Lexicon Valley

Spectacularly Sweary Links

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. 

Unpresidential profanity, parental profanity, constabulary profanity, embroidered profanity, and more. Constant cursing (“bomb the shit out of,” “kick their asses,” and, most recently, “he’s a pussy”) isn’t hurting Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign—and it may even be boosting his appeal. Slang expert Michael Adams—whose forthcoming book, In Praise of Profanity, is already on our wish list—told Inside Sources that Trump’s swearing is “a sort of linguistic populism … a way to speak to a population that feels connected to the candidate because the candidate uses his or her language, the language of the people.” Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F-Word, opined that “sexual and scatological terms are not really a big deal now.”

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Speaking of pussy: No, it isn’t derived from pusillanimous, says Language Log’s Mark Liberman. Keene Winters, a candidate for mayor of Wausau, Wisconsin, is an equal-opportunity swearer, unleashing F-bombs at city officials and residents alike. Police in Ireland and Australia are told to police their swearing. (From the Irish Times: “I don’t tell people to fuck off. I don’t use that language with anybody.”) Speaking for ourselves we’re more offended by actioning in this quote from Victoria, Australia: “Victoria Police is committed to actioning all recommendations of the VEOHRC.”

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Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a man who was arrested after videotaping a cursing cop has been awarded a settlement of more than $72,000Inveterate swearer swears off swearing because “I don’t want a sweary son.”

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On the other hand, maybe it’s OK to swear in front of children (audio). Is Icelandic fokk a Swedish loanword or a home-grown oath? (Hat tip: Patrick Cox.) Well, there go our chances of winning a National Magazine Award: “The word ‘cocksucker’ has never appeared in any story that has either won or been nominated for a feature writing prize.” (Read more about Sofa King company names.)

The Profanity Embroidery Group in Whitstable (UK): dedicated to the proposition that needlework can be fucking entertaining. Why did “Fuck It!” appear twice in the January 27 edition of Japan’s Nikkei, the largest financial newspaper in the world? (Hat tip: Rochelle Kopp.) Teresa Buchanan, formerly a tenured professor of education at Louisiana State University professor, says she was fired unconstitutionally for swearing.