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25th Apr 2017

A definitive ranking of every swear word from worst to best


Ciara Knight

Oh fuck off.

Swearing is cool and fun and everybody should just fucking get on board with it because it’s the ruddy future.

Last year, Ofcom issued their categorisation of swear words in terms of offensiveness and it was a bit fucking timid to be honest.

So, let’s get down to it. I’ve picked 40 common swears and ranked them in order of delivery satisfaction, from least enjoyable to most satisfying to say.

40. Cow

If someone calls you a cow, regardless of whether they are Kat Slater or not, you cannot truly feel offended. Cows are beautiful and without them we would never have burgers. It’s the same as calling you a cattle, which is how posh people pronounce kettle so simmer down.

39. Damn

This isn’t even a swear word and I’m annoyed that I’ve included it in the list to be honest. It’s the most fire album of 2017 thanks to Kendrick Lamar, and I refuse to regard it as anything else. It’s also something a beaver builds, aside from lasting and meaningful friendships.

38. Crap

Anything that’s an anagram of ‘carp’ simply cannot be seen as threatening and that is firmly but fairly the law in this country. It literally means poop, which is a perfectly normal bodily function. When you’re under the age of 11 it feels like a really cool word to use, but then other 4-letter c-words barge their way into your vernacular.

37. Bloody

Unless you are describing the viscosity of blood, this ‘swear word’ is too tame to be taken seriously. It’s like a garnish for regular words, e.g. Those bloody beetroots are delicious, etc. There are far more adventurous bodily fluids that can be used to insult a person, if you ask me.

36. Sod

‘It was reported that the murderer appeared to fall into a blind violent rage after he was referred to as a sod’, is a sentence you will never hear in a court of law. Calling someone a sod is about as effective as calling them a clumptyduff, which is a word I just made up. You are a sod, Keith, a combination of turf and grass.

35. Bugger

Oh dear, the crumpets are out of date, well bugger our luck, Jeffrey. If you get your swearing tendencies from Downton Abbey, then this one is the curse word for you. I’m almost certain that a bugger is a person that has a large collection of insects and you’ll do well to convince me otherwise.

34. Git

Definitely more of a jokey nickname than a serious swear word, you simply cannot take someone seriously if in the heat of the moment, the best insult they can muster up is git. At best, it’s a typo of GIF. If someone had poisoned you and you were using your last dying breath to tell them what’s what, the last thing you’d call them is a git.

33. Arse

“I can’t believe you’ve burned down my house, you are such an arse”, said no one ever. The whole point of a swear word is to emphasise your emotions. By using another word for ‘bottom’, you’re unlikely to impress anyone by calling them an arse. If anything, you’ll be ridiculed for the rest of your natural life for using such a tame little word.

32. Bint

Watch out, we’ve got a badass over here. Throwing out words like bint is sure to get you locked up for crimes against banter, that’s for certain. It’s mostly used in relation to women, but, go with me on this one, imagine calling a man a bint. Well he’d just be devastated until the end of time to be on the receiving end of such a heated and cutting insult.

31. Munter

This word originated when someone mistyped punter. ‘But ‘m’ and ‘p’ are quite far apart on a keyboard’, I hear you say. Listen, I just make up these facts, not the logic behind them. Good luck ever getting your frustration across with a word like munter in your repertoire, you blatant Enid Blyton character.

30. Minger

TRUTH: I once watched an episode of University Challenge where one of the contestants’ surname was legitimately Minger. So when she buzzed in an answer, the voiceover would announcer her as ‘Queen’s University Minger’ and I’ve never laughed so much in my entire shitty life. I can’t find the footage but please can someone try harder than I have. It was gold.

[Ed: It literally took 5 seconds to find on google]

29. Balls

If you’re a little fraidy cat, maybe this word will offend you and also everyday things such as fresh air, water and flavoured yoghurts. Balls can refer to any number of things. One time, I read an article in a college paper and the writer was so afraid of balls that he/she wrote it as ‘b*lls’. THAT COULD’VE BEEN ANYTHING! That pervert could’ve rested his bills on your face for all we know.

