Tag Archives: Lenny Bruce

The Science of Swearing

17 Oct

Out, you green-sickness carrion,” bellowed Capulet to a Romeo-smitten Juliet. “Out, you baggage! You tallow-face!

Swear words may have evolved since Shakespeare’s day, but cursing has never gone out of fashion. Today, we swear when we stub our toe, we cuss when the GPS sends us down a dead end, and we take God’s name in vain when our computer crashes for the fifth time in a row. In other words, we utter expletives to express sentiments that milder words simply wouldn’t do justice to.

Slubberdegullions! Odd-toed ungulate! Champion swearer, Captain Haddock

It is estimated that around 0.5% of words in typical everyday speech are swear words. Given an average rate of 15,000 words spoken in a day, this amounts to an impressive 75 daily profanities – a figure that even Captain Haddock would be proud of. Continue reading

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