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troym333's avatar

Why are curse words considered bad? where did they originate?

Asked by troym333 (135points) July 11th, 2009

I just do think they’re as bad as people make them out to be. They say “words can’t hurt one”, then why can’t cursing be aloud everywhere. Can you believe in school i got suspended for cursing. Any way cursing isn’t as bad as an asault or something and people shouldn’t make a big deal about curse words.

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47 Answers

DominicX's avatar

Over time as a society, we decided there were certain words that had a certain special power and weren’t to be used all the time. They were only to be used out of anger, either anger at something that happened to you or anger directed at something else, such as an insult. If they were used all the time and weren’t “special”, they wouldn’t be an effective thing to use when angry. Personally, I think the idea is somewhat stupid and I know that many words have lost that special power and more words will continue to lose it and I have no problem with that.

troym333's avatar

i agree the whole idea of a cursed word is stupid to me too

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

just because something isn’t as bad as something else doesn’t make it okay..certain words hurt others…

troym333's avatar

a word shouldn’t hurt anyone, what are we flies

Response moderated
DominicX's avatar

Perhaps in an ideal world, people wouldn’t allow themselves to be hurt by words. But as it is, many people are hurt by certain words and phrases. I’ve pretty much learned to not be hurt by many of them, especially traditional rude words and phrases. Every now and then someone will insult something personal like my sexuality or my family and then it will really bother me, because it isn’t just a word or phrase, it’s a symbol of an idea that I strongly disagree with.

troym333's avatar

cursed words are in no way cursed words, A curse (also called execration) is any manner of adversity thought to be inflicted by any supernatural power, such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, an execration, magic, witchcraft, a god, a natural force, or a spirit.

So the very idea of these words are most likely thought of by guess who CHRISTIANS

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

[Mod Says] I know this is a discussion about curse words but lets please keep this as non-profane as possible please.

troym333's avatar

hey curse words are not as bad as you think, it seems to be that society go to you too.

jamielynn2328's avatar

Words are how we communicate with each other. They are powerful and to say that they should not hurt seems crazy to me.

So many other words in the english language besides “curse words” are hurtful. Curse words are punctuation to me, and when used appropriately, I think they are quite colorful.

troym333's avatar

Why are these special words seperated from the bunch of possible words that can “hurt” people? Why single out the few?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Language basically means we agree on the meaning of words and profanity it was decided long ago has a vulgar connotation not because of the sound they make when spoken but because of the meaning and intent behind them.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I think it is the intent that is hurtful, not exactly the word.

troym333's avatar

but why single out the most spoken words, the connotation is no longer as valid as it was hundreds or thousands of years ago

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

because to certain people they mean slightly different things.

for instance. Fuck sorry mods : To many it just means to have sex. But to some, maybe even most, it means a dirty, raunchy form of sex, and naturally, they feel sex should only be special and emotionally tender.

others however, like s**t for instance, I really don’t even understand nor can I really imagine why that, in its origin, become offensive.

troym333's avatar

ru2bz46 great response, this clearly explained

doggywuv's avatar

I believe they’re bad due to their connotation. A part of language is when a person who hears or reads a word has specific thoughts about the words’ meaning. For example, if I tell you “red cat” you will probably have a slight thought about the image of a red cat. If I tell you about a sad experience you had as a child, you may feel sadness associated with that experience.
Swear words have a negative connotation. Hearing or reading them can make you experience negative and undesirable thoughts. When I hear or read the word “shit” I think of a disgusting and smelly matter that I do not want to be near to. When I hear or read the word “poo” I think of a cute mushy uniform matter, actually.
In short, swear words are just plain unpleasant.

YARNLADY's avatar

Generally a word ‘becomes’ a swear word when it is used to demean someone, such as calling a person by the name used for excretment, or a female dog. Even a word such as Plutoid can become a swear word when used in place of any of the ‘other’ swear words.