28. Arsehole

Calling someone a literal part of their anatomy is never going to be a satisfying experience. ‘Ugh Ken mate you absolute elbow’. That’s him told. Ken’s never going to steal your wife again. Ken you’re such a pancreas mate. Ken you’re an ingrowing toenail. I am sure you can sense the sincerity of my insults by my spot on anatomical selections.

27. Bullshit

Although an undeniably great word, it’s not particularly effective. A word that we use more or less every day is inevitably going to lose its touch over time. I’ve described the most innocent of experiences as bullshit, such as a stain on my shirt or the threat of nuclear war. I need something more from a swear word. More finesse, less livestock excrement.

26. Pissed

I’d like to make my feelings perfectly clear on this word: Why can’t we give it one meaning. If someone is described as being pissed, it’s hard to determine whether they’re drunk or annoyed, or both. We need to settle on one definition and I’d like it to be in reference to insobriety. Glad I could get that off my chest. Thank you.

25. Shit

Let. Us. Challenge. Ourselves. To. Use. More. Inventive. Swear. Words. Shit just isn’t cutting the mustard for me anymore, we can do better. The world has gone to shit, so let’s not allow our vocabulary to do the same. Better words for shit include: turd, post-food, faeces, love package, and dump.

24. Jesus Christ

It’s just a man’s name FFS. If you were to drop a heavy object on your toe, you’re hardly going to shout ‘GRAHAM SMITH!’ Swear jars deserve better circumstances for being filled. Jesus Christ is not a swear word, nor should it be regarded as such. It gets a 0/10 for effectiveness.

23. Bitch

Schoolyard taunts were always retorted with: ‘A bitch is a female dog, dogs bark, bark comes from trees. and trees are beautiful so thanks for the compliment’. It was extremely extra but it distracted the bullies for long enough so you could Heely away from the situation rapidly. You wouldn’t call someone a pen (female swan) or a tigress (female antelope jk it’s a tiger).

22. Son of a bitch

Technically all male dogs are sons of bitches and I just won’t have a bad word said about a dog. Ever. This is a safe zone for dogs. Dogs are among our most popular readers here at JOE, and we are legally obligated to acknowledge that by making them feel comfortable and catered for. Who’s a good boy? You all are. Even the girl dogs too.

21. Bollocks

*sighs* It’s with a heavy heart I must announce that we’re back to the anatomy swearing again. Bollocks is just a fancier word for balls but we’re still dealing with the same premise. Please see number 29 above for my feelings on the matter.

20. Bellend

Yet more anatomical cursing. In terms of housekeeping, it’s nice that there’s one single word to describe the head of a penis, but I think users of swear words would actually find the term ‘penis head’ a far more satisfactory way to refer to someone that is precisely that. Try it yourself. Call someone a penis head today!

19. Tit

Again, you’re going to find that calling someone a boob is far more satisfactory than this allegedly vulgar term that Drake and Josh’s sister coined during that wonderful television show. Tit is also a type of bird, and probably more satisfying than calling someone a chaffinch.

18. Fanny

One time I met a girl on holidays and her name was legitimately Fanny, so I struggle to take this swear word seriously. Add to that, the fact that Americans use it to refer to an overall butt and we’re in a situation where the word has lost all credibility entirely. Geographically speaking, where even is the fanny?

17. Snatch

Here are my personal understandings of the word ‘snatch’ – it is a movie directed by Guy Ritchie and it is the act of grabbing something aggressively. I refuse to acknowledge it as any other meaning, let alone a swear word. Much like the current price of Freddos, it’s just not good enough.

16. Clunge

This particular swear word sounds like something a plumber would do with some weird looking tool when you’ve overloaded your toilet. ‘Yeah looks like it’s an easy enough job, I’ll just get behind the sink, give it a quick clunge and we’ll be good to go’. Also, calling someone a vagina is 100% more satisfying. That’s tried and tested.

15. Gash

I went to school with a girl whose surname was Gash, so I can’t now and never will take this curse word seriously. It also sounds too violent for the nature it’s intended to relate to. ‘The patient has suffered a serious gash, but is said to be in a stable condition’. Hah he suffered a vagina, what an idiot

14. Prick

A nurse’s warning before an injection is difficult to take seriously when used in a swear word capacity. Yes it’s also a word for penis, but at the same time it’s an effective method of drawing blood. For instance, pinch wouldn’t be a great swear word. ‘Fuck off Jeremy you utter pinch’.

