All of the swears

26 English Swear Words That You Should Use Very Very Carefully

English swear words are recognized all around the world. However, the following 26 swear words should be used with deep caution.

January 22, 2021

English swear words are recognized all around the world, used in movies, literature, and TV shows.

It's one of the first English words most people learn before they properly learn English! Unlike German swear words or Spanish curse words, learning how to curse in English will help you be understood almost everywhere you go.

With over 1.5 billion English speakers around the globe, you can bet there are different styles and flavors when it comes to English swear words. You've got the American English swear words which you've likely heard in many Hollywood movies, the Australian English curse words that are to die for, and the sophisticated sounding British swear words.

Just look at the famous chef, Gordon Ramsey, for example.

We certainly don't want to encourage you to use these English swear words at other people. But understanding what these words mean will at least help you be aware in case other people use it against you!

Without further ado, here is our detailed breakdown of English curse words. We'll share general curse words used in all countries, then give you specific English swear words used in the United States, Britain, and Australia.

Enjoy, and share this with an English learning friend!

26 English Swear Words That You Thought Were Harmless

American Swear Words (US)

The following are commonly used curse words in American English that are understood and used globally. It's likely where you should start, to get the most bang for your limited time.

1. F*ck

The word f-u-c-k is one of the most widely recognized swear words in the English language. The literal f-word is a shortened version of: 'FornicationUnder the Consent of the King. ' Like most swear words, it did originate from a sexual reference, which is still how it's used today.

2. F*ck you

Adding the word 'you' means you're directing the offense onto someone else. It's often used as a joke or when you're angry at someone else.

3. Shit

Another meaning for shit is poo (#2), but it's often used internally when something unexpected comes up in your life. An example is if you forgot that you have a project that's due this week, you'll say 'Shit! I totally forgot about that.'

4. Piss off

If you want someone to step away from your personal space, you can simply tell them to piss off.

5. Dick head

You can visually imagine this swear word without too much effort I'm sure. It's a commonly used name-call that is used to describe someone who's being unfair or unjust, but it can also be with friends as a joke.

6. Asshole

This is one of those curse words that literally describes a part of our body (in the buttocks), but is also used as a swear word.

7. Son of a b*tch

A versatile word that can be used internally like the word 'damn' or 'shit' but can also be used to describe someone who tossed one over you.

8. Bastard

The literal translation for a bastard is an illegitimate child or mongrel. It's used as a noun to describe someone who gave you an unpleasant experience. For example, if someone runs into you on the subway and you end up falling, calling them a bastard may be appropriate.

9. Bitch

A common word that's not only used globally but from both males and females. According to this study, the word 'bitch' was used in 4.5 million interactions on Facebook, making it the top 5 most common swear word in the English language online.

10. Damn

This is not the harshest swear word used in America and one that's said to yourself, not to harm someone else.According to this survey, it's most commonly used in the lower east side of the United States.



While this word is used in Britain and elsewhere, it's much harsher in the United States. Be careful using this, especially around women, as you may be about to enter a physical interaction quickly after.

British Swear Words (UK)

The British have one of the most original swear words. Given that it's where the English language originated from, it makes sense that they're so unique! The following British English swear words are most commonly used in the UK but are slowly being recognized around the globe.

12. Bollocks

Bollocks is another word for 'shit', and it's used exactly the same way. The difference is the literal translation of the words. While 'shit' means poo, 'bollocks' is used to describe your testicles.

13. Bugger

One of the most common words used by the British, bugger means to sodomize someone. The way you use it is to exclaim an unpleasant situation or annoyance.

14. Bloody Hell

Out of all British swear words, this is probably the one that's quickly being used by Americans. The word 'bloody' is also the foundational word that can be attached to other words to form a swear word, such as 'bloody moron' or to exclaim another word, like 'bloody brilliant!'

15. Choad

Choad is just another word for penis and can be used similarly to the way the word 'dick' is used in America.

