Why do people swear?

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  1. thomasczech profile image48
    thomasczechposted 10 years ago

    Why do people swear?

    Maybe this is a weird question, but it is one I have wondered about quite a bit lately.


  2. SoundNFury profile image81
    SoundNFuryposted 10 years ago

    People swear out of frustration or for emphasis.  Some people also swear to be funny, because of the fact that some words are considered taboo, or "swear words," using them in the right context can actually be pretty amusing.

  3. FatFreddysCat profile image92
    FatFreddysCatposted 10 years ago

    Beats the @#$%'ing &^%$ out of me. I don't have the slightest #@#$ing idea. Maybe because it's so @#$%ing easy.

    1. LaThing profile image60
      LaThingposted 10 years agoin reply to this


  4. d.william profile image76
    d.williamposted 10 years ago

    There are several reasons people swear, but the main one is that it helps to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.
    The lesser of the reasons is that it makes them feel more powerful and threatening.  And some people think it makes them appear 'cool", grown up or sophisticated.
    But whatever the reason, swearing is harmless and should not be such a social stigma.

  5. Silverspeeder profile image60
    Silverspeederposted 10 years ago

    Sometimes the normal language is unable to express your real feelings.

    Language has developed to such a point that sometimes the meaning is lost, go away, don't talk to me. leave me alone, I am not interested in what you have to say etc can be misunderstood on many levels. However the simple utterance of f**k off cant be misconstrued to mean anything else, which ever way it is said.

    So maybe swearing has become the ultimate expression of feelings.

    1. d.william profile image76
      d.williamposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Great answer, made me laugh. wish i had thought of that response.

    2. profile image0
      MysticMoonlightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      So true, Silverspeeder! smile

    3. DzyMsLizzy profile image86
      DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      LOL  Good point.

    4. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Silver.....Yeah, that pretty much does sum it up, doesn't it?

  6. profile image0
    Natasha Petersposted 10 years ago

    For social solidarity (swearing amongst friends is common), to release stress, to emphasise, to insult, or just to communicate. Swear words are words like any other, just with a stigma of profanity. I often think how odd it is that we have created these completely arbitrary sounds (words) and then decided a bunch of them cannot be said.

    But anyway, I have actually recently discovered an interesting study on swearing. A group of people held their hands in icy buckets, and those who swore could keep their hands in longer. Swearing has also been shown to physiologically release the burden of pain (ie. when you stub your toe; people who swear afterwards felt less pain!). I've also seen studies that proposed the people who swore more often tended to feel less stress and anxiety in all areas of their lives.

    Rather interesting, I think.

    1. d.william profile image76
      d.williamposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Luv your comments, this makes me feel way better about my dirty mouth. L.O.L.  And it actually makes sense.

    2. Meg Moon profile image68
      Meg Moonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      This is all really interesting- I already knew that swearing helps with dealing with pain just through my own experience- nothing like a good swear fest when you stub your toe- also ask midwives how many swear words they hear on a daily basis ha ha!

  7. profile image0
    MysticMoonlightposted 10 years ago

    I use swearing as a tension breaker. There just isn't much else that can be done in some instances to relieve a little stress or diffuse a situation other than letting a few curse words fly. It makes me feel as if I'm doing something about a frustrating situation, even if it's just venting, it helps!

    1. d.william profile image76
      d.williamposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly.  my son tells me i have the filthiest mouth of anyone he has ever met.  Sadly, i have to agree with him in that respect. But it sure makes me feel better after cussing.

  8. conradofontanilla profile image67
    conradofontanillaposted 10 years ago

    They want to be taken for their word. Not that their word should be verified. If their word were verified, it might turn out to be false.

  9. Imogen French profile image85
    Imogen Frenchposted 10 years ago

    I heard somewhere that a study was done which proved that saying the "F" word actually helps to ease pain when you have hurt yourself, and no other word had the same analgesic effect. Swearing is a very good way to help relieve stress sometimes, too.

    I don't like to hear swearing just for the sake of it, and don't like it when it is used in an abusive way towards another person, but it can be used to great effect when used as a form of self-expression!

    1. vishnum969 profile image80
      vishnum969posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes t releives you off some stress.

