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

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7
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6answers
7k views

Non-sexual meaning of “to have a hard-on for someone”

What does it mean to "have a hard-on for someone" in a non-sexual sense? I've heard it used in contexts that make it seem like the subject is acting aggressive or belligerent toward "someone". Is that ...
4
votes
5answers
5k 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
1k 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
402 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: ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Was the word “nigger” an expletive in Mark Twain's day?

Was the word "nigger" a deliberately derogatory and offensive word in Mark Twain's time, or was it just a normal word to describe an ethnicity in those days? Background: I'm curious as to whether ...
5
votes
9answers
3k 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?
93
votes
10answers
14k views

Differences between slang words for breasts

What is the difference between “tits” and “boobs”? P.S. I'm not sure if this question is appropriate but as English is not my native language I really would love to know the difference.
18
votes
5answers
11k views

Is “Eskimo” a universally offensive term?

I know that "Eskimo" is an offensive term in Canada; they use the term "Inuit". But I see the term "Eskimo" popping up regularly in news articles that I read; I hardly see the term "Inuit" being ...
28
votes
8answers
4k views

Offensiveness of “black” in reference to race or skin colour

Is black offensive when used to refer to race or skin colour? If so, should we then not use white as well?
19
votes
9answers
12k views

Why is 'c*nt' so much more derogatory in the US than the UK?

What accounts for the strong disapproval of anyone using the word 'cunt' in the US, when the sentiment doesn't exist to the same extent in the UK? To be clear, it's still a strong word to use in the ...
2
votes
6answers
7k 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. ...
15
votes
4answers
932 views

Obscenities considered less obscene in compounds? [NSFW]

There are at least a few cases in which a compound word or phrase, transparently containing an obscene word, seems to be considered less obscene (in some dialect/registers/circumstances) than the word ...
20
votes
4answers
15k views

“Hooker”, “whore”, “prostitute”, when to use which?

"Hooker", "whore", and "prostitute" all mean whore; what are the differences between them?
5
votes
1answer
658 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
9k views

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

Where does the phrase "holy crap on a cracker" come from?
13
votes
5answers
1k views

“Woman is the 'n-word' of the world”?

The other day I was watching a video, in which one white teacher was being accused of using the word "nigger" in reference to one of his students who was black. The newscasters, before showing the ...
20
votes
12answers
3k views

Just how offensive are the terms “retarded” and “gay”?

My college-age son and his friends use the terms "retarded" and "gay" pretty much interchangeably to mean substandard, bad, lame (in the sense of ineffectual or weak) or just plain wrong. I've ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

What does “X is not a four-letter word” mean?

Once in a while I see phrases like "Think" is not a four-letter word and just about any word can be where "think" is. I looked up the Wikipedia and looks like it says that "four-letter word" means ...
14
votes
10answers
13k views

Is it offensive to call a redhead a “ginger”?

So I just re-watched this great comedy by Tim Minchin, and here are the questions: How bad/offensive is the g-word really (other than being an anagram of the n-word)? What are alternatives? Is ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

Idiot vs stupid

What is the difference between the subject words?
5
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
16k views

Is there a difference between “arse” and “ass”?

From a comment here, in frequent usage, arse and ass are often interchangeable when used to refer to buttocks or to a person of dubious charms. However, although “to arse about” has a vague connection ...
5
votes
3answers
614 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?
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Does “gay” still include the meaning “merry”?

Dictionary.com lists eight meanings of gay, with “merry, lively” as the first entry. Microsoft banned an Xbox user for listing Fort Gay (a real place) as his hometown: Xbox Live considered the ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Are -er insults a British phenomenon?

In the UK there are a lot of insulting words which end in -er, like this: scrubber (slut), tosser (masturbator), chancer (untrustworthy person), poofter (homosexual), wanker (masturbator, generally ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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. ...
33
votes
7answers
4k views

How bad is the f-word, really?

I am confused: on the one hand, many of my native-speaker friends keep telling me that the f-word is very, very bad. Much worse than the s-word for example. On the other hand, I see it being used ...