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

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1
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2answers
62 views

Why do non-native speakers consider “bitch” to mean “prostitute”? [on hold]

Why do so many non-native speakers from very different linguistic backgrounds seem to understand the term bitch as being a synonym for prostitute?-- I have never heard a native speaker use the former ...
8
votes
5answers
111 views

How to communicate the idea of a “brown-noser” without the vulgar connotations?

What term would communicate something similar to "brown noser", without the vulgar connotation? (Here's one citation of the term being used by WWII soldiers, but I'm guessing it was used before that. ...
1
vote
5answers
180 views

Is “bollocks” really a swear word?

Today my laptop battery died while I was finishing off a sticky note and so naturally I just went 'Oh, bollocks!'. After all, it didn't warrant one of the "big six"; it was more a "damn" moment. So I ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

The colloquial use of the pronoun “you” followed by “adjectives”

Utterances like you pig!, you bastard! or you silly! are quite common but it is hard to find grammatical explanation about them as they are prevalent in the colloquialism. I would be glad if ...
6
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4answers
51k views
0
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1answer
585 views

What's a British equivalent to the more American expression 'Kiss my ass'? [closed]

I have the feeling that 'kiss my ass' isn't as widely used in the UK as it is in the US. I'm looking for a more British sounding equivalent.
1
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2answers
232 views

Up one's ass vs. In one's ass

Why is stick/shove/etc up one's ass much more common than in/into one's ass?
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Offensive phrase: what does “**ck my brains out” mean? [closed]

Does this expression have to do with actual sex intercourse? Or it is mostly used to describe a situation of some conflicts over little petty meaningless things, for example, preparing a work report? ...
2
votes
7answers
396 views

What is a less vulgar, but informal phrase for “talk a lot of s***”? [closed]

For some reason the phrase "talk a lot of stick" is coming into my mind when I think of a person who talks a lot of shit, but I couldn't find anything when I Googled it. Is there any phrase which ...
7
votes
2answers
882 views

Foul language vs. vulgar language [closed]

I have been able to find the differences between many pairs of words/phrases of similar meaning on Stack Exchange except for one — vulgar language and foul language. Could anyone shed some light on ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

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 TV. Sentences like "You fucking idiot." I've also heard ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

Why has “Caucasian” remained in use, while similar terms for other races have fallen out of use?

Why has the term "Caucasian" remained in use, while equivalent terms, such as those used for Asian people, African people, and Australian Aborigines have fallen out of use in polite society? I came ...
28
votes
22answers
5k views

Is there any curse/ swear equivalent for this Persian curse? “ May your head be covered by soil!”

There is a curse/ swear in Persian that literally means " May your head be covered by soil" and implies that " you'd better die and be buried /be underground!"( you are not important). We use it in ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Slang meaning of “sheltered workshop”

When used metaphorically as slang (the literal meaning, possibly considered politically incorrect, is a workplace specifically for disabled people), what does the term "sheltered workshop" mean? ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

What's another way of saying “to hell with it”? [closed]

How do you express displeasure and disregard over something (e.g. To hell with that new policy _____'s office has come up with! I'm going to do whatever the hell I want) without sounding crude? I am ...
7
votes
7answers
9k views

Why is the term “touched” no longer commonly used?

I’ve heard the term touched used to refer to someone who is “not quite right”. I’m curious as to where this term came from, what it really means, and why it doesn’t tend to be used often anymore. Is ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

Different uses of 'kaffir' by white South Africans and Muslims

Back in apartheid-era South Africa and, in camera, probably even today, the word 'kaffir' is used in much the same way 'nigger' is used in the western world, ie. as a racist epithet directed at black ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Is “dandy” considered offensive? [closed]

Is calling someone a dandy considered offensive or has a negative meaning nowadays? English is not my native language, so I wanted to clarify this for me. I understand the meaning of the word, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

help to find a taboo equivalent

Excuse me for what you are going to read now. If you don't accept the taboo lexics, please don't read this. There is a taboo phrase in Russian: "ебись оно всё конём" /jebis ono vsjo konjom/ which ...
13
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12answers
4k views

“God's own country”

According to Collins-Robert English-French Dictionary by Beryl T. Atkins, Alain Duval, and Rosemary C. Milne, ed. 1985, manufactured in the United States of America by Rand McNally & Company, (...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Expletive or exclamation meaning “exactly” or “precisely” [closed]

I have a friend who is an excellent non-native English speaker. However, when agreeing emphatically via text message, he will sometimes say "exact-fucking-ly!" This sounds odd compared to "abso-...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Colorful idiom/phrase equivalent to French “s'en fourrer jusque là/plein la panse”

Is there an expression/idiom in English that comes anywhere close in flavor to the colorful French expression, s'en mettre (or fourrer or foutre) jusque là s'en mettre (or fourrer or foutre) ...
6
votes
8answers
933 views

English equivalent for the French expression “péter de santé”

Is there an expression/idiom in English that carries pretty much the same connotation as what is implied by French "péter de santé"? WordReference actually gives for translation, "be bursting with ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Does English slang have a feminine version of “breaking someone's balls”?