  10. lrc7815 profile image83
    lrc7815posted 10 years ago

    I think there are many reasons.  For some, it is simply a way to vent frustration.  For some, it is nothing more than a bad habit, a learned behavior, if you will.  Then there are those who do it for the shock value to get attention.  Personally, I don't think swearing accomplishes anything at all but yes, I am guilty too, sometimes.  When I asked myself why, I could have used any one of the excuses I provided here.  Aren't you glad you asked?  lol

  11. The Examiner-1 profile image61
    The Examiner-1posted 10 years ago

    We can also ask -
         Why do people yell? Why do people punch? Why do people use knives? Why do people use guns?
    Probably because they are angry at something/somebody and are holding it inside. Or else they are crazy.

    1. vishnum969 profile image80
      vishnum969posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      All these actions are due to excessive emotions which are out of order and out of control.

    2. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That was my point. There is no explanation for people who swear except that they are less violent than people who use the other ways.

  12. DzyMsLizzy profile image86
    DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years ago

    Out of frustration, usually.  Cussing is much more vehement, and gets the point of the extent of the frustration, anger or pain out much more clearly.

    Example:  If you smack your thumb with a hammer, are you really only going to say "Oh, ouch, that hurt!"  or are you more likely to explode with a string of, "$%@(%$(!!"

    If you are frustrated and something keeps falling on the floor, a good cuss is much more expressive and satisfying than just "Oh, dear," or "Darn it all."  Just not in the same category.

    It is actually beneficial for relief of pain, as has been scientifically shown:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic … o-we-swear

    I am equally capable of speaking like a lady in polite society, or swearing like a stagehand or sailor when the occasion calls for it.
    I don't allow "bad" words to upset me.  There are no "bad" words; only poor usage, or poor choice of circumstances in which to use certain words.
    The only time I found it inappropriate was in the movie, "White Men Can't Jump."  It wasn't so much offensive as boring.  The screenwriters evidently had little vocabulary outside of the "f-bomb," as it was heard from nearly every character at least 2 or 3 times in each sentence of dialog throughout the movie...THAT was boring as it could be, and I felt like, "ok, find a new word..you're wearing that one out!" 
    In the end, they are only words, and hurt no one.  (The old "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." adage comes to mind.)
    I don't care if someone swears--it does not offend me.  What does offend me is censorship, and TV shows that "bleep" out words--stupid, since everyone knows what was said, anyway.  We're supposed to have freedom of speech--that should preclude censorship anywhere at any level, whether on TV or any website.  Anyone who doesn't like it is free to change the channel or surf to a different site.
    It is NOT something over which you should waste energy worrying.

    1. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If I hit my finger with a hammer I say, "Owwww! Dammn it!"
      If I keep dropping something, I tell myself it is not an accident and ask myself, "Why am I doing it?"

  13. profile image0
    Kevina Oyatedorposted 10 years ago

    It's fun lol. No seriously I think it's just a stress release. Instead of hurting someone, break out some swear words.

  14. 3amart profile image81
    3amartposted 10 years ago

    It happens when you connect with your secret inner sailor.

  15. vishnum969 profile image80
    vishnum969posted 10 years ago

    People swear, sometimes out of frustration to make you believe or sometimes it is to show himself the honest person. It may also end an argument by swearing. And for some it is no less than a word to use in their vocabulary.

  16. cam8510 profile image90
    cam8510posted 10 years ago

    Swearing is often called "colorful speech."  There are two alternatives to spicing up our social discourse.  One is the black, gray and white of speech with no memorable adjectives.  The other is to tiptoe along the edge of the really hot stuff by using slightly pink and powder blue sayings such as "what the heck," or "holy crap," [a la Frank Barone] or "gosh darn it." 

    Some folks just aren't comfortable with colorful language.  Others can't seem to communicate without it.  But it would be a boring world if all we heard was "Oh my, did you see that?"  rather than "What the ------."[fill in the blank] or "I don't really care," as opposed to "who gives a flyin' --------." 

    In our diets we have choices of celery, radishes and red hot chili peppers.  Swearing is simply the way many choose the hot sauce of verbal communication.  I've never developed this style, but I have developed a tolerance, even an appreciation for those who do it well. 

    Life is made up of variety in every one of it's aspects, communication included.