My grandsons once teased me by calling each other Butthead, and when I told them to stop it, the youngest one said in his cutest, sweetest voice, “Can we say Beavis, Grandma?”

troym333's avatar

so there considered bad because they are pleasant to the peson raised and told they are unpleasant, i no longer believe they are as unpleasant as i thought they were

troym333's avatar

So why single out words like f@@@, sh@@ ass, d@@@, pen@@, pus@@, or Tw@@

eponymoushipster's avatar

fuck me, i’ll be damned if i can answer this shit.~

Allie's avatar

Cursetesy Courtesy of our very own marvelous (and smexy) richardhenry. Enjoy.

Response moderated
filmfann's avatar

@troym333 welcome to fluther. Lurve.

A few years ago, I spoke to my therapist about pent-up anger. She said I should just let it out.
that same day, while parking my car in a Costco lot, someone stole the space I was waiting to move into. I let about 30 seconds of filth fly, then realized my window was open. I turned to see an older woman standing there, shocked to the point that I was worried she would be set aflame.
It did help with the stress tho.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY you called me a Plutoid a few comments back. I thoght you were complimenting me, seems now you were calling me a %&*#$

YARNLADY's avatar

The word can be substituted for any word that would be applied to someone. It could mean “cutie” or %$#@ or “smart alec” or “clever”. Remember I do not swear, and swear words are not in my vocabulary, so it would most likely not be a substitute swear word.

kenmc's avatar

Really? Someone doesn’t have a sense of humor today…

mally03's avatar

I think alot of the ones we use in the U.S.A. come from Ireland, and Scotland.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Are you guys serious? ... NO ONE knows where “curse” words came from?

Back in the medieval times Europe was hit by a little thing called the Bubonic Plague. As the death toll rose into the millions, and people began thinking that the end of days was upon them, they began blaming anything and everything for the plague that had beset them. They decided that anything “evil” in nature had brought about this wrath of god. Among evil things, were using “evil” words, or hurtful words. It was thought that saying them would CURSE you to catch the plague. Hence the name came about “Curse Word.”

There’s even an entire episode of friggin South Park about this.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

^ should probably read posts before commenting O.o

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 yah, no one seems to have mentioned what i said….

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar
from @ru2bz46

cursed words are in no way cursed words, A curse (also called execration) is any manner of adversity thought to be inflicted by any supernatural power, such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, an execration, magic, witchcraft, a god, a natural force, or a spirit.

So the very idea of these words are most likely thought of by guess who CHRISTIANS”
from troy.

you missed them twice some how I guess…

kheredia's avatar

Curse words make people sound vulgar and uneducated. I’m guilty of saying curse words sometimes when i’m angry, but I try to avoid them. It just doesn’t sound proper. Especially coming from a young woman. I hate it when I’m walking down the street and I hear little 15 year olds just cussing away thinking they sound cool when in reality, they just sound vulgar.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@kheredia that’s one thing I don’t agree with. it certain forms yes I can see to correlation between vulgarity and a lack of education. But when it’s only mildly used in one’s vocabulary I can’t seem to understand how it would mean one was unintelligent. even when used consistently a lot of times I don’t see it as an indicator as I know many highly educated and very intelligent people swearing up storms some times.
I don’t think the actual words are important, it’s the context in which they’re used that is more revealing of one’s refinement.
I say shit a relatively decent amount, for instance. but I don’t use it to substitute for other descriptive terms. for instance. I don’t do “so she was yelling at me and shit.” but I will use “god that was a shitty movie…”

kheredia's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 I completely understand what you mean. I’m just saying, there’s a time and a place for everything. You wouldn’t go to a job interview and talk like that right? You would do it around your friends and people who you are comfortable with. Cursing in front of people you just met would not leave such a good first impression of you. It’s a matter of being polite. And don’t get me wrong, i’m guilty of cursing too, i’m just careful of who i’m around when I do it. I just think it sounds really bad coming from kids or even teenagers. Thats why i try watch my mouth while i’m out and about.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

definitely. We all change our speech habits around different groups/types of people, not just when it comes to swearing either.
I think most teenagers who swear aren’t used to it, being as it is often one of the first true acts of rebellion any child undertakes. I know when I was younger I had an spotless mouth around my mother and other females but when it was just me and a couple of buddies we would swear enough to make George Carlin blush, as if we were the all encompassing example of awesomeness. Most people grow out of it, some however, perhaps because they don’t develop a true sense of empathy or the ability to read others in conversation, never really realize that it’s not needed or desire in most situations.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Well the clip didn’t open on my computer (wouldn’t even load the page, which is labeled “this explains it” rather than the actual address)

And the second thing you listed doesn’t say jack crap about the middle ages and how the term came to use.

