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The Problem With Profanity

Updated on May 16, 2013

Profanity is Ugly


What is Profanity?

Mirriam-Webster’s definition of Profanity is:

a : the quality or state of being profane. b : the use of profane language. 2. a : profane language. b : an utterance of profane language.


Mirriam-Webster’s definition of Profane is to:

1. treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt : desecrate

2. to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use.

What Goes In Must Come Out


The Roots of Profanity and Profane Speech

Profanity is the state of being profane. Therefore a person who uses profanity is being irreverent, vulgar, and abusive. Millions of people use profanity and think nothing of it. A great number of those who use profanity even become offended or aggressive when reproached for using such language around children and others who prefer not to hear it. Many times the folks who are unwillingly exposed to such vulgarity are attacked when voicing their objections.

We live in a society where people feel they have the “right” to do anything they wish regardless of the effect on others. It is very common to hear swear words, even pornographic terms used anywhere and anytime. Just what is considered profanity and how did it come to be so accepted? Many religious and spiritual users of profanity will be surprised to know its roots.

The word profane originates from the Latin word “profanus" which means” before or outside the temple.” The term represented indifference or mockery of religion and religious figures. It was used to consciously desecrate what is considered holy by people called worshipers.

Profanity is Prevalent in Society

In today’s world, profanity is so common that few people consider the spiritual consequences. It is considered “cool” for youths to use profanity and to be crude in various ways. As they try to outdo one another, the language becomes more and more degrading. Indeed those people who do not use profanity develop a less than positive opinion of profanity users. It does degrade the user; they lose respectability and honor. How do children, young people and adults even learn these words?

Profane, crude, sexual language is commonly found in books, movies, newspapers; even church goers use it and think nothing of blurting out an awful, crude and ungodly word or phrase. Even so called self help, spiritual and inspirational writers often use profane words and language. As people of all ages watch television, read books and view movies, they absorb the content into their heart, brain and spirit. Like a shoe rubbing a heel, a callous grows until the sensitivity is gone. Then use of commonly heard words becomes normal and is not shocking anymore.

Given this shocking revelation it is no wonder children grow up in a culture that condones “cussing.” Many parents or caregivers think it funny when a toddler uses curse words or profanity. The child reacts to that attention by spewing more crude language and does so frequently on a regular basis. By the time he or she reaches school age, he is accustomed to using these words and progressively becomes bolder.

Film Ratings Have Been Updated


What Can Be Done To Stop This From Happening?

Parents and caregivers are responsible to guide children and teach them morality and values. This is true even for non Christian and non spiritual parents. Everyone should desire their little ones grow up to become a productive and positive member of society. Even most websites now allow profanity to be used in posts, forums and chat rooms. Yet some places still exist that promote proper and clean language. The workplace usually prohibits the use of profanity and curse words. Since our little ones will eventually grow up and enter the marketplace, they need to speak appropriate words.

To accomplish this huge goal, parents must monitor what children are exposed to, both verbally and visually.

Movies and television shows are required to post ratings so potential viewers are notified and aware of the content. These ratings also include sexual scenes and violence however we will focus on profanity in this article. A PG rating allows for a television show to contain

  • suggestive dialogue (D)
  • infrequent coarse language (L)
  • some sexual situations (S)
  • moderate violence (V).

Watch movies, television show, read books and preview other materials before allowing children to be exposed to them. Use the rating systems that are in place as a tool for parents. They will automatically eliminate the majority of entertainment on today’s market and assist concerned parents to carefully monitor appropriate choices for their children.

No She Didn't!

How To Stop Cursing and Using Profanity

Admit the bad habit and commit to stop using profanity and bad language. Think back to when you first started cursing and why you ever started uttering profanity.

  • Did you parents use such words toward you?
  • Perhaps it was a lack of education, self control or morality. Children who grow up exposed to inappropriate things often believe them to be normal and rational.

Determine why you want to stop.

  • People who swear are considered low class or uneducated by others. Do you want others to see you in a different light?
  • Have you come to see that profanity is immoral and abusive language?
  • Are you reprimanded at work or by someone you respect?
  • Make a list of reasons. They will be different for everyone.

Make yourself accountable.

  • Enlist the help of friends, family, coworkers and spiritual advisers. Ask them to remind you when you use a curse word.
  • Set up a jar, bank or account and pay a quarter or whatever amount you determine best every time you use a curse word.
  • Remind yourself that other people deserve respect and should not have to hear you spew ugliness.
  • Zip the lip. Think before you speak.
  • Stop exposing yourself to movies, books and television shows that use profanity.Attend moral and positive places on a regular basis where profanity is not accepted by others who are there.

Expand your vocabulary. Millions of words exist in every language on earth.

