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four-letter word

[fawr-let-er, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌlɛt ər, ˈfoʊr-/
any of a number of short words, usually of four letters, considered offensive or vulgar because of their reference to excrement or sex.
any word, typically of four letters, that represents something forbidden, disliked, or regarded with extreme distaste:
In the dieter's vocabulary, “cake” is a four-letter word.
Origin of four-letter word
First recorded in 1925-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for four-letter word

four-letter word

any of several short English words referring to sex or excrement: often used as swearwords and regarded generally as offensive or obscene
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for four-letter word

four-letter word

noun phrase

Any of several short English words generally regarded as obscene or offensive (1920s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with four-letter word

four-letter word

Any of several short English words that are generally regarded as vulgar or obscene. For example, No four-letter words are permitted in this classroom. This expression is applied mostly to words describing excretory or sexual functions. [ First half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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