Profanity, also known as swearing or cursing (or cussing) is the usage of words which are considered to be offensive or abusive. Profane words tend to involve certain near-universal subjects: filth, particularly human waste; forbidden sexual practices; and blasphemous treatment of the sacred.
There are numerous words to signify any taboo subject, with varying levels of acceptability. Over time, the perceived offensiveness of some expressions can change. One example is the expression by Jove, an archaic contraction of by Jehovah, which sounds delicately quaint to modern listeners, but which was once among the most profane phrases in the English language.