Every British swear word has been officially ranked in order of offensiveness
Every British swear word has been officially ranked by offensiveness
Every British swear word has been officially ranked by offensiveness

Warning: This article contains language that readers may find offensive.

Every swear word in the English language has been ranked in order of offensiveness.

In 2020 the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, interviewed more than 200 people across the UK on how offensive they find a vast array of rude and offensive words and insults.

People were asked their opinion on 150 words in total. These included general swear words, words linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions, religious insults and sexual references, as well as certain hand gestures.

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They were asked to rate words as mild, medium, strong or strongest.

And this is what Ofcom found.

For general swear words, the following words were seen as...


  • Arse
  • Bloody
  • Bugger
  • Cow
  • Crap
  • Damn
  • Ginger
  • Git
  • God
  • Goddam
  • Jesus Christ
  • Minger
  • Sod-off


  • Arsehole
  • Balls
  • Bint
  • Bitch
  • Bollocks
  • Bullshit
  • Feck
  • Munter
  • Pissed/pissed off
  • Shit
  • Son of a bitch
  • Tits


  • Bastard
  • Beaver
  • Beef curtains
  • Bellend
  • Bloodclaat
  • Clunge
  • Cock
  • Dick
  • Dickhead
  • Fanny
  • Flaps
  • Gash
  • Knob
  • Minge
  • Prick
  • Punani
  • Pussy
  • Snatch
  • Twat


  • Cunt
  • Fuck
  • Motherfucker

Words rated as mild were thought to be okay to use around children, whereas medium words were seen by most to be potentially unacceptable before the 9pm watershed. The vast majority thought the strong words should definitely be saved for after 9pm.

For sexual insults, most words were rated as strong.

The only words rated mild or medium were:

  • Bonk
  • Shag
  • Slapper
  • Tart

Words rated strong were:

  • Bukkake
  • Cocksucker
  • Dildo
  • Jizz
  • Ho
  • Nonce
  • Prickteaser
  • Rapey
  • Skank
  • Slag
  • Slut
  • Wanker
  • Whore

Ofcom, which says this has been its most in-depth research yet, found that TV viewers are becoming less tolerant of racist and discriminatory language.

Most words relating to gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity, were seen as strong, whereas most relating to disability were seen as mild or medium.

Commenting on the findings in 2020, an Ofcom spokesperson told indy100:

The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.
The results are vital in supporting our broadcasting standards work to protect viewers and listeners, especially children.

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