16. Crikey

Some may argue that this isn't a swear word, but it's an important English word to recognized nevertheless. Crikey is often used to show astonishment and surprise, similar to the way the word 'Christ!' is used.

17. Rubbish

Rubbish is what the British refers to as 'trash.' So when you tell someone their work is 'rubbish' it means that it's trash.

18. Shag

To 'shag' means to have sex. Not incredibly offensive when you used it around your friends, but just a less direct way to describe fornication.

19. Wanker

The word 'wank' means to masturbate, which means adding 'er' means you're calling someone a masturbater.

20. Taking the piss

If someone from your team is being unproductive or just downrightsilly, you can say 'are you taking the piss?'

21. Twat

Twat is translated to 'p*ssy' so you can imagine how this word can be colorfully used in many different situations.

Australian Swear Words (AU)

22. Bloody Oath

Code for: 'F*ck Yeah!' Often used to show your immense support for something.

23. Root

What 'shag' is to the British, the word 'root' is for Australians. Used very similarly.

24. Get Stuffed

An easy substitute to tell someone to 'bugger off' or 'piss off.'


Bugger me

This one may be a bit confusing since the word 'me' is used here. But it also means to 'get lost.' The more appropriate term would be 'bugger off'

26. Fair suck of the sav

We had to end off our list of English curse words with this idiosyncratic one. The word "sav" is short for saveloy, or a red, seasoned sausage, and it's used when you want to say 'give me a fair chance or shot.'

Next steps to learn English

Now that we have a basic understanding of curse words in America, Australia, and Britain, you should also learn how to use them properly.

Often, it's more important how 'not' to say something, especially when we're talking about sensitive topics. Here's a video we found to show you how not swear in English. Enjoy, and hope this article was helpful for you.

How not to swear in English (video)

A definitive ranking of every swear word from worst to best

Oh fuck off.

Swearing is cool and fun and everybody should just fucking get on board with it because it's the ruddy future.


Last year, Ofcom issued their categorisation of swear words in terms of offensiveness and it was a bit fucking timid to be honest.

So, let's get down to it. I've picked 40 common swears and ranked them in order of delivery satisfaction, from least enjoyable to most satisfying to say.


40. Cow

If someone calls you a cow, regardless of whether they are Kat Slater or not, you cannot truly feel offended. Cows are beautiful and without them we would never have burgers. It's the same as calling you a cattle, which is how posh people pronounce kettle so simmer down.


39. Damn


This isn't even a swear word and I'm annoyed that I've included it in the list to be honest. It's the most fire album of 2017 thanks to Kendrick Lamar, and I refuse to regard it as anything else. It's also something a beaver builds, aside from lasting and meaningful friendships.


38. Crap

Anything that's an anagram of 'carp' simply cannot be seen as threatening and that is firmly but fairly the law in this country. It literally means poop, which is a perfectly normal bodily function. When you're under the age of 11 it feels like a really cool word to use, but then other 4-letter c-words barge their way into your vernacular.



37. Bloody

Unless you are describing the viscosity of blood, this 'swear word' is too tame to be taken seriously. It's like a garnish for regular words, e.g. Those bloody beetroots are delicious, etc. There are far more adventurous bodily fluids that can be used to insult a person, if you ask me.


36. Sod


'It was reported that the murderer appeared to fall into a blind violent rage after he was referred to as a sod', is a sentence you will never hear in a court of law. Calling someone a sod is about as effective as calling them a clumptyduff, which is a word I just made up. You are a sod, Keith, a combination of turf and grass.


35. Bugger

Oh dear, the crumpets are out of date, well bugger our luck, Jeffrey. If you get your swearing tendencies from Downton Abbey, then this one is the curse word for you. I'm almost certain that a bugger is a person that has a large collection of insects and you'll do well to convince me otherwise.


34. Git

Definitely more of a jokey nickname than a serious swear word, you simply cannot take someone seriously if in the heat of the moment, the best insult they can muster up is git. At best, it's a typo of GIF. If someone had poisoned you and you were using your last dying breath to tell them what's what, the last thing you'd call them is a git.


