This is spawned off of @Minerva 's thread about common words people don't like using. It kept getting brought up, so to avoid further derailment, I moved the discussion here for those who wish to have it. Please play nice. The staff have much better things to do than to stare at people wanking about their linguistic superiority because they don't use one word or another. Focus on the topic, don't attack each other personally, and we should all be cool. I'll crack things off with a response I had to someone else, who is obviously particularly verbose. (That is a compliment.) Yes, "very" did used to mean something different than its modern incarnation. However, if we're going with "common words you don't like" I picked words which had a different meaning in conversation than they have in the dictionary. Same as "privilege" or "offended" used to be fairly innocuous statements that, thanks to modern politics, are now loaded words. The word "faggot" used to mean a bundle of sticks. In Britain, it is slang for a cigarette. Britain also uses the word for a type of food. "I am going to cook a faggot" is a legitimately inoffensive term in Britain, as it likely refers to the food item and not the North American slang for male gays. Anywho, time to throw in my two pence about vulgarities in general. Vulgarities woo! #1: Vulgarities are ordinarily the language of the proletariat. The reason vulgarities are looked down on by society is because the high brow constantly try to find ways to appear and behave more civilized, or more appropriate than their more impoverished, commoner peers. Those that aspire toward the likeness of the wealthy and celebrities, ape and imitate them--which is why fashion constantly evolves, and why slang words are frowned upon in more... Upper class company. It's all a game of catch-up starring the rich who want to be unique, and the poor who want to be just like the rich. #2: Vulgarities will always exist because language constantly evolves to provide them. Alternative meanings to words constantly appear--like "faggot" for instance. Even if you were to successfully eliminate words like fuck, shit, faggot, cunt, pussy, dick, asshole, and so on, new words would take their place. The advent of the Internet for instance also brought about language filters--so that if you're playing an online game, your opponent can't call you a fucking cunt. Instead he calls you a ******* ****. So the Internet invented new slang to insult people with, like "cuck" or "noob" or so on. A particularly vicious example is Jaywalker. Jaywalker has no offensive connotation today, but back in the day when it was coined, a "Jay" was a racial slang term primarily oriented toward people of Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Austrian, and Albanian descent. If we made up the term today, it would be the equivalent of saying "niggerwalker" or "pakiwalker" or something equally grotesque. The best way to handle these words is simply to understand the environment you're in. Don't use them in places like high brow culture or academia, but using them in places like among friends is usually fine--so long as your friend is okay with it. Use vulgarities to draw particularly special attention to something--they're expletives, after all. Ex: I injured myself. Ex2: I fucking hurt myself.