UK communications regulator Ofcom has decided to officially rank swear words in order of offensiveness. Now you know what a bad words is. It’s official.
I find the results kind of interesting, partly because some of the brit words rank differently than I think they would here. Also because I’m actually amazed at how many bad words there are in the UK. I haven’t even heard some of them.
Warning: there are swear words in this article.
In a bid to provide information to their stakeholders – specifically broadcasters – on what’s considered offensive Ofcom polled (through Ipsos) 248 participants on their reactions to words.
The Independent reports that people were asked their opinion on 150 words in total, including “general swear words, words linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions, religious insults and sexual references, as well as certain hand gestures.”
The report notes that participants found it difficult to make firm judgments about individual words without taking into account the specific context. But they got what they got.
They were asked to rate words as mild, medium, strong or strongest. Words rated mild were thought to be okay to use around children. Medium words were seen by most to be potentially unacceptable before 9pm. Most thought the strong words should be used only after 9pm.
These are the results for general swear words:
Son of a bitch
If you want to see the entire, surprisingly massive list of offensive words ranked by offensiveness, go to the Ofcom website and download the report.