Have curse words lost their meaning?

Have curse words lost their meaning?

and Asma Irfanullah

Curse words are very commonly used. People use them when talking to friends, family, other people, and more. However, do these people know what they are saying? Do they understand the full meaning of the words that are coming out of their mouths? That question won’t be answered immediately. First of all, how long have curse words been used? Where did they come from and why are they so popular?


Curse words used to have meaning, but, in my opinion, now that meaning is lost because people have inserted them into normal conversation. They have made curse words a form of casual speech. Before, they were used for specific scenarios. Now, they are thrust everywhere and toward everyone without the meaning inserted along with them.


Curse words are thought to have come from Old English. Like many other words, they started as one thing, then turned into something else. According to Christine Wang, one common curse word (sh*t) that has been used since 1508 to mean “obnoxious person”. Common phrases involving the word have been listed starting from 1922. Now, cursing has evolved greatly to the point where it does not seem like people know what they’re saying. Most people use curse words as offensive terms, however, they do not know the meaning of the words they are saying. 


For example, as a Freshman in high school, I can hear people cursing as a form of speech when talking with their friends. They do not, however, use curse words in correspondence with their meaning. Wang explains that the f-word is the hardest to trace. However, she thinks it evolved from different German languages. The word was banned f

rom early written work and dictionaries until one dictionary bravely included it in 1966. The term was alive during 1795 to 1965, but it was made free when this dictionary made it a real word. People nowadays use the f-word very commonly. They say it anytime they are speaking to their friends or siblings. Some people even use it with their parents. 


Through context, it can be inferred that people are usually not using the words with the real meaning. This word, by far, is the most common. I hear this word lazily passed around like another piece of schoolwork. I have heard it used when someone is happy, when someone is talking neutrally, and when someone is angry. Another word (cr*p), that seems to have a lesser meaning than some others, is thought to have Old Dutch roots. It tends to point toward unwant


ed stuff. Even in Wang’s article, she questions if the word is still considered a curse word today. Even people who say they don’t curse sometimes use the word, showing that they do not think it is a curse. It used to be a curse word and some people think it still is. Others disagree because of the meaning and the way they utilize this word.  


Overall, most people use curse words without the real meaning. They throw it off as something normal, but they are not saying it with the real definition, which changes the meaning of the sentence. Although most people do not use curse words with their real meaning, that does not mean that everyone does the same. Some people use curse words with their full meaning and know exactly what they are saying. Maybe these people do not understand the sick meaning these words have. Most people curse because their friends curse and they might think it’s “cool”.


How long are people going to stay ignorant? Willsociety stay like this; with curse words filling it? Curse words, the words without meaning. Is it a cultural norm for us to be cursing? We curse for every emotion we are feeling, even happiness. When used with the meaning, curse words sound perfectly strange when used in a happy environment. In my opinion, curse words have completely lost their meanings to time. They might’ve had a significance at one point, but now they have nothing. Babies say words, but they only sound like babbling. Words without meaning are blabber. Curse words were once used in anger and to explain situations. Now, curse words are used for every emotion in everyday speech. Those people who use curse words without meaning have grown up in a culture that does not understand the language they are speaking.


Next time you curse, think about what you are saying. Does your cursing hold any meaning? Do you fully understand what you are trying to say?