33. Arse

"I can't believe you've burned down my house, you are such an arse", said no one ever. The whole point of a swear word is to emphasise your emotions. By using another word for 'bottom', you're unlikely to impress anyone by calling them an arse. If anything, you'll be ridiculed for the rest of your natural life for using such a tame little word.


32. Bint

Watch out, we've got a badass over here. Throwing out words like bint is sure to get you locked up for crimes against banter, that's for certain. It's mostly used in relation to women, but, go with me on this one, imagine calling a man a bint. Well he'd just be devastated until the end of time to be on the receiving end of such a heated and cutting insult.


31. Munter

This word originated when someone mistyped punter. 'But 'm' and 'p' are quite far apart on a keyboard', I hear you say. Listen, I just make up these facts, not the logic behind them. Good luck ever getting your frustration across with a word like munter in your repertoire, you blatant Enid Blyton character.


30. Minger

TRUTH: I once watched an episode of University Challenge where one of the contestants' surname was legitimately Minger. So when she buzzed in an answer, the voiceover would announcer her as 'Queen's University Minger' and I've never laughed so much in my entire shitty life. I can't find the footage but please can someone try harder than I have. It was gold.

[Ed: It literally took 5 seconds to find on google]


29. Balls

If you're a little fraidy cat, maybe this word will offend you and also everyday things such as fresh air, water and flavoured yoghurts. Balls can refer to any number of things. One time, I read an article in a college paper and the writer was so afraid of balls that he/she wrote it as 'b*lls'. THAT COULD'VE BEEN ANYTHING! That pervert could've rested his bills on your face for all we know.


28. Arsehole

Calling someone a literal part of their anatomy is never going to be a satisfying experience. 'Ugh Ken mate you absolute elbow'. That's him told. Ken's never going to steal your wife again. Ken you're such a pancreas mate. Ken you're an ingrowing toenail. I am sure you can sense the sincerity of my insults by my spot on anatomical selections.


27. Bullshit

Although an undeniably great word, it's not particularly effective. A word that we use more or less every day is inevitably going to lose its touch over time. I've described the most innocent of experiences as bullshit, such as a stain on my shirt or the threat of nuclear war. I need something more from a swear word. More finesse, less livestock excrement.


26. Pissed

I'd like to make my feelings perfectly clear on this word: Why can't we give it one meaning. If someone is described as being pissed, it's hard to determine whether they're drunk or annoyed, or both. We need to settle on one definition and I'd like it to be in reference to insobriety. Glad I could get that off my chest. Thank you.


25. Shit

Let. Us. Challenge. Ourselves. To. Use. More. Inventive. Swear. Words. Shit just isn't cutting the mustard for me anymore, we can do better. The world has gone to shit, so let's not allow our vocabulary to do the same. Better words for shit include: turd, post-food, faeces, love package, and dump.


24. Jesus Christ

It's just a man's name FFS. If you were to drop a heavy object on your toe, you're hardly going to shout 'GRAHAM SMITH!' Swear jars deserve better circumstances for being filled. Jesus Christ is not a swear word, nor should it be regarded as such. It gets a 0/10 for effectiveness.


23. Bitch

Schoolyard taunts were always retorted with: 'A bitch is a female dog, dogs bark, bark comes from trees. and trees are beautiful so thanks for the compliment'. It was extremely extra but it distracted the bullies for long enough so you could Heely away from the situation rapidly. You wouldn't call someone a pen (female swan) or a tigress (female antelope jk it's a tiger).


22. Son of a bitch

Technically all male dogs are sons of bitches and I just won't have a bad word said about a dog. Ever. This is a safe zone for dogs. Dogs are among our most popular readers here at JOE, and we are legally obligated to acknowledge that by making them feel comfortable and catered for. Who's a good boy? You all are. Even the girl dogs too.


