How to Curse in English
STOP! WARNING! This is very explicit content (lots and lots of bad words). It may offend some.
Some people say that using curse words is a sign of a small vocabulary. Whether it’s true or not, it’s a part of every language. Even if you would never use these words, learning and understanding them can help you with fluency.
By the way, a potty mouth refers to someone who swears. Profanity is another way of saying cursing or swearing.
A new study shows that cursing may be a sign of intelligence. Read this article here.
Curse Words Have Changed Over the Years
How people express frustration has changed over the years. Words like fish sticks, fiddlesticks, sugar, and dang it were used to show frustration. Some even used Christopher Columbus as a curse! “Christopher Columbus! I told you not to eat on the white sofa!” If you think about it, any words can be used to swear. The key is how you emphasize the word and the context.
Different Countries Different Curse Words
Is there a difference between U.S. and British or Australian curse words? Does one sound harsher than the other? Watch this video about British curse words.
Bugger: (UK/Au) Someone who is annoying. It can also be used when something is annoying. “Seamus is such a bugger.” “Oh bugger, I forgot my doctor appointment.”
Bugger off: (UK/Au) Telling someone who is annoying to go away. “Bugger off Sean.”
F*ckwit / F*ckstick: Similar to U.S. It’s a way of calling someone an idiot or dumb.
Get stuffed: A way of telling someone to f*ck off. “Get stuffed Joe.”
Slag/slagger: (UK/Au) Someone who has a lot of sex – or is “easy.”
Twat: (UK) a female genitals but also someone who stupid or obnoxious. “I can’t believe you’re dating Mick. He’s such a twat.”
Wanker: (UK/Au) This word refers to someone who masturbates. It can be used lightheartedly or out of anger. “Get off mum’s couch you wanker.”
Here’s a great book on British slang:
Here’s one for Australian slang:
Common U.S. Curse Words and Their Meanings
Watch the Finish comedian Ismo talk about the word ass. Why is this funny? Are there curse words in your language that a non-native speaker would find odd? Many Americans find this humorous because we don’t realize how often we use the word.
Also: God Dammit/dammit/damn you
Damn: Expression of dismay or disappointment.
“It’s raining really hard.”
“Damn. I was hoping to go for a run.”
Damn (Adj): To add a feeling of stigma/negativity to a noun.
“That damn taxi driver overcharged us!”
To Give a Damn: To express how little you care.
“Susan thinks your boyfriend is an idiot.”
“I don’t give a damn what Susan thinks.”
Damn You: To express that you are upset with another person.
“I dropped your Ipad and cracked the screen.”
“Damn you! I just bought that!”
Closed a door on your hand? “God dammit! That hurt!”
Go to Hell: Expression of anger.
“I want to break up with you.”
“Go to Hell!”
To Hell with it: It’s not important.
“I can’t find an umbrella.”
“Hell with it, I have a hood.”
Hell yeah: Used as emphasis for yes/no questions.
“Do you want to see Beyonce in concert?”
“Hell yeah!” (non-vulgar: heck yeah)
In some languages, this word is horrible. In the U.S., it depends on the person using it as well as the context.
A bitch: Someone who’s angry or mean.
“I can’t stand my boss. She is such a bitch.”
To bitch: To whine or complain.
“I am tired of waiting in this line.”
“Quit your bitching.”
To bitch someone out: To yell at or criticize.
“My boss just bitched me out for not having handing my report in on time.”
Something is a bitch: It is difficult.
“This new program is a bitch to learn.”
Bitch, please: Another way of saying “no” or “are you serious?”
“Don’t you think your skirt is too short?”
Bitch slap: To slap someone with the back of your hand. It can also be used figuratively.
“Did you see that?! She just got bitched slapped!”
My bitches: Some women will use this to refer to their group of friends.
“Hey my bitches!”
“What’s up, bitches?”
*** Know your audience when you use this word!
Fuck is a vulgar way of talking about sex. It is a strong word that also means…..
