What four letter word from the English language should be expelled and why?What four letter word from the English language should be expelled and why?

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megan-bright's profile pic

megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Eliminating a word from the English language is certainly not a feasible task, and thus I can't say that any word should be expelled. Now if we are talking about words that should never be said in public, or around children, or in movies (even if they are rated "R") then certainly I would agree with posts number 2 and 3 that the c-word shouldn't be allowed or accepted as much as it is.

We certainly can't control what people say in their own homes, but many words, and not just those that technically have 4 letters, shouldn't be as accepted as they are.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not think it is possible to "expel" any word from the English language.  Words fall out of usage, but they don't simply get kicked out.  If you are talking about offensive words, these words are never likely to be eliminated because they achieve the desired effect so well.  It is only when these words lose this effect, and become only words, that they will be eliminated from daily use.

To underscore this statement, nice is a word that has no real meaning or effect, so, hopefully, it will fall out of usage.  Political correctness--can we reduce this term to four letters?  It is such a manipulative tool for various groups that it has become perverse [in the broader sense of this word] in its purposes.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not think it is possible to "expel" any word from the English language.  Words fall out of usage, but they don't simply get kicked out.  If you are talking about offensive words, these words are never likely to be eliminated because they achieve the desired effect so well.  It is only when these words lose this effect, and become only words, that they will be eliminated from daily use.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to disagree with both of the above posts.  It is precisely because of the very outstandingly offensive nature of the above words that they should be kept.  They are exceedingly telling (of many things) when used.  In fact, the "c" word is in a category all by itself when it comes to offensive.  Sure, I can say I hate the word, but I have to respect that kind of power.

When I read this, I immediately thought of some of the overused "throw-away" words that are so bland.  The first two that come to mind are "good" and "like."  There are just so many juicier choices of diction out there to express those two, not to mention, how many times have I sat through a mediocre speech and counted the number of times "like" was said?

I say, keep the c-word.  Keep the f-word.  Get rid of the g-word and the l-word.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I agree with you pohnpei. There is no other four-letter word that I can think of that has been used with such ugly intention. It's worse than f**k. I would like to add that I always try to discuss with my students the idea that words in and of themselves are not dirty. It's what society does with them that makes them repugnant.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume you're talking about "dirty" words.  Obviously, it's impossible to expel a word from a language, but if it were possible and I had to pick one word to expel, it would be c - - t, the word that refers to female genitalia.

The reason I'd pick that one is that it's the only 4 letter word I can think of that is typically used to demean an entire group of people.  When I say this, I refer to the practice of using the word to describe a woman -- this is offensive because it graphically reduces women to the status of sex objects.

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