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A few basic British expletives(taken from the BBC study "Delete Expletives?"):

  • Bollocks - v : (1)make a mess of, destroy or ruin; an expression of disbelief
  • Wanker - n: (1) A person who masturbates
  • Arse - n: buttocks
  • Paki - n: Pakistani, or any Arab-descended individual.
  • Shag - v: to engage in sexual intercourse with
  • Spastic - adj: clumsy or inept
  • Bugger - n: a sodomite
  • Slag - n: a woman whose appearance and sexual activities are considered unacceptable
  • Sodding - tr. v: to damn. Sod n: (1) a sodomite; Sod Off tr v: to dismiss angrily
  • Bloody - adj., adv: used as an intensive; reference to the "blood of christ"

Rough translation into American English:

  • Bollocks = "Bullshit", or "Fuck Up"
  • Wanker ="Jack-off"
  • Arse = "Ass"
  • Paki = "Rag-(or Towel-)head", "Osama"
  • Shag = "Fuck"
  • Spastic = "Retard"
  • Bugger = "Fag"
  • Slag = "Slut" or "Whore"
  • Sodding = "Fucking (esp. anal)"
  • Bloody = "God-Damned" (any vulgar reference to God)

Interesting tidbits:

  • The word "shag" was made popular in the U.S. by the "Austin Powers" movies.
  • According to the BBC, the top 5 severest expletives are "cunt", "motherfucker", "fuck", "wanker", and "nigger"
  • "Nigger" and "paki" are the two words with the highest increase in severity, over the last 5 years.
  • "God" is ranked last (#28) on the BBC's list of severe expletives.
  • "In all cases, women find expletives more offensive than do men" - BBC
  • "Shit" and "piss" are not considered very severe by the BBC, whereas they are on the FCC's forbidden list.

Source: www.asa.org.uk/research/documents/upl_10.pdf


...And thus begins my career as a Nodeshell Rescuer...

A few additions, and corrections:

  • Bugger, as I've heard and used it, can mean several things:
    • v: to engage in (usually anal) sexual intercourse with
    • n: describing an annoying obstacle, eg. "MS Excel has been a right bugger the past few weeks."
    • The verb form is essentially, like fuck, a swiss-army-knife expletive, and can be used in many situations: in shooting down a suggestion ("Bugger that!"), expressing disbelief ("Bugger me...") and dismissing an acquaintance ("Bugger him"). Technically it does not mean "sodomite", or at the very least I've never heard it used that way. The term would more accurately be buggerer.
  • Shite - n: Analogous to the more commonly used shit.
  • Git - n: A very mild expletive referring to a disagreeable person.
  • Piss - n: While not strictly a British expletive, it is used very commonly in British culture, and has spawned a particularly British phrase: "taking the piss". Interestingly, there is no American expletive equivalent of this; the closest equivalent would be "pulling my leg".

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