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

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11
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8answers
3k 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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
votes
0answers
533 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
votes
0answers
456 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
votes
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
vote
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
votes
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
votes
4answers
34k 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
2k 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 ...
35
votes
6answers
4k 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: ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
233 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
votes
6answers
45k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
67k 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
198 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
votes
3answers
878 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
votes
1answer
289 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.
9
votes
2answers
45k 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
votes
3answers
376 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
votes
6answers
18k 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
1k 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
754 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
votes
4answers
19k 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
352 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", ...
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... ...
16
votes
6answers
84k 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
votes
5answers
588 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
847 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
votes
5answers
44k 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 ...
8
votes
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
868 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
8k views

Synonym for “half-ass”

As in: I don't want to half-ass this project or I'll be fired. Don't half-ass this project or I'll fire you. I half-assed this project and was fired.
11
votes
7answers
26k views

Is it true that “tuppence” refers to a woman's vagina in British English slang? If so, why?

I was looking up a definition online, as I often do, in this case the British slang word tuppence; I got the standard "a slang reference to a coin denomination" definition from Wikipedia, but stumbled ...
40
votes
4answers
3k views

Who is Jesus H. Christ?

When used as an expletive, the name Jesus Christ often gets an H inserted into the middle of it for some reason. I've heard lots of guesses about what the H stands for, the most popular one being ...
9
votes
4answers
947 views

Does using the word “crony” necessitate a negative connotation?

I have always heard the word "crony" in the context of acquaintanceships between people exploiting their closeness for less than noble means. Despite its definitions in the usual places as simply ...
12
votes
4answers
949 views

How to ask a knowledge question without causing offence?

By "knowledge question", I mean any sort of question intended to check whether the listener already knows the answer or not. For example: Are you familiar with how an operating system works? Do you ...
6
votes
2answers
9k 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?
9
votes
9answers
2k views

What is a good word for a person who doesn't masturbate?

Is there a word for a person who doesn't masturbate? If so, what would he/she/it be known as?
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “it’s not going to suck itself ” mean?

In Goa, I see tourists wearing t-shirts that have the following text on them, along with a red arrow: It’s not going to suck itself What does this mean?
12
votes
5answers
45k views

What is the etymology of “cornhole”?

Since being introduced to the bean bag-toss game of the same name, I've wondered about this word. The old farm game, similar to horseshoes, has recently gained such popularity that Googling cornhole ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Is “Canuck” offensive?

I was criticized the other day for using this word. It never occurred to me that it was offensive, but Wikipedia says it "may" be derogatory. Given Vancouver's hockey team, I tend to think it's ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there anything wrong with the word “denigrate”?

A few years ago there was a controversy over the word niggardly — a perfectly innocent word that unfortunately sounds like a racial slur. Given that controversy, is it safe to use denigrate, which ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the meaning of “I'm a wiener”?

I have scoured out dictionaries searching for the word wiener without success. As you can notice I am not a native speaker. I usually see the this phrase as a demeaning joke on animations when some ...
3
votes
3answers
418 views

Someone told me “fair” is the “F” word, they don't like it in their house. Should I avoid using it?

I used "It's not fair", but someone told me "fair" is the "F" word, and they don't like it in their house. Should I avoid using it? ps: sorry if my question offended someone, I didn't mean to it.
3
votes
8answers
952 views

What's the more appropriate substitution for “give a f**k/d**n/s**t”

I want a more appropriate phrase that has the same form ("give a **") and meaning as the offensive "give a f**k/d**n/s**t". Is there any?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it better to be “hung like a pike” or “hung like a stickleback”?

More from the British movie The Football Factory. The background is that the main character and his best friend have picked up these two girls at a bar; things proceed swimmingly, and the two head ...
7
votes
5answers
13k views

How serious an insult is “wanker” in British English? [NSFW]

In the spirit of this question, "How profane is it to call someone a 'slag' in British English", how insulting is "wanker" in British English on the spectrum of profanities and vulgarities? What's ...
5
votes
4answers
52k 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?