Profanity

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Profanity are words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors which are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, desecrating, or showing disrespect.[1]

The original meaning of the adjective profane (Latin: "in front of", "outside the temple") referred to items not belonging to the church, e.g. "The fort is the oldest profane building in the town, but the local monastery is older, and is the oldest building," or "besides designing churches, he also designed many profane buildings". Over time this meaning changed to the current meaning.

Other words commonly used to describe profane language or its use include: cursing, swearing, expletives, dirty words, sentence enhancers, cussing, blasphemy, and irreverent, obscene, foul, indecent, strong, pejorative, choice, bad or adult language.

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Statistics

Tape-recorded conversations find that roughly 80–90 spoken words each day—0.5% to 0.7% of all words—are swear words with people varying from between 0% to 3.4%. In comparison, first person plural pronouns (we, us, our) make up 1% of spoken words.[2]

Research looking at swearing in 1986, 1997, and 2006 in America found that the same top ten words were used of a set of over 70 different swear words. The most used swear words were fuck, shit, hell, damn, goddamn, bitch, boner, and sucks. These eight made up roughly 80% of all profanities.[2] Two words, fuck and shit, accounted for one third to one half of them.[2] The phrase "Oh my God" accounts for 24% of women's swearing.[2]

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