Language Research Paper: On Swear Words.


Introduction of Early styles of jurors was often detestable and disrespectful to anything deemed sacred, sometimes with some religious effect. Over time, however, the room of abhorrent and obscene terms was expanded to include gross expressions describing body roles as well as racial epithets. There are many cases in which terms may be considered obscene or degrading (Evensen et al. 135). These terms will then lose their meaning for a variety of reasons. What's more, those that would change, for example, words that mock a person's parentage as a bastard are somewhat gentle curses, as they no longer place much emphasis on certain matters as they were before. This research paper examines the swear words in the English Language. It goes ahead to look at not just their origin and evolution, but also old and emerging words and their meanings throughout the ages.


The phrase shit emerged more than 1,000 years ago. It can, however, be traced back to Old Norse source ‘skita’. Anglo-Saxon manuscripts use scittan to make a position to when the cattle had diarrhea. Throughout history, this word was spelled as ‘shite’. However, the evidence of its contemporary spelling is evident in books that date back mid-1700s (Dewaele 314). Again, the remnants of the Icelandic lingua and the words like ‘skita’ are still applicable. Broad-based slang usage; verb meaning ‘falsehood, to joke is from 1934; while to ‘disrepute’ is from 1903. In the 1960s, students came up with a slang shit-faced drunk. As of now, shit remains the commonest of swear words that is no longer frowned upon.


The term bitch refers to a female canine. Nonetheless, the word in now largely employed as an aggressive term for a mischievous, vindictive, overbearing, intrusive or unpleasant individual particularly a woman. The second meaning has been in use from around 1400 (Evensen et al. 133). When employed to describe a male, it might easily confer the meaning of the inferior, particularly to another male, like in jail. Largely, this word has been employed to indicate that an individual is acting outside the boundaries of what their gender should ascribe to. However, many variations of the word have also emerged. Bitchy for instance, originated in 1925 to mean ill-tempered, while to bitch emerged in 1930 to mean complain. In the 1980s, the phrase became somewhat accepted and also less invasive. The application of the word in drama Dynasty that featured the competition between Krystle and Alexis, it gained usage, in mischievous perspectives. It has become accepted in mass media as well and rarely censored. Before the term became accepted, it was substituted by words such as a gun to read ‘son of a gun’ instead of ‘son of a bitch’. The term has metamorphosed to attain the connotation of something hostile in the context of ‘Life’s a Bitch’ (Evensen et al. 131). The word pig is often used on a daily basis, yet in some places referring a person to a pig is viewed as the worst swear word ever.

Damn, Bastard and Crap

In the eighteenth century, damn and bastard were considered very offensive that they are written as “d—m or b—d” (Goddard 193). Nonetheless, sensitivities shift and currently, they are comparatively mild swear words for the majority of English speaking people. The phrase crap was borrowed from the last name of a person that developed the toilet, Thomas Crapper. Anyone who associates you with the toilet doesn’t mean well.

Mewling quim and Occupy

Swear words, like people who use them are never recognized for their stability. They transition, fluctuate and the form shifts. At times, they disappear completely. In 2012, during the dramatic scene of the Avengers, Tom Hiddleston lashed at the Black Widow calling her the “mewling quim.” This term would have attracted clear gasps and potential bouts in the middle nineteen century. In the meantime, during the sixteen and seventeen centuries, the phrase “occupy” was widely used with some sexual perspective among other elements, however, the Occupy Wall street movement in a totally different perspective (Goddard 189). The phrases “occupy” and “quim” continue to be used in a modern day, however the former is almost out of date and the latter is nearly never inappropriate.

Word Shift

In most instances, these changes have occurred for centuries. Nevertheless, at the moment the media appears to be eroding the quality of swear terms. Technology is useful when it comes to the development and dissemination of swear words, moreover, it is also useful in facilitating overuse and hence the potential form considerable decline in taboo related to new as well as old offensive words. In the recent past, the level of profanity in media has greatly increased, although the internet is similarly influential (Dewaele 310). Since the use of curse words is very prevalent over the internet, they are dramatically changing the nature of conventional profanity. People do not use swear words on YouTube or English dictionary; instead, they post videos about them and regularly use them in communication. Therefore, this water down the vulgar in them as everyone is talking about them. In any case, the internet allows individuals to swear compared to previously.

Old Fashion

In certain cases, swear words usually fade away as a result of arbitrary ostensible reasons. If a term is seen out-of-date, it is replaced with another one. Occasionally, the sequence is based on overuse, depletion of the phrase and the previous dissociation from its early unpleasant implication. For instance, at the moment Dick is experiencing the “banal retreat” or dick has reduced its punch. This may be due to further evolution that is somehow a mild synonym of jerk. Stop behaving like dick; this is a proportional mildness of the phrase when disassociated from its sexual implication (Dewaele 320).

The New Meaning

Although there’s nothing novel about words becoming more or less taboo with the passing of time, the momentum of that process seems rather fast. And yet, what is more interesting is that the clusters of these words that happen to bother people appear to shift fairly radically. In that respect, what is viewed as less offensive is now different from what was seen as super-offensive 50 years ago.


Swear words tend to become not just increasingly common but widely accepted as time goes by. On the other hand, the cluster of vulgar words appears to be falling out of the way while also becoming less offensive. Words like defecation have lost their power. It also implies that swear words that deviate from the norm can only fade away with the passing of time.

Work Cited

Evensen, Darrick, et al. "What's the ‘fracking’ problem? One word can’t say it all." The Extractive Industries and Society 1.2 (2014): 130-136.

Dewaele, Jean-Marc. "British ‘Bollocks’ versus American ‘Jerk’: Do native British English speakers swear more—or differently—compared to American English speakers?." AppliedLinguistics Review 6.3 (2015): 309-339.

Goddard, Cliff. "“Swear words” and “curse words” in Australian (and American) English. At thecrossroads of pragmatics, semantics and sociolinguistics." Intercultural Pragmatics 12.2(2015): 189-218.

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