Talk:Four-letter word

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WikiProject English Language  
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject English Language, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles related to the English language on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
??? This article has not yet received a rating on Wikipedia's content assessment scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the importance scale.


This might cause trouble, but shouldn't we list common four-letter words? There is already a substantial article on fuck; shit and cunt redirect to feces and vagina, respectively. -- Merphant

Go for it. See what happens. I just put fuck in Term of disparagement. Ortolan88

Anyone who sees יהוה spelled backwards (like I do) should look at Bi-directional text. Cyan 04:05, 7 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Whoever wrote this should list the "at least ten other" four-letter words... Just a thought.

Ethnic Slurs[edit]

There are many ethnic slurs with 4 letters, here are a few examples:
Should we add a list of these as well?
aminy23 (talk) 22:58, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

removed less-rude words[edit]

I'm removing again the English less-rude words: tits (slangish questionable spelling), piss, dick/cock (can be non-rude). We don't need to put in an excessive listing here anyway, esp. if we have the "in addition to several others" reference. BACbKA 16:59, 1 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tits is a correct spelling, what other spellings would you suggest? Piss, dick and Cock are perfectly acceptable in the context of the article which is, after all, about 4 letter words. These are all examples of rude 4 letter words. Yes, they do have other uses. Yes they are not rude in other contexts but would you consider that to be an acceptable excuse if you were told to piss off or called you a cock?? AlanD 21:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The correct spelling is "teats". See the King James Bible if in doubt :-) "Tits" is a slang derivative off "teats" just as "ass" is an euphemism that eventually transpired into the American version of the original "arse", which is still ruder than "ass" even when referring to one's behind. AFAIU, Wikipedia is not a place for a dictionary slang list, and so I thought it's more appropriate to just list the more common and more rude ones, that don't have non-rude connotations. "Piss off" is definitely less rude than "fuck off", btw. BACbKA 22:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The KJB is the benchmark for modern English? Why not Chaucer or Boewulf while we're at it? Tits is a rude/potentially offensive four-letter word for most English-speakers today. Teats is not. (talk) 07:02, 12 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Four letter word: balls ??? wtf —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:27, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

Not Spanish?[edit]

The 'international' part names a Spanish equivalent with a tacked on note:

[NOTE: this is not used in Spain]


Another four letter word is nice —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 13 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I don't agree that the definition of "Common four-letter words" does include the words that it claims it does. In particular, the words "jism/gism", "jizz" and "tits" I would not see as four-letter words in this sense. This is the first time in over 40 years of life that I've seen the words "jism/gism" and "jizz" described as "four-letter words" - they were never swearing for me as a child and I am surprised to see them included. We should be objective rather than making claims that are not substantiated - however, this issue is *subjective*. It seems to be that I missed out on a number of words that I did not know as a child and which, therefore, have no physical impact for me but the words that I did know have varying levels of "strength". This will differ I suspect for everyone and "offensive" is in the eye of the beholder. As we should be objective, we should only include words as "four-letter words" if they are generally accepted to be four-letter words. However, I don't know what exactly is generally accepted and I don't know that all of these words are "widely considered" to be vulgar or offensive to a *notable* degree (whatever that means). I also don't know that "piss" is "formerly an offensive swear word" at all - it may still be an offensive swear word to some. I note that one dictionary - Collins English Dictionary - removed its "taboo" label from some words in 2004, including this one and including removing the label from a more severe word for me whilst retaining it on a milder one, however several other dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary, which is often considered more authoritative, retain their vulgar markings. In any event, I don't accept that the marking in any dictionary can determine anything and it is merely the opinion of the lexicographer, or group of lexicographers, that wrote or contributed to the labelling. In particular, the word "dick" is described by Collins as "acceptable in speech" (although it says older or more conservative people may object to it) - however, trying yelling "suck my dick!" towards a stranger as loudly as possible in the nearest supermarket. I don't think that that, even in 2017, would be considered "acceptable in speech".