So NO, looks like I didn’t miss it at all.

Strauss's avatar

Interesting, isn’t it, that the “worst” words in the English language tend to be the oldest!
Although I can’t document it at this moment, I believe that George Carlin’s famous seven words are among the oldest in the language.

I think it is also interesting that the most taboo words in the language (this would include six out of the 7) have to do with bodily functions or parts, which would usually be either exposed or performed in private.

Other “prohibited” words are those having to do with a true curse (“damn”), or the Judaeo-Christian concept of “taking the Lord’s name in vain”. Over the last 50 years (perhaps coinciding with the rise of the mass media) it seems I have noticed that the taboo on these words has been all but lifted.
I do remember being reprimanded for saying “damn” during an impromptu introductory speech at a Toastmasters. This wasin the early ‘80’s

Edited for punctuation

Phobia's avatar

Words are hurtful because we are “programmed” to think they are. If you would just drop your ideas that words can be bad, you’ll rarely find them offensive anymore.

If words were truly hurtful, then someone speaking a language I don’t understand could still hurt my feelings; they could say a bad word, and even though I don’t know what it means, I would feel hurt.

jamielynn2328's avatar

So then the substitutions for curse words are considered evil too…I couldn’t say any of the substitutions growing up. Freaking was just as bad as it’s counterpart. And we had to say fluff instead of fart. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.

answerjill's avatar

From what I’ve heard, most of the “curse” words in the English language have etymological roots in Anglo-Saxon/Old English, as opposed to, say, the Romance languages.

Imsosickxxx's avatar

I’m currently working on my Bachelors in Communications Studies. In my Communications Theory class we are discussing changing language to eliminate offensive language. I don’t understand this concept at all. I think of it as a form of cecorship and a viloation of our right to free speech. The truth of the matter is that words are not offensive, it is the power that we ourselves give to them that makes them that way. So how is it that we are told we do no have the right to use certain language in certain places. I can say a word without even using it as intended and it is still offensive. I just wish that we could get to a point where we as a society can learn to ignore words and stop being babies who go running around like children saying, “Billy called me a bad name”.

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

usually it refers to its origin , then you will see it is not that bad .
SHIT= back in the times of wooden ships people would transport animal poop to bring to islands to fertilze their crops .. it seems many ships were lost because they would explode .. nobody knew why . till they figured out that the poop was always transported at the bottom of the piles in the belly of the ship , it would get wet ,,, this made methane gas .. anyone comming down with a lit lantern would make it explode… so after that they would stamp S,H.I.T on the box ,,meaning “ship high in transport .

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

fuck = back in the days of kings ,, a king would always have his pick of women from the village ... if you wanted to have sex ,,, you had to ask the king first… if granted they hung a sign on your door tht said F.U.C.K “fornacation under the consent of the king”. passers by would cover their kids ears so they dont hear the “act ”... not the word .. ;-) there you go

YARNLADY's avatar

I do not agree with @Phobia If you would just drop your ideas that words can be bad, you’ll rarely find them offensive anymore is simply not true. When some calls another person a derogatory name, it does not matter how it is spelled or pronounced, it is still a ‘bad’ word.

I also find it objectionable when people pepper their speech with so called profane language to add emphasis to what they have said. If what you say can’t stand on it’s own, the addition of socially defined profanity will not make it any better.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

I never hear of people in a marginilized class or those who regularly experience discrimination touting the “bad words are all in your head” theory. No offense, but it’s usually young, white, straight, middle class men and there’s a reason for that. I do think we need boundaries in language. I mean, if you’re in a theater where you’ve consented to hear whatever they throw at you, that’s great. But no, I don’t think we should have the right to use foul language (however arbitrarily the words may have developed) because it shows a certain disregard for other people.

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