March 11, 2009

Bad Words

Warning: When you get halfway through this post - or at least to the end of the next paragraph - and say oh my god, Chris is terrible and I can't believe he used that kind of language and I'll never come here or read anything he writes again even if it happens to be the most brilliant thing since Salinger penned Catcher In The Rye and someone should totally wash his mouth out with a chainsaw, well, I warned you. We cool? Yeah? Keep reading.

I've got this game for my iPod Touch that Beth and I play with the frequency of crackheads reaching for a pipe. It's called Wurdle and the basic goal is to find as many words out of a set of letters as you can in five minutes. Because I rock (or because I got really lucky, twice), I managed to set two incredibly high scores both of which Beth and I are chasing and trying to beat. We are somewhat competitive with each other. Last night as I was playing, I noticed some really strange discrepancies in the words that the game was accepting. It was taking one but totally rejecting a very similar one. So, I've got to ask - what's the inherent difference, grammatically speaking, between cunt and twat?

You're reaching for that chainsaw, aren't you?

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Wurdle has a pretty filthy vocabulary. So do I. While I do my best to avoid such language on a daily basis, everything is fair game when I'm trying to beat a high score. I'm not above sinking to that level and at some point you just run out of other options. As a result, during the course of the countless Wurdle games I've played, I've tried just about everything. That's the position I found myself in when I tried cunt. No luck. Rejection. Out of sheer desperation I tried twat. To my surprise, it worked. I would have anticipated that working the other way around.

Acceptable: fuck (in just about all its forms - fucked, fucking, fucker), shit (and, again, the many variations - shitting, shat), bitch, ass, asshole, tit, boobs, blow, bang, cum, come, dick, cock, pussy, twat

Unacceptable: jizz, bumcakes, mudflaps, poon, cunt.

There are two words in the English language that I am averse to - cunt which I never use and another one, a racial epithet beginning with n, that I have never uttered and will not even spell. Wurdle has forced me to use one of them and I will now hold my iPod responsible for the rapid decline of my vocabulary. If nothing else, it proves that slang is somewhat arbitrary and crassness is in the eye of the beholder.

What's rating would you give your vocabulary - G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or XXX? And what words do you consider strictly forbidden.

Posted by Chris at March 11, 2009 6:47 AM
Comments

Like you, I can't write or say the N word. No fucking way. I would give myself on most days a PG-13 with a warning.

Posted by: Debbie at March 11, 2009 7:30 AM

Most days I go without swearing...I'm probably a PG-13 or something. When I have a bad day...the rating escalates accordingly :P However, you'll not find me saying the "religious swears", because I find them very disrespectful. I say things like "Oh brother" ;)
Brief aside: a friend's dad was teaching English in India and said, "Holy cow!" and then was all, Oh no what did I just say! heh.
And I've heard "the C word" in a sexual context as well as being used as an insult, and in the first it doesn't bother me as much, but in the second I find it entirely appalling.

Posted by: Heather at March 11, 2009 7:31 AM

Oh, and I agree with you on the N word. Horrible, horrible word and I don't think anyone should say it - rappers included. Because of that, I think, I have had to have some mighty serious talks with kids about what it means. (I made one kid look up Rosa Parks and MLK).

Posted by: Heather at March 11, 2009 7:34 AM

I... really don't have anything that I consider off limits. Now, like you, I don't use the N word, or write it, nor would I ever call anyone that. But I have said it from time to time, in different circumstances; more when it comes to quoting someone else than anything else. And whenever I do, it has been in the privacy of my own home, and no one would be around. Other than that? Words are free reign. They're just letters put together, and quite honestly I don't care who I offend. I just don't use the N word, because it was always hammered into my head not to use it, yet at the same time, I grew up surrounded by it. I tend not to use other racial slurs, and same thing, i won't ever use said racial slurs towards someone, but I have been known to say them before.

Posted by: secha at March 11, 2009 8:27 AM

Hmmm...I guess I'd be rated R. My language depends on who I'm with. When I'm comfortable with loved ones, I don't hesitate to let fly the bad words. I generally don't use cunt or twat, though. Maybe because I'm a woman? But I don't get all "eeee!" if I hear either word.

As for racial epithets, I just don't say them because that's how I was brought up.

Posted by: Alison at March 11, 2009 9:16 AM

On a daily basis, I am sure I get a PG-13 for my use of "he's an ass" or the random interjection of "bastard!". However, to be safe, I list any mood swings and/or tantrums with an R rating because I tend to drop the f-bomb or c***sucker enough to make a sailor blush.

