There is a longstanding and well-respected tradition here at this We Are Scientists website which prohibits the use of profanity. We run a clean site and we’re proud of it. However we are also scientists. And so, when intellectual curiosity and humankind’s patent need dictate that we study and document the world of spoken vulgarity, we comply. It has not been easy. Our ears bled, if only metaphorically. However the results of our enquiry are so enlightening that we not only feel vindicated, but also have decided to suspend our cherished editorial doctrine and print them here. What you have below, then, is an actual chart showing, in fascinating detail, the spectrum of vulgarity as it is used in American english. We’ve sifted the data and found that all American vulgarity falls into one of seven categories. We give you a comprehensive catalog of what fits where, the better for you to understand both the confusing spray of filth that assaults your ears whenever you go into public, and your aversion to it.
It should go without saying that if you are among the more puritanical and principled of our readers, you would do well to discontinue reading this feature. If, like us, you have been bitten by that amoral bug Science, however, then by all means dive in, your shame secure behind the shield of intellectual exploration.