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

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7
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4answers
426 views

General term for muggle-type terms?

Is there a general term to refer to "a semi-denigrating term used by a minority social group (not necessarily a racial group) to refer to the majority". Examples would be "muggle", "gentile", ...
6
votes
5answers
748 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
69k views

What exactly does “fap” mean? [NSFW]

Sorry for the ridiculous question, but I can't understand the difference between fap and masturbation. Does fap mean the whole progress?
6
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2answers
6k views

Why are the “donkey” and the “butt” both named “ass”? [closed]

Is there any similarity between them that they have the same name, or is the reason something different of having a physical similarity? I found different meanings for both, but none of them ...
6
votes
6answers
5k 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?
6
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the origin of the word “wog”?

Some friend of mine told me it was an acronym for "western oriental gentleman" and was a form of sarcastic politeness. Is this true, and is it offensive to use this word?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is calling a homosexual person “gay” offensive?

My native language is German but I’ve been watching a lot of TV in English. During a conversation about the English language, a question about the term gay came up. Is calling a homosexual person gay ...
6
votes
5answers
16k views

Where does the term Cracker come from, and how disparaging is it?

My grandmother from Georgia openly refers to herself and other white southerners as "Crackers", and sometimes adds a state as in "Georgia Cracker" or "Florida Cracker". She says it means simple folks ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why haven't we used “it” instead of “he or she”?

There is a related discussion on this forum. My questions is different. I'm all for gender awareness, but why hasn't a properly defined pronoun "it" been used instead of "he/she" or "he or she", etc. ...
6
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2answers
3k views

What does “to pick someone's cherry” mean?

Does it strictly refer to taking someone's virginity, or does it express sexual intercourse in general?
6
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2answers
2k views

Is it derogatory or offensive to call a detective a dick?

The word dick is generally considered offensive and is marked so in dictionaries. But there is also a meaning of detective that it carries. I usually find no derog indication for this meaning. Is it ...
6
votes
1answer
243 views

Origin of “c**p”

I've heard some far-fetched stories of the origin of the word crap. What is its real origin?
6
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5answers
351 views

Grammatical explanation of “what the blank”

In emphatic questions, it's common to see or hear an interjection such as the heck — or something more vulgar — between the interrogative and the verb. What was that? becomes What the heck ...
6
votes
1answer
434 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
463 views

What is a term describing offensive word replacement with made-up slang? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What term describes a non-offensive substitute for a swear word? Is there a term for replacing one slang word with another made-up slang word? For example f*cking => ...
5
votes
11answers
1k views

Substitute for F*** in emphasizing disbelief, anger, etc

How do I replace F*** while expressing fully my disbelief, anger, etc? E.g., "I think Homer Simpson is incredibly sexy" My reply "Get out of here! That's f***ing ridiculous."
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the word 'consort' still considered an insult in the modern usage?

In Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt says to Mercutio: 'Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo.' Mercutio replies 'consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels?... Zounds consorts!' Bloodshed followed shortly. ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

What is currently the most obscene word in British English? [closed]

In a recent question, I realized that while I know what's currently considered the most obscene word in American English ("cunt"), I am told that word is much more unexceptional and workaday in ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “gaijin” considered offensive?

Is gaijin a term that's only acceptable when it's a non-Japanese person using it self-referentially (similar to n-word privileges in TV Tropes), or is it considered ok to use in normal conversation ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

Is there a clean version of “no sh*t, Sherlock”?

The phrase "no shit, Sherlock" or just "no shit" is a reply used when someone else points out something obvious. I was thinking about it the other day and I realized I don't know if there is a clean ...
5
votes
1answer
821 views

What does 'mothercanuckers' mean?

First of all, sorry if it is offensive (I think it somewhat is). I was going through http://bleacherreport.com/articles/424590-the-funniest-promos-and-moments-in-wwe-history#page/20 The Rock ...
5
votes
3answers
679 views

Why do you suck at XYZ?

