The other c-word

(moderately strong and implied very strong language)

Yesterday, a news site reported on an interview program broadcast on Australian television on Monday night, during which one participant said to another ‘You’re full of c – – -‘. The only c-word I know that’s hyphened (or asterisked) out by everyone is ungrammatical here. Another news site was less squeamish, and clearly quoted ‘You’re full of crap’.

I am surprised that crap was seen as needing to be hyphened out, even on a news site. By my standards, at least, it’s either inoffensive or, at most, mild. Dictionary.com defines it, at worst, as ‘Vulgar‘:

1. Vulgar.
  1. excrement.
  2. an act of defecation.
2. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar.

  1. nonsense; drivel.
  2. falsehood, exaggeration, propaganda, or the like.

3. refuse; rubbish; junk; litter:

Will you clean up that crap!

On the other hand, it defines the other c-word as ‘Vulgar‘ in its literal sense and ‘Extremely Disparaging and Offensive‘ in its figurative one. To me, saying that crap is as bad as the other word in its literal sense is – well – crap.

Both words have a long history in English: crap dates from 1375-1425 and the other word from 1275-1325.

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One thought on “The other c-word

  1. Some news sites are squeamish about vulgarity to the point of absurdity. In lists of offensive words (in academic studies or media watchdog reports, for example), crap doesn’t tend even to feature.

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