A Conversation for The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words

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Post 1


A comment on the American usage of 'busting my balls':

'busting my chops','busting my balls'

Trying Really Hard:
'busting my balls','busting by ass'

Inconveniencing/Requesting something unrealistic:
'breaking my balls' (popularized by Cartman of Southpark)

The term 'busting my balls' is primarily divided in definition by context.

On another note, I would like to thank the people who wrote this article. Now BBC programming make a lot more sense to me. Thanks.

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Post 2

Mrs Zen

smiley - blush My pleasure, and I know Jimster enjoyed doing it too.

I'm astonished, and heartened, that you got that lot past the new profanity filter. smiley - ok

Thanks for reading, and thanks for posting.


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Post 3


well they were all words found in the article, so I assumed they passed the filter

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Post 4

Mrs Zen

Ah, but the article was written long before the filter was imposed! smiley - smiley


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Post 5


Good article! Just a few notes from someone who’s spent time in both UK and US:

It’s actually common in certain parts of America (without chuckles) as a nickname for Francis (girl’s name) or Francine, which is re-gaining popularity in areas. Also, since ‘fanny packs’ made their debut (I still can only call them butt packs unless I cringe), the term has gained more acceptance across America.

In America,<< the phrase 'busting my balls' equates to annoying or nagging someone.>>
This is only a regional useage in the US. In the area in which I live, the phrase routinely is used to describe ‘working very hard,’ as in ‘I’ve been busting my balls all day to earn a living.’ Equivalent to the UK usage. I’ve only heard the other usage of ‘nagging’ in films.

‘Bugger’ in America seems to me to be used to mean ‘difficult,’ as in ‘That problem’s quite the bugger.’ No offensive connotation whatsoever, although most Americans would probably know what it meant if asked directly 'What's a bugger?'(they might have to think about it though - there seem to be far fewer slang terms for homosexuals in the US than other English-speaking countries; but they are terrible!)

‘Bast**d’ is a puzzling one, which I have thought for a long time is over-rated by UK media as a swear word. In the US, it seems to be only a mild explicative – granted a nasty insult if said in the right tone – but here I find myself editing it for a UK website. Perhaps the lack of strict class structure among the working class of America led to its semantics having much milder meaning than in Britain. Would be a good cultural linguistics study.

Good read! I post praying to the gods of the filter that this will make it through. smiley - smiley

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Post 6


Shag was I recall a very common word amongst teenagers in the seventies. Though much too coarse to use use offhandedly to any girl you wanted to impress.

What bemused me was the lack of spunk in this article. I well remember the shock I felt as a child when It was used in the Film "True Grit"
Here on Sunday afternoon TV someone had just used a word so rude my parents did not know that I knew itsmiley - smiley

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Post 7


Firstly, thankyou for an informative article with such a charming amount of wit. As for spunk, it's actually quite a compliment in Australia, very common in the 70's, eg: "he's SUCH a spunk!" meaning he's very good looking. There was also a popular teenage music magazine called "Spunky" in the mid 70's. The term is still used on occasion in the Australian comedy series "Kath and Kim" eg. "Kel, you're my hunk of spunk". Brits either find this hilarious and / or disgusting.

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Post 8


The term 'Bugger' has also non-expletive meanings:
1) an insect viz. a 'Bug' and was also used in the book & movie "Starship Troopers" as a derogatory term for the hostile insect-like aliens.
2) something one picks from the nasal cavity.

smiley - cheers Martin
I thought I heard a Dolphin Whistle...

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