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Author Topic: How bad is "crap?"
Candy Q. Is Already From A Book
The Red and the Green Stamps


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What is the offical status of this word? I have heard that it's a mildly bad word, but I've also heard that it isn't really a bad word at all. I know it's been in cartoons(Hey Arnold!, for example), and I know that you can say it an E-rated video game(Earthbound springs to mind, which is actually K-A, but regardless), but there seems to be an ever-so-slight taboo on it. (I know that I've gotten in trouble for saying it before.) So what's the deal with this word?
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Vivling
Happy Holly Days


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Like any swear word worth its weight, it's a scatological term. That could be where the taboo comes from. The vast majority of "swear" or taboo words in English have connontations that are either a)sexual, b) scatological or c)racial. Once upon a time religious words were also taboo when they were used as swears (blasphemy) but now they're just mildly offensive, if that.

I think "crap" isn't a word I'd say to my grandma, but it's not one that I would think about twice if I heard a young kid say it. Like you said, it's pretty accepted. However, its origins still are "poo," so that could be why it's slightly taboo.

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Candy Q. Is Already From A Book
The Red and the Green Stamps


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But you can say "Oh, poo" and "Oh, crud," which have scatological originns, and they're more accepted.
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Dark Jaguar
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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And humorous in fact. A kid can get away with saying that without any problems.

I would put "crap" around the level of "damn" myself.

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die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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quote:
Originally posted by Mary:
Like any swear word worth its weight, it's a scatological term. That could be where the taboo comes from....

From what I understand, "crap" (and the related "crapper") is derived from the rather honourable Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), inventor of the syphonic ball-and-valve plumbing system as made modern flush toilets possible, thereby reducing wasted water.

Not to mention holding four Royal Warrants in his time to supply plumbing and sanitary needs to the British Royal Family.

In much the same league, no doubt, as:
  • "macadam" (from Sir Thomas Macadam, a Scots roads engineer);
  • "Bowdlerise" (from Dr. Thomas Bowdler, who published expurgated editions of Shakespeare);
  • "Polaroid Land Camera" (from Dr. Edwin Land, its inventor);
  • "sandwich" (from the 3rd Earl of Sandwich);
  • "Hanna-Barberian" and "Klasky-Csupian" (from their respective animation studios);
  • "Earl Grey" tea (from the 2nd Earl Grey, who was given the formula following a trade mission to China in the early 19th century as a tribute of some sort); and
  • "dunce" (from John Duns Scotus, a Middle Ages theologian whose teachings were subsequently condemned as heretical; Rabelais also alludes to him in that episode in Gargantua where the hero discovers that a goose's neck makes an ideal ur-toilet paper).
Now you know.

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"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Gwaith at 'i awdur:
From what I understand, "crap" (and the related "crapper") is derived from the rather honourable Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), inventor of the syphonic ball-and-valve plumbing system as made modern flush toilets possible, thereby reducing wasted water.

Not to mention holding four Royal Warrants in his time to supply plumbing and sanitary needs to the British Royal Family.

Crap-a-chow

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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As Four Kitties' link mentions, "crap" does pre-date Thomas Crapper. According to m-w.com:

quote:
Etymology: Middle English crappe chaff, residue from rendered fat, perhaps from Old French crappe chaff, residue, from Medieval Latin crappa
While I can see how "residue" (especially with biological understones) could very easily inform the scatological use of the term, it does seem to be in earlier contexts more like what we mean by "junk."

This is how it's used in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, much to the giggles of today's middle-schoolers.

Or... I could swear it's in Huck Finn, but I just did a search on Project Gutenberg's text, and it didn't come up. I really he uses "crap" to describe the flotsam and jetsam that they see floating down the river. But maybe I've confused it with a different book.

--Logoboros

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SkyBar
The Red and the Green Stamps


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When I was a kid (60s), my family used "crap" in the "junk, random stuff" sense. I was astonished to learn that some families used it in the scatalogical sense. Maybe that's why I don't mind when my kids say it (and say it myself), although maybe I should (and shouldn't). Thanks to Homer Simpson and Strongbad, it's a favorite.

Sky "lazy crap-for-crap" Bar

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I think it depends on where you live too. Growing up even my super-uptight and what's a swear word parents (no "sucks," "blows," "holy" as an adjective referring to anything but God, etc) didn't mind us saying crap. Then I moved to E Texas and was playing a card game with some new friends and losing quite badly. I kept saying, "oh crap!" Finally SO pulled me aside and said I needed to watch out b/c I was horrifying them with my language.

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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps


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blows God?

When I was little, my neighbors were from Boston, and their little girl would say "kaka" for... well, let's say she used it "appropriately" and not like a swear. I asked my mom what that word was, and she said "it's a bad word". I was puzzled, since the girl saying it was 2 or 3 years old at the time. That girl's mother didn't want me saying "crap" or "poop" around her. Those were "bad". I was so confused.


