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

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5answers
433 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
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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
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2answers
2k 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
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6answers
630 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
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3answers
736 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 ...
2
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4answers
4k 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
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4answers
4k 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
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7answers
10k 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
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1answer
396 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 ...
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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
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3answers
5k 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
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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? ...
7
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2answers
595 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 ...
5
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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. ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

Usage and acceptability of the word “queer”

This dictionary.com definition pretty much sums up my understanding of what the word queer is supposed to mean. However, in modern times (at least here in the US, perhap someone else can speak for ...
6
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5answers
340 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 ...
11
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8answers
4k views

Alternative term to “Blacklist” and “Whitelist”

In short, my company is developing a management tool for managing SIM cards. One of the features of the tool is to block the SIM card if it's put into a disallowed device by device IMEI validation. ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What makes a word offensive?

Whilst I was sat on the bus yesterday, I overheard a group of teenagers discussing various things. As per the usual social requirement at that age, every 5th word was an expletive. Not exactly the ...
4
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0answers
535 views

What is the origin of “bite me”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Meaning and usage of “bite me” Here’s the dilemma: What body part does the oft-used expression, “Bite me!” refer to? All the males (man on the street) I’ve ...
6
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0answers
457 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 => ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Where does the pejorative meaning of “shower” come from?

shower British informal a group of people perceived as incompetent or worthless I think this term is becoming obsolete. It's certainly not something I've heard in the street recently. The ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Use of “brother” in non-family and non-religious contexts

I think the word brother (sometimes spelled brotha or bro) has been used for a long time among African Americans when talking to one another with the meaning of "pal" and not in a family context. ...
3
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2answers
2k views

How long have people been swearing in English?

I was looking through my old A-Level English set books from 1989 at the weekend. We had to study the Canterbury Tales and I can still remember our delight when we discovered that 'queynte' was the ...
11
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4answers
42k views

Difference between “smart” and “clever”

What is the difference between smart and clever? As far as I understand the latter is offensive. But the Cambrige Dictionary gives similar definitions of smart and clever.
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How to mock the French? [closed]

I have recently started playing a board game (A Few Acres of Snow) that pits the British against the French in 18th century New England. I know how to mock others in general, but in order that ...
38
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6answers
5k views

How did “Jew” become pejorative?

For some reason, the word Jew often carries a pejorative or offensive connotation, which the related adjective Jewish does not carry. This is most obvious when either word is used as an attributive: ...
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6answers
3k views

Synonym of “s--t eating grin” suitable for polite company

Can anyone think of a synonym for "shit eating grin" that would be usable in polite company? This definition from the OED captures the meaning I'm looking for perfectly: A broad grin expressing ...
5
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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 ...
6
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1answer
240 views

Origin of “c**p”

I've heard some far-fetched stories of the origin of the word crap. What is its real origin?
9
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6answers
59k views

Madam vs. Ma'am

I suspect that the answer to this depends on region, so insights from multiple areas would be beneficial: It has been my impression that in the US addressing a woman as "Madam" is considered ...
11
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4answers
78k views

Where did the phrase “batsh*t crazy” come from?

I am curious how this term came to be. I've found this question on various forums, but none of them seem to agree where the term came from. The most popular explanation seems to come from "bat in the ...
2
votes
1answer
204 views

Is there a pejorative word for an ethnic appeal?

When ultra-conservative Jesse Helms ran against Congressman Nick Galifianakis in 1972, he is considered to have gained ground with the slogan, "Jesse Helms: He's One of Us," presumably referring to ...
2
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3answers
965 views

What is the origin of “cr*p on a crutch”?

Where did the saying "Crap on a crutch" originate? My mother used to use it a lot and I find myself using it also.
0
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1answer
347 views

Etymology of sh*tfaced?

Where does the term shitfaced come from? I'm aware that it means to be totally drunk, but I'm not sure how shitfaced describes being drunk.
10
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2answers
54k views

Correct usage of replacing cuss words with symbols

I've noticed that symbols (i.e. #, $, %, !, *, etc.) are commonly used to filter profanity/foul language. Just out of curiosity, is there a specific way to do this. I've noticed sometimes there ...
3
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3answers
416 views

Is “senility” pejorative?

Could you please give your opinion on whether or not "senility" is a pejorative term? My sentence is: Although there wasn't any real upper age limit, elders who seemed to be affected by senility ...
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 ...
14
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6answers
23k views

Non-offensive substitute for a swear word

What term describes a non-offensive substitute for a swear word? For example, Battlestar Galactica used frack instead of fuck. Another example is the use of snap instead of shit. I think I may have ...
4
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
865 views

What does “[expletive] it up” mean?

When I was in San Diego, I asked to a girl "how can I get to the freeway?" She answered me, "Go straight on, you can't fuck it up." What does it mean? Is this a usable phrase or it is too vulgar? Is ...
16
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4answers
24k views

What's the difference between “informal”, “colloquial”, “slang”, and “vulgar”?

It seems many people get confused about the differences (and similarities) between "colloquial" and "slang", so what exactly does each term apply to? But to be even more thorough it seems to me we ...
7
votes
4answers
419 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", ...
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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... ...
17
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6answers
98k views

Meaning and usage of “bite me”

I often come across the phrase bite me in many TV shows. What does it mean and is there a specific context in which this phrase can be used?
0
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5answers
623 views

“Sl*t” term for males

"Slut" can have two meanings: an immoral woman, or prostitute a dirty and slovenly woman I would like a term for men that is the equivalent of the second meaning. Is there a term for describing a ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Is the adjective “vain” considered offensive when applied to a person?

I am given to understand by the Chambers Dictionary and Webster's that vain can be understood as thoughtless, empty-headed, useless, which all sound rather strong to me. Is it likely that a native ...
11
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5answers
51k views

What is the origin and history of the word “motherf---er”?

I'm not a native English speaker, but I would like to know how and why people started using mother fucker. Today it seems it has lost its meaning because people use it all the time, but was there a ...
7
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5answers
3k views

That which is vulgar, obscene, or profane (title reflects contents)

When I look up the word "fuck" in the dictionary, I see that it is listed as a vulgar term. However, if I use it in church, I might be scolded for speaking profanity in the Lord's house. If I use it ...
7
votes
5answers
993 views

How rude is “naff”?

"Naff" is a word I infrequently use as a mild version of "shit". If something is a little bit bad or dull, it is "naff". I have just come across (via The Slate Gabfest podcast) one of the alleged ...
2
votes
5answers
10k views

Synonym for “half-ass”

As in: Don't half-ass this project or I'll fire you. I don't want to half-ass this project or I'll be fired. I half-assed this project and was fired.