What makes a "cussword" a cussword?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by robycop3, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3
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    The hardest habit for me to have broken after salvation was "cussing". The saying "cuss like a sailor" has quite a ring of truth to it.

    While I don't cuss as a matter of Christian behavior, I HAVE studied the origin and etymology of certain words now considered vulgar and some former cusswords now considered everyday acceptable.

    The infamous "F" word is considered the most offensive word in American English. there are many stories about its origin, such as its being an acronym "for unlawful carnal knowledge". However, the most likely source is from the Latin "futuo", which was an everyday infinitive meaning "to have sex". From this root came similar words in French, Dutch, & German. the first known use of the word in English was in Scottish poet William Dunbar's 1503 poem Brash Of Wowing. At the time it wasn't considered scatology, but it didn't take it long to become so. Also, in that time, the bird we call the kestrel was called the "wind****er" in Merrie Olde England, with no sexual connotation meant. hard to say just when this word became so offensive, but it seems it was before America was a nation, hence, "knew" in the KJV & older English Bibles.

    For our brethren in English-speaking nations besides the USA...What is YOUR take on this word? I know the 6-letter "B" word is most offensive to British, but is the "F" word equally offensive? Just nosey...

    And here's a word that's taken the opposite tack...JAZZ.

    It appears it came from a Gaelic word, 'teas'(pronounced 'jass') which means, 'heat'& was brought to the USA by Irish immigrants in the 1880s. This word was adopted by blacks, mainly in the South, who frequently mingled with Irish-Americans; they changed the spelling to jass & applied it to body heat, & finally semen, around 1900. Jass was considered scatology by blacks & others alike until some Irish newspaper writers began to use "jazz" for effervescent mood or behavior, especially in relation to baseball players/teams.

    It appears that Art Hickman, who was music director for the famous San Francisco Seals(from which the Di Maggio bros. came) began to call his style of music "jazzy" for 'hot', around 1919, & the name soon caught on for the music style which was then sweeping the land, replacing "ragtime" as the national music fad. Since then, jazz has been used as proper English in reference to the musical genre, and for effervescent or lively, jolly behavior. However, it is still used as scatology for semen in many places, and I'm careful to not use that word in that sense.

    How about YOUR experience, if you had a cussing habit? It took the HOLY SPIRIT'S power to break it in me!
     
  2. Gib

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    The "F" bomb is an offensive curse word to me now, but was a common word for me to say growing up (16-19). "MF" is the worse and I cringe when I hear it.

    I find the "N" word is just as offensive as the "F" word, even though it's not a "curse" word.

    The "D" word is the least offensive.

    Dum-dumb, Stupid, Idiot and others like that are the hardest to break. "My neighbors stupid cat is an idiot," may have come out of my mouth recently.
     
  3. padredurand

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    If I hear (or use) a word that makes me think of Lava soap, that makes it a bad one. Mama was the Queen of Lava - and with three young boys to tend to - she applied the soap rule as she saw fit. She was no etymologist and would probably whip out the Lava for calling her one.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Johnv

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    That's the nature of the English language. It evolves. Aside from the clear bans on taking the name of the Lord in vain, I think we Christians should be sensitive to societal word usage. If society considers a word like the "s" or "f" words vulgar, then we should attempt to let our mouths produce good flavor, and refrain from useing them, especially in mixed or casual company. I myself admit to using the occaisional "s" word around my wife in the privacy of our own home when something ain't goin' my way. It's something I'm working on [​IMG]

    Now, what really amuses me is when my Dutch family comes out to visit, and they refer to the "Fokker" aircraft. Because in reality, it's pronounced in the same manner as the "f" word, but we Americans tend to make the long "o" sound to avoid any confusion. Makes me wonder why they named a plane the "Fokker Friendship". :eek:

    And I did, in all honsty, no joke, know a girl in high school named Martha Faulker. I'll give you a hint: the "l" was silent.
     
  5. Jim1999

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    I think any word that is offensive to another can be considered a cuss word. Again, connotation is everything, isn't it? How, when and where we use the word.

    In England, it was offensive to mention ladies undergarments in mixed company, but it was not a "bad" word as such. "bugger" is a nasty curse, but many Brits use it quite openly, especialy when angry with someone, yet it would never be spoken from the pulpit.

    In East London, where I come from, there are many words that are just common language in Cockney, but considered as "bad" words elsewhere in England..so, again, context, context. We might console someone by saying, "Keep your pecker up!" (It means to keep smiling), but in the USA or Canada, one might think twice before saying it.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. Acumenical

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    I think it's interesting that almost all of our curse words have been around for a long time. Few are of recent vintage, although occasionally someone tries to create a new one.
     
  7. Johnv

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    There are several that are of recent vintage. Of course, I'd be violating the bb rules if I listed them [​IMG] . For example, the "s" word is a relatively old word, but its use as vulgarity is fairly recent.
     
  8. Matt Black

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    The most offensive word IMO in UK English is the 'C'-word, followed by the 'F'-word.

