Monday, 25 March 2019

1903.25 C***

Before I start I have to say that I'm not a prude and words don't offend me. I've chosen to write about this word now because I think it's offensiveness is perhaps on the wain. I used to be a bus driver way back when and those guys really know how to swear. It was like being with a bunch of sailors.

If you ask people what is the most offensive word in the English language then I'd guess the majority would say the 'C' word or C-bomb. But why?
The earliest known use of the word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was as a London street, Gropecunt Lane, c. 1230. Use of the word as a term of abuse is relatively recent, dating from the late nineteenth century. The word appears not to have been taboo in the Middle Ages, but became taboo towards the end of the eighteenth century, and was then not generally admissible in print until the latter part of the twentieth century.
So why bring it up? Well I seem to have noticed that it's usage has seemed to have increased. For the last couple of years the word has cropped up more in stand up comedy and more recently in mainstream drama and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm not particularly against the word but I'd prefer it to be reserved for real shock value effect - but as it's usage increases it's shock value decreases. Sometimes it's usage is lazy. 

So if this word becomes more mainstream what word can take it's place? How will people exclaim something really strong? Do we need new swear words? Language is ever evolving, I appreciate this, but I like the fact that there are words that are taboo, and can be reserved to really shock. 

No comments: