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jca's avatar

Do you feel it's inappropriate for people to curse loudly in public?

Asked by jca (35976points) December 10th, 2010

I spent my day holiday shopping today, and I was in a department store paying for my stuff when I overheard someone say something with the word “fuck” in the conversation. It was pretty loud and I saw they were teenagers.

I use the word “fuck” all the time, but not loudly while in a public place. If in public, I would probably not use it unless there wasn’t anybody around. If I were to use it amongst people, they would have to be close friends that I knew were ok with that language. I feel that cursing in public runs the risk of little kids hearing it, which may bother the parents, or runs the risk of offending people that are religious or don’t like cursing for whatever reason.

Do you feel it’s inappropriate for people to curse loudly in public?

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48 Answers

cookieman's avatar

Yes. I have nothing against the words (I use them) – but there’s a time and a place for everything.

But then, they were teenagers.

Soubresaut's avatar

Yes, but more for the volume than the words. (Perhaps a tad more colorful of language ; ) But even if they hadn’t been swearing, I would find being able to overhear them even with fingers in my ears rather annoying. They could have been using the most proper of English; I still wouldn’t want to hear their conversations. That’s the part that I find innapropriate.
Then again, words like fuck don’t really bother me, and I’ve never understood people who take such strong offense to them, so maybe I just don’t get it?

If they were saing n*** or something else extremely derogetory, then I would have a problem…

filmfann's avatar

I went to a therapist to deal with stress. She told me I was internalizing too much, and the next time I felt like swearing, I shouldn’t hold back.
The next day, in a parking lot, some fool driver cut me off, and took a parking spot I was backing into. I let the words fly, loud and harsh. I then realized that my window was down, and a woman walking by looked as if I had nearly set fire to her with my words.

DominicX's avatar

I think it’s a bit low-brow and trashy, yes. You wouldn’t catch me swearing loudly in public.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I don’t see a need for anyone to raise their voice in public, unless it is called for, like a sporting event. Since cursing can offend others, why bother with it at all? If one wants results, they are better off not putting the receiver on the defense. We can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, I feel that way. But I think it is just thoughtlessness. The volume might carry over into rudeness, regardless of the words being said, but (usually) I don’t think it is intentionally offensive behavior.

I have noticed that most people don’t seem to give a single thought to their audience beyond the people they are intentionally addressing. They deliver at podium volume when addressing one or two people face to face. They use megaphones among quiet cubicles. They blare loudly in restaurants, waiting rooms, queues, airplane seats, and on the sidewalk in front of my house or across the street. I know way too much about what is said in one neighbor’s bedroom and another’s backyard. If people only paid attention to what they can hear around them, them might gain a notion of how far their own voices carry.

As a friend of mine used to say, “Don’t make everybody know your business.”

Eggie's avatar

Very inappropriate for anybody…including adults. Yes we use them, but definitely there should be some discretion involved. They should have some consideration for little children around. They should have some respect for other people. These are the little things that could make things a whole lot easier for us all…..just alitltle respect and courtesy for others.

anartist's avatar

I have been on the receiving end of that. In the Washington Navy Yard one winter I slipped and fell on ice while carrying a surprise birthday cake for an employee. I could see out of the corner of my eye an officer and a gentleman turning to come to my aid. When I hit the ground I yelled “Oh Shit!” and he turned and walked away.
It doesn’t ever help your cause to cuss loudly.

flutherkiller's avatar

I find it rude when people swear in public. When there is a small child around and people swear I can just imagine a few days later the kid screaming it up and down the halls at school. Imagine that. Coming home from work and getting a message on your caller ID saying that your child dropped the F- bomb at school because they heard someone else screaming it. It’s not cool to swear out loud publicly! :)

flo's avatar

People who swear loudly in public think it is cool? maybe, or brave? Wrong. More like uncool, & cowardly. It is definitely very inappropriate. Thumbs up to all answers above.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it is certainly a sign of emotional immaturity and unhealthy over reactivity.

WTF! lol

crazyivan's avatar

While I never endorse being taboo for the sake of being taboo, I think the offense people take to curse words is a really weird kink in our psyche. We invite ourselves to be offended and then give people a ready list of words that will do the trick. How can we then be upset if they offend us with them?