    1. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      "Black" is the only color that I see for all of the words in swearing "foul, dirty" language.

  17. janshares profile image93
    jansharesposted 10 years ago

    Because swearing or using bad words is a raw expression of our need to let off some steam. We know it's bad but we can't get arrested for it, lol.

  18. Shyron E Shenko profile image70
    Shyron E Shenkoposted 10 years ago

    Because their vocabulary is so small they can't think of other words to use.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image86
      DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That is true of some, and seemed to be the case in the movie I referenced above, but is not always true.  I can just as well use a $5 word to insult  someone--it's often in the IQ of the person being addressed that matters--the only language they get

    2. Silverspeeder profile image60
      Silverspeederposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      To omit any words that have been accepted into the dictionary is limiting ones own vocabulary. You may not like or even understand contextually what the word is implicating but it is still a word and therefor adds to vocabulary.

  19. fpherj48 profile image60
    fpherj48posted 10 years ago

    Look, Mark.....We humans are one enormous mass of emotion, energy and expression.  With any amount of awareness and control, those of us with a brain and degree of social awareness, instinctively know....when, where, how and with whom, we may let loose with pure and raw disgust, anger or amount of sarcasm......with the precise intention to make certain our attitude is loud and clear.
    There are times and situations, when absolutely no other words in the English language, will even come close to making the exact statement of impact we intend.  Let's face it.  We often have no choice, but to spew words of profanity and worse.  It's important...it matters.  Trust me.
    I suppose we must, as civil human beings, keep this to a bare necessity and practice to use just the perfect amount of volume and negative emotion, whilst still getting that ONE point across so vital to OUR mental stability.
    In an attempt to explain and rationalize my slant on this.....let's imagine a single Mom, raising 4 independent-minded sons.  After numerous sane, calm and reasonable "ignored" requests that they help with chores, do their homework and mow the lawn.......There can be no doubt or question, the moment arrives when the ONE comment to guarantee results,  may very well be:  "Get you damned *&^%%$# out of your  ##%^*% beds.....and   ^^%%#% do what I'm asking......before I kick your &^^%$ from here to *#@@%^ and back!   Please, precious offspring.  Thank you.".........I promise you, it worked pretty &&^$#% well for me!

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image86
      DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yep--that worked for a friend of mine, who never swore--so when she told her kids, "Clean this effing mess, NOW!" they knew there was no more arguing the point & they better get to it!

  20. peachpurple profile image80
    peachpurpleposted 10 years ago

    Yeah, I swear when I am frustrated, especially when I am in a rush doing something and get interrupted by someone or something else.
    Otherwise, I don't swear at all. ANyway, I never swear in the name of GOD. Some people do, you know.

    I always say "SHIT! "

    1. vishnum969 profile image80
      vishnum969posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, swearing comes out , sometimes out of your emotions. Swearing in the name of god, is also a big no for me.

  21. thomasczech profile image48
    thomasczechposted 10 years ago

    LOL a lot of interesting answers, I did expect some of them. I asked because I seriously wanted to know. I was raised to never swear...EVER. I don't swear now, I am 45 years old and feel their is no need. I see that many people feel the need to , when wanting to get a point across without fail. Now what about in song? In comedy? A friend of mine wanted me to watch a youtube vid. Canadian redneck rappers, the song was called "Out for a rip" (I think) and it was filled with the "F" word. I could not get passed the first minute. But this is just me, I'm not out to judge anyone. It was just a question I had to ask. SO, thanks for all your replies. smile

    1. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I totally agree with you. I forget if I was brought up not to use it or if I just chose this on my own. I dislike when I am laughing at a comedy and suddenly it uses those words. (I cannot even write them in symbols)

    2. fpherj48 profile image60
      fpherj48posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Bless you, Tom. What a perfect gentleman!  Please tell us, exactly what comes out of your mouth when you whack your thumb REALLY hard with a steel hammer?."Oh.my, that HURT so badly, I SURE WISH I HADN'T BEEN RAISED TO NEVER EVER SWEAR!?  LOL

    3. thomasczech profile image48
      thomasczechposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      When I hit my thumb with a hammer, or hurt my self I just grunt "UGHH!" I can saywith all honesty that I do not swear. A friend of mine can not seem to understand that. It boggles his mind LOL

    4. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Same here. I would say, "Owww!" and maybe "Damn it" and shake my hand until the pain went away.