How bad is the usage of the word suck in English? Is this "bad boy" language or commonly used?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is “ass” considered obscene?

Spam filters replace obscene "Ass" for "butt" Meanwhile, in literature, newspaper articles, forum posts, sayings, proverbs, etc. I am encountering many more expressions with ass but not with butt. ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Were “devil” and “damned” really offensive words in Victorian times?

I've been reading Trollope's The Way We Live Now, and have noticed a little stylistic quirk; that the words devil and damned appear blanked out, as d----- and d------. They appear in sentences like... ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Does “This blows!” (it's bad) derive from “This sucks!”?

The origin of blow = suck, be bad/unpleasant recently came up in comments to this ELL question. I'd always assumed it was a standard slang "meaning reversal" from suck. But a few minutes on Google ...
5
votes
3answers
6k 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
3answers
2k views

How old is “Bollocks!”?

As a non-English native it took me years to grow up and understand, what meant "Never Mind the Bollocks" as the title of Sex Pistols album. Using "bollocks" as "rubbish", "crap" or what so ever took ...
5
votes
5answers
5k 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? ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the phrase “all to c**k” considered profane?

I occasionally use the colloquialism "all to cock" to mean "disastrously wrong". I've always thought it a benign phrase, but recently I've wondered whether the use of the word "cock" in this situation ...
5
votes
2answers
819 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the etymology of the word “dinlo”?

dinlo n. stupid person; idiot Suggested etymology from urban dictionary a Romany (gypsy language) word that has been adopted widely by the east coast. Sorry if this language offends but I ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Where and how is Geil used?

The urban dictionary writes: GEIL (Guy-el) The best colloquial word ever established by the German language. It has slowly assimilated itself into English speaking culture, particularly ...
5
votes
4answers
570 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
185 views

What's the origin of the phrase “men are pigs”?

I believe every man and woman has either read about or heard this phrase been spoken at least once in their lifetime. Besides the obvious connotation ascribing men to pigs, what is the reasoning ...
5
votes
4answers
392 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
585 views

What's a useful replacement idiom for “money shot?”

I'm afraid I have been somewhat innocently causing offense by using the term "money shot" in its general, non-pornographic sense. My coworkers either have dirty minds or lack awareness of the other ...
5
votes
3answers
187 views

that's some good sh*t

I found a web site called http://shitformakingwebsites.com/ to find excellent-quality materials for work. I started wondering why "sh*t" can be used so positively here. I have a similar question ...
5
votes
3answers
206 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)? ...
5
votes
6answers
11k views

Where does the phrase “holy crap on a cracker” come from?

Where does the phrase "holy crap on a cracker" come from?
4
votes
10answers
4k views

Is the noun “liar” considered offensive? Would it be offensive to use it with a proven liar?

Is the noun liar considered offensive? Would it be offensive to use it with a proven liar?
4
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
8answers
458 views

Using the word “coon” as part of a company name

I'd like you to ask if it's ok to use the word "coon" as part of a company name? The website isn't related to racoons at all, but has a racoon head in the logo. Will it offend visitors? As a foreigner ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
507 views

How common is “fugly”?

"Fugly" is a vulgar slang adjective as far as I know, and I wonder how common it is, and how do people react when they hear that word. Native speakers are appreciated if they share their opinions.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the word “savage” offensive?

Is it? If it depends on context, please provide some examples of offensive and not offensive usage ;) What I have in mind is to say something like "The Zulu were a savage people compared to e.g. ...
4
votes
2answers
350 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
934 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?
4
votes
2answers
817 views

Origin of phrase “no shit” [closed]

So today I was having a conversation with one of my friends and he used the term "no shit" to mean that I was stating the obvious. Now I am interested to know the origin of such a phrase. Is it ...
4
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
285 views

What does “talk to the hand” mean?

I saw the phrase "talk to the hand" on many funny stickers which seems like expressing the idea that you want to stop the topic or conversation which you feel uncomfortable or not interested in. But ...