What makes a curse word a curse word?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by SaggyWoman, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
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    Words change through the years. What makes a curse word a curse word?
     
  2. standingfirminChrist

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    in some cases, the context it is used in. Although many curse words were coined for no other purpose than cursing.
     
  3. donnA

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    Some words that are curse words here are not in other countries, and vise versa.
    In that case, same question as saggy, what makes it a curse word?
     
  4. CompassionateConservative

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    Do you all think it has something to do with the individual's motives for using the word? (kind of in line with standingfirminChrist's point about context)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Bob Farnaby

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    Context, what a word is accepted as meaning within a particular society at a particular time.
     
  6. Frenchy

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    I found this interesting and would agree it is the motive and heart that is important.

    A. TO BLESS...
    1. The Greek word is eulogeo; as defined by Strong's:
    a. To praise, celebrate with praises
    b. To invoke blessings
    2. "The word bless here means to speak well of or to. Not to curse
    again, or to slander, but to speak of those things which we can
    commend in an enemy; or if there is nothing that we can
    commend, to say nothing about him." - Barnes
    3. "i.e., to pray for them, wish well to them" - Poole
    4. We find this command given by Christ and Peter - Mt 5:44; Lk 6:
    28; 1 Pe 3:9
    -- Note that Paul gives the exhortation twice in our text; perhaps
    implying the challenge of this duty

    B. TO CURSE NOT...
    1. The Greek word for curse is kataraomai, which Strong's defines
    as "to curse, doom, imprecate evil upon"
    2. "... to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray
    that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means
    to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express
    one's self in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner."
    - Barnes
    3. "When he saith, curse not, he means, wish no evil to your
    enemies." - Poole
    -- "He who can obey this precept is a transformed man". - B. W.
    Johnson
     
  7. UnchartedSpirit

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    is there a difference between cursing and swearing? I sure both are used for dehumanising purposes, but there I think swearing is more of a cultural use because it just sounds good or something, but they never define what it actually means
     
  8. Pipedude

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    "Cursing" is an effort to summon power magically. Some seek power "from above" and invoke God's name, some seek power "from beneath" by invoking various scatological terms. That's why it's called "strong language." It supposedly adds power.

    It seems to me that every language in every age has set apart certain terms as fobidden so that people who want to be filthy can choose to use those terms. But since I haven't learned every language, that's just an educated guess on my part.

    Some preach against "Christian cussin'" as in "darn" or "golly." But as long as the speaker doesn't display an unchristlike attitude, I've always thought that such terms were just a heckuva good way to add color.
     
  9. Alcott

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    The ear of the beholder, to some extent.
     
  10. rsr

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    It's mostly cultural. The Reformers (Luther in particular) used language that would not be permitted on this board. They didn't consider it blasphemous (as if questions of mere propriety could be blasphemous) and merrily heaped Germanic vulgarities end upon end. So to speak.

    Luther said he formulated the 95 Theses in a toilet, which apparently has now been found. Of course, after that he described what the did to the Devil in, uh, those terms.
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    I think it is pretty simple. It's the intent, whether consciously or out of habit or out of being in an environment where it is accepted.

    Ephesians 4:29 says that we should not let any "corrupt communication" come out of our mouths and that what should come out of our mouths should be "edifying" and "ministering".

    Colossians 3:8 says that we should "put off" these things: anger, wrath, malice, blaphemy, and filthy communication.

    When people use "curse words" they are either verbally expressing anger, wrath, malice, taking God's name in vain, or filth.

    In other words, people curse to:

    1. express irritation or frustration or anger or other uncontrolled emotion

    2. use God's name in an unholy or disrespectful manner

    3. for "shock" value or to lewdly express filth

    Curse words can be the "obvious" ones or they can be "substitutes".

    More Christians are out there "cursing" up a storm than we realize and I include myself. We may not be using the grossly offensive words or the obvious ones, but if we use ANY word to express anger/malice/wrath, unholiness, or filth, then we have been guilty of cursing.

    "Innocent" words like crud, gosh, jeez, and other mild expressions may not shock anyone today, but they are still swear words nonetheless.

    Any words that volley out of our mouths that show our inability to control our negative emotions are inappropriate.

    While we are highly offended by a certain list of words, there are a multitude of words that we should also be either avoiding or using in proper context.