13. Twat

Or as the Americans say, *shudders*, twot. It’s a decent swear word, especially if you really want to undermine someone without going the full monty and calling them the c-word. Twat is a lighter, more family friendly version of many insults that you can get away with if you don’t particularly fancy being murdered.

12. Punani

A fair recipient of the title Funniest Swear Word Ever, this particular curse is very versatile, it sounds like something off an Indian menu and can be shortened to ‘poon’ if you’re feeling adventurous. Unlike many of the above entries, punani is actually far more satisfactory than its true meaning – female genitalia. ‘Derek, you’re such a female genitalia’ doesn’t have as much oomph.

11. Pussy

This special curse word is a lot of fun because people, particularly the elderly, use it frequently without any malice intended. Many of us will have been subjected to our grandparents trying to get the cat indoors by saying ‘Here pussy’ and had to stifle our laughter. If a group of lads go on patrol in Magaluf but not for pussy, did they ever really go on patrol at all?

10. Minge

Definitely a French word for something like grapes, minge is a very decent swear word. It’s exotic, edgy and always a great grounds for outrageous graffiti. I’ve seen ‘Kelly has a smelly minge’ scrawled across more bathroom doors than I’ve seen it scrawled across hot dinners.

9. Cock

Despite one being on the front of a Corn Flakes box, cock is a really solid swear word. You can describe a situation as being cock, a person as being a cock and if you’re feeling particularly spicy, a group of people as a load of cock. Cocks literally make the world go round.

8. Knob

It’s the silent ‘k ‘ that really clinches this one. Any swear word for penis is typically a winner, as this top ten fully reflects. Knob, similar to number 11 in the list, is an everyday word that can often be used innocently which makes its appeal as a swear word even more so. Shoutout to the shop in Dublin that’s legitimately called ‘Knobs and Knockers’.

7. Dickhead

Close your eyes. Picture a person with an actual dick for a head. Open your eyes. Doesn’t the world feel brighter somehow? Like everything hasn’t quite fallen to pieces just yet. Every time you call someone a dickhead, an angel’s dick falls off. If you’re feeling particularly intellectual, you can call someone a Richard Cranium and see how long it takes for them to figure it out.

6. Dick

A shortened version of the aforementioned swear, dick is particularly excellent because it’s also a popular name among elderly men. I used to play tennis in a club where there were two coaches named Dick and Willy. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was asked to leave the premises and return when I’d matured. Still haven’t gone back tbh.

5. Bastard

People are called bastard all the time, with little regard to whether their parents were married at the time of their birth. Most of us know a few legitimate bastards, but mostly it’s the inauthentic bastards that get told what’s what. I’ll call anyone a bastard if they wrong me, so watch your back.

4. Fuck

The average adult uses this word upwards of 200 times a day, 400 if they’re working in an office environment, or with children. Everything about the word ‘fuck’ is perfect. Fuck you, fuck me, fuck him, fuck her, fuck you (plural), fuck us, fuck them, fuck everything. Fuck.

3. Motherfucker

In the business of swearing, things are taken to a slightly edgier level when you bring a parent into it. Technically, everyone’s dad is a motherfucker, but in my experience, they don’t enjoy being made aware of this fact. In instances of extreme frustration, motherfucker, at a beefy four syllables long, can offer the desired release.

2. Wanker

Most people are wankers, it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. But for some reason, folks aren’t too keen on being reminded of that, particularly those in a position of power such as parents, teachers and members of the clergy. If you combine the appropriate hand gesture with wanker, you’re onto a winner.

1. Cunt

I felt nervous even typing this word. Cunt is the one of the few swear words that’s just an absolute no go in many situations. In my house, you can get away with a decent selection of bad swears, but if you even so much as try to drop a C-bomb, you’ll be emancipated by sundown.

Cunt is versatile, it’s forceful and the combination of the harsh ‘C’ and ending with a sharp ‘T’ is borderline sexual. It’s the ultimate insult. Ideally, I’d like to live in a world where it’s socially acceptable to use the world wherever and whenever you like. I want to jokingly call my employer a cunt when he says my language is disgraceful – and not get fired this time.