Ah, English. The language of poets and great playwrights, of posh accents and gentlemen in fancy suits. But even gentlemen get angry from time to time. And when that happens, polite platitudes just aren’t going to cut it. You need some good swear words.
Fortunately, English has plenty of creative and funny profanities you can choose from for your next angry fit. Some of them you may be familiar with, while others may be hidden gems you didn’t even know you can weaponize. Either way, with this list of swear words, you’ll be able to express yourself in all situations.
Swear Words: Why They’re Good and When to Use Them
Let’s be honest, everyone swears. No matter how polite and refined you think grandma is, she’s likely exclaimed a few nasties while you were out of earshot. The important factor here is timing.
While most people would tell you swearing is never polite or appropriate, swear words are just that — words. Ultimately, they’re just one form of expression. Not only that, but unloading with a good swear word once in a while can be good for mental health. Research shows that swearing is a sign of intelligence, creativity, and honesty.
Dropping a few swear words once in a while showcases that your vocabulary is rich, and that you can employ it creatively. It’s also a sign that you’re more prepared to showcase your emotions as they are, instead of hiding behind a facade of politeness. Plus, swearing when you’re feeling physical pain or other unpleasant emotions may help you process them better.
So you should never feel embarrassed for yelling out a nasty expletive at that guy who cut you off in traffic this morning. However, if you’re going to do some verbal therapy, be sure to choose the right timing. Only swear amongst your friends, in non-formal situations. But when it comes to your work, you want to stay classy. Therefore, swearing in a professional setting is a big no-no.
List of Swear Words to Make Your Day Better
So, if you’re sold on doing some verbal therapy, it’s time to look at what the English language has to offer. From the classics to the more creative expletives, here is a list of swear words to match all your moods.
1. The Classics
Opening up this list of swear words are the classics. These bad boys are universally present in our society. What’s more, they always work, no matter where you’re at or what you’re feeling.
An insult to end all insults. This blunt word for intercourse is probably the first swear word you’ve ever used. It’s also incidentally one of the most versatile swear words out there with a surprisingly complex history. Many linguists believe ‘fuck’ dates to 1598, and it was derived from the Old Germanic word ficken, which means to penetrate.
Gradually, the word came to signify intercourse. How that translated to ‘fuck’ becoming such a prolific insult is anyone’s guess. But what’s certain is that it’s a swear word for everyone.
Another timeless classic, ‘shit’ may be milder than ‘fuck,’ but it’s no less potent. Likewise, it has a complex history as well, originating from the Old English word scitte which means diarrhea.
What’s even more interesting is that ‘shit’ used to have a completely neutral, non-offensive meaning. Nowadays, things have changed. ‘Shit’ has become a way to express anger, frustration, or to just insult someone grating on your nerves.
The mildest entry on this list of swear words, ‘damn it’ is what you might say when you’re only mildly irritated. Like ‘fuck’ and ‘shit,’ it traces its origins back to Old English, when it used to mean ‘to doom to eternal punishment.’ The expression’s history is mostly linked to the church and religion. However, it wasn’t until the 16th century when people started to use it profanely.
It was then that this expletive acquired multiple meanings. You can use it as a verb to condemn someone, to pronounce a sentence, or even as a general expression of anger.
Referring to someone as a less than nice part of your body has been a common insult tactic for centuries. This word is a derivative from the Old English earse, or arse, which was and still is slang for backside. The word entered the public consciousness when in the 1970s Hustler published their ‘Asshole of the Month’ column.
Since then, it’s practically a synonym for someone behaving rudely or someone you can’t stand.
Fans of “Breaking Bad” likely recall that this was Jessie Pinkman’s favorite catchphrase/insult of choice. It’s also one of the few gendered swear words on this list. Derived from the Old English bicce, the word was commonly used to refer to a ‘female dog.’
However, it gradually became an insult for any woman or girl who is being rude, aggressive, or cold. When used against men, the word adopts the opposite meaning, and it implies the boy is behaving in a weak and subordinate way.
Because it portrays femininity so negatively, a lot of feminists have reapropriated the insult to refer to a strong, assertive woman.
Apart from being vulgar terms for female and male genitals, these swear words are some pretty nasty terms of disparagement. While ‘dick’ is on par with ‘asshole’ when referring to an unpleasant person, ‘cunt’ packs a much nastier punch. In fact, on this list of swear words, it’s arguably the worst one. Therefore, use it wisely.
2. Creative Corner
The classics are great, but sometimes, they don’t accurately reflect your feelings. In that case, here is a list of swear words for when you’re feeling a bit more inspired.
If you’ve ever played any kind of online video game, then you’ve heard this one tossed around. it’s a word that refers to someone who just started doing something and therefore lacks any knowledge or experience. It may be a milder entry on this list of swear words, but it’s undeniably good if you want to rile someone up.
This swearword is just one of the many examples of what you can create out of the word ‘fuck.’ It’s a harsh but creative way to refer to a dumb or contemptible person.
Yet another newly coined compound, the term ‘douchenozzle’ derives from the word ‘douche.’ While nowadays, we associate the term with a particularly irritating man, this word means ‘to shower’ in French and Italian.
And once upon a time, it was a pejorative directed exclusively at women. It was Saturday Night live that made the term more gender-neutral when they aired their skit ‘Lord and Lady Douchebag’ in the 1980s.
Like many new swear words, nobody knows where or how the term Dickweed was coined. While the word ‘dick’ has been a timeless pejorative for rude people, the addition of ‘weed’ at the end is newer.
Not only that, but it makes little sense. Some claim ‘weed’ was added because it’s supposed to liken people to weeds, useless, parasitic plants. Others say there was no reason behind it at all. One thing is undeniable. It’s definitely a fun and creative way to call someone obnoxious and rude.
3. Swear Words That Aren’t Swear Words
If none of the entries have tickled your funny bone so far, here is a bonus round. Thanks to the internet’s endless creativity, people are coming up with new swear words every day. And the most surprising thing about them is that some of them are made up of normal, everyday words — yet they’re somehow even more insulting than the explicit stuff!
Vitamin D Deficient Rodeo Clown
This insult is the definition of extra. While no one knows where exactly it came from, it’s definitely spread around the internet like wildfire. How could it not? You’re insulting someone’s intelligence and demeanor by implying a lack of sunlight has fried their brain.
One of the more polite options on this list, ‘dangnabbit’ is a favorite among the older generations. This isn’t surprising, since out of all the swear words in this category, it’s the oldest. Dating back to the 1930s, it was a polite way to say ‘damn it.’ Nowadays, you’re most likely to hear it in the south, spoken by old geezers when they want to complain about those dang kids.
A true gem straight off of Twitter. This newly minted swear word describes a situation that is complicated in a messy and unpleasant way. It’s also a perfect example of how the internet has allowed us to be creative with our expletives.
You Absolute Spoon
Tracing its origins to the British slang word ‘wanker’, calling someone an ‘absolute spoon’ is just a way to say they’re an idiot. However, we think it hurts worse for some reason. There’s just something about comparing someone to a utensil that is inherently insulting.
Go Step on a Lego
Everyone who has stepped on a lego knows how deep this pain is. Therefore, what could be worse than wishing that someone you despise experience this pain. It’s definitely a terrific modern-day insult.