Posted by: Claire at March 11, 2009 9:21 AM

I am filthy mouthed. I also don't consider any word to be "naughty" or forbidden. They are just words. However, out of respect for other people I do not use words that I know will bother them in any way in their presence. I also do not use racial expletives, ever, out of respect for other people and the pain that those expletives can cause them.

I've taught my children respect for others as well, instead of saying that a word is "bad" or forbidden, instead that it can hurt people's feelings or that only adults should use that word until they better understand what it means. Luckily, my 2 and 4 year old seem to grasp that concept and they don't repeat those common "bad words."

Posted by: Jen R. (aaron-n-jen.com) at March 11, 2009 9:26 AM

I think I get an R rating? Maybe NC-17 at times.

And I won't use the N word, either. I also hate come spelled with a U. For some reason, I find that word revolting. Although my best friend, who looks totally innocent and butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth sweet cracks me up when she calls someone a cumstain. It's a word she only uses when she's behind the bar working, and it is reserved for the seriously annoying and/or offensive. Which make it even funnier, of course.

Most slang terms for women's genitalia are pretty awful -- I actually say "hoohoo." Juvenile, I realize.

Posted by: Elise at March 11, 2009 9:34 AM

My language is definitely PG and I rarely swear. Have one of my bones broken however and it definitely become R rated as my poor Rugby coach found out in high school and mentioned to my parents...:)

On aside I would have had no issue trying twat as to me it means somebody who is an idiot or stupid. Growing up in Scotland you would hear it all the time at school.

Posted by: Steven at March 11, 2009 9:40 AM

On a daily basis, I don't tend to swear a lot. (Therapy clients don't really like to be sworn at. Imagine that.)

That being said, I give myself XXX because I know what I am capable of. Not only do I use all the worst words, I like to make my own variations thereof. For example, my best friend and I get a kick out of calling each other "cuntasaurus." It horrifies her mother, but it pretty much cracks our shit up. I've said them all, I'll probably say them all again, and if you don't like it then listening to me is probably not the best option.

Because I agree with what some above have said, they're all just words. Now, I'm not going around slinging cuntasaurus at random strangers, mind you, or swearing up a random storm on the bus.

I do hate the word moist, though. I think that should be banned. It's gross.

Posted by: caleal at March 11, 2009 9:41 AM

I love the "c" word but I am very selective about how I use it so as to maintain maximum shock impact. It is reserved for very special people.
I am also partial to the word, "fuck" just because it is incredibly versatile and when my husband uses it with his Kiwi accent, it's a thing of beauty.
The "n" word is always off limits. Always.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at March 11, 2009 9:42 AM

anatomically, not much difference. As an insult, I'd say that cunt is equivalent to uberbitch. Someone who uses uberbitchiness to achieve great things. I kinda liken Hillary Clinton to a cunt.

A twat is more just general assholeyness. George Bush is a twat.

Posted by: lora at March 11, 2009 9:49 AM

I speak in PG form (I gots kids, yo), but tend to write in PG13... sometimes R. Depends. Only a few words I am opposed to - and "The C Word" - well, I guess I am less opposed to it as a slang for a body part than a name for a person, if that makes sense. Still not my favorite word, though.

Posted by: sarah at March 11, 2009 9:51 AM

these days G back in the day I had a hardened pro hockey player tell me "I talked like a truck driver"! Weeee... So probably R or worse before I had kids.

The f word seems to have the most power in any circle. It is a word I truly love for its power. Didn't you ever notice that you could say any swear word in a class in HS but if you whispered F*** in the lowest possible voice it was like the record screetched to a halt and the teacher was on your ass about swearing, off the principal's office you go! No? Just me, eh?

Any who, I would say the C word is off limits for me. I think it is an ugly word. Though I am good at making up new and interesting words to call people.

Posted by: Christina at March 11, 2009 10:02 AM

I would say I'm PG-13. In my head sometimes strictly R. Depends on what's going on, but mostly I cuss like a sailor in my head.

What words do I consider forbidden? Ever hear George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words? (http://www.erenkrantz.com/Humor/SevenDirtyWords.shtml)

I tend to agree with those. I don't like the C words. c*nt, c*ck, (crinkles nose)the p word, the n word. I think that's it. I'm sure there's more but those come to mind first.

It's too early for this kind of chatter!!

