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

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8answers
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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
113 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
4k 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 ...
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2answers
77 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
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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 ...
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1answer
82 views
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0answers
42 views

What kind of insult is Jesus F***ing Christ? [duplicate]

What kind of insult is Jesus F**king Christ? Is it to us or to Jesus?
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1answer
4k 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
3k 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?
2
votes
2answers
196 views

“Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”?

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). ...
19
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5answers
32k views

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

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

What is origin of the phrase “tits up”

I like this phrase a lot but wonder where it comes from.
6
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3answers
227 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 ...
26
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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 ...
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votes
1answer
65 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
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4answers
1k 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
132 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
67 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
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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 ...
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1answer
116 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
242k 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
435 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
224 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
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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
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3answers
25k 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
253 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
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1answer
87 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
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1answer
745 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
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vote
7answers
179 views

Adjective for someone who is an a-hole?

I'm trying to identify an effective adjective for someone who is unpleasant to others, mean spirited, and self-centered enough to qualify as a colloquial "a$$hole". I've looked at this question, ...
11
votes
7answers
11k views

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
5answers
12k views

Synonym for “half-ass”

As in: Don't half-ass this project or I'll fire you. I don't want to half-ass this project or I'll be fired. I half-assed this project and was fired.
2
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1answer
185 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

What is an alternative to “f— someone's brains out”? [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 ...
7
votes
2answers
627 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
23k 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 ...
12
votes
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
8k 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 ...
41
votes
5answers
9k 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
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1answer
80 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. ...
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4answers
125 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
469 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 ...
25
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13answers
4k 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 ...
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5answers
17k 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
441 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
6k 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
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1answer
3k 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
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0answers
42 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 ...