I don’t know whether Facebook simply decided to show me a post of ‘Words you can’t stand’ on some language-related Facebook page, or whether a friend commented on it, but I spent a few minutes scrolling through people’s discussions of the usual suspects.

One person said something like: “Any word with TARD in it, because you really mean the r-word”. 

I immediately thought of custard and mustard, and also bastard (which some people might take offence at, for other reasons) and bustard (which is close enough to be possibly questionable). 

The Free Dictionary has come to my aid with a list of words containing -tard, including, in their various forms:

tardy, dotard, petard, retard as a verb and noun and retarded as an adjective, costard, dastard, leotard and unitard, stardom, stardust, tardigrade and ritardando

Of these, the only objectionable word is retard as a noun, which is of course what the original commenter really meant, no doubt thinking about words like (you know which words I’m going to say after the break)

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