Shakespeare wrote in Henry IV Part II, Act IV, Scene IV, “’Tis needful that the most immodest word / Be looked upon and learned” (Sheidlower). Centuries later, this is still true. The main subject of this essay is not the ‘f-word’, the ‘f-bomb’, ‘f***’, or any other euphemism, but rather the word fuck. Fuck is one of the most taboo words in the English language. Furthermore, fuck is arguably “the most important and powerful word in the English language,” according to the comedian Lewis Black (Sheidlower). In this essay, the nature of taboos will be explored specifically through the word fuck.
I’m a teenager. I say a lot of things without thinking; I say a lot of things I shouldn’t. Realizing this, my mom used to have a “cursing jar,” in which I would have to put a dollar every time I cuss. As you can imagine, my language was cleaned up in no time. The scenario got me thinking: what’s wrong with profanity? What makes some words worse than others?