Posted by: kimmyk at March 11, 2009 10:06 AM

I have a totally filthy mouth, but I won't say cunt. Or the n-word.

Posted by: Hope at March 11, 2009 10:20 AM

I would probably be rated R. Although I do try to keep the swearing a bay, but you know sometimes it just spills out.

As far as no-no words, I'd have to say the c word is pretty bad, I once had a woman on the ivillage message boards call me the c word because she didn't like my advice. Ummm irrational much. Anyhow I think it's really crass and I've never had it used with me even in the bedroom for naughty talk...I don't think I'd like it there either.

I don't really like any bigoted terms used in my presence it bothers me a lot. Once while on a family reunion a bunch of us went out to dinner and one of my extended family members and some other guy was discussing whom they call towelheads and I was incredibly offended and practically screamed at my family member when we got out to the car. I am offended by anything like that.

Posted by: Deirdre at March 11, 2009 10:24 AM

Have you seen cursebird.com? It checks out people's twitter accounts and rates their language. My husband "swears like a bad golf player", a friend of ours "swears like a Scottish comedian". Not sure if you twitter, but if you do, you should check it out.

Posted by: Shannon at March 11, 2009 10:24 AM

I'm rated R among friends.

And dude, cunt and twat are synonyms. I don't know what that fucking thing is thinking. Cockgobblers.

Posted by: Brad at March 11, 2009 10:44 AM

I am a PG at work and an R at home, who lives with a NC-17.

I will not use the "n" word and I do not like the word "cunt", other than that it's fair game.

Posted by: Kelly M. at March 11, 2009 10:49 AM

My vocabulary is R-rated, but I try to keep it reigned in to a PG.

Hate the C word. Don't like the N word, or any racial epithets, despite growing up in an era when all of them were very commonly heard. Even from family members.

That's probably why I cringe when I hear them.

Posted by: Allan at March 11, 2009 10:56 AM

i NEVER say those two that you won't. ever.

i am not a huge swearer by nature...i save it all for my site!

Posted by: ali at March 11, 2009 11:03 AM

I'd have to give myself at least an R, I swear like a sailor. But I'm w/ ya on the N-word, and I also don't tend to use cunt (I admit I may have slipped on that one once or twice though).

Maybe this is why my 6 y/o dropped the f-bomb at school? nah, must've been her father's fault. lol

Posted by: Kris at March 11, 2009 11:05 AM

My husband jokingly refers to me as "my wife, the sailor". That being said, I share your beliefs on the n & c words. I think both are despicable and not part of my vocabulary.

Posted by: LaineyDid at March 11, 2009 11:07 AM

I'd rate myself a PG-13 with an occasional lapse into the R area. I do not accept responsibility for my bad language. No, instead I blame the SPAM that arrives in my inbox everyday. Who can speak like a saint when you're daily bombarded with ads that promise to "make you horny like a sailor on leave?" I mean, it's impossible, so I just go with it. Blame the SPAM. Always blame the SPAM.

Posted by: GreenCanary at March 11, 2009 11:19 AM

I partially grew up in Scotland (at least as far as language goes) and the C word is a normal colloquial noun there, pretty much.

Down in London though, these would never be vocalized. I stick to F.

Posted by: Àlex at March 11, 2009 11:41 AM

I'm somewhere between PG-13 and R. I tend to say the F word a bit too much. Whoops. I try to keep it to myself though, does that help?

Posted by: Dianna at March 11, 2009 11:45 AM

I guess I'm between PG-13 and R... I do it more in my personal life than at work...I don't use the c-word or anything related to bigotry/racial epithets. I have been trying to be a bit more creative in my swearing though...

Posted by: Sue R at March 11, 2009 12:06 PM

I say the F word all the time. I also said "shit" in front of my boss's boss's boss one day and got raised eyebrows. (I work for a Christian college. Oops.) I can mostly turn it off when I have to.

"Cunt" doesn't bug me much, although I don't call other women that. I am not horrified by it. Like someone else said, they're just words. It's not worth being offended by people who call others names. You know? I mean, if they are going to sink to that level, it's not me who's the cunt, hey? "Dumb bitch" is my worst insult, 'cause what's worse than being stupid AND mean?

I don't use the N word, although Jon Stewart had a funny bit about it (http://www.spike.com/episode/17702/st/2801094). I thought there was a bit about Smurfs, but maybe that was someone else.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at March 11, 2009 12:16 PM

I range between PG and R, depending on what's happening.