21. Bollocks

*sighs* It's with a heavy heart I must announce that we're back to the anatomy swearing again. Bollocks is just a fancier word for balls but we're still dealing with the same premise. Please see number 29 above for my feelings on the matter.


20. Bellend

Yet more anatomical cursing. In terms of housekeeping, it's nice that there's one single word to describe the head of a penis, but I think users of swear words would actually find the term 'penis head' a far more satisfactory way to refer to someone that is precisely that. Try it yourself. Call someone a penis head today!


19. Tit

Again, you're going to find that calling someone a boob is far more satisfactory than this allegedly vulgar term that Drake and Josh's sister coined during that wonderful television show. Tit is also a type of bird, and probably more satisfying than calling someone a chaffinch.


18. Fanny

One time I met a girl on holidays and her name was legitimately Fanny, so I struggle to take this swear word seriously. Add to that, the fact that Americans use it to refer to an overall butt and we're in a situation where the word has lost all credibility entirely. Geographically speaking, where even is the fanny?


17. Snatch

Here are my personal understandings of the word 'snatch' - it is a movie directed by Guy Ritchie and it is the act of grabbing something aggressively. I refuse to acknowledge it as any other meaning, let alone a swear word. Much like the current price of Freddos, it's just not good enough.


16. Clunge

This particular swear word sounds like something a plumber would do with some weird looking tool when you've overloaded your toilet. 'Yeah looks like it's an easy enough job, I'll just get behind the sink, give it a quick clunge and we'll be good to go'. Also, calling someone a vagina is 100% more satisfying. That's tried and tested.


15. Gash

I went to school with a girl whose surname was Gash, so I can't now and never will take this curse word seriously. It also sounds too violent for the nature it's intended to relate to. 'The patient has suffered a serious gash, but is said to be in a stable condition'. Hah he suffered a vagina, what an idiot


14. Prick

A nurse's warning before an injection is difficult to take seriously when used in a swear word capacity. Yes it's also a word for penis, but at the same time it's an effective method of drawing blood. For instance, pinch wouldn't be a great swear word. 'Fuck off Jeremy you utter pinch'.


13. Twat

Or as the Americans say, *shudders*, twot. It's a decent swear word, especially if you really want to undermine someone without going the full monty and calling them the c-word. Twat is a lighter, more family friendly version of many insults that you can get away with if you don't particularly fancy being murdered.


12. Punani

A fair recipient of the title Funniest Swear Word Ever, this particular curse is very versatile, it sounds like something off an Indian menu and can be shortened to 'poon' if you're feeling adventurous.  Unlike many of the above entries, punani is actually far more satisfactory than its true meaning - female genitalia. 'Derek, you're such a female genitalia' doesn't have as much oomph.


11. Pussy

This special curse word is a lot of fun because people, particularly the elderly, use it frequently without any malice intended. Many of us will have been subjected to our grandparents trying to get the cat indoors by saying 'Here pussy' and had to stifle our laughter. If a group of lads go on patrol in Magaluf but not for pussy, did they ever really go on patrol at all?


10. Minge

Definitely a French word for something like grapes, minge is a very decent swear word. It's exotic, edgy and always a great grounds for outrageous graffiti. I've seen 'Kelly has a smelly minge' scrawled across more bathroom doors than I've seen it scrawled across hot dinners.


9. Cock

Despite one being on the front of a Corn Flakes box, cock is a really solid swear word. You can describe a situation as being cock, a person as being a cock and if you're feeling particularly spicy, a group of people as a load of cock. Cocks literally make the world go round.


8. Knob

It's the silent 'k ' that really clinches this one. Any swear word for penis is typically a winner, as this top ten fully reflects. Knob, similar to number 11 in the list, is an everyday word that can often be used innocently which makes its appeal as a swear word even more so. Shoutout to the shop in Dublin that's legitimately called 'Knobs and Knockers'.


7. Dickhead

Close your eyes. Picture a person with an actual dick for a head. Open your eyes. Doesn't the world feel brighter somehow? Like everything hasn't quite fallen to pieces just yet. Every time you call someone a dickhead, an angel's dick falls off. If you're feeling particularly intellectual, you can call someone a Richard Cranium and see how long it takes for them to figure it out.