  • Do not limit yourself to unacceptable words that degrade you and make you less accepted by others.
  • Use a dictionary and find words you like.
  • Put them into use. Practice writing sentences so you know how to use them.

Reward yourself. Set a time limit, for example a week, and treat yourself for achieving your “no profanity” goal.

  • Enjoy a favorite food.
  • See a movie.
  • But an expensive article of clothing you ordinarily would not spend that amount of money on.
  • Take a day off and spend it lounging in the park, at the beach, etc.

Don’t give up. Keep on keeping on.

  • Give it time.
  • Swearing is a habit. Not swearing must become a habit also.
  • If you fall off the wagon, just get back on.
  • Have faith that you can do this!

Profanity, Cursing and Swearing

Do You Use Profanity?

See results

The Christian and Profanity

Profanity is incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and inconsistent with the word and will of God. It is ugly, abusive, unloving and disrespectful. Jesus said for us to treat people with respect and love others as ourselves.

The Bible contains scriptures that teach us the power of words.

  • Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
  • Matthew 12:36, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."
  • Colossians 3:8, "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
  • Luke 6:45, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
  • James 3:6, "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell."

There are many more cautions from God recorded in the Bible. They were given to teach us how God wants us to live and to speak. Therefore, let us use words wisely, bridle our tongue and bring honor to our Creator and to ourselves.

Redeemed From the World and Old habits!


Submit a Comment
  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    16 months ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    I agree entirely.

  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 

    16 months ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    The real trend is the acceptance of religious profanity because religiosity is on the decline, while new terms are becoming unacceptable due to changing social standards.

    When people argue words are "micro-aggressions", they're trying to say they think those terms are unacceptable or profane, though the concept is abused by liberals who want to make everyone live out the liberals' assignation of stereotypes.

  • Katharella profile image


    2 years ago from Lost in America

    Hi Brenda, it's been awhile! I really love this hub. I don't claim at all to be perfect, but it is so hard to have a conversation with people when they either, continue to curse, or even use degrading remarks.

    While I'd like to get them to see the err or their ways, it's impossible when they can't even agree to disagree. Great hub, there must be some reason ;) it popped up on my phone this morning because I've not signed in, in awhile! Food for thought as well! Have a great day! -Kathy

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    3 years ago from Shelton

    Happy Holidays!!!

  • Rabadi profile image

    3 years ago from New York

    There are many problems, great read follow me for a follow back as a person part of the hub community I believe that we all need to help each other out, comment and give feedback about our friend's hub. Keep up the great work!

  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    3 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Oh darling Lily. My love for you is real to the bone. Life simply is overwhelming right now. How are you? Is there room in Alaska for me? Perhaps I can run up there and hide out for a decade or two. Bewell beloved friend. Hy

  • profile image


    3 years ago

    Look at you! Missy. So much love! Is it real? Your loving fiend!

  • lilyfly profile image

    Lillian K. Staats 

    3 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

    Brenda, we never talk, but you are near to my heart! May God Bless you, and Happy Thanksgiving! Love yaz, lil

  • Cindy Franklin profile image

    Cindy Franklin 

    4 years ago

    This brings up some very good points. The societal norms have definitely changed.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    I think people have a lot more to work on before we work on profanity. In most cases such as television we often just do not need it. The reality is that most people are just so awful towards one another we never consider that we really do not need that other. Most of the things that divide us are the same reasons we are divided to begin with. We all have the same enemies and yet we are being mean to our own allies. Every so called low life employee is often my ally and when I see some self centered arrogant worthless scum bag making someone in my shoes suffer because they can. I want to beat them down, no matter where that place might be. We all hate the man equally but its seldom about people but whole lot more about systems created by slaves and masters. For some reason we all believe we are masters but we have all spent our lives being slaves mostly to a nameless faceless system and we are mostly very angry. Most profanity is an adjective of self created words or un-pure language called slang. This is not the cursing the Bible describes but man kinds dictation on controlling others not in context. Even the Bible is full of foul language but removed from it is slang. Cursing is condemning so when your false gods our worthless as cattle dung its far worst then any crap I can use as an adjective to describe your driving. When you drive like cattle dung while talking on your cell phone and endanger me on the road. There is a huge difference between cursing and profanity. There is a huge difference between a practicing believer and a non-practicing person who claims to be a believer. The blind built the system and continues to support the evil that creates modern day slaves and they embrace it. I look for the true enemy and call them the piece of crap they are. They deserve lots of profanity but none of the curses they condemn others to.

  • RonElFran profile image

    Ronald E Franklin 

    5 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

    Hooray! I'm so glad to see this hub. As you say, use of profanity is becoming so widespread that many who use it seem genuinely surprised that there are still people who are offended by it. In essence, using profanity in the presence of people who are offended by it is an act of social aggression. Besides the moral and spiritual implications, it's just bad manners!

