5 Articles on… Swearing

Warning : This blog contains references to strong language that some readers may consider offensive.

I am currently watching Ted Lasso, and I have decided that the British swear the best. Something about the unapologetic way they swear, the accent (not a posh royal type accent - a good working class accent) even the choice of words. I will admit that swearing is not always appropriate and wouldn't recommend it at a job interview, in a classroom or in front of small children and don't swear at a referee in sport.

Swearing definitely has its place - like using a swear word is appropriate like when you smash your hand accidentally with a hammer, or to prove a point when in heated debate (only if you know the person won't be offended). Swearing is an awesome way to release frustration. Just saying a swear word can you make you feel better. I actually like swearing. I find it cathartic. Using swear words is a tricky business but if you use the right word at the right time, and have good timing and delivery it can be extremely effective. Swearing can also be extremely therapeutic - try it and you will see. (Make sure you only swear in appropriate surroundings)

Other things I have learned about swearing -

  • Did you know that swear words are used more than ever with 5% to 7% of all the words spoken daily in conversation are swear words. Compare this to person plural pronouns such as "we" and "our" which occur at about 1%.
  • Swearing can increase muscle strength.
  • Swearing can decrease physical pain or it can improve pain tolerance (often heard from women giving birth)
  • If you have a brain injury or a neurodegenerative disease, your brain is more likely to lose polite speech but you are more likely to keep the ability to swear.
  1. The Power of Profanity: The Meaning and Impact of Swear Words in Word of Mouth.
    Katherine C. Lafreniere, Sarah G. Moore, Robert J. Fisher.  Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 00222437, Oct2022, Vol. 59, Issue 5
    Database: Business Source Elite accessed via eResources Discovery Search (eDS)
    A study on swearing full of interesting statistics, it also looks at the impact swearing has on online reviews.
  2. How I learned that swearing can be good for the soul
    Elizabeth Jameson. The Washington Post 29 July 2022
    Database: Gale General OneFile accessed via eResources Discovery Search
    How a multiple sclerosis sufferer used swearing as a way to release frustration.
  3. Swearing makes you stronger!
    Daily Mail [London, England], 7 June 2022, p. 24.
    Database: Gale in Context: Biography accessed via eResources Discovery Search.
    Research shows you can increase grip strength by 8% if you utter an expletive.
  4. Frankly, we do give a damn: improving patient outcomes with swearing
    Nicholas B. Washmuth, Richard Stephens. Archives of Physiotherapy, Vol 12, Iss 1, Pp 1-4 (2022)
    Database: Directory of Open Access Journals accessed by eResources Discovery Search
    Looks at the use of strategic swearing in improving patents physical pain tolerance and threshold.
  5. Rude awakenings
    Tiffany O'Callaghan. New Scientist 02624079, 12/21/2013, Vol. 220, Issue 2948
    Database: Science Reference Center accessed via eResources Discovery Search
    Article discusses how swearing is embedded into how we communicate and it is nearly a physical act part of our fight or flight response.

If you want more reading on swearing try these books: