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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (8)

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2answers
61 views

Clean, concise, snappy synonym for “f—ing awesome” [on hold]

Our company mission is to make product X fucking awesome. Any clean, non-long-winded, emphatic, passionate synonym for 'fucking awesome' in this context?
10
votes
4answers
7k views
+500

What does “ratchet” 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
1answer
75 views

Why do people pronounce “f***ing” like “f***en”? [duplicate]

I'm not a native English speaker so I might not be exactly accurate with this, but whenever people (e.g. in films) say fucking, it sounds something like fucken. There's no "g" at the end and instead ...
0
votes
0answers
26 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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
550 views

What is an alternative to “f— someone's brains out”? [on hold]

In Persian, we use a sentence,مخ کسی را زدن [pron.:Mokh-e Kasi Ra Zadan], literally meaning "to hit someone's mind", to mean attracting someone and making them interested for dating, or stealing ...
7
votes
2answers
589 views

Etymology of “sh**hole” [closed]

What is the etymology of shithole? Did it originate from A) the orifice through which excrement is passed, or B) the hole in the ground intended for the disposal of such excrement? (This is a serious ...
14
votes
10answers
19k 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
63 views

Grammatical meaning of the profanity “MF”

I understand what the word means and I'm very clear on the usage pattern as well as the gravity anoted to it. However, we got into talking about the MF word's grammatical aspect and we couldn't agree. ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why the opposite meanings of the word “bollocks”?

The phrases the dog’s bollocks, the bee’s bollocks, and golden bollocks are used to mean something or someone excellent, fine, or well thought of. But if one were to say a load of bollocks, or ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the origin of “Indian Summer” and is it offensive?

I am discussing San Francisco's "Indian Summer" and happen to be surrounded by people from India (the country). As I was speaking I got terribly uncomfortable thinking I was offending someone, (there ...
40
votes
5answers
5k views

“Screwed” vs. “nailed”: why is the slang so different?

While the two names nail and screw have similar shapes and functions, why do the verbs differ so much? Someone has screwed something sounds like they have ruined something to me, while someone has ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Is “German measles” regarded as offensive?

Google NGrams indicates that "rubella" has been more commonly used than "German measles" since approximately the end of the WWII, and that it isn't because people have used "liberty measles" instead. ...
1
vote
4answers
76 views

Alternate phrase for “be damned” to avoid profanity

How could you rephrase something like this usage of "be damned" to avoid profanity, but without losing the emphasis conveyed by the idiom itself? I'm going to ask this question on StackExchange, ...
4
votes
2answers
416 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 ...
24
votes
13answers
3k views

Is there any “swearword” in English not associated with excrements, the genitals, sexual activity or religion?

SWEARWORD - A popular term for a word or phrase that is obscene, abusive, and socially offensive. For some reason, all of them seem to be associated with excrements, sex and religion. This ...
5
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
408 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", ...
16
votes
7answers
5k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

What slang words and colloquialisms are likely to embarrass an American in England or an Englishman in the U.S.? [duplicate]

An Argentine or Mexican tourist in Madrid, or A Brazilian tourist in Lisbon, will certainly hear phrases he has never heard before and may find some of them offensive. I myself have a list of ...
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

BrEng: “pull your finger out”, “cock up” and “stuff it” What do they mean?

In the British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, Detective Grim makes three intelligently crafted sentences, which are given below. What do they mean? It's my arse on the line, so you better pull your ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
621 views

Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
2
votes
3answers
686 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?
13
votes
3answers
797 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
577 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
789 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.
0
votes
2answers
142 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
177 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
95 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k 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
158 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
326 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
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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
174 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
3k 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
136 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
8k 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
231 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
52k 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
2k 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" ...
2
votes
2answers
253 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
553 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
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?
-2
votes
6answers
356 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
213 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...