6. Dick

A shortened version of the aforementioned swear, dick is particularly excellent because it's also a popular name among elderly men. I used to play tennis in a club where there were two coaches named Dick and Willy. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I was asked to leave the premises and return when I'd matured. Still haven't gone back tbh.


5. Bastard

People are called bastard all the time, with little regard to whether their parents were married at the time of their birth. Most of us know a few legitimate bastards, but mostly it's the inauthentic bastards that get told what's what. I'll call anyone a bastard if they wrong me, so watch your back.


4. Fuck

The average adult uses this word upwards of 200 times a day, 400 if they're working in an office environment, or with children. Everything about the word 'fuck' is perfect. Fuck you, fuck me, fuck him, fuck her, fuck you (plural), fuck us, fuck them, fuck everything. Fuck.


3. Motherfucker

In the business of swearing, things are taken to a slightly edgier level when you bring a parent into it. Technically, everyone's dad is a motherfucker, but in my experience, they don't enjoy being made aware of this fact. In instances of extreme frustration, motherfucker, at a beefy four syllables long, can offer the desired release.


2. Wanker

Most people are wankers, it's a perfectly normal thing to do. But for some reason, folks aren't too keen on being reminded of that, particularly those in a position of power such as parents, teachers and members of the clergy. If you combine the appropriate hand gesture with wanker, you're onto a winner.


1. Cunt

I felt nervous even typing this word. Cunt is the one of the few swear words that's just an absolute no go in many situations. In my house, you can get away with a decent selection of bad swears, but if you even so much as try to drop a C-bomb, you'll be emancipated by sundown.

Cunt is versatile, it's forceful and the combination of the harsh 'C' and ending with a sharp 'T' is borderline sexual. It's the ultimate insult. Ideally, I'd like to live in a world where it's socially acceptable to use the world wherever and whenever you like. I want to jokingly call my employer a cunt when he says my language is disgraceful - and not get fired this time.

What to do, “when someone swears, putting you down”: November 04, 2016, 10:27


November 04, 2016, 10:27


When we associate with many people, we may meet those who treat us badly. You don't have to be angry with these people. They don't know how to deal with their own pain, so they interpret it on other people. Each of us has our own pain that we cannot cope with. When suffering accumulates and is not experienced by a person, then at one moment he explodes and vents his negativity on those around him. That is why we hurt those around us.

TengriMIX invites you to read Jeff Foster's wonderful words on how to respond to people who treat you badly.

When someone swears and puts you down
When someone gives you advice you don't ask for
When someone blames you for their pain
When they don't hear you, endlessly talking about themselves,
When they compare you to other people,
Ignore, judge or ridicule your thoughts and feelings -
Stop. Take a deep breath .

Know that it is their pain, not yours.
Know that they are seeing the only dream they can have until they wake up.
Know that they do not know you, but their illusions.

It may be difficult for them to love themselves.
Perhaps they are looking for confirmation of their worth from outside.
Perhaps they are disconnected from their breath, body, precious vitality and their true calling.
Perhaps they live in a dualistic world of good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure.
Perhaps they have forgotten the simple joy of being.
Perhaps you understand this.
You may have already been where they are now.

Don't try to change them. They cannot change.
Don't try to fix them. They don't ask to be corrected.
The more you push them, the more they will push you away.
Do not get entangled in their web of sorrow.
Be clear, even compassionate, without pressure on anyone.

It's normal for them to be upset. It really is.
Give them the freedom to be upset.
It's okay that they're disappointed in you.
Give them the freedom to be disappointed.
It's okay if they judge you.
Let them be free in this too.

Be free to express your own thoughts and feelings!
Allow yourself to be sad, angry, doubtful, guilty.
Let all these precious energies flow through you.
They won't affect you when you let them move freely.

