Is using the expression "pain in the ass" considered rude ?

I'd like to use this expression in a public talk about diffucult outdoor activities, like for instance: "crossing this river was a major pain in the ass" (is actually was).

If yes, what other expression could I use to convey the same idea ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drew, Mari-Lou A, tchrist, Chenmunka, Mitch Nov 12 '15 at 18:06

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    Questions like these are a pain in the ass. There, did that feel rude to you? – Robusto Nov 6 '15 at 16:41
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    Pain in the ass and a pain in the butt; a pain in the rear: Fig. a very annoying thing or person. (Crude. Potentially offensive. Use only with discretion. An elaboration of pain. Use caution with ass. Butt is less offensive. Rear is euphemistic.) idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pain+in+the+ass – user66974 Nov 6 '15 at 16:41
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    @Robusto I'm not a native english speaker, therefore I'm not really sure. – Jabberwocky Nov 6 '15 at 16:42
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    You can use "neck" in place of "ass" if you don't want to offend some of your audience. – user140086 Nov 6 '15 at 16:43
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    "Ass" is a (very mild) profanity, and should not generally be used in church (except when describing a beast of burden). "Butt", "rear", and "neck" are alternatives, in order of descending offensiveness. And the idiom "a pain in the X" (where X can be any of the above words and more) is informal, and should be avoided in any formal setting (eg, formal writing and formal lectures). Plus, of course, it can be offensive if used to describe someone within earshot (but less so when used to describe, say, Windows). – Hot Licks Nov 6 '15 at 17:12

The a-word can sound rude and inappropriate, depending on the audience.

A more appropriate expression could be a pain in the neck (edit: just noticed that Rathony suggested this in comments already):

something or someone that causes trouble; a source of unhappiness


You can also simply say crossing the river was a major ordeal or trial.

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