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

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5
votes
4answers
495 views

Is “ass-wise” an acceptable English word? Is it a noun, or adverb?

I was surprised to see the New Yorker’s (February 26) article titled, “Boehner defends decision to remain on ass,” which was chockablock with the word, “Ass.” “Minutes after telling the United ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Etymology of “half-assed” [closed]

The term "half-assed" is used to refer to something being sloppy or partially completed. For example, "You really did a half-assed job on those TPS reports, Bob." What is the etymology of this phrase? ...
13
votes
2answers
984 views

What is the origin / reason for adding asterisks within swear words like f**k?

Several variants of this topic have already been covered here, such as: What name for bowdlerisation with asterisks (e.g., “f*ck”)? What the #$@&%*! is that called? However, these deal with the ...
2
votes
3answers
320 views

Is “I'm not racist, but …” more common in Australian English than other dialects? [closed]

Is the phrase "I'm not racist, but ..." more common in Australian English than other dialects? The phrase is used as a prefix to something that's likely to be interpreted as racist, probably because ...
9
votes
3answers
388 views

Meaning of abbreviated vulgarity

Preface: Despite the fact that this question includes vulgar language, it is not intended to be offensive, unprofessional, or humorous, but rather is a serious question. In the statement, "F**king ...
5
votes
3answers
194 views

Is it safe to use “old” to mean “previous” for a person?

Is it safe to use "old" to mean "previous" or "former" for something like "my old teacher"? Or is it a bit risky, because "old" also has a meaning with respect to age (i.e., chronologically gifted)? ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Shut your mouth

I’m confused regarding these expressions: Shut up Shut your mouth Shut your mouth up Shut up your mouth After some research, I’ve come to believe they are all correct except “Shut ...
10
votes
6answers
905 views

Vulgar way of saying “he killed himself”

I'm trying to translate my acquaintance's cartoon to cite it in an article written in English. For the subject of the article it is important that the translation will be direct, thus very vulgar ...
4
votes
2answers
310 views

Isn't “dummy” in “HTML Parser for Dummies” considered offensive?

What does "dummy" mean here (in the section Getting Started)? Getting Started For novice users, an introductory guide on how to set up your environment to use the HTML Parser is provided in ...
0
votes
3answers
904 views

What drives the usage of 'God', 'Jesus', and 'Jesus Christ' as expletives? [closed]

I grew up in a conservative Christian home, and was taught that we do not 'take God's name in vain'. Interestingly, among some churches I grew up in, the consensus was that the common usage of God or ...
12
votes
1answer
375 views

Is “tidbits” Bowdlerized or original?

Our American English local paper insisted on changing a title from titbits to tidbits for a column on minor local events and stories. I, a British English speaker, have always pronounced and spelled ...
0
votes
2answers
193 views

Can “fornicate” be used as a transitive verb? [closed]

(I’m asking this for someone else who doesn’t know about this site (yet).) Could fornicate be used as a transitive verb, as in We have to keep A from fornicating B. I don’t believe it can.
6
votes
6answers
4k views

Is 'Jap' still considered an ethnic slur?

~Seventy years after 'The War', is Jap still considered to be an ethnic slur in the US? Is/was it also considered offensive in the UK?
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

what is the difference between “hook up with” and “have sex with”? [closed]

I would like to know the subtle difference between hook up and have sex. I'm asking because hook up seems have a subtly different meaning than have sex: in the situations I've heard this word it seems ...
-2
votes
1answer
634 views

Is it derogatory to call user a punter?

I've been wondering whether it is somewhat derogatory to call a user a punter. For instance, We should encourage punters to participate in the discussions. Update: My apologies — I owe you an ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Meaning of “bejesus” in the idiomatic expression “… the bejesus out of …”

According to multiple online dictionaries, bejesus is a quite common mild expletive used to express surprise and/or dismay and is derived from by Jesus. But what does it mean? The phrase “you scared ...
92
votes
7answers
26k views

What the #$@&%*! is that called?

Is there a name for the use of symbols in place of curse words, for example #$@&%*!?
3
votes
3answers
458 views

Is “left-handed compliment” considered offensive?

Is the phrase “left-handed compliment” considered offensive against left-handed people? Wikipedia and Wiktionary don't mention it being offensive, but I want to make sure. I’m aware of “two left ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a “woggy dago”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of the word “wog”? I was listening to a song the other day, and it featured the words "woggy dago". Now I did manage to find out what ...
0
votes
0answers
106 views

Is the term X-nazi offensive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “grammar nazi” politically correct? Or is it comical? What about terms like "grammar nazi", "food nazi", "safety nazi", "breastfeeding nazi", "safety ...
0
votes
1answer
750 views

“Pain in the neck” and similar expressions [closed]

Are there any other expressions equivalent in meaning to "pain in the neck" that mention another part of the body (e.g, "pain in the ass")? How would you rate each of those expressions (including the ...
-1
votes
3answers
4k views

How does 'don't give a toss' differ from 'don't give a damn'?

I was told it is very unusual to say 'I don't give a toss'. If so, why is that?
-2
votes
3answers
314 views

Is saying “I'll do it to you” offensive?

My friend asked me for a tool to do something and I wanted to ask him if he wants me to do it for him but I mistakenly said "I'll do it to you". Is that offensive?
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Cleaner alternative for “sucks”. [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Formal alternative for “suck” Since the word "sucks" does not have an origin that would make it a good word to use in many contexts, I want to know whether ...
13
votes
2answers
503 views

What term describes enjambment alluding to a taboo word?