Fuck (ADJ, ADV, N): Used to emphasize something.
It can also be used to describe love, hate, pain, or pleasure.
Adjective: “Why am I doing all the fucking cleaning?”
Adverb: “That guy yells too fucking much.”
Adverb enhancing adjective: “That TV show is fucking awesome.”
Noun: “I don’t give a fuck.” (I don’t care at all)
As part of a word: “Abso-fucking-lutely.” or “Un-fucking-believable.”
It can be used to describe…
Fraud—”I got fucked over on that last eBay sale.” (or screwed)
Dismay—”Ahh, fuck this.”
Trouble—”Your wife called. You’re so fucked.” (You’re in trouble.)
Aggression, pain—”Don’t mess with him. He’ll fuck you up.” (He will hurt you.)
Inquiry—“Who the fuck is she?” (Does she think she is special?)
Dissatisfaction—“That waiter fucking sucked.” (He was really bad.)
Bewilderment—“What the fuck?”
Stupidity—”I can’t believe he did that. What a dumb fuck”
Misfortune—”That’s fucked up.” (That’s messed up-wrong.)
Caring—”I don’t give a fuck.”
Agitation—”Don’t fuck me about.” (UK) “Quit fucking with me.” (US)
Dismissal—”Fuck off.” or “Fuck you.”
Sometimes just saying “fuck” says it all!
A vulgar word for fecal matter.
To be shit: Can mean both horrible or great.
“That movie was shit!” and “That movie was the shit!” are opposites.
Up shits creek: To be in an extremely bad situation.
“Yeah, I was up shits creek.“
(Holy) Shit: Expression of surprise, dismay.
Shit-faced: To be extremely drunk. “We got shit-faced last night.”
Shit out of luck: To have bad luck.
“The subway is closed for the night”
“Damn, we’re shit out of luck!“
Dumb Shit/ Shit for Brains: Someone who’s not very smart.
“Hey dumb shit-wait for the light.”
Get your shit together: Calm down, rise above your problems.
“Don’t be a baby. Get your shit together.”
This shit: Used in place of stuff / thing(s).
“Clean this shit up.”
Bullshit: To express disbelief.
“I have a girlfriend.” “Bullshit!” (B.S.)
Shoot the shit: Small talk.
“Nothing. Just shooting the shit.”
To be in deep shit: Big trouble.
“My mom just called!”
“You’re in deep shit now.”
Taste like shit: Horrible.
“These cookies taste like shit.”
Know your shit: To be very smart.
“The IT guy knows his shit.”
A shit-ton (of something): To emphasize a lot of something.
“I got a shit ton of homework to do.”
Body Parts as Curse Words
Cock: (a rooster) Also referred to as a man’s penis.
Cock-block: To prevent a woman from meeting a man.
“People don’t know you’re gay. You’re a total cock-block here.”
A dick is a man’s penis but can also mean a selfish person or a jerk.
“He just cut in line.”
“What a dick.”
**It’s also the nickname for Richard!
Dickhead: An idiot or a jerk.
“Don’t go out with him. He’s a total dickhead.”
C*nt: (a vulgar word for vagina)
This is one of the worst things you could call a woman in America.
It is more commonly used in Australia and parts of the UK.
“I can’t believe she gave you the wrong number. What a cunt.”
C*nt: a stupid, incompetent person (UK). “Shut up, you cunt.”
P*ssy: (also vulgar word for vagina): Someone who is afraid.
This is used more by men than women and is also VERY offensive.
“Jack’s not coming skydiving with us.”
“What a pussy.”
How do you know what curse word to use? Try the mild ones like damn, ass, or shit first. Pay attention to the context, audience, and timing. Don’t curse in a business setting or around elderly people. If your friends swear, then it’s OK to try a few. If not, then don’t do it. Watch for people’s reactions to know if you have used a word correctly. They’ll let you know!
For more practice, read some of our blogs.
Also visit us on YouTube.
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