  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hello Elyssa.Good for you. Abuse is very ugly and usually escalates. I agree that profanity is like being assaulted and leaves one feeling icky after being around it. I am very sensitive to noise and words anyway. When someone spews profanity at me, I just want to be away from them. I also recently ended a relationship with someone, a niece, because she refused to curb her tongue. She was angry that I would even ask her to. People are amazing. Thanks for reading my Hub and leaving your great comments.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    I just broke off with a man because of his vulgarity and even profanity directed at me. He is almost sixty. Must have been a lifelong vice. The older I get the harsher profane langue is on me but I have to admit it makes me so angry to be constantly violated by lowly speakers. Its like spitting...almost worse than 2nd hand smoke. Cussing is just the bane of an already sinking human society.

  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Hi mollymeadows. Funny how kids grew up happy and healthy when mom and dad taught manners and discipline. Now that kids are pampered and allowed to act like hoodlums, they act like hoodlums! Shock!

  • mollymeadows profile image

    Mary Strain 

    5 years ago from The Shire

    Thank you, Hyph! I wish everyone would read and profit from this hub. My Mom had a wonderfully effective way of encouraging me to keep my mouth clean -- a hickory switch across the upper legs. Better than washing my mouth with soap! I meet people everyday who could use that kind of encouragement :-)

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Hyph, this is a fantastic hub! I admit that I'm terribly guilty of using profane language on a regular basis, and I don't like it at all. It's the worst habit I have, IMO, even worse than smoking. I've been praying about how to stop - and this hub has wonderful suggestions. Thank you, sweet lady, for making such an effort to beautify our world in so many ways!

    You know, Alastar, you're right! I was born and raised in the north, and my husband spent a good number of years in the south. When we got together, he found himself very uncomfortable when I swore - because his first impression was that I was angry. He's become less uncomfortable, but he's still MUCH more careful about his language than I am.

    Pray for me, friends. :)

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 

    6 years ago from North Carolina

    Hyph, what an excellent write on so many aspects of profanity. Couldn't agree with you more on your thoughts about the subject- particularly as it pertains to our culture and children. It's kind of funny, but I've noticed through life how- in general, southerners are taught not to use it while many from certain places up north learn to as a matter of course. A good example would be when an octogenarian friend from the New York area had moved to Lake Norman here in N.C. One day we were at a farmer's market when he started loudly GDing this piece of fruit and that piece of fruit. The owner eventually came up to us and said to Henry"Sir, you cannot talk like that in here." Old Henry was truly shocked and kept asking me "What did I do, what did I do?' I told him the owner was a local preacher and he shouldn't be cussing so loudly down south over everything he didn't like in public. Bless his heart, Henry replied with a look of childish mystification "Oh." He did much better with the profanity in public after that.

  • aviannovice profile image

    Deb Hirt 

    6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

    This is so well done, and you are right. It is so easy to fall into it. Your suggestions are so good, too. Awesome and up.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    6 years ago from The Caribbean

    Hyphenbird, I wish I could make everyone in neighborhood read this article. Very good instructions. Voted Up and Useful!

  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Thank you mckbirbks, kashmir, North Wind and Gypsy Rose Lee. I appreciate you all very much and am happy this information is helpful to you.

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 

    6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    Thanks for sharing. Never could understand people who use profanity regularly in their lives.

  • North Wind profile image

    North Wind 

    6 years ago from The World (for now)

    Hyphenbird, you know I agree with you because you agree with the Bible. Blessings and cursings should not come out of the same mouth.

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi my friend great well written and interesting article with an important message with in it.

    Vote up and more !!!

  • mckbirdbks profile image


    6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

    Hello Brenda. Good to see you publish here. I agree the profanity pendulum has swung to far in the wrong direction. If I had a jar of quarters for every time I 'slipped' I'd be rich.

  • Hyphenbird profile imageAUTHOR

    Brenda Barnes 

    6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Thank you everyone. I appreciate your time and comments very much. I would like to reply individually however time restraints cause me to thank you as a group. This helps me have time to comment on other Hubs. Thanks again. I love you all!

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    I agree with you. I don't have to worry about it, having lost the ability to talk.

  • duffsmom profile image

    P. Thorpe Christiansen 

    6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    What a wonderful hub and so true! Well done!

