Where The Bleep Did That Curse Word Come From?

What the *&@%!

We all have our favorite curse words to use when we're feeling angry, frustrated, upset, excited, surprised. Curse words provide a lot when it comes to expressing emotion. But, where did those filthy (yet cathartic) expressions come from? Well, we took a deep look into some of the most common swears around. Warning: vulgar language ahead . . . .

WATCH: How Shut Up Became So Mean

Sh*&

The word sh*& has been around since the early 1500s, and it is used mainly to describe an "obnoxious person." The word stems from the Middle Dutch schiten and the Middle English shiten (meaning "to defecate").

In the early 1920s, people began to use this curse word when describing something they don't care about (not giving a sh*&). Then, in the 60s, it was used to refer to someone who was drunk or sh*&faced. And, these days people use it to describe countries and locations they find unappealing (sh*&hole, anyone?)

A$$h*&#

This curse word (meaning "something bad" or "a mean person") dates all the way back to the 1300s, originating from the Middle English word, arshole. Back then, it was mainly used to describe someone's rear.

Fast forward to the 1930s, when the word became more commonly used in reference to a "contemptible person." Today, we tend to keep up with this usage, showcasing our extreme distaste for someone by calling them . . . this term.

(And, don't forget the hole part of the word when you are going for this meaning, because otherwise you're just calling that person a donkey.)

The F word

There are a lot of theories behind the origins of the swear word, f*&# (meaning "to have sex" or "to meddle"). It is believed that it originated from the Middle Dutch fokken, meaning "to thrust, copulate with." However, the truth behind the word still remains unknown because it was banned by the dictionary at the time it originated.

What we do know is the word was first seen written in 1495–1505. In the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary it appeared as fukkit and was later seen written by the poet Sir David Lyndesay as we know it today. In the 1900s, it grew into a word used to describe a very bad mistake and to tell someone to leave you alone.

B!#&h

While the word b&*#h (or a "lewd woman" or "female dog") is a rather common term these days (and can be used in both positive and negative ways), back in the 1800s, it was considered more offensive than the word whore.

B*&^h actually dates back to before the year 1000 though. (It could be featured as one of our oldest words!) It originates from the Middle English word bicche. But, it wasn't written until the 1400s when it was first seen in a play to describe a woman.

G#dd@mn

This swear word (which is normally used to express disgust) can be offensive to those with religious backgrounds (since it's seen as saying the Lord's name in vain). Stemmed from late Middle English, this word came about in the 1400s and became more popular as time went on. The word d@mn itself originates from damnare, a Latin word meaning "to condemn."

Fun fact: During the Hundred Years War, the French were said to refer to the English soldiers as "les goddems" because of their excessive use of profanities.

M%therf*c%er

According to Slate, the phrase m%therf*c%er (referring to someone who or something that is despicable) first came about in the "late 19th and early 20th centuries" and was originally documented during a "Texas Court of Appeals’ account." It was here that a witness referred to a defendant as a “G!d d@mned m#ther-f—ing, b@st@#%ly son-of-a-b—h.” Wow.

Then in World War II, the phrase became a more popular way to say someone or something is irritating or ruthless.

But, as the 1950s rolled around, the word "m%therf*c%er" took a turn for the good if you can believe it. It became used in a more favorable way to describe someone you're close with. For example, "I love him madly, he’s my m—erf—ng man," which was a line from the 1954 poetry book, The Life.

He!!

We've all heard (or used) the phrase, go to he!! at least once or twice in our lifetime. But, where does this curse word come from? Sure, we know it has something to do with heaven and the other place, but did you know it stems from the Gothic halja, which translates to the "underworld"?

The term came about sometime before 900 and could also possibly be related to Old Norse hel, which is found in Norse mythology (North Germanic people with ties to Norse paganism) and is the name of the ruler of the "evil dead." 

Pi$$

The word pi$$ might not be as offensive as some of the other curse words on this list, but it's still kind of foul. It can refer to anything from using the restroom to being exceedingly angry. And, the United Kingdom uses it to reference someone who has had one too many cocktails.

The word came about somewhere between 1250–1300, originating from the Old French word pissier. In World War II, it was used to describe someone who was performing badly: pi$$-poor. Later, in 1947, the word was more commonly used to reference someone who was angry or irritated.

B@st@rd

When formally used, the word b@st@rd simply means a child who is "born out of wedlock." However, when using it as a curse word, it refers to an "unpleasant or despicable person."

It's been said that the word originated somewhere between 1250–1300 and is possibly from Old French. In the late 16th century, the use of the word became prevalent when describing a "brat, or small child" and later became a more crude term in the 1800s. 

Cr@p

The word cr@p (meaning "to talk nonsense" or "excrement") is kind of like the less distasteful way to say s#*t. Nonetheless, the word is still considered a crude curse word.

The word comes from the Middle Dutch word, krappe ("to cut off, pluck off"). Then, in the 15th century, it became a word you'd use more frequently to describe someone or something that is considered "nonsense."

Want some more of the good stuff?

Check out the best fake swears on screen in our show: Blurgh! You Fracking Smeghead!

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