Swearing redux

Why do people swear? Why has swearing become more prevalent today than ever before? I will not try to become to “vague”, I don’t want this post to be closed.

Swearing definitely feels good to express strong emotions. We are taught that certain expressions can be used for real invective. I don’t think swearing is any more prevalent now (Shakespeare was just more poetic about it), just that manners in general have become more lax and people get away with what they can. Most people would still never swear in a professional setting.

  1. To add ballast to a weak argument, in the hopes that it will seem somehow stronger.

  2. To increase the force of a verbal assault.

  3. Because they can. Society has in general become more permissive & less concerned about maintinaing any level of civility in day-to-day interactions.

  4. To vent one’s self.

  5. Probably other reasons.

Some of the more recent phrases make no sense. Once upon a time, a vulgarism made sense. “What the hell” came from “What in hell,” meaning, “Has this vexation come from Hell?” referring to the abode of eternal damnation and its denizens.

On the other hand, the more recent attempt at a vulgarism, “What the fuck,” makes no sense. Are we supposed to imagine a land, “Fuck,” from which the present vexation has come? Doesn’t work for me.

Well, if we want to retrosynthesize, in a manner of speaking, “what the fuck,” as is the case with “what the hell,” could be changed to “what in fuck” as in “what fuck produced this.” It could be a rather poetic way of inquiring as to what reasoning/forces/what-have-you produced whatever it is that evoked the “what the fuck.”

What do you think?

I’m not proposing this as an explanation as to how the phrase came about, but how we could rationalize it.

Now that’s the spirit!

Personally, I think the likelyhood of your reasoning being true hovers somwhere between zero and nil howerver, I also think it sounds fantstic! This, might I add, sounds a lot like potential urban ledgend material. Bravo!

I agree.

I was just saying that we can take this phrase that came from virtually nowhere and give it a bit more sensical meaning.

Were you under the impression I was suggesting otherwise?

Not at all, I was just covering my ass.

It helps to swear intead of punching the crap out the person you’re swearing at. Works for me, anyway.