Swearing – A Taboo and A Stress Buster

What the f**k? One of the most commonly uttered phrases that contains a swearword. Do you use this phrase? Never mind answering, as I’m not looking for an answer. There is no school in this world that teaches us how to use swearwords, but they somehow find their way into our vocabulary. In almost every known language and culture in this world, there exists swear vocabulary.

While science, to some extent says that swearing acts as a stress buster, the societal norms perceive (or may be perceived) swearing a taboo and a paradox.

History of Swearing: Well, no body exactly knows who used the first swear word and when. But, there is enough evidence to suggest that swearing has been a part of human history. Even one or two gospels are known to have made use of vocabulary which otherwise is deemed unacceptable.

But, speaking originated before writing did. So, according to the beliefs of some ancient cultures, they classified words into two categories, viz. bad and good. They believed that the use of words had an affect on the people and the world that they lived in.

Types: According to the modern vocabulary, swearing falls into two categories, viz. visceral or deistic. Visceral swearing is related to the organs of the human body while deistic relates to religion or race. Every spoken language and dialect in the world have swearwords that fall into any of these two categories.

A Few Swear Statistics: According to a survey-

  • 72 percent American men
  • 58 percent American women

swear in public.


  • 74 percent of teens and adults between the ages 18-34
  • 48 percent elders above the age of 55


The Roots of Swearing: The roots of swearing lie in anger or agony. Precisely speaking, they express an emotion. One of the best ways in which we get to express our emotion is through our tears. But, shedding tears in public is usually discouraged as we age. So, we have to look to other alternatives and this is where swearing comes in.

But, many researchers believe that swearing actually relieves stress and helps in allowing a person to cool down. On the flip side, the personal reason for swearing can go completely unacceptable in public places.

Gender Bias: Gender bias exists here as well. The West agrees to men swearing, but the same does not apply to women. The moral attitude of a woman who swears degrades much quickly when compared to the male counterpart. This is the very reason that women are much adept at sustaining themselves from swearing than men. Quite a paradox!

Believe it or not, American Presidents and the English monarchs are also known to have used swearwords (only, don’t ask me which ones). Our brain can remember swearwords four times better than normal words. Swearing may convey an emotion, but excessively doing it becomes a disorder. Swearing may also be a part of anger management, but to what extent?

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