****-off, I don’t use ****ing obscenities that often, you ****!

Swear words be ****** (Filed: 08/07/2003)
The ******s who compiled the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary have reclassified 70 dirty words, downgrading their description from “taboo” to mere “slang” or “informal”.
Their reasoning is that these words are now in such common use that they have lost their power to shock since the 2000 edition of the dictionary came out. That is a judgment that they are entitled to make.
They are talking complete *******s, however, when they claim that they reached their decision by scientific methods. You cannot judge a word’s power to shock simply by measuring its frequency of use.
If that were the case, then the seldom-used fiddledeedee would be thought much more offensive than the Anglo-Saxon expletive ****.
In this column, we shall continue to render most of the reclassified words by asterisks, if we use them at all. We accept that these words are very widely used – both in ordinary conversation and in the media.
But many people are offended by them – and the more frequently they are used, the more offended they become. We suspect that the ******* ***** at Collins are simply trying to flog their ******** **** dictionary.

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