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

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11
votes
7answers
32k 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 ...
41
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
1k 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
1k 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
10k 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?
10
votes
9answers
3k 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
4k 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
48k 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 ...
17
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
436 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
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?
2
votes
3answers
3k 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
17k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
65k 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?
7
votes
3answers
89k views

How offensive is it to call someone a “slag” in British English? (NSFW)

One more colorful slang term I gleaned from the British movie I recently watched is slag. In the movie, it was used in curses like, "Fuck-ing dogs! Slags." "Right slag, that one." Now I know via ...
21
votes
7answers
20k views

How derogatory is “chicks” when used to refer to women?

A comment in “What is a feminine version of guys?” got me wondering: how derogatory is the use of chicks to refer to women (either in general, or to a specific group). To me (I'm a man), it was quite ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Why did the descriptive “Orientals” shift into a pejorative?

It seems as if a shift occurred and the descriptive "Oriental" was replaced by "Asian" as the accepted term in polite society — what caused this shift?
13
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the pejorative for people who only practice their faith while at the place of worship?

What is the phrase or word for person that are very faithful in their place of worship (the pejorative usually applies to persons who are showy to the point of hypocrisy), but that are anything but ...
3
votes
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
449 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
934 views

What is the historic process for converting vulgar words into simply rude words?

I have noticed a pattern involving vulgarities where the previous generation's evil words become accepted as merely off-color or rude in the following generation. Is this merely each generation's ...
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 ...
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. ...
1
vote
2answers
9k 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?
3
votes
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: ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What is another name for Dick?

Coming from "Changes in English names of people" telling: Richard → Dick Can I substitute Dick by Richard? I need it to know because my Emails with the use of name Dick are being returned by ...
1
vote
1answer
527 views

How would you substitute English vulgar words in foreign phrases?

Subquestioning "Substitute for F*** in emphasizing disbelief, anger, etc": How would you substitute the vulgar English word in foreign phrases like in: 1) brand name: "Fucking beer"? or 2)in ...
6
votes
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?
8
votes
1answer
834 views

What name for bowdlerisation with asterisks (e.g., “f*ck”)?

I have always been intrigued by the English use of asterisks to replace vowels in words considered as offensive, and the reasons it seems somewhat language-specific. My (very related) questions on ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

What does “If she smokes, she pokes” exactly mean?

What does part she pokes of phrase If she smokes, she pokes exactly mean?
5
votes
11answers
998 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."
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Explain this pickup line: “If Bangkok invaded Djibouti, would Greece help?”

I was at an Model UN conference and often notes like the following get passed. As I'm not a native speaker, I assume that this has to do with some pronunciational issue. Can you please explain what's ...
9
votes
9answers
18k views

Is “Saffer” an offensive term for a South African?

I've always believed that "Saffer" is a derogatory term for a South African. But a few minutes earlier, I saw this tweet by ESPN: So, isn't "Saffer" a derogatory term?
8
votes
5answers
22k views

What is the etymology of “BFE”?

BFE is an abbreviation for "Bum Fuck Egypt" or "Butt Fuck Egypt," which is used to denote "out in the middle of nowhere." I'm curious how this expression came about. UrbanDictionary.com has a ...
2
votes
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
498 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.
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is “bloody” considered obscene in the UK but not in the US?

Why is the word bloody considered obscene in the UK but not so in the US?
0
votes
1answer
797 views

Is f**kstick really an abusive word?

I have heard the word fuckstick in a lot of Hollywood movies, most notably in 'The Shawshank Redemption'. What is this word even meant to convey? An insult? Is it even abusive? Or is just a ...
7
votes
6answers
10k 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
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

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
492 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
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?
100
votes
10answers
18k 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
17k 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 ...
29
votes
8answers
5k 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
18k 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 ...