I don't know where this leaves as to what is or isn't a "four-letter word". As I am from the UK, I have looked at the most recent Ofcom research ( - in particular, I am looking at the table on page 44 - and I'm not sure about words moving to different categories - for example, the word "shit" was supposedly "mild" when the former UK Broadcasting Standards Council (later Commission) did the research in 1996 but now is considered "medium"?!? - it seems to have gone up the scale (despite all swearing getting milder for me over the decades) and seems to depend on which group of a few thousand people happen to be interviewed and can we trust any opinion poll result at all these days? It's claimed above on this Talk page that the "less rude" words were removed - however, I disagree, as a word that is *more* rude for me was removed whilst one that I think is less rude is still there. I don't think that the word "tits" is that rude really and I don't think the word "arse" would generally be considered a "four-letter word" as it's usually considered to be of little concern. As regards other words, I would say I was "going for a shit" in front of my mother, who does not object to this, yet, for some reason, I won't say "going for a piss" in front of her - I don't know why but "piss" sounds more rude even though I think it is generally milder than "shit". I therefore think the word "piss" can be worse than the word "shit" (I think this is all subjective; no word is objectively better or worse than any other) and therefore "piss" is a four-letter word.

I also think that, while the words "jism/gism" and "jizz" are merely slang and not even swearing for me, the word "dick" is generally more rude. I also think that, although Collins has removed its own taboo label (which means nothing) from "dick" and has kept it for "shit", "dick" is more strong than "shit". The word "dick" is *not* a less rude word at all and, if you argue otherwise, you will offend me! Whilst the word "cock" may be used as a term of affection, I thought the word "dick" was stronger although strangely it seems that generally people think "cock" is stronger than "dick" and Collins still keeps "taboo" for "cock". The word "dick" may also be used between friends - however so can all swear words so that's meaningless (there are *no* four-letter words!) - but I think "dick" is stronger than "shit" and I note that the Ofcom research supports my view by indicating that "shit" is considered "medium" but "dick" is considered "strong". I am therefore substantiated in it being more rude, using the latest Ofcom research as my evidence.

Someone at my workplace used the term "chicks with dicks" a few years back and I thought that it was the only acceptable use of "dick" in that situation, whereas if someone talked there about "sucking dick" they would probably make me uncomfortable (as that's an explicit description of a sex act and therefore worse, or better in vulgar comedy for example). However, I now notice that "chicks with dicks", the only use that I thought acceptable, is now apparently considered the worst use of all as it is considered discriminatory against transgender people and therefore is one of the strongest words of all. Therefore is therefore a context in which the alleged "less rude" "dick" is not less rude at all but is among one of the strongest words of all. The word "pussy" (which used to describe the genitalia) is also stronger for me than "fuck", although "pussy" does not have four letters whilst the word "bukkake", which I don't think even existed when I was a child, is a proper formal term for me - it is a correct word, like "fellatio" - and not even slang let alone swearing - and I note all the dictionaries appear to agree with my understanding as none of them label it as slang or any offensive or vulgar or taboo yet the Ofcom research classes it as "strong" - I think people just want it to be kept from children. In short, "tits" is probably not four-letter - yet one female I knew thought the worst two words were "cunt" and "tits" (and I can see that perspective too as it's impolite reference to female body parts) but, generally, "tits" is mild (unless in a strong, objectifying context) - "arse" is hardly very strong to be a four-letter word (that is very severe) and "piss" and, in particular, "dick" are definite four-letter words especially as "dick" is shown to be stronger than "shit" (which we have included) in the Ofcom research and I therefore dispute that "dick" is a less rude word at all. aspaa 21:02 UTC, 8 May 2017.

gros mots (big words)[edit]

gros means fat not big, big is grand. Ra-raisch (talk) 17:32, 18 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In that context, gros means rather “coarse” or “gross” in the sense of “lacking refinement”. —C.P. (talk) 21:22, 2 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]