Four letter words get a bad wrap. Head. Duck. Beer. Mush. Blog. All fine perfectly respectable words. All containing four letters. No more. No less.
Yet four letter words have a well known reputation for being bad. Nasty. Dirty. Wrong.
Baby is a four letter word. As is word, love, like, high, good, nice, cake, pies. Who doesn’t like cake? And pies? Okay… I stretched it a little there when I pluralized pie but still. What’s so wrong with the four letter word?
So it’s not the number of letters… four letter word is just a less caustic pet name for cussing, cursing, swearing. Profanities.
What is it about profanities?
It’s the power of them. As I said in my previous post words have meaning by themselves and within the context in which they’re used. They have meaning and power. With some words you feel that power more. Some words you feel a surge of power just letting fall from your lips. What carries more weight, “I’m hungry.” or “Fuck, I’m hungry.”? “This is a great movie.” or “This is a great fucking movie.”?
Like the word or not “fuck” carries with it a weight. It’s the weight of taboo. It makes you heard even when others would seek to shut you out for it. It can be a verb, a noun, an adverb or an adjective. I’d suggest its use as a pronoun but that would be fucking pushing it. Then you have “shit” and “damn”. They don’t carry with them the same weight as fuck does but they’ll still turn a few heads. “Ass” and “bitch” get lumped in there as well. I guess at three and five letters (respectively) they average one another out.
A quick look back pulls to mind the famous George Carlin routine on seven words you can’t say on broadcast. The Internet has changed the game a bit with obscenities and one of these words I can’t imagine is considered taboo at all, but for the most part shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits are no-nos to this day. Really I think it’s six words. Mother is fine. Fucker is not. Therefore motherfucker isn’t acceptable. But it makes sense. You hear the word motherfucker and your ears prick right up, don’t they?
And cunt. Well cunt is one of those four letter words that some people love and some, even some with trucker mouths, are hesitant to mutter. It’s one I rarely utter. Along with twat I tend to reserve the use of that word. If I do say one of those words it rarely if ever is in reference to women’s genitals.
That’s the thing about “four letter words” (regardless of the number of letters they contain), when you look at their meaning, the way we utter them is seldom related to their definition at all.
So as defined by dictionary.com (because the dictionary app on my trusty little MacBook won’t let me copy and paste) all the dirty words I’ve referenced in this post:
Ass: a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal
Bitch: a female dog.
Cock: a male chicken; rooster.
Cunt: the vulva or vagina.
Fuck: to have sexual intercourse with.
Shit: excrement; feces.
Tits: a titmouse.
Of all those, fuck is still my favorite. And yours?
4 thoughts on “words: the four letter variety…”
Oh… I left out damn. Damn doesn’t really carry much weight these days, damn it.
damn: to declare (something) to be bad, unfit, invalid, or illegal.
Isn’t it a more sad state of affairs to know that the obscene is now less abrasive than the politically incorrect. Expletives and colorful metaphors are like the Jack-hammers and bulldozers in the public toolbox, free to all to use. Direct comments which more accurately identify a status or the characterizing of a person, specifically or generally, are the new “curses”, if you will.
Fuck is my favourite too, though I substitute “fork” occasionally since its very close to the afrikaans version of “fuck”, and its not quite swearing.
I really like fuck a whole lot.