W is for Words

Words are great. I use them all the time. I’m using them now, look…

I work with words and find them fascinating, they have so much power. Some are harmless, others can really hurt. Some have lots of different meanings, others only one. Some even look nice, they are aesthetically pleasing, others are really nice to say, like cornucopia, plethora or lagoon. Love is a nice word, hate is a bit spiky.

I’m really fascinated by swear words. Swear words serve a purpose, they convey certain emotions and are a useful outlet for anger or frustration. Sometimes, only a swear word will do. I find it really interesting how there are grades of swearing, some are more socially acceptable than others. Characters in Harry Potter books say ‘bloody’ a lot. I can write ‘bloody’ safe in the knowledge that I wont offend anyone, it doesn’t need an asterisk, it’s almost part of ‘normal’ language now. Not like ‘f*ck’. Bloody, like shit, looks down on f*ck. It sneers at it, they are in different leagues. They only ever get together when The C Word appears so that they can both look down on that.

The C word doesn’t even get an asterisk, it is far too dangerous for that. It is The Word That Shall Not Be Spoken. Give it an asterisk and who knows what ideas it will get, or what harm it will do us. Some people say that it even sounds aggressive but I think that depends on how it’s said. It is commonly seen now as a patriarchal insult but the ancient Egyptians used it as normal term for a woman and if you say it softer, it doesn’t sound so bad. Go on, try it now. I actually find it a lot nicer than some other, more acceptable words that are used to describe parts of my body. Vagina’s not a particularly attractive word, I think the original meaning is a sheath made of wood. Nice.

These words only have this power if we let them. It seems slightly ridiculous that we let them rule us in this way, they are just words. But that’s going to take a long time. I haven’t even written the C-word in full in this post as I know that some people will stop reading straight away. They’ll run away, shocked and screaming, their eyes burning. Maybe. But actually  it’s mainly thatI don’t want to upset people. And there’s a teeny tiny chance that my dad might read this one day.

It is a great example though of the power of words. We use them without thinking about why we do and I, for one, am grateful, even though I find some of them trickier to write than others. I nearly always type frineds, instead of friends, and brian instead of brain. (which, as you can imagine, went down amazingly well in my Psychology essays) and even though I am 40, I still can’t write the word ‘necessary’ without reciting in my head ‘never eat cakes eat sausage sandwiches and remain young’ because that’s how my junior school teacher taught me to spell it. It’s not a bad motto for life though, actually.


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7 responses to “W is for Words

  1. Swear words get their power because of their intention. They are aggressive, and are intended to project aggression, whether hatred, anger, or frustration. They are not peaceful, friendly words. I personally don’t use them, and it grates against me to read or hear them. For me, even bl**dy falls into that category. I’m not necessarily offended by them (unless they are used directly against me), but I don’t like them. As you say, words have power. Whether it’s a swear word, or not, we should think about why we use the words we use, and what our use of words tells us about ourselves.

    I have some very nice words for you Tracy: I’ve given you a “Wonderful Team Member Readership” Award! Check my blog article for today (http://www.colindsmith.com/blog/2013/04/26/wonderful-team-member-readership-award/) for more information. Congrats! 😀

    • Thanks, Colin!
      You’re right, we do need ot think about the words we use because like it or not, they say something about us.
      Just out of interest, I always think of ‘bl**dy’ as being a mostly British word, do people in the US use it?

  2. I love how certain words have so much more power in other languages. In Holland everyone says ”kut” (yes, the c word) so when I arrived in the UK I used the C word too, thinking it was totally normal….

    • I heard that about someone from Barbados, that it was a widely used word and they didn’t realise how bad it was over here until they said it in the hairdressers!

  3. I think of bloody as a UK word also and use it alot but not as Colin thinks, it’s like damn or damn and blast it. I draw the line at the C word, nasty word. Most swear words have a glorious history and have been around for centuries, so we should be over them by now, my favourite, the 2 fingered salute, think Agincourt 🙂
    maggie at expat brazil

  4. Some years back, while living in a French speaking environment (my mother tongue is Swedish), I took a liking for the word “merde”, which literally means “shit”, and is a common swear word in French. Once I heard it spoken in a slow and silent way, which made me hear the beauty of the word, merrrdeeeeh, and ever since, I love it. I rarely swear, but this is still a favourite. I think we generally connect differently to bad words in foreign languages. Yes, there is a lot to say about the power of words.

  5. Pingback: If a woman sits in a corner breastfeeding and then ejaculates in a forest…or something. | Volvo Diaries

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