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

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12
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3answers
560 views

When and why did the N-word and “negro” go apart?

Both the terms nigger and negro come from the Spanish and Portuguese Negro which denotes "black". But today they have widely different connotations, the former is considered a horrible racial slur, ...
0
votes
1answer
454 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 ...
3
votes
8answers
555 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.
5
votes
3answers
4k views

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

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
-2
votes
2answers
119 views

What does “f***ing pay” mean? [closed]

I have never seen "fucking pay" before. what does it mean. I have read this in this sentences " Let's hope you're right. that's all I have to say. Because otherwise... you know? soneone, somewhere is ...
2
votes
5answers
149 views

“Females under the age of…” instead of “Women under the age of…” Is that offensive?

Is it offensive to refer to women as "females", as I've seen posted at the entrance of a night club: "Females under the age of twenty-one will have to...."
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Regarding the usage of some 'bad' language [closed]

Is there a legitimate or edifying literary purpose for the many forms of blasphemy (forgive spelling) that have appeared in many modern works of literature. Does it really help a story line or plot or ...
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Where does the slang word “bad” + “ass” (badass) come from?

What is the origin of the word badass? Why a "bad" ass/"bad" + "ass"? What is an ass that is bad and how can an ass that is bad describe a tough person?
3
votes
1answer
2k 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: ...
0
votes
1answer
140 views

Is the word 'stroke' understood, in meaning one of these / \? [closed]

All the meanings of the word 'slash', other than an oblique forward or backward stroke are either violent or obscene. They include cuts made with swords, lashing with a whip, cutting maliciously car ...
2
votes
3answers
227 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “balls” mean as a reply word or interjection?

Here’s a question again in Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter. Richard (husband of Florentina Kane, the heroine of the novel) finds in The Wall Street Journal that Jake Thomas, chairman of ...
-1
votes
1answer
148 views

“Karma is a bitch” [closed]

I recently sent a message to my credit union complaining about the misbehavior of some staff members (treating customers with contempt). I ended my message by writing: Karma is a b*tch. The ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the word “wankers” come from?

The term wanker is derived from the verb wank in the sense of to masturbate. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline can trace it further back than that: both claim it is of “obscure origin”, which ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

How strong/vulgar is using “to bitch” in the meaning of “to complain”?

I understand that calling a woman a bitch is a very strong language. However, is the word vulgar per se? Specifically, when used as a verb to bitch in the meaning of to complain (see What's the ...
48
votes
8answers
7k views

Polite alternative to the term “bitch” when referring to a female dog

I'm writing an example of constructing logic, and I need to differentiate between an adult female dog, an adult male dog and a puppy and am searching for polite terms. Unfortunately, the word "bitch" ...
4
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
46k 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 ...
4
votes
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" ...
1
vote
2answers
235 views

How bad is the use of “n***er” today?

If I call a black people of "nigger", how bad is this today? If a black call another black with this word, it is wrong?
3
votes
1answer
238 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?
9
votes
9answers
16k 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?
-2
votes
6answers
270 views

What is a good substitute word for the X-cum-Y construction? [closed]

I wanted to use the word "cum" to avoid repeating "and" in the following phrase: example.com is a teacher-cum-student search and listing site... But on second thoughts, the word "cum" is also a ...
0
votes
2answers
191 views

Can “fornicate” be used as a transitive verb? [closed]

(I’m asking this for someone else who doesn’t know about this site (yet).) Could fornicate be used as a transitive verb, as in We have to keep A from fornicating B. I don’t believe it can.
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Should the phrase “Man up” be considered offensive?

Liverpool Football Club have recently released a list of banned phrases, that they want the fans to avoid using. (Read the story) One of these phrases is "Man up". Why is this phrase considered ...
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", ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it derogatory or offensive to call a detective a dick?

The word dick is generally considered offensive and is marked so in dictionaries. But there is also a meaning of detective that it carries. I usually find no derog indication for this meaning. Is it ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “Dutch wife” one of those “Dutch words”?

The term "Dutch wife" is listed as having several somewhat related meanings. Wiktionary describes it as meaning 1) a body-length pillow, 2) a wicker or bamboo tube that someone sleeps in (also called ...
4
votes
5answers
13k views

Where does the term Cracker come from, and how disparaging is it?

My grandmother from Georgia openly refers to herself and other white southerners as "Crackers", and sometimes adds a state as in "Georgia Cracker" or "Florida Cracker". She says it means simple folks ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
449 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: ...
10
votes
3answers
864 views

Why are nouns sometimes pejorative when used attributively?

Certain nouns can often be used as noun adjuncts in place of a corresponding adjective, with no change in literal meaning, where: The noun is not pejorative when used nominatively by itself. Nor is ...
2
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
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?
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: ...
3
votes
4answers
564 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
6answers
3k views

What is a polite substitute for badass (used as a noun)? [closed]

Badass and BAMF are both modern words with approximately the same meaning: "Someone who is awesome to an extreme level, thereby leveraging unquestionable authority." Is there another noun or title ...
-1
votes
3answers
351 views

Synonym for “call bulls--t”

I am writing a column for publication in a widely circulated newspaper, and would like to use a phrase meaning something like "call bullshit". I can't think of one that captures the meaning so ...
1
vote
1answer
240 views

Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women?

Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women? There seems to be a wealth of terms (both offensive and inoffensive) that are used in the other direction. I ask ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the term “setting someone straight” offensive to queer people?

I replaced "Thanks for setting me straight" with "Thanks for correcting me" when editing an email to a recipient who is queer. Is the term "setting [someone] straight" inappropriate if the ...
6
votes
5answers
715 views

Slang names for souteneur

What are some common slang names for the souteneur - the illicit "manager" for prostitutes? I'm fairly sure there are a few, but I can't find any in the common online resources and I need it for a ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What to call someone who doesn't like foreigners who lack manners and basic knowledge of the country and culture they are mixing themselves in? [closed]

For instance, a French person is coming from a different culture and hence may come across as being rude in a British person's eyes. Moreover, he is ignorant about the different culture in Britain and ...
17
votes
6answers
85k 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?
29
votes
6answers
5k views

Less vulgar synonyms for “circlejerk”

Someone asked in the Math.StackExchange chatroom what a "more refined word for circlejerk" might be. UrbanDictionary defines this (in our desired usage) as: [...] pompous, self-congratulatory ...
2
votes
5answers
595 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 ...
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?
1
vote
2answers
148 views

Word meant to describe a crime where women beat men

Word meant to describe a crime where women beat men and men often do not report it. Supposedly , the most unreported crime there is. This was famous term used around the time of Lorena Bobbitt's ...
0
votes
4answers
754 views

Polite swearing words? [closed]

I hate to swear, i.e to say "fuck you" or whatsoever of those words. However sometimes I get angry and I wish there are words that could be a polite replacement for those swearing. I wish there's a ...