    5. ChristinS profile image41
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It would be interesting to see the ice bucket experiment with someone who doesn't swear though! Would it have the same pain relieving effect? or it would it cause more stress because it would go against your norm? hmmm the things I wonder about lol

    6. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well, Christin S, if I stuck my thumb in the ice bucket I do not know how long that I could take it. All that I do know is that when it became too cold I would remove it and run it under lukewarm water!

  22. rohanfelix profile image81
    rohanfelixposted 10 years ago

    I occasionally swear, though I don't enjoy doing it... I think swearing arises as a result of a combination of frustration and hopelessness. When some people are unable to get away from an unpleasant situation, they take to swearing as a coping mechanism.

  23. profile image0
    swilliamsposted 10 years ago

    Swearing is a sign of fear. A person who uses vulgar language or profanities most likely has an influence in which they may be unaware of their offenses in their youth. But as a person grows older the fear of not being able to change keeps them under the oppression of vulgarity. What comes out of man reflects his heart. And sometimes many of us behave in ways that are not spiritual but through truth a wise man is corrected and fool walks blindly without growth.

  24. DDE profile image46
    DDEposted 10 years ago

    People swear in anger or when frustrated about a situation they find this a way of expressing their feelings. Swearing takes away the moment of anger.

    1. vishnum969 profile image80
      vishnum969posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well DDE, how can swearing takes away the anger. I think swear to make others believe easily, even if it is wrong. It is also an attempt to end an argument.

    2. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Right. It does not 'take away' the anger, it is a way of using the anger.

  25. tirelesstraveler profile image59
    tirelesstravelerposted 10 years ago

    I don't swear either, but am surrounded by people who swear all the time. I think people swear because no body says,"Don't". Check out the rules for high school campus behavior, then go listen in the cafeteria. The rule will say no foul or profane language.  As a substitute I always laughed at the hypocrisy of the schools. Nobody enforces the," No swearing rule".  I know people who can make motorcycle gang members blush with there vocabulary and not one word is a swear word.

  26. Meg Moon profile image68
    Meg Moonposted 10 years ago

    The very fact that "we have created these completely arbitrary sounds (words) and then decided a bunch of them cannot be said"  suggests that there is some human need for them to exist. I don't know but I wonder if all humans cultures and languages have their own particular swear words- I'm sure they must. So saying it is wrong or whatever is fine but it ignores the fact that they exist and they exist because we need them- be it for pain relief, stress relief, expression of otherwise ineffable emotions. I think when used properly they have a place. I often think the people who over use them are youngsters who have just discovered them and are testing them out, trying to look cool and so forth but this is all just part of growing up and so we should cut them some slack. When adults over use them or use them inappropriately that is a different matter.

  27. tsmog profile image84
    tsmogposted 10 years ago

    Swearing or cussing is language in my view. I know it varies how used immensely from one group or even career field to another. Automotive technicians from my observance do not swear as do construction workers or medical professionals. It is simply different.

    Swearing when discussing sports is different too from one to another. When or where which swear word is used seems to be governed by the event emotions, what is being described, and how an action took place or is taking place. The choices of swear words impact the verbal exchange and may be emphasized with gestures both facial and bodily as well.

    I think George Carlin pointed this out to us some time back with one of his stage acts with general swearing and cuss word usage.

  28. profile image0
    Mklow1posted 10 years ago

    My mother always said people swore because they don't have the vocabulary to say the correct words. She was also a teacher, so she might have been a bit biased.

    I agree with the Hubber that brought up solidarity with others. When my brother came back from boot camp, he cursed like a sailor (even though he was in the Army!lol). My grandfather worked his entire life in the oil fields and he cursed every other word and I mean that literally! I have noticed that the older I get, the less I curse, so I don't know if it is because my vocabulary is getting better, because I have less friends, or because my conscious is getting to me now that I have children.

    1. The Examiner-1 profile image61
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with the part about the vocabulary and I am not a teacher.

  29. days leaper profile image61
    days leaperposted 8 years ago

    anger is another factor, image in trashy circles where ignorance rules and the focus is on fear and climbing clique hierarchies to make themselves feel important!


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