The Origins Of 7 Curse Words

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Trivial Diversions

The Origins Of 7 Curse Words

The Origins Of 7 Curse Words

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Whenever I would get in trouble for cursing as a kid I’d wonder why the world decided that a certain handful of words are entirely off limits. How can a few letters strung together be so bad? Looking up the etymology doesn’t quite explain why we’ve deemed certain words inappropriate, but it does provide us with a whole new bag of synonyms and substitutes for those words we love to say but really shouldn’t.

1. The F-Word

The word-that-must-not-be-named can be traced back to the Norwegian fukka and Swedish focka which mean “to copulate.”

2. The S-Word

The original definition of the Old English word scitte referred to “purging diarrhea.”

3. The A-Word

The term “ass” of course refers to a donkey but is derived from the Old English word assa

4. The C-Word as in “See you next Tuesday.”

The harsh word has origins in Old Norse’s kunta and evolved into Middle English’s cunte which means “female genitalia.”

5. The B-Word

Though it wasn’t used to slander women until the 1400s the original term for a “female dog” was a bit of a mouthful. Old Norse’s bikkjuna is where we get the “word-you-should-never-call-a-woman.” 

6. The D-Word

In the 1550s, the word referred to “fellow,” “lad” and “man.” Yep, dudes used to call each other Ds. The word didn’t become synonymous with “penis” until a 1891 farmer’s slang dictionary declared it so.

7. The Other D-Word

“Damn” has its origins in the Latin damnare which means “to adjudge guilty; to doom; to condemn, blame, reject.” It first appeared in the 13th century and may have been an ancient religious term, you know, all that damnation stuff.

Related topics curse words, english language, origin of words
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