Nasty words

In 1785, Francis Grose‘s A Classical Dictionary of The Vulgar Tongue listed the word as C**T as meaning a nasty name for a nasty thing. Having fathered 10 children, it seems likely Grose was quite fond of cunt, so his definition is perhaps a little disingenous.

According to Holy Shi*t by Melissa Mohr, profanity can largely be divided into two categories – that derived from searing oaths, and that intended to be offensive. As the former is largely religious in origin (eg one swears an oath on the bible) and the influence of the religion has weighed heavy on Western society’s notion of what is or is not good, there is perhaps more common ground. Certainly, Christian dogma asserted as long ago as the fourth century that lust is sinful, and it is easy to argue that, directly or indirectly, this spawned the idea that things sexual should be regarded as dirty and shameful.

Just like any other part of language, swearing is evolutionary, and what used to be regarded as offensive is not always to in our own times. With attitudes towards sex becoming increasingly positive, and the nature of offense shifting faster than sand in a force 10 storm, many words that were taboo even 30 or 40 years ago are infinitely more acceptable now.

Yet so many profane, pejorative terms are sexual?

  • He’s a bit of a dick.
  • Stop behaving like twat.
  • It’s been a major cock up.
  • You’re just being a pussy.
  • She made a real tit of herself.
  • It’s all bollocks.
  • Just fuck off.
  • What a wanker.
  • You cunt!

It is anathema to me that these are nasty words for nasty things.
Tits and bollocks should be gently squeezed and stroked.
Dicks, cocks, twats and pussies should be stroked and licked and sucked.
Fucking and wanking should be joyously revelled in.
And above all, cunt should be worshipped.

These are good words for good things.

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