With a few notable exceptions, such as Ann C**lter (she who will not be named), I never use any of the ugly words for women (except for b**ch sometimes).

And never, of course, do I use any of the awful words used to describe race, sexual identity, religion, etc.

Neat that Owen is walking (earlier post).

Posted by: Ann Adams at March 11, 2009 12:19 PM

Well it has to be R, although I try to be careful on where and who I am with when I use those words. I don't like the C word and the N word, although I have used the C word to describe a few women. Don't tell me you haven't used that describing Ann Colter. I know you detest her! Lol!

Posted by: Maribeth at March 11, 2009 12:38 PM

Most days probably R, but try to keep it a PG around the kids.

I will not utter any racial epithets, ever.

I would not customarily use the big bad "c" word, or most words refering to female anatomy.

Really, I just drop f-bombs some and say shit - a lot.

Posted by: K at March 11, 2009 12:40 PM

Im gonna say R at home, in private and with friends, PG everywhere else. I have to be honest and confess though, I am infamous for once shouting, at the top of my lungs, in the gathering area of my son's Catholic school (in front of all the kids) "Cunt! Shut the fuck up!" to another mother. But really, she more than deserved it, althougth I felt bad about the kids afterwards.
The only curse I am really not a fan of is douchebag because really, they are actually pretty gross things, IMO. I have become very used to it though because it is suddenly a very popular curse. Pussy isn't my favorite, either but whatever.

Posted by: That Girl at March 11, 2009 12:49 PM

Oh yeah, I don't really consider the N word a curse - to me it is beyond the pale and I get on my high horse about other people saying it too. Along with any other ethnic slurs. But like I said, those really arn't curses to my mind.

Posted by: That Girl at March 11, 2009 12:52 PM

My vocabulary is pretty bad. I have no problem saying just about any bad word including cunt, but the other word...the "n" one? I don't like hearing used at all.

I think the only commonly used word that bothers me is "titties". Tit is fine, but add the 'ties and I'll make uncomfortable faces. Any other word for breast is fine.

I also know people that have the same reaction to the words "quiz" or "moist".

Posted by: rai at March 11, 2009 2:26 PM

Ooooh, low blow that your ipod is forcing your hand! :P

I won't use religiously sensitive stuff - so no God, etc., though I seem to have picked up "go to hell"... :S

Posted by: Hannah at March 11, 2009 2:54 PM

In our house, unacceptable words are not necessarily the swear words. "N" word; idiot; dumb; stupid; hate...I actually cringe when I hear those words over fuck, bitch, shit....etc...

In front of my kids I try my darndest to be rated E (everyone) but for the most part, I am PG...

We can't all be perfect...

Posted by: Amber at March 11, 2009 2:55 PM

Friends in college used to laugh when I'd drop an f-bomb. Apparently I just couldn't use it that convincingly.

However, house hunting and Wii tennis have been great motivators in using fuck to its fullest.

Posted by: Rachel at March 11, 2009 3:55 PM

I won't use the n-word or the f-word used to describe someone who's gay or any other derogatory racial/ethnic slur. But I will use like, everything else. I have no shame. I swear. A lot. Loudly. But appropriately (I don't run around outside screaming FUCK!!! at the top of my lungs unless I'm being eaten by wild boars).

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at March 11, 2009 4:46 PM

I remember in the old days flying on TWA. The stewardess was encouraged to offer you TWA Coffee and TWA Tea, but she would get fired if she offered you CUN Tea.

For those of you who wonder how authors deal with the Durtle Wurdle problem, check out one of my blog posts on the topic.

http://www.lomaxandbiggs.com/2008/12/_and_other_bad_words.html


Posted by: Marshall at March 11, 2009 5:27 PM

I would consider my language R to NC-17 most days.

Off limits? The N word, pussy (I shudder just typing it), and I only say cunt when I'm really, REALLY mad.

Posted by: Stephanie at March 11, 2009 5:34 PM

Oh, I am quite known to drop an f-bomb without notice and use just about every word in the book except for 'cunt' and the n-word. I don't know that I'm necessarily XXX-rated (though I can be), but NC-17 might be more like it. I know... I'm female AND an elementary school teacher, but I can hang with the truckers, sailors, and auto workers. After all, I learned from one of the best -- my dad, who is a retired auto worker.