    "S***", "w**k" and "pi**" are generally on the next level down, along with the 'B'-word which means 'illegitimate'.

    The other 'B'-word ('female dog'), whilst sometimes being used as a noun as the female equivalent of the above other 'B'-word, is generally considered to be much less offensive here than in the US in it's verb form, being used interchangeably with words such as 'rant', 'whinge', 'complain' etc (in certain sections of the black community it is used as a non-offensive term for 'woman' or 'girlfriend'; this same part of the black community would also use the 'N'-word non-offensively) and is regarded on the same mild level as 'damn', 'bugger', 'flip', 'sod','bloody', 'flaming', 'blasted' etc ie: borderline as to whether or not these are even curse words.
     
  9. Debby in Philly

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    Fascinating subject. You're right about context, Jim. I am particularly amused when a word is a dirty or cuss word in one place, but a perfectly fine word meaning something entirely different in another.

    Remember the Rev. Grady Nutt on the "Hee Haw" show? As a part of his comedy routines, he said we as Christians ought to have our own explitives or "clean cuss words". Some of his suggestions were "Behold!" and "deboogity." Wish I could remember the whole routine.
     
  10. Matt Black

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    "Jolly", for some reason, seems to have become an acceptable swearword in evangelical circles eg: "The jolly traffic was jolly bad this morning"; also I know many evos who say 'shedload' as a Christian substitute for 's**tload'

    [ETA - on the 'cross-Pond' differences, I remember doing a post here which included the word 'bi***ing' and was quite amazed to find it censored out by a mod]
     
  11. Jim1999

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    There is an old saying that could be applied in this arena: If in doubt, don't!

    I should be very careful cos I use jolly good all the time, but maybe that is ok..He is a jolly good bloke!

    I remember when I first came over here and a young lady arrived late and needed a place to stay. I offered to bed her for the night. She gave me a bad stare and walked off. Thankfully, another English chap explained that I was simply offering her a place to stay for the night. She later apologized that she mistook my intent.

    It is a tough go when one comes from another culture.

    Cheers,(a common form of greeting and not a tinkling of glasses)

    Jim
     
  12. blackbird

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    While I was on a preaching tour in England this past year the English pastor I was with told me of his first encounter with an American

    The English pastor told the American who happened to be visiting an English university in the UK that he(the american) was a

    "Bumbling faggot"

    to which the good Englishman had some quick explaining to do to get back in good sorts with that visiting American "bloke" [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. kubel

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    Swear words, I think, are more of an offense against man that God. Aside from the misuse of the many names of God, I think it's just a social thing. If it offends someone else, don't do it.

    I mentioned the pants-in-church debate to my mom once. She said she doesn't mind wearing pants at all- but she wears a skirt/dress to church because she doesn't want to offend someone who holds a different view about it than her.

    I think the same applies to swearing. I might do something wrong and mumble "ahh crap", but I'm not trying to be gross, nor am I trying to offend, nor am I using the Lords name in vain- But if I'm around those that take offense to swearing, I will keep quiet about it.
     
  14. bruren777

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    I was in Sears waiting to pay for my merchandise. The woman in front of me used her credit card, it was rejected by the machine. She tried another card, it too was rejected.

    The woman went into a tirade and used cuss words I hadn't heard a woman utter very often.

    Earlier in the year we had to have a new well drilled. The man doing the drilling used cuss words as a part of his vocabulary, every other word was a cuss word.
     
  15. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    I was always taught that someone who talks like this does so because they are ignorant and don't know enough 'real' or 'nice' words to use to complete a sentence...
     
  16. Petrel

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    It's possible that the TV series Battlestar Galactica may succeed in doing this, at least for a time. They made a new five-letter "f-word," and I've seen it used on another forum that I go to. Battlestar Galactica doesn't have a very large audience, but if they last a few more years and gain more viewers this word may make it into a subpopulation.
     
  17. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    "Faldercarb" doesn't have 5 letters. But that's from the original show. I don't watch the new one.
     
  18. Petrel

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    Oh no, that's not a good cuss word. The best cuss words are fricative. For instance, the word "fricative" itself could almost make a good cuss word!

    This is the new show. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to write the word here even though it is made up! [​IMG]
     
  19. Bro. James Reed

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    Noticed the language used in the KJV?

    3 verses use bastard.
    8 verses use piss.
    15 verses use damn.
    65 verses use whore.
    Over 200 verses use ass.

    These were perfectly acceptble words not too long ago. What has made people feel that these are corrupt words today?

    It's a little funny sometimes when I'm filling the stand and happen upon one of these words. I read through the verse, but I still hear the words of my mother in the back of my mind chastising me over it. It's amazing the grip that society has over our thoughts.

    btw, don't anyone tell my grandmother that you think the "n" word is a cuss word. That's one Old Baptist that would slap you for making her out to be a cusser. :eek:
     
  20. Bro. James Reed

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    btw, how could jolly ever be considered a cuss word???

    So, when we call Santa a "jolly old elf", we are really cussing him out? [​IMG]

    Well, Santa IS an anagram for Satan!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
     

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