In the schoolyard rhyme "Miss Susie" the taboo word is spoken aloud, so I'm not sure that it qualifies as a mind rhyme. Likewise, in the case of a subverted rhyme the expected word isn't spoken. I ...
10
votes
3answers
655 views

Does “prescriptive” have solely a negative sense in some communities?

Motivation: I recently used this phrase: (1) people who read English prescriptive grammar books I was aware from personal experience that a significant number of people (maybe not a majority, ...
6
votes
2answers
180k views

“Dammit” vs. “damnit” [closed]

What is the correct spelling, dammit or damnit? And what is the difference? Just writing this question brings up a red squiggly underneath damnit and the suggestions include dammit and damn it.
0
votes
3answers
11k views

How to use “you are so lame!” or “you are so retard!” with friends? [closed]

I heard lots of these words from my colleagues. Definitions in Dictionary do not help me much. What I really want to know is what these words actually mean when using with friends and what situation ...
8
votes
1answer
971 views

A more acceptable word to replace the word “rectum”?

I wrote in a short paragraph describing how a cartoon character, after being eaten up by a shark, swam through the shark's internal body and fled from its rectum. It was meant to be a ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “what on earth” still commonly used in real life? Is there any alternative that is not cursing or obscene?

I'm a non-native speaker. When I was at school, we were taught that "on earth" is used for emphasis in questions such as: What on earth are you talking about? However, from my experience ...
1
vote
1answer
430 views

Meaning of “play to” and “f****t”

According to Urban Dictionary the other sense of faggot means "stupid or a loser"--is that correct? And what's the meaning of "playing to the camera"? P1: guy has the mannerisms of a faggot ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How did “fʌck” become taboo? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How long has the f-word been in use as an abusive term? What makes a word offensive? I recognize that this is similar to Etymology of the term "curse words" ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

How to express desires in English so that they don't sound like commands?

At that time I won't want you to again land up in the thread to tell me the rules. With the above statement, I wanted to express my desire, but it was interpreted as a command. How can I rewrite ...
12
votes
12answers
1k views

Professional term for “useless: should be omitted”

I need a way to say something is useless, in that including it is actually harmful, but not so harshly. As in, "The last sentence is useless and should be omitted" Where the last sentence in a ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

Meaning of the word “congratufukinlation” [closed]

What does congratu-fukin-lations mean?
29
votes
6answers
6k views

Less vulgar synonyms for “circlejerk”

Someone asked in the Math.StackExchange chatroom what a "more refined word for circlejerk" might be. UrbanDictionary defines this (in our desired usage) as: [...] pompous, self-congratulatory ...
10
votes
3answers
881 views

Why are nouns sometimes pejorative when used attributively?

Certain nouns can often be used as noun adjuncts in place of a corresponding adjective, with no change in literal meaning, where: The noun is not pejorative when used nominatively by itself. Nor is ...
1
vote
5answers
403 views

Is “monkey around” offensive?

Someone asked me for something and I said, "Do you need it right now, or do I have a couple hours to monkey around with it?" They got really quiet. While certainly unprofessional, is this also ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the acronym PIGS (or PIIGS) offensive?

To my Spanish ears, the acronym PIGS (for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) or PIIGS (for Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) sounds offensive. The Spanish equivalent “cerdo” is a strong word ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Swearing: “bollixed”

The House Ethics Committee has now hired an outside counsel to investigate its own bollixed investigation into the conduct of Representative Maxine Waters. (“The House’s Farcical ...
7
votes
6answers
597 views

Better way to say “cover our a***s”

I'm looking for a couple of good coined phrases that I can use in front of business people, apologies if the one I had in mind offends anyone. I'd use "can sleep at night" but I want the phrase to ...
2
votes
3answers
677 views

Does this sound vulgar or have sexual connotations? [closed]

I'd like to ask you to help me clarifying if a brand name sounds sexual/vulgar/queer for native English speakers. It is "I Job You" which is a social job recommendation site. However, we had some ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Should I use “damn” or “darn”? [closed]

How unseemly these days is it to use the word damn in educated or elderly circles? I have heard that there is a modified and supposedly less intense darn. Should I be careful to avoid the former and ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is the term “touched” no longer commonly used?

I’ve heard the term touched used to refer to someone who is “not quite right”. I’m curious as to where this term came from, what it really means, and why it doesn’t tend to be used often anymore. Is ...
10
votes
7answers
8k views

Can the term “jack/jerk off” be used for female masturbation?

I apologize for this potentially obscene question. Can the terms jack off or jerk off be used for female masturbation? If not (which is my intuition), what would be the not too poetic vulgar slang ...
1
vote
1answer
372 views

Why do they call the counterpart “that woman” to press corps after parting from a female?

Further to my question I posted yesterday on the significance of the term “woman driver” used by Rush Limbaugh, I have another question: Limbaugh’s use of ‘woman driver’ in a derogatory context ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

Does “woman driver” have a special meaning other than female driver?

Rush Limbaugh’s “wrong choice of word” is causing a big fuss. And I was puzzled to find the following statement of Limbaugh from www.rushlimbaugh.com that was made 4 days ago: The reaction that ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Is the term “halfcast” racist?

When I was at university in the late 90s, a girl I shared a flat with would use the term "halfcast" to describe people of mixed race, especially in the context of people who had a similar skin colour ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the origin and earliest recorded usage of 'cock-up'

In informal British English, the expression 'cock-up' (c.f. the US English 'fuck-up') is used to indicate an error or problem in a situation. What is the origin of this expression and its etymology? ...
6
votes
2answers
546 views

Etymology of “sh**hole” [closed]

What is the etymology of shithole? Did it originate from A) the orifice through which excrement is passed, or B) the hole in the ground intended for the disposal of such excrement? (This is a serious ...