  • livewithrichard profile image

    Richard Bivins 

    6 years ago from Charleston, SC

    I'm on the fence when it comes to profanity, especially when used in language. In my 44 years, I have never heard my dad say a 'cus' word, though I can't say the same for my mom, she can 'cus' with the best of them. I use that language so rarely that it turns heads when and if I do, among family and friends. I think there is a place for everything and the use of profanity, especially in literature and film, brings a sense of reality. We don't live in a sheltered society but I do believe we need to try to shelter it from our youth and teach them alternative ways to express themselves without being vulgar. My dad taught me that language can be used to unite or ignite and that I should be very careful on which I wanted to do.

    Great topic for discussion... and great hub.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Hyphen lady my old friend , I didn't hit "funny "button , because profanity isn't even funny ! I would have to vote this "the hub of the day" least !, .........Nice to see you !....ed

  • profile image

    always exploring 

    6 years ago

    I am having difficulty posting. I have to sign up every time i comment on a hub, it's been that way all day. So i will try again. I agree, using profanity is needless. I hired a man to wash the outside of my home yerterday and he used profanity. I don't think he realized how bad it sounds. I think it is just a bad habit. Great topic Brenda..Good to see you again...

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 

    6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Excellent hub, Hyphen! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Classrooms are full of students using profane language and it doesn't matter how poor or how affluent the students are. I have actually taken classroom time to explain the background of the words and why they should not be used exactly as you have in this hub. My parents never used it in the home, but I heard it at school and among friends. Thanks for writing this and sharing the Bible's take on this too.

  • lilyfly profile image

    Lillian K. Staats 

    6 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

    yes, Hy, absolutely, and the Bible says that profanity is " a breach of spirit", which I agree with whole heartedly, meaning, our words should be wholesome and edifying if possible. Love yaz, lily

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    6 years ago from southern USA

    Thank you so much for this write!!! Amen on this for sure! To me, when profanity is used, it seems to indicate a lower IQ. I am so shocked with primetime television at early hours with the amount of profanity without even a care!

    So glad you are back to write. I have really missed you dearest Hyph!

    Thanks for the great scripture included here.

    Voted up ++++ and sharing

    God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • DuckyDee profile image

    Dusti Pitman 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Thanks so much for such a helpful hub. I hate to admit it but I do still catch myself using profanity far more often than I wish too. I do appreciate the help in learning to stop.

    I love Big Daddy Weave. Took my kids to see them when they were young.

    Have a wonderful Day!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Excellent hub. It seems that moral values and principles are lost in today's society. I agree with your views. voted up.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Such a great hub Brenda! There is way too much profanity in this world and it shows how many do not understand really what is coming out of their mouth and the effects it has on their own character. I was blessed to grow up in a home where I never heard it except for the occasional slip of the tongue which was rare. There was instant asking of it is like drinking water to most. It does not come naturally to me and for that I am thankful. If I hear it, I do not like it. It is a habit too. I heard once if someone put a rubber band around their wrist and snapped it hard every time they slipped this might cure the tongue but I am thinking good ole soap might work as well..haha

    Thank you for writing this.


  • anndavis25 profile image


    6 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

    I never heard Big Daddy Weave. I love him. His message is heart felt. I agree about the profanity. Sometimes it is used to drive a point and not said in anger or frustration. But I never met a man who was redeemed who needed to use it. Love u, Brenda

  • Becky Katz profile image

    Becky Katz 

    6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

    I use it so rarely that my daughter-in-law was intimidated the one time I used it on her. She never pulled that again. My sons will not use it around me because I tend to pull belly hair out if they do.

    My mother used to tell me when I was a child that cursing just showed your lack of vocabulary and the intelligence to use it. She could make someone cry without a curse ever leaving her mouth. She only did that on very rare occasions. Like when the girl was driving down the street putting her make-up on and ran head on into our truck. It totaled her car and just broke a headlight on our truck. We didn't name it 'The Tank' for no reason. My mother told her how stupid she was as soon as she found out she wasn't hurt. I don't think she ever put make-up on while driving again.

  • Careermommy profile image

    Tirralan Watkins 

    6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Wow, what a great topic. I hate hearing profanity used so cavalierly these days. Because people use it so regularly they've become desensitized to the thought of not trying to offend. Your suggestions and depth of this topic are excellent.

  • NMLady profile image


    6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

    The words that were profane yesterday are perfectly acceptable today. Profanity is a moving target. When Rhett Butler uttered: "Frankly, my dear I don't give a damn!" that was shocking!

    In my years I have witnessed a once REAL bad word becoming so commonplace that it no longer is profane in the younger generation's lexicon.

    I read your article with great appreciation but I do not find profanity a problem in most circles that I long as I do not bring certain circles together that is!!!

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Good to see you back, Brenda...Your message is a beautiful reminder to us all. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

  • Eiddwen profile image


    6 years ago from Wales

    So interesting andthanks for sharing this great read Brenda.

    Voted up and shared.



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