No prizes for guessing what the worst word in the English language is, although two variations of one word (in the spirit of National Poetry Day, it rhymes with "duck") were also ranked among Ofcom's "strongest words", which are "highly unacceptable pre-watershed".
The list of "strong words" ("generally unacceptable pre-watershed") includes a dizzying array of descriptions for both male and female genitalia, including some particularly creative versions we had never heard of...
|Milder words||Medium words||Strong words||Strongest words|
Son of a bitch
The ranking comes from a 122-page study commissioned by Ofcom as a means of finding out how offended people actually are by swearwords.
The survey, of
The watchdog, which surveyed 250 people, found people have become less tolerant of racist or discriminatory words (although "Ginger" is listed among the mild words), but are more likely to tolerate swearing if it reflects the "real world".
Thus, context, such as tone, delivery and time of broadcast have become more important. Something to take into account next time you find yourself venting your spleen at the world in general as sterling slides.
Ofcom said: “The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.
"The results are vital in supporting our broadcasting standards work to protect viewers and listeners, especially children.”
PS. Scientists have found your sweariness indicates your political leanings - so if you've made it to the end of this article without taking offence, it might say something about your views on Jeremy Corbyn...