    The tongue is vile, folks. And we have to look in the mirror first to alleve this problem. At least I do. It's universal.

    Peace-
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  12. rsr

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    Well, I suppose so, maybe. If you accept the literal meaning, then we should never say anything that isn't "edifying." Pretty much a majority of what we say is corrupt communication.

    I challenge you to go a full day and say something that isn't "edifying." Small talk is not edifying, and neither is most of what we say.

    As far as substitute curses: If you don't know it's a "curse" then how can you be cursing? "Well," which we often use, is non-edifying and can easily be construed as a curse as some made-up curse word. If I say "well" when I mean something else, isn't it a curse?
     
  13. UnchartedSpirit

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    some may arguing it's a better release of anger than just screaming, there are just situtations where staying speachless or waiting to find the right way to get it off your chest won't help, so a one-word exclamation is sort of an orgasmic release of it and therefore the most peferrable option- what should you do?
     
  14. Craigbythesea

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    From my point of view, a curse word is a word that is intended to be heard as a curse word and/or a word that is likely to be heard as a curse word. Some people are more sensitive than others to fowl speach; therefore I avoid using any and all cuss and curse words and all euphemisms of cuss and curse words including those that have been dephlogisticated by frequent use in what many consider to be polite conversation.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Bible-boy

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    Generally...

    Four letters :D [​IMG] ;)
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    Generally...

    Four letters :D [​IMG] ;)
    </font>[/QUOTE]Let's see, that would be Love, hope, ....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Petrel

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    Chicken! Goose! Guinea fowl! Peahen! :D

    For an obscenity it is best if it:

    1. Has four letters.
    2. Is fricative.

    I think the obscenities have a longer lifespan, while mere vulgarities may cease be considered vulgar sooner. At this point most words referring to perdition are scarcely thought of as rude at all.
     
  18. BillyMac

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    Interesting thread.

    The subject of euphemisms have long since baffled me as to what might be considered "polite" conversation. Mild oaths are considered to be just as harmful to the one uttering such words as their more blatant counterparts.

    Nearly 20 years ago, I made the mistake of uttering the liquid human waste word in conjunction with the word "off" to express anger, in front of a lady friend. She acted shocked and said "OH! I don't like THAT word". And I responded, "Oh I'm sorry". and then substituted the proper name for that same human waste in my exclamation. Whereupon, she exclaimed back to me, "I don't like THAT word either". It is in this context that you just can't please some people.

    And that brings up my own curiosity also as to what words are considered curse words.

    Words are a means of conveying thoughts from one person to another. While proper and polite words might seem better to use in conversation than more coarse words, the meanings of the words still bring up the same connotations. Further, who gets to decide which words are better to use than other words???

    Many polite words sound to me to be more undesirable than those considered coarser. For instance the word to describe solid human waste matter, that begins with "exc" sounds nastier to me than it's counterpart, the ess word.

    Finally, another friend of mine has been known to substitute the word "crumb", as in "Oh, crumb!" instead of another more offensive word. This sounds to me to be just another euphemism. Contrasting this, another friend has stated that he believes that it is okay to use any word as long as it does not involk using the name of God in vain. GD is forbidden and is never heard being uttered by this person at all.

    All of this does make one wonder which words are sinful to utter and which are not, but I must agree with those here who stated that a person's intent in using any word counts for something in determining what is or isn't a curse word.

    (Disclaimer: my attempt here has been not to violate the rules of this board. I have gone to great lengths to be open without being offensive. If this bothers some even at this great effort, I apologize as my intent is not to offend, but to discuss not cuss.)
     
  19. Hope of Glory

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    Some words sound offcolor when they are not. I used the word "pissant" once, and a lady became very offended.

    My wife used to think that "asinine" was an off-color word.

    "Phooey" is usually the strongest euphemism that I ever use. Hopefully, it's not a dirty word.

    [ March 22, 2006, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: Hope of Glory ]
     
  20. Paul of Eugene

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    Once I was mildly rebuked for referring to a bad situation as being "screwed" . . .

    I agree curse words are cultural, and the uttering of the curse word is not intended to communicate the literal meaning of the curse word but announces the willingness of the cursing person to violate polite standards of discourse. Be warned, or amused, or shocked, as the occasion requires.
     

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