression change depending on the context? Question 3: How offensive is this expression in ...
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2answers
519 views

Are there religious swear words in English the way there are in French-speaking Québec (like “Câlisse!”)?

Are there in English any cases of using religious words for swear words, most likely in predominantly Christian regions? I ask because in the Canadian province of Québec, which is primarily ...
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1answer
285 views

Where does English get the word “condom” from?

Although once a word that dared not speak its name, thanks to popular-culture references as well as the devastating AIDS tragedy, condom seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. But does anybody ...
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2answers
440 views

Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
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3answers
3k views

What does “rachet” mean and when was it first used?

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
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4answers
2k views

Where does the word “jism” come from?

Another word of mysterious origins of jism, in the sense of spunk. The OED mentions it is sometimes spelled jizz, and may even be the precursor word to jazz. But neither the OED nor Etymonline ...
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1answer
2k views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
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1answer
1k views

Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
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2answers
2k views

Where does the word “wankers” come from?

The term wanker is derived from the verb wank in the sense of to masturbate. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline can trace it further back than that: both claim it is of “obscure origin”, which ...
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1answer
4k views

Origin of “Screw the pooch”

Wiktionary says this of "screw the pooch": The term was first documented in the early "Mercury" days of the US space program. It came there from a Yale graduate named John Rawlings who helped ...
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3answers
200k views

What does “thot” mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
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3answers
166 views

Is “vacuous” offensive? [closed]

I am not an native English speaker and I would like to know if the use of the word "vacuous" is offensive. I am writing a reply to a request where I am asked to do something that has no sense at all ...
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3answers
318 views

Synonym for “call bulls--t”

I am writing a column for publication in a widely circulated newspaper, and would like to use a phrase meaning something like "call bullshit". I can't think of one that captures the meaning so ...