I do have to say that the f-word is my very favoritest word ever and I love to find new ways to use it. However, I do know when to censor myself and am fairly good at it. Just don't piss me off. ;o)

Posted by: ironic1 at March 11, 2009 7:41 PM

OMG I've got a total potty mouth. I don't know why -- they just come flying out of my mouth. MotherF**cker is my favorite and I'm not above religious swears in any combination (My mother's favorite was "JesusMaryandJoseph"). I said the Italian translation of F*** at the dinner table when I was about 12 or 13. I don't know why, but it didn't go over to well - and we're not even Italian!
I have to be really careful in the school lunchroom though because "crap" is potty mouth around there!

Posted by: NancyJak at March 11, 2009 8:57 PM

A friend sometimes refers to me as Ms. Propermouth, so I guess my naughty words would be restricted to Wurdle. :)

Posted by: Zandria at March 11, 2009 9:21 PM

I need this game.
The words you don't use are the ones I don't use...
but I am an R bordering on an NC-17 (don't make me drink. I swear like a motherfucker.)

Posted by: Nat at March 11, 2009 9:55 PM

Dutch or English? ;)

Posted by: Nadine at March 12, 2009 4:01 PM

i have a potty mouth and a potty mind. i even like to make up dirty words. fuckstick being one of my favs. i saw folks comment on the n word and oddly or not so oddly it's not even a word i say in my head. it's just not in my vocabulary. now i can't stop thinking about it.
my new fav phrase of late is...SUCK IT!
:)Maria

Posted by: Maria at March 12, 2009 8:41 PM

Yeah, the c word and the n word are nasty, nasty! But I do like to swear and like to create new swear words.

But I wanted to give a plug to you and Beth for WordFu. I describe it as Boggle meets a kung fu movie. It is fun and funny and well worth a buck for just the hi-yaaaaas alone.

Posted by: Erik at March 13, 2009 5:10 PM

I'd have to give myself a relaxed NC-17. My two unacceptable words are the same as yours. I relax my language around my kids. They are allowed to swear as long as it's not directed AT someone (swear and an object, say shit when you stub your toe, but if you call someone a doo-doo-head Mommy's going to get scary).

In my off-time I write sex-toy reviews so some of my less-used words suddenly make it into my frequent-flyer-vocab.

Posted by: MissFae at March 17, 2009 11:03 PM

I never use the "n" word. I think all it represents is ignorance. For my rating of my language, I would give it a PG-13. I am pretty liberal and swear once in a while. Usually during sex I'll refer to certain body parts in a way that is considered a swear. Notice, I said "swear" and didn't use the word "dirty" because I do not consider sex to be dirty. Anyway, I once was talking to this girl on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she called me a "cunt", My reply was,"Well, I am what I eat."

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2009 10:02 AM

I never use the "n" word. I think all it represents is ignorance. For my rating of my language, I would give it a PG-13. I am pretty liberal and swear once in a while. Usually during sex I'll refer to certain body parts in a way that is considered a swear. Notice, I said "swear" and didn't use the word "dirty" because I do not consider sex to be dirty. Anyway, I once was talking to this girl on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she called me a "cunt", My reply was,"Well, I am what I eat."

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2009 10:03 AM

I never use the "n" word. I think all it represents is ignorance. For my rating of my language, I would give it a PG-13. I am pretty liberal and swear once in a while. Usually during sex I'll refer to certain body parts in a way that is considered a swear. Notice, I said "swear" and didn't use the word "dirty" because I do not consider sex to be dirty. Anyway, I once was talking to this girl on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she called me a "cunt", My reply was,"Well, I am what I eat."

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2009 10:05 AM

I never use the "n" word. I think all it represents is ignorance. For my rating of my language, I would give it a PG-13. I am pretty liberal and swear once in a while. Usually during sex I'll refer to certain body parts in a way that is considered a swear. Notice, I said "swear" and didn't use the word "dirty" because I do not consider sex to be dirty. Anyway, I once was talking to this girl on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she called me a "cunt", My reply was,"Well, I am what I eat."

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2009 10:05 AM

I never use the "n" word. I think all it represents is ignorance. For my rating of my language, I would give it a PG-13. I am pretty liberal and swear once in a while. Usually during sex I'll refer to certain body parts in a way that is considered a swear. Notice, I said "swear" and didn't use the word "dirty" because I do not consider sex to be dirty. Anyway, I once was talking to this girl on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she called me a "cunt", My reply was,"Well, I am what I eat."

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2009 10:05 AM

ha ha ha well it s really lengthy post ..

Posted by: blog at October 13, 2010 3:00 AM


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