"J*rk", "f*ggot", "*sshole", "b*stard", "idiot", "stupid"... All these words are offensive. "B*tch", "wh*re", "c*nt", "sl*t" and others are offensive words for girls as well. However, as in most of the languages, swearwords in English are not the same. Some of these words are more or less appropriate in some contexts whenever the other words are generally never used at work and inside a family.

Can you help me to order the words from the softest ones to strongest?

Understanding of the usage of swearwords is important for building a proper reaction to these words.

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    -1 I don't think there's a satisfactory answer to this question - it's likely to be opinion-based and any measure of offensiveness is going to be based on context, making a 'ranking' of swear words pretty meaningless. – toryan Apr 14 '14 at 5:05

In English swearwords aren't cut and dried at all, some can be used as terms of endearment (which I'll explain after the ranking).

When used as swearwords, to offend, in the UK, I'd rank them in this order less offensive to most.

  1. stupid
  2. idiot
  3. jerk (English = w*nker would be about 7 in the list)
  4. b*itch
  5. f*ggot (English = "homo")
  6. *sshole
  7. sl*t
  8. b*stard
  9. wh*re
  10. c*nt

Surprisingly some of these words are used as terms of endearment.

It is not uncommon for some people to greet each other with a

"I haven't seen you for a long time, you old [b*stard/c*nt/w*nker]"

It's also becoming more common for young girls to call each other "sl*t" without meaning it to be offensive.

These words ARE used in the work place and amongst families these days, the power of the traditional swear word is being weakened by their over exposure on TV and Film.

In the UK, the only one of the words in the list that would raise an eyebrow if it was heard on the TV after the 9pm watershed would be c*nt.

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  • Thank you for answering my original question rather than judging it and -1-ing! :) I find it really important to know the degree of 'rudeness' of these words. – Igor Soloydenko Apr 14 '14 at 7:44

This is one of those questions that is almost impossible to answer, because the acceptability of any given term will vary according to the context, the degree of emotion being expressed, the demographic characteristics of the person using a given term, and the characteristics of the intended audience. (For instance, faggot would probably be perfectly acceptable to the participants in a conversation between homophobes, but would be highly UNacceptable to its audience when a homophobic person addresses a homosexual. Similarly, "Fuck!" is probably much more acceptable to others when uttered by someone who has just hit their thumb with a hammer than when someone orders a stranger, "Get out of my fucking way!")

Of the terms included in your far-from-exhaustive list, the least open to debate in terms of its position on the strength scale is cunt, which ranks very high on the scale of English-language taboo terms.

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