I propose we all just choose random words to be offended by and don’t tell anyone what they are. This way teenagers could stand in the mall yelling “fuck” all day and nobody would pay them any mind. They would get bored and go do drugs or whatever kids do these days (when I was a kid we did drugs).

Sure, you’d occasionally get offended randomly and maybe smack an unsuspecting stranger that said “homunculus” but in all it would be worth it. While we’re at it, I vote we change the middle finger gesture so that it’s only offensive when done with a toe. This is much tougher to manage and thus would be reserved for only the most worthwhile offenses.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes. Even though I am a bit of a cursing, potty mouth myself, I try to have respect for other people and do my best, even though I don’t always succeed,to mind my manners in public. We share public spaces with other people who don’t necessarily have the same codes of behavior and values that we do. I try to respect that.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think by now you all know my stand of vulgar language and profanity. It is a waste of air, and I don’t appreciate hearing it anywhere.

bob_'s avatar

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to fucking disagree. It’s no big deal.

wundayatta's avatar

I particularly hate it when I’m with my children and people are screaming and swearing at each other ten feet away. Have they no shame? I guess not. To many people don’t care about the feelings of others when they are out in public.

avengerscion's avatar

It’s disrespectful to curse in public. You never know who may hear or be offended by it. One of my most embarassing moments was in the mall during the holiday season when my best friend cursed loudly. A father walked by with his toddler and said “Thanks. I really like you.” She mistakenly took it as a complement, and I had to translate Daddy talk to “How inconsiderate, you teenage nitwit, for exposing my child to such language.” I can also say that cursing equals negativity for me. My boyfriend generally uses at least one curse word in every other sentence, and it just creates such a negative tone. I reserve curse words, like my mom did, for only the times when I’m really pissed-off – they carry more weight that way.

LostInParadise's avatar

I may be in the minority, but I use swear words infrequently. It is called offensive language because, well, rightly or wrongly, we are offended by it. Nevertheless, foul language has become a part of our culture. It is part of the anti-elitist bubble-up social inversion by which the language, drugs, music and fashion of the hood work their way up to the general population. If adults use these, words then expect teenagers to use them also. Being teenagers, they may not always follow the general guidelines for how and when the language should be used.

coffeenut's avatar

I don’t care what people do at the mall

iphigeneia's avatar

I don’t have a problem with swearing in general, but there are some situations where it is inappropriate. Tone of voice and body language also need to be taken into account.

I don’t mind swearing if it has a positive meaning, eg ‘That’s fucking awesome!’, or if it’s at a low volume and easy to ignore. But because swearing is very ‘intense’ language, it shouldn’t be used loudly or aggressively without good reason.

At my work there are computers for customers to use the Internet. We once had a man who was having difficulty with them (not us, something he was trying to do) and while he sat there for half an hour he would scream profanities at the computer. I know technology makes me extremely frustrated sometimes, but while I would have empathised with “no!” or “dammit!” or “work, you piece of trash!”, his angrily yelling “Fuck!” was downright scary, and I’m glad no kids came in while he was there.

crazyivan's avatar

My biggest issue with profanity is that it’s intellectually lazy. If you can’t think of a better modifier than “fuckin’”, you need to hit the books and learn your native language a bit better.

Coloma's avatar


Well said!

I feel this way about many ‘comedians.’

If you can’t be funny without boatloads of profanity your craft is imperfect.

Most of my modest use of profanity comes when messing around the house,alone, and is almost immedietly followed by a hearty laugh at watching my ego fly.

It’s not in the throw, it’s in the catch! ;-)

deliasdancemom's avatar

Depends on the situation….angry at spouse? Yes. Just spilled an entire cup of boiling hot coffee directly onto your genitals? No.

noodle_poodle's avatar

I love a good cussing…say it load, proud and whenever possible humourusly

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I think humor is tantamount, gotta be able to laugh at yourself!
There is a dif between seeing the humor in watching yourself go over the edge and being completely unaware.

