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The Ten Worst Bad Words, Ranked in Order (U.S. Version)

December 13, 2017

(image via wikimedia)

People have been ranking the worst bad words for generations, and nobody has ever quite come to an agreement.  I should know.  I’ve been around for several generations, and I’ve heard the arguments. Even George Carlin couldn’t settle the argument, partly because he didn’t include enough words and partly because times have changed since then.

When I was a kid, the only objective way to rank the bad words was to match each one with the severity of punishment given for saying it.  Some bad words meant getting beaten while others simply got you sent to your room (which for me, wasn’t a punishment).  There was no cable or internet back then, so all we had for reference was our parents’ reactions.

Racial/ethnic slurs weren’t argued about because some of us were taught that slurs were worse than profanity, but the punishment for racial slurs was inconsistent in the 1970s.  Some parents (like mine) punished all racial slurs worse than they would for profanity.  Other parents didn’t punish their kids at all for slurs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t have the urge to say racial slurs.  I did, however, love yelling out profanity if I could get away with it.

Please don’t read any further if you’re offended by profanity.  The term “bad words” is used in the title, so that should give you fair warning.  I’m not using symbols in place of letters to hide the profanity.  Sh*t means shit, and everybody knows it.

I’ve left out some words because I don’t hear them often.  The words below are commonly written or said or thought of.  At the very least, everybody knows what each word below means:

(Honorable Mention)

Hell- Hell is a four letter word, but it’s a place, not a body part or body function.  I have a tough time making a bad place a profane word, so if it’s bad, it’s the mildest of bad words.

Crap- Crap was considered a bad word when I was kid, but I don’t think it should have been, so it’s not on this list.

Ass- Ass can be a jerk or a donkey, and even with context it can be tough to tell, and that’s why it ranks as honorable mention.

10.  Bastard- You have to be an elitist jerk to think having unmarried parents is grounds to insult somebody. But there are a lot of jerks out there, and using this word is still frowned upon.

9.  Damn- Damn is short for damnation, and damning somebody is pretty bad. It’s so commonly used, though, that it’s lost some of its effect.

8.  Dick- Any variation of dick (cock, shlong, prick, etc..) should be ranked about the same as dick. Dick can be a person’s name.  Cock can be a male rooster.  Shlong is just a shlong, but it’s cool because it has the word long in it.

7.  Asshole- Being an asshole is worse than being an ass because you have to dig deeper to get to the asshole. As ass can do stupid stuff unintentionally.  An asshole is a jerk on purpose.

6.  Shit- Shit is bad because it refers to a gross body function and it’s four-letters. This is the best word to say when you’re in sudden pain because it’s bad but it’s forgivable (if you’re around reasonable people).

5.  Pussy- This is the female version of dick, but it’s worse because it refers to a female body part.  Pussy is usually used to an insult a guy, implying that he’s a wimp.  Most guys would rather be called a dick than a pussy.

4.  Bitch- This is the female version of bastard, except being compared to a dog is worse than being told you don’t have a legal father, and insulting a female is worse than insulting a male. Calling somebody a son of a bitch is more acceptable than calling a woman a bitch for the same reason.  It’s also worse to call a woman a bitch than it is to call a guy a pussy.

3.  Fuck- This is bad because it’s a blunt four-letter word for sexual activity. Saying “motherfucker” or “Fuck you” doesn’t make fuck much worse than when it’s used by itself.

2.  Goddamn- Maybe goddamn isn’t a word because it’s a form of damn, but people say this a lot, and god is not usually added to other bad words. Nobody says “Godshit” or “Godfuck.”  It’s just Goddamn.  Goddamn is worse than fuck because you’re invoking eternal damnation by the ultimate deity, and that’s worse than wishing fornication (even self-fornication or fornication with one’s mother) on somebody else.

1.  C***- Whoa! When I was a kid, you’d never say this word in front of adults.   In fact, I don’t know anybody who says this word on a regular basis.  Plus, it’s the female body part, and nobody with any respect is going to call out the female body part.  Plus, it ends with –unt, which is almost as bad as –uck.  C*** was worse than pussy because it’s four-letters and is usually directed at a female.  I’m not even willing to spell it out because I know if I had said it as a kid, I would have been disfigured by the punishment.  As an adult with a blog, I might be brave, but I’m not that brave.

Some might argue c*** shouldn’t be on the list because it’s rarely used.  I understand that, but I think it’s rarely said because it’s so bad.

*****

There it is!  The ten (or more) worst words ranked in order.  What do you think?  What words do you think should be added to the list?  Which words do you think are ranked in the wrong order?

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7 Comments
  1. Growing up in my family, fuck was much worse than damn. I was surprised, therefore, to discover that in the South, damn is worse than fuck. It was strange to be sitting around with Civil War reenactors, who were throwing variants of the f word around like there was no tomorrow, when they suddenly get offended by somebody saying damn.

  2. Even saying the term “c word” around my mother, gets you slapped across the face! Even saying “she is a C U Next Thursday” gets you slapped.. my mother has a deep seeded issue with that word………..

  3. I think most men save the “c word” for a heated argument with an ex girlfriend.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    cunt off cunt

  5. Anonymous permalink

    hello my cunters! welcome to my cunting cool cunt crib cunters! cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt

  6. Gynidz permalink

    Surprised that n*gger, and faggot aren’t on this list. I wonder why…

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