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

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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.
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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. ...
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3answers
412 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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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2answers
931 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 ...
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3answers
3k 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
549 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 ...
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2answers
479 views

Is this sentence “derogatory”? [closed]

Is this sentence “derogatory”? He just gave me the biggest fuck you of my career. Intuitively it doesn't seem to rise to the level of derogatory; merely the use of a vulgar idiom. But what ...
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3answers
484 views

Is there a name for the kind of sounds commonly found in profanities?

Fuck. Shit. Bitch. Cunt. I remember reading somewhere -- a very long time ago -- that these "hard" sounds are virtually necessary in profanities. The explanation I roughly remember is that because ...
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5answers
1k 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
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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
278 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
9k 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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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" ...
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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 ...
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8answers
1k 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?
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3answers
443 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.
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4answers
757 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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3answers
1k views

In the movie “Meet the Fockers” does the word “Focker” really sound different?

In the movie "Meet the Fockers" does the word "Focker" sound really different from the four-letter word? I don't hear any difference. Do all the actors pronounce this word really differently from ...
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3answers
3k views

Is schmuck really an obscene word?

Schmuck is supposedly an obscene Yiddish term for the male sex organ, yet it appears all of the time in the media as an American idiom for a jerk. Can one use it in polite company?
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3answers
607 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 ...
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8answers
1k 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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3answers
584 views

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

There’s a form in current English Then <X> happened or <X> happened, where you transition the name of a thing (a person, a fictitious character, or object), to mean the dramatic ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

When did “fag” become an offensive word?

I'm from Pennsylvania. With the recent threat by the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funeral of seven children who perished in a fire, I've been thinking a lot about their infamous catchphrase: ...
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3answers
765 views

How offensive is a word f**k in English? [duplicate]

I hear it quite often in movies, radio , books, songs even in some interviews with actors .In my native language is a word like that very strong and awfully offensive but I think it is not that strong ...
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2answers
1k 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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3answers
968 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 ...
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5answers
12k 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.
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3answers
470 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 ...
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1answer
510 views

A vague definition in a dictionary, “shag:a sexual partner of a specified ability”. Is there any better or plainer explanation?

I'm not a native English-reader, I'm Chinese. So mostly I get meanings of words by consulting dictionaries. I read this in a dictionary about the word shag: a sexual partner of a specified ...
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1answer
4k 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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2answers
10k views

Origin and meaning of “damn straight”

The phrase "damn straight" is now used as a way to emphatically agree with a statement, but where does it come from, and what did it mean originally?
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1answer
563 views

Pejorative terms for children or teenagers using the Internet

In Poland we have got many names for young children or teenagers using the Internet. For example we could see on the Internet that many have mangled the mother tongue and have been writing like this: ...
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1answer
212 views

Would a restaurant name of “Punjab House” be offensive? [closed]

We are looking for a good name for an Indian restaurant that specializes in Punjabi food. We have heard that naming the restaurant "Punjab House" would be offensive. What specifically makes it ...
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3answers
8k views

Idiot vs stupid

What is the difference between the subject words?
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4answers
5k 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Is the word 'hussler' appropriate?

Is wassup hussla? (also gangsta, killa etc.) appropriate to say to a friend or a colleague? I mean, I know that it's not any sort of an official phrase I'd say to my boss. What I mean to ask is ...
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2answers
242 views

Meaning of the word “congratufukinlation” [closed]

What does congratu-fukin-lations mean?
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3answers
826 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 ...
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1answer
215 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 ...
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1answer
949 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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6answers
13k views

Which one is it? “Damn” or “damned”?

I know that commonly in America, they use "damn" or "damned" to describe things. Sometimes, more appropriately, it's even "darn" or "darned". For example, This damn/damned computer is too slow. ...
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5answers
854 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
352 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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1answer
3k 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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3answers
274 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 ...