Let’s talk Pofanity, shall we?

Profanity evolves over time. At one time, cursing deities or cursing God was considered the worst, most profane language possible.  For some time, words about sex and our bodies (including our 💩 excrement) were the most profane.

Linguistics Professor Darin Flynn believes that these days, the worst words in our language are derogatory to minorities. (Think about the N word or the C word…)

These are the profanities that Professor Flynn himself refuses to say!

In a way, I find this to be good news about humanity.  The most offensive words are the words that attack minorities. 

Based on some conversations I’ve had recently with coaching clients, I decided to focus this week’s podcast episode on the topic of profanity, specifically, looking at the myths, the pros, and the cons of swearing at work.

3 Things to Talk About this week: 

  1. 3 myths about swearing
  2. The evolution of curse words
  3. Today is SPEAK UP & SUCCEED Day!


1️⃣ Myth-busting: 3 myths about swearing

Talk About Talk - Is It OK to Swear at Work - Profanity - Andrea Wojnicki swearing

Let’s talk about 3 myths associated with profanity:

  1. Swearing doesn’t relieve pain.
    Contrary to this myth, research has shown that swearing can help in tolerating pain. The emotional release that comes with swearing can provide temporary relief from pain. 

  2. Swearing is always negative or harmful.
    Swearing can be harmful.  But it can also express excitement, surprise, or even solidarity and camaraderie. It can serve as a form of emotional release or stress relief. In some situations, profanity can be a harmless way of expressing strong emotions or relieving stress.

  3. Swearing indicates a limited vocabulary or a low IQ.
    This one is so common and I want to correct it. Right. Now.
    People who use swear words often have more a robust vocabulary. Furthermore, profanity is not correlated with IQ!

So, the next time someone brings up one of these myths, you know better!

2️⃣ The Evolution of Curse Words

Similar to things that are considered taboo, profanity and cursing have evolved.  It’s almost funny now to look back and see what used to be verboten

There’s a great Wall Street Journal article on the evolution of profanity.

Don’t have a subscription?  You can check out this article from The Week – “10 old-fashioned swears to spice up your cussin’“.

And, there’s always the Shakespeare insult generator.

3️⃣ Today is #SpeakUpandSucceedDay!

Yes, January 24th is “Speak Up and Succeed Day”!

Speaking up in meetings or giving formal presentations may not be your strong suit YET, but with practice, I promise, it can become your superpower. 

To get you started, I’ve got two resources to help you out:

“SPEAK-UP” PODCAST Ep114:  On Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts! You can also listen on your phone or laptop here.


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There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:

1️⃣ 3 myths about swearing

2️⃣ The evolution of curse words

3️⃣ Speak Up & Succeed Day

Got something to say about profanity? About speaking up? Please message me on LinkedIn or leave me a voice message.  I’d love to hear you speak up!

Have a great week!

Talk soon,