Unaware profanity is not attractive.

slauren14's avatar

YES!! I use the words sometimes, but it makes me angry when I here people cursing really loudly, especially when there are children around! As a matter of fact, it makes me angry when people talk (sounds more like yelling) loudly! Not everyone wants to hear your business…

OpryLeigh's avatar

Where I live, it seems that teenagers (young people) use words like fuck in public, loud enough for everyone around to hear, all the time. Now, fuck is a great word, in my opinion but if it is said too often in one sentence it loses it’s meaning and the user just sounds like and obnoxious tit.

flutherother's avatar

It is inappropriate and ill mannered. It is difficult to have respect for people who swear in public.

augustlan's avatar

It pisses me off when people do that around kids. I also hate being stuck behind a vehicle in a drive-through or something that has obscenity emanating from it, whether in the form of bumper stickers, bull testicles, or pumping music blaring about bitches ‘n hos while my kids are with me.

HungryGuy's avatar

No. I think everybody should stand on a busy street corner in the middle of the day and yell F**K at the top of their lungs at least once a week.

cletrans2col's avatar

@augustlan – That bull balls on the bumper is the dumbest thing I have ever seen

deliasdancemom's avatar

I always wondered what the testicles on the bumper thing was supposed to accomplish….id like to find something to do with them when I find them…..perhaps in my late teens I would have removed them and superglued them to a decorative deer or duck in someone elses yard….ah the things I must remember for when my daughter is in her late teens….im too old for fun stuff like that anymore

MasterAir16's avatar

Stand up and looked up the sky, then Open their mouth and SHOUTright… wrong. They should shouted into their pillow intsead

Aethelwine's avatar

Totally inappropriate and shows you have no class. My 7 year old daughter doesn’t need to know that you “fucking hate your mother-in-law” and you have a “fucking miserable life”. There is a time and a place. It isn’t around children. Know your audience.

cletrans2col's avatar

If I am in your home or your business and you feel that is not appropriate, fine. But no one controls the public space (as much as Bloomberg would want the government to). If you don’t like it, too bad.

Coloma's avatar


That may be true, but, there is such a thing as being discriminating, not everyone wants to hear others childish public tantrums or have their cars elevated by someones bass next to them at a stop light. It’s called CONSIDERATION.

I like to play music loudly in my car sometimes, but, if I pull into a parking space or or am waiting at a light, I turn the volume down, to be CONSIDERATE.

Adults respect others, and don’t insist on their ‘right’ to act however they wish with no regard to those sharing the public space.

flo's avatar

Lots of omedians/comediennes really guilty of spreading this kind of language, (on top of hate of course) in the name of comedy. Some people think it makes them funnier or something.

@cletrans2col the public space belongs to everyone.

cletrans2col's avatar

@flo – It usually does make them funnier.

@Coloma – Your point would be valid if I were in a church or at your kids PTA meeting; But if I’m having a conversation with someone while walking down the street or at a bar or sporting event and a drop a couple of f-bombs, get over it.

Coloma's avatar


Sure, but not if you’re so loud everyone can hear you.
A casual ‘fuck’ spoken on the down low in public is not on the same continuum as an obnoxious boor that doesn’t have the class or maturity to know when to STFU! lol

If you’re one of those peeps that has to pepper every other word with the ‘f-bomb’, well…not a good habit to have, and telling others to ‘get over it’ shows a lack of respect on your part as well.

Being considerate is much cooler than being a jerk. :P

flo's avatar

I second @Coloma‘s post above.
And re. ”It usually does make them funnier
To whom? As you can see not to everyone. I’m sure there is such a thing as laughing at people falling on banana peel, but that doesn’t mean we should laugh.

cletrans2col's avatar

@flo To enough people since those that curse the most (Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Katt Williams) have sold-out shows

flo's avatar

@cletrans2col There is an epidemic of all kinds of bad things as a result too many, or in your words “enough people” just blindly following celebrities et al.

Coloma's avatar


Yep, dumbing down, a popular past time it seems.

flo's avatar

I can’t believe it. It is like some ‘take what you see/hear on the media as the bible’ virus has been unleashed.

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