So what is with all this (expletive deleted) profanity? When did we become all potty-mouthed?
Benjamin K. Bergen, linguist and author of ‘What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains and Ourselves’, explained that the visceral emotions swearing elicits may be due to the unique qualities of swear words, which, he says, are in a league of their own as far as language goes. It’s the type of language we use to invoke and pull out the strongest emotions in other people.
This is because cussing comes from a different part of the brain than other modes of spoken communication. “It’s older, emotion-regulation part of the brain that we share with other primates and mammals,” Bergen said.
Bergen says most profanities belong to one of four thematic categories: Religious concepts; sex and sexual activity; body functions and organs therein involved; and terms for members of other groups, which are really just slurs.
What is the difference between to cuss, curse or swear?
To swear is to make a solemn statement or promise undertaking to do something or affirming that something is the case. “Maria made me swear I would never tell anyone.”
To swear is to promise, vow, pledge, give one's word, take an oath, undertake, or guarantee. “They swore to marry each other.”
To swear insist, avow, pronounce, declare, proclaim, assert, profess, maintain, contend, emphasize, or stress. “She swore she would never go back.”
To swear expresses confidence in, have faith in, trust, believe in; set store by, value. “We swear by these all-weather tires.”
To swear is to take (an oath). “He was forced to swear an oath of loyalty.”
To swear is to take a solemn oath as to the truth of (a statement). “I asked him if he would swear a statement to this effect”
To swear is to make promise to observe a certain course of action. “I've been sworn to secrecy.”
To swear is to use offensive language, especially as an expression of anger.
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to one or more persons, a place, or an object. A “curse” may refer to such a wish or pronouncement made effective by a supernatural or spiritual power, such as a god or gods, a spirit, or a natural force, or else as a kind of spell. A curse can also be called a hex or a jinx. To reverse or eliminate a curse is sometimes called “removal” or “breaking”, and is often believed to require elaborate rituals or prayers.
To use words you would not say to your grandmother.
To say words that will get your mouth washed out with soap.
To use in conversation to another person who will probably give you a black eye.
To show you limited vocabulary.
To abbreviate a word by substituting asterisks for letters.
So the question comes back, why do we use these words? The words are offensive and utterly distasteful to everyone, so why don’t we change our habits?
Hit you hand with a hammer and say, “Wham-bam-Mary-had-a-little-lamb”
If your football team misses a pass say, “They are playing like a bunch of kittens”
Get back to an insulting situation by saying, “You are not going to monkey with me”
Turn the words around so it will keep the same cadenza like, “It is raining like a fuddermucker”
Give it a try. You might just make people smile?