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

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11
votes
9answers
1k views

Polite, non-profane equivalent to ‘kick a**’

So, you have a web site to which you've posted a review stating "How to Kick Ass". This gets censored, which I can understand. What's a very colloquial, not necessarily modern slang, easily ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Swear words in common usage by educated people in 1916

What swear words might have been commonly used in conversation (and, in particular, oral argument) in and around 1916, by literate men? As sources from the time are largely written, it is difficult to ...
2
votes
9answers
1k views

Verb meaning “giving people sh*t”

I'm looking for a specific verb that mean 'giving people shit' (as in teasing them, keeping them honest). It needs to capture that the teasing is warranted, and that the criticism is correct.
0
votes
3answers
89 views

Is it offensive or unusual to use “Mongolian” in the sense of race?

It's nowadays generally considered offensive to use "mongoloid" or the like to refer to Down's Syndrome. But what about with regards to race? Would it be offensive or unusual to talk about "the ...
3
votes
0answers
2k views

What is the precise meaning of “f***” in the context of the hip hop mantra, “F*** bitches, get money”? [closed]

I've been hearing the line "Fuck bitches / Get money" in hip hop songs recently. I mostly noticed it lately in a couple of notable songs by Lil Wayne and other Young Money affiliated artists, but ...
10
votes
5answers
7k views

How many different parts of speech can the f-word be used as?

In an "interesting" thread of comments we began to look at the word fuck in several different uses. Most of them were interjections and verb uses as would be expected. But, perhaps dialectally, the ...
8
votes
6answers
4k views

Why does swearing 'turn the air blue'?

Why do we say that the air is blue when someone has been swearing a lot?
6
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
284 views

“Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”? [closed]

I have faced a problem with my writing which I could really do with some clarification on. My question applies to both British and American English (which is fairly standard on the internet). ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Is “Zionist” an offensive term? [closed]

Is asking someone if they are a Zionist considered offensive? Is it equivalent to asking someone about their religious or political affiliations?
2
votes
4answers
213 views

Racist and offensive term for a black person during the Civil War

Is there a word like "colored" or "darkie" that would be offensive to a white southerner during the Civil War? I don't think the N word would work here. I'm working on a screenplay and want a southern ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

“Good for Me!” as a response to someone doing something nice for you

I have done many nice things for a relative (e.g. reorganize the outdoor deck space) and upon seeing whatever I try & do nice for her she replies "Good for Me!" I find this offensive—am I ...
9
votes
5answers
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Where does the word “jism” come from?

Another word of mysterious origins of jism, in the sense of spunk. The OED mentions it is sometimes spelled jizz, and may even be the precursor word to jazz. But neither the OED nor Etymonline ...
1
vote
3answers
3k 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
318k views

What does “thot” mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
2
votes
1answer
297 views

Does “Japanese tourist” have any meaning other than a tourist from Japan?

I was under the impression that "Japanese tourist" had a meaning more than just a tourist who happens to be from Japan. For example, TV Tropes has an entry on Japanese Tourist, and French fashion ...
3
votes
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?
7
votes
3answers
255 views

Was the BrEng term “coloured” derogatory in the 1970s?

SAM Look... I owe it to myself to say this to you, okay? Leave Tony Crane. Just go far away from him. He's gonna ask you to marry him and he's gonna make you a business partner. EVE Is ...
4
votes
3answers
427 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
120k 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?
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Vulgar way of saying “he killed himself”

I'm trying to translate my acquaintance's cartoon to cite it in an article written in English. For the subject of the article it is important that the translation will be direct, thus very vulgar ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

What's a word to describe topics that would be impolite to talk about?

What's a word for this? I thought of taboo (or from MW - taboo). But I'm not sure that this is the right word. Examples of this kind of topic include: money sex other people not present Is there a ...
5
votes
2answers
202 views

Is it offensive to say that somone “fell pregnant”?

That's my question in the headline. It implies that it was an accident, and/or that the pregnancy, so therefore the unborn child, is a burden, like an illness. Seems offensive, yet I hear it all the ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

'Ass' (“fool”): vulgar?

My kid heard the word ass somewhere and asked what it meant. My wife said not to use it as it's not a nice word. (She meant that it's vulgar or obscene.) Later (when the kid wasn't around), I objected ...
10
votes
2answers
3k 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
1answer
115 views
0
votes
1answer
6k views

How offensive is the expression “I am sick of you”?

Question 1: What is the meaning of "I am sick of you" exactly? Question 2: Does the meaning of this expression change depending on the context? Question 3: How offensive is this expression in ...
17
votes
9answers
4k views

Is “layman” an offensive term?

Is it offensive to use the term layman nowadays? Does it insinuate that the people to whom you are referring are uneducated? I am wanting to say This is just one of the ways that CERN's research ...
3
votes
3answers
4k 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?
19
votes
5answers
38k views

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

"Hooker", "whore", and "prostitute" all mean whore; what are the differences between them?
2
votes
1answer
704 views

What is origin of the phrase “tits up”

I like this phrase a lot but wonder where it comes from.
26
votes
12answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
74 views

A chink in the English language [closed]

The idiom "chink in one's armor" refers to an area of vulnerability Wikipedia Unfortunately, while a 'chink' can be a weakness, in recent times it has become a derogatory statement. This makes ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the past tense form of s--t [closed]

Are shit, shat, and shitted all correct and fine to use as the past tense of shit? After a little bit of searching it seems that they are, with shat being Old English. Is any form more common in ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

Martini, Extra Dirty

This expression is from the show "True Detective" (Session 1 Episode 6) A guy buys a woman a drink when they have just met, then she asks waiter to "martini, extra dirty". This is the first time I've ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Is “root access” acceptable in a professional setting in Australian English?

In Australian English, which has a slang meaning of "root" which is best avoided in a professional setting, is "root access" acceptable in a professional setting? If not, what synonyms, preferably ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
192 views

Tolerance in English for names with vulgar everyday meaning? [closed]

Why does English (and perhaps other languages) allow collisions between names and nouns with vulgar/offensive meanings? I'm thinking of course of Dick vs. dick. Possible explanations (in no ...
9
votes
2answers
276k views

“Dammit” vs. “damnit” [closed]

What is the correct spelling, dammit or damnit? And what is the difference? Just writing this question brings up a red squiggly underneath damnit and the suggestions include dammit and damn it.
4
votes
3answers
685 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
339 views

American word for commode

I know several words for the toilet, i.e. bathroom. However I want to know the colloquial word for the seat on which one sits while defecating. I have read john somewhere but never heard an American ...
8
votes
3answers
5k 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?
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?
8
votes
3answers
29k views

Is “I'm screwed” a rude expression?

Is "I'm screwed" a rude expression, or can it be used when someone tries to say they made a mistake? I overheard it from someone who seemed to have failed at his task.
5
votes
2answers
400 views

What's the origin of the phrase “men are pigs”?

I believe every man and woman has either read about or heard this phrase been spoken at least once in their lifetime. Besides the obvious connotation ascribing men to pigs, what is the reasoning ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Removing offensiveness from swear word [closed]

Is there a consensus in terms of the ranking of offensiveness given by the word "damn" and its derivatives? Damn Darn Dang Ding (as in ding-busted) I assume that the less a word sounds like the ...
0
votes
1answer
848 views

Is asking “come again?” to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...