When is a word a swear word?

I am diverting from my usual parenting rambles today to ask a question, garner opinion, maybe even stir up debate. 

What I want to know, and I am looking for all opinions on both sides of the fence… 

 

Is the word “crap” a swear word?

Here’s why I am asking. I use the word. It’s a part of my vocabulary. It’s a word I have used for as long as I can remember, when I am describing something that is bad, rubbish, broken, or in a bad situation. I will also use it as an expletive, occasionally. For me, it’s a common slang word, I am culturally used to using it. I know however that my South African husband, friends and family do not like it as word, to be used in normal conversation, and that others also don’t like it. My American cousins and family use the word, it isn’t seen as a swear word. 

When you look up the definition of the word, from the Oxford English dictionary this is what you get:

Define crap

People have commented before when I have used the word, that it’s a swear word, or not a polite word. I personally have never thought of it that way. Culturally for me, it’s no more a rude word than “damn” or “that’s rubbish”. However I know my mother didn’t approve of the word, and now I have noticed that occasionally that my children will use it, and I know some people don’t like it as ans find it offensive. It could be many worse words, I know, but what I really want to know is:

Do you consider the word rude? Or do you think it’s harmless part of normal vocabulary. If you comment, I would love to know where you are from, as well, to give me an idea of background.

So, let it loose. Crap? Is it a swear word or not? 

 
 
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11 comments on “When is a word a swear word?
  1. Charlene says:

    I think it’s a rude word, although it’s important to note that I don’t think rude words are bad words, I love all the words 🙂 I would be a little taken aback if I heard a child say it, whereas I wouldn’t evenn notice ‘it’s rubbish’ but I’d be happy for my kid to say it, when he starts saying anything! I’m from the UK

  2. Jill Robbins says:

    I don’t think there’s a yes or no answer to this one…it’s all situational, depending on who you say it to and how old the person is that’s saying it. So funny…my daughter asked me when she was in the 7th grade if crap was a bad word and was she allowed to say it. I was stumped on the first part of the question and told her no on the second. She ended up using it anyway. There are worse things than saying crap but I am judicious on who I use swear words with. I’m a big fan of swearing but I try to really consider my audience most of the time.

  3. Mrs Tubbs says:

    Crap is not a swear! If it is, I am in such trouble as that means I’m swearing all the time #pocolo

  4. Silly Mummy says:

    No, I don’t class it as a true ‘swear’ word. I think it’s slang and, as dictionary says, in category of ‘vulgar’, I suppose (as in it isn’t polite). So I would never use it in a formal setting – I wouldn’t have said it when talking to clients at work, for example. But I would say it in front of my mum, which I don’t with any true swear words. It’s like damn, bollocks, feck, etc to me – I don’t class them as swearing really.
    Silly Mummy recently posted…We’re All Mad Here

  5. Rubarb says:

    I dont think it is

  6. bob says:

    no i said it 24/7 when i was 10

  7. Kerry Cat says:

    I’m really interested in this one. It wasn’t a word I even thought about until a friend pulled me up (quite sharply!) today when we were out on a play date. I was describing my husband’s habit of giving my children junk food, and said something along the lines of, “…He feeds them ‘crap’ between meals.” I was mortified when she pulled me for it, asking me not to use THAT word. I considered I’d dropped the ‘F-bomb’ at first, but no, the offending word was ‘crap’. It’s not even a word I’ve ever considered to be a swear word, let alone offensive. I felt so self-consious after that, as I use the word regularly and without ever thinking. It wasn’t ever considered something negative in our house growing up, and my parents were really strict on swearing/slang. So we’d often use ‘crap’ or ‘crappy’ to describe something shabby, rubbish or useless, and it was perfectly acceptable. (Not really ever used to describe poo, although, I know to some it means that.) I think it is a word I’ll be more hesitant to use in public in future, but more because of other people. Not because I consider it offensive, personally, or have an issue with my children using it, as opposed to what I’d consider real profanities. 😉

  8. Nadia says:

    I come from overseas, southern Europe, my English is almost flawless, and I use word “crap” on regular basis when expressing my dissatisfaction about something or describing something worthless. I never gave it a thought if someone gives me a look. I am very articulate and expressive person, so they get used to how I speak.I dont considere it to be a rude or obscene word, just fitting to describe something worthless.

  9. Noah says:

    Well, to be honest it depends. Are you saying “Your a piece of crap” or “Crap, I messed up” If it we’re calling someone a piece of crap, yes. If used as a slang for, no, darn it, boo, then no.

  10. Emily C says:

    I believe Crap is not a swear word. The word originates from the guy who invented the flushing toilet, Thomas Crapper. Imagine before then, everyone is throwing their waste out the window or whatever, and you have this awesome idea that revolutionises the world, and you realise that because of this, some people think that your surname is a swear word or rude word. It’s fine. It’s just a surname.

  11. SkyFantasyWorld says:

    Well my mama said it’s not a swear word so i believe her but today when i was making meme captions with my friend’s photos and my sister saw the word ‘crap’ on it she said “Why are you swearing ?!” I just gave her the what look i mean it’s kind of hypocrite that she always swear and when i just used the word ‘crap’ she got angry even tho i don’t really swear much.

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