Profanity, also known as bad language, swearing, cursing, or cussing or vulgarity, is the usage of words which are considered to be offensive or abusive. Its use is taboo in polite or formal environments, and more commonly accepted in informal contexts. The word "profanity" comes from the word "profane", which means that which is not sacred.
Profane words tend to involve certain near-universal subjects: filth, particularly human waste; forbidden sexual practices; and blasphemous treatment of the sacred. However, it is the words themselves, and not the concepts they represent, which cause offense, as there are numerous words to signify any taboo subject, with varying levels of acceptability. Among profane words, there exist at least two levels of offensiveness. There are also, in many languages including English, euphemisms such as darn, drat, gosh, frap and so on.
Over time, the perceived offensiveness of some expressions has changed. Up to the twentieth century the most offensive terms were religious. Many exclamations we find completely inoffensive are euphemistic renditions of blasphemy. The twentieth century saw a shift to sexual terms as the most offensive. Recently racial terms have grown in their offensiveness (the "N" word was commonplace and acceptable until the mid-nineteenth century, it is now too offensive even for use in male-only settings) due to political correctness. 
Atheism and profanity
See also: Atheism and profanity
The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: obscene language]]; illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage;gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.
Furthermore, the University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter published a study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science which showed among other things that atheists used profanity significantly more than Christians do on Twitter and that Christians had happier dispositions on Twitter.
Swearing is negatively correlated with conscientiousness, agreeableness and religiosity.
For more information, please see: Atheism and profanity
- No Cussing Club
- HBO - known more than any other TV network for its extreme use of profanity, e.g Deadwood, with an average of 1.56 utterances of the "F" word per minute of footage.
- Hollywood values
- San Francisco values
- Why Do We Love Profanity?, Brent Bozell, GOPUSA, January 30, 2009
- ↑ National Public Radio [NPR) review of the book God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette
- ↑ http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/751/Nigger.html
- ↑ http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/58-practical-outcomes-replace-biblical-principles-as-the-moral-standard
- ↑ Happy Tweets: Christians Are Happier, More Socially Connected, and Less Analytical Than Atheists on Twitter Social Psychological and Personality Science 1948550613492345, first published on June 18, 2013
- ↑ The Science of Swearing By Timothy Jay and Kristin Janschewitz, Association for Psychological Science
- ↑ Swanson, Carl (April 12, 2004). Cussing and Fighting. New York Magazine. Retrieved on January 10, 2014.
- ↑ Kay, Jeff. The Number of F's In Deadwood. West Virginia Surf Report. Retrieved on May 25, 2007.