A question out of curiosity. Probably Not Safe For Work. Often times, I come across this phrase especially in Hollywood movies and sitcoms. Depending on how it's used, it either means that "someone ...
49
votes
5answers
27k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
14k views

Why are the “donkey” and the “butt” both named “ass”? [closed]

Is there any similarity between them that they have the same name, or is the reason something different of having a physical similarity? I found different meanings for both, but none of them ...
4
votes
3answers
12k views

In what English-speaking communities does “trump” refer to the breaking of wind?

It is clear from this site that the verb to trump has been used extensively across Britain to refer to the breaking of wind. It is especially the case in the North, in Wales and certainly in Norfolk, ...
1
vote
3answers
89 views

more professional alternative to offensive phrase [closed]

I'm trying to write a professional letter to someone with whom I am extremely upset. While I feel that sometimes words that are considered offensive are the best words to express certain feelings, ...
2
votes
2answers
125 views

The Word Bastard - Origin and Meaning [closed]

How offensive is the word Bastard? And when did it become more of an offense than a term used for child out of wedlock?
14
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2answers
2k views

Adjective for 'shite'

The adjective for 'shit' is 'shitty'. And is there no different adjective for the British word 'shite'?
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Subtle version of “Curtains match the carpet” [closed]

The idiom "the curtains match the carpet" -- also heard the other way around and, in American English, swapping in "drapes" and "rug", respectively; I think I've also heard it with "collar" and "cuffs"...
8
votes
10answers
5k views

What is a less offensive term for “Christian mythology” that still implies it's non-empirical?

I'm trying to find an alternative term for "Christian mythology" that characterizes it as non-empirical, but isn't quite so caustic towards those sympathetic to Christian beliefs. I've considered "...
-2
votes
4answers
113 views

A polite substitution for Charlie Foxtrot

Charlie Foxtrot is the NATO phonetic acronym of which is clearly fairly rude. If you were not aware of the meaning, you would have no idea what I was talking about. Is there a polite version to ...
-2
votes
3answers
6k views

Can “f— someone's brains out” be used to mean “steal someone's heart”? [closed]

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
258 views

What is the lost origin of 'hoodlum'?

The OED Online, in an entry "not yet fully updated (first published 1899)", gives this etymology for 'hoodlum': The name originated in San Francisco about 1870–2, and began to excite attention ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Usage of Beautiful [closed]

I have been taught in English language classes that using "Beautiful" for a girl, represent your rudeness? for example you should not say "what a beautiful girl". Is it correct?
3
votes
2answers
274 views

Is “sh*te” a swear word?

So I was watching The Simpsons just before, the episode being "Fraudcast News". At the end of the episode many Springfield residents follow in Lisa's footsteps and start to print their own newspapers. ...
11
votes
5answers
75k views

What is the origin and history of the word “motherf---er”?

I'm not a native English speaker, but I would like to know how and why people started using mother fucker. Today it seems it has lost its meaning because people use it all the time, but was there a ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

How do I ask a question and make a comment in the same sentence? [closed]

For example, if I wanted to ask somebody a question and call them an idiot would I write: "What do you know about grammar? You Idiot" or "What do you know about grammar you idiot?" Or is it done ...
35
votes
10answers
5k views

Is the term “aspie” derogatory?

Until today I had never heard of the shortened term "aspie" to refer to someone with Asperger syndrome. While the term strikes me as derogatory and belittling, I'm not a native speaker and obviously ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

What was slang, profanity and swearing like in the 1800's. [closed]

What would surprise us about the vernacular of the common Tennessean or South Carolinian in the early 1800's? What expressions were used profanely that would seem mild or strange today? Given the lack ...
8
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

The Kids are All Right

As I was reading some of the responses on Should I use “the wife” or “my wife”?, I agreed with many of the posters stating that using the wife as opposed to my wife was slightly less personal and ...
19
votes
6answers
35k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
921 views

Meaning of the expression “Eat sh**”

What does the expression "eat shit" represent in the following sentences? Eat shit, I'm not going to do your dirty work. Is this similar to "I dislike doing your dirty work"? Or does it mean "Go ...
23
votes
11answers
3k views

Is it okay to use the word “Negro” in a historical context? [closed]

In a few days, I have to do a class presentation project about the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. I want to say that the movement's original name was the "New Negro Movement," but I'm not sure if that's ...
18
votes
3answers
2k 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, ...
22
votes
6answers
61k views

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

"Hooker", "whore", and "prostitute" all mean whore; what are the differences between them?
8
votes
7answers
7k views

Why does swearing 'turn the air blue'?

Why do we say that the air is blue when someone has been swearing a lot?
4
votes
4answers
141 views

anatomically correct without sexual connotation [closed]

I would like to be able to describe something as anatomically correct in the sense that I would have a doll, etc. that is essentially anatomically accurate, without conveying the sense that I am ...