What Words Are Off Limits These Days?


It appears that certain swear words have been co-opted; are there any barbs left?

I was cruising the web the other day, for chicks, obviously, and I bumped into an article from our good friends at Lemondrop. The topic of the post didn't really interest me, but the headline gave me pause. It included the P-word...the one you can also use to call a cat a kitten. While the word doesn't shock me, it's still a little shocking to see ya'll use it.

Frankly, that was our word. Ten years ago, only a real dirty broad would use the term. It was what we called both female gennies (because vagina is inaccurate and sounded clinical) and men of questionable masculinity. We often worked around the term in mixed company or apologized for its usage (my buddies used the word peonce—rhymes with an unaccented Beyonce). Now, Jessica Delfino and many others (and a fantastic episode of The League) have taken the word away. Read: What To Use & What To Lose In 2010

Something similar happened with the word bitch years ago. Once, it was just a really nasty woman, or a man of questionable masculinity (or a female dog, but only if in heat). Now, ladies wear it as a badge of pride. The word's lost nearly all of its original (non-dog-related) meaning.

Obviously, the C-word is still swimming around in the periphery of highly offensive. But the British are totally killing the meaning of that one, too. It's almost a term of endearment. Talk about cutting the legs out from under a seriously barbed word.

Somehow the FCC even neglected to fine Bono when he dropped the F-bomb, because it was not a sexual or scatological reference.

Asshole has lost meaning to the point that people refer to themselves as assholes with pride. The word douche is flat-tired (unless in reference to a hygienic process; then it's just a bad idea). The vehemence with which some people use the words liberal or Republican would make them seem like swears, but not for everyone.

I'm not one to use sexual orientation-related slurs (one of which the British have also co-opted), so there are very few shocking words out there for me. Maybe we could start using the euphemisms for male genitalia to describe terribly offensive ladies, as in, "Wow, that lady at the Delta ticket counter was a total cock."

Thoughts? Is this going to make talking dirty a bit more of an art? Read: Dirty Talk Dos and Don'ts