Yes, you will meet many gate keepers on this journey.
Either way, go on your way and let others have theirs.
You don't need to explain or defend him.
Be yourself in these difficult times.

Don't fight the darkness: anyway, it has no power.
Just turn on your light!

These are bad words! What to do if a child swears

This is news: at dinner your well-behaved child suddenly said such a word that everyone at the table choked. Where did he learn to swear like that? And now what i can do? Psychologist Natalia Presler talks about such a delicate situation in the book “How to explain to a child that ... Simple scenarios for complex conversations with children”, and we publish an excerpt from it.

Natalia Presler, psychologist, psychotherapist, author of a blog about parent-child relationships @lozhka.meda

If a child “brought” an obscene word , interrogate the child where he brought it from, go to sort it out in kindergarten or with neighbors: “Did you teach my Masha to swear?!”

• Firstly, is too strong a reaction - this is interesting , and the child will want to repeat his verbal exercises just to see once again how your face is drawn out and your eyes become like the eyes of anime characters.
• And secondly, these words are part of our life, you can't hide from them . But it is important to teach that they are not possible in all situations. Just say: “That word you just said is abusive, it is a strong curse. In our family, it’s not customary to express ourselves like that.”

If a child uses “toilet” words

Often, children 3-4 years old use potty terminology (“you are a poop”, etc.) This is due to the great relevance of the topic. Talk about it at home. Parents sometimes, on the contrary, try to avoid these topics so that, God forbid, “bad” words are not fixed in the child, and the effect is the opposite. The kid wants to talk about it, but it’s impossible, so the words fly out by themselves.

Read books about how the body works, the human excretory system, how food is digested, teach your child to name their organs correctly. If these topics are not taboo, he will not need to discuss them with anyone else. The ban on the utterance of such words often leads to the opposite effect - there are more of them.

It is better to limit the places where you can swear : “Do you want to say these words? Good. But toilet words are only in the toilet. You can go into the toilet, close the door and swear as much as you like”, “Trash words are at the trash can”. In a few weeks, or maybe days, the child will lose the desire to regularly shock the public with his scolding.

If a child swears in a public place?

Sometimes you just need to leave together, saying: “You swear, you say indecent words. It's not like that here, so we'll have to leave." You can try to negotiate by offering to throw out emotions along with scolding later : "You can't say this word in a restaurant, but you can repeat it as much as you want in the bathroom at home when we get back."

Cursed at someone or in front of someone you know? Apologize for him and change the subject. It's difficult - usually you want to show yourself as a "correct parent" and how you should reprimand the child. It is also advisable to add with indignation so that others do not doubt your innocence: “Who taught you this? Where did you hear that?" But this will only humiliate the baby, which will lead to hysteria or deterioration in behavior, and you will have to apply tougher measures for which you may become ashamed and which are generally against your rules.

If a child asks: "Why can't you swear, because adults swear?" Say something like this: “Adults say strong curses when they are very angry. These are words for adults. And most of them really don't like it when children say that. Let's figure out how you could swear when you're really angry."

The child also needs ways to express his irritation, but it is important that they are acceptable. Reward if he comes up with his own swear words that won't sound as rude as adults.

Leading by example is the foundation of parenting

Pay attention to your behavior, reactions, and the words you use. Children constantly copy adults because parents are authority for them: children love their parents and want to be like them.
If you teach a child to express his anger in an ecological way, to explain what made him angry, and at the same time, in the heat of a quarrel, throw insults right and left, then he is unlikely to learn "decent" behavior.

Sometimes, while driving, we do not control ourselves and let out curses at other drivers. Sometimes this happens at home between spouses and relatives. Sometimes a mother can speak strongly about scattered things or a mixer that has broken at the wrong time. All this the child absorbs and adopts . He notices how we treat people, whether we thank them for talking behind their backs, whether we consider everyone "idiots" or look for something good in everyone - the child reads all this from his parents without special explanations and then copies.

Do not expect that all the above measures will immediately bring the child's behavior in order.

Learn more