For my family, "crap" was used to refer to junk and stuff. However, if you needed a swear word, like say you stubbed your toe, "crap" was ok to use. It was along the lines of "darn", "shoot" ,"nuts", crap like that. [Big Grin]

Other than the time we saw a three car pile up burst into flames 20 feet ahead of our vehicle, when I was 19, I have never said anything "stronger" than those words listed above around either of my parents. (Ok, I do say "damn" and "hell", those would be one step above in their minds. Ok for teens and adults, but not children.) When they, and my kids, aren't in earshot, I have a tendancy to speak "like a sailor".


ranran "shooting craps was not allowed" yousei

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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The Gilded Age
quote:
What's a stirrin', down 'bout the Forks?" continued Old Damrell.

"Well, I dunno, skasely. Ole, Drake Higgins he's ben down to Shelby las' week. Tuck his crap down; couldn't git shet o' the most uv it; hit wasn't no time for to sell, he say, so he 'fotch it back agin, 'lowin' to wait tell fall. Talks 'bout goin' to Mozouri--lots uv 'ems talkin' that- away down thar, Ole Higgins say."

Twain is usually credited with the earliest mention of "Jesus H. Christ" if you want to associate him with other swearing.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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nerdymcnerd
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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A few months ago, I was helping my Mom tear up her carpeting and the padding kept ripping instead of coming up in sheets. I was getting really frustrated with it so at one point I blurted out "This shit is crap!"

My brothers just cracked up, we still use that saying, months later.

Why yes, this shit is crap.

(Sorry for the swearing, but the story doens't work if I used @#%&% or NFBSK)

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Skunks hate the sound of industry.

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Enjal
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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nerdymcnerd, YOMANK!

ranran yousei, I can totally relate! My mother was and still is the same way. I have the hardest time remembering not to say "Jesus!" around her - in her mind, it's as bad as the F word. Hell and Damn are more acceptable but she will say something if I use them too much. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

Back to the OP, as far as I'm concerned, crap used in a scatological sense is a mild swear. I wouldn't want to hear little kids saying it but it's ok for older kids and adults.

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"I'm a leaf in the wind"
New Lungs for George

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Giselle
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I've found myself saying stuff like that. The one that cracks me up the most is one time I had to take a shower before work adn walked into our teeney bathroom and was confronted by a hideous smell. I yelled to the hubby on the couch "What the nfbsk, did you poop!?"

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Ralphie, get off the stage sweetheart.

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nerdymcnerd
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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**doing the happy dance around my office**

My very first YOMANK!!

Giselle - that's a classic! Sounds like something I have said!!

SO always asks me in the morning if nerdy puppy "went" because I take her out while he snoozes. One morning I was mad at puppy for running around the yard when I needed to leave for work. I finally get her inside and yell upstairs to SO "She won't NFBSKing do her business and I'm leaving now!"

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Skunks hate the sound of industry.

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Giselle
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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YOMANK too! I guess its just something about the brown word that makes everyone polite?

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Ralphie, get off the stage sweetheart.

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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
From what I understand, "crap"
In much the same league, no doubt, as

"Hanna-Barberian" and "Klasky-Csupian" (from their respective animation studios);

Minor Nitpick:

its actually Hanna-Barbera manes after William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. i found no mention to "Hanna-Barberian" imn my serach, but i may be mistaken.

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W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Enjal:

ranran yousei, I can totally relate! My mother was and still is the same way. I have the hardest time remembering not to say "Jesus!" around her - in her mind, it's as bad as the F word. Hell and Damn are more acceptable but she will say something if I use them too much. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

In High School I started saying "oh god" often. One day my mom gave me a huge lecture about how wrong it was, culminating with, "I'd rather hear that you slapped a teacher than used God's name in vain!"

Star"it made quite an impression"la

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Just wanted to weigh in: "Excrement" and all its synonyms are the perfect swear words when used literally, because they refer to something that's been tossed aside because it's worthless!

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"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps


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My mother complained to me when I was around 7 or 8 when I said "oh God" or something. She snapped at me "Don't use God's name in vain!!!" I told her, "It's not his name, just what we say so that we don't actually say his real name. It's using his real name that is forbidden." She never nagged me or snapped at me for it again.


ranran "Our Lord, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, whatever it is..." yousei

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Tobermory
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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"Oh, crap!" is apparently my favorite curse, because my three-year-old son says it on a fairly regular basis.

Judging from the variety of reactions it produces, it seems its severity is in the eye of the beholder.

But what about "pussy" in the "wimp" sense? I thought that was universally dirty, but I notice it is not bleeped out on The Daily Show, e.g.

----Karen

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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All I said was "That meal was good enough for Jahova...."

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"British English speakers point to Americans adding more syllables so that they can make even more noise without actually saying anything." Llewtrah


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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:
All I said was "That meal was good enough for Jahova...."

Blasphemy!!!



Did "Now pay attention. I dont want anybody to throw any stones, unless I blow this whistle. Even if, and I want to make this perfeclty clear, even if they say Jehova! " dy

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by The Sign of Four Kitties:
quote:
Originally posted by Gwaith at 'i awdur:
From what I understand, "crap" (and the related "crapper") is derived from the rather honourable Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), inventor of the syphonic ball-and-valve plumbing system as made modern flush toilets possible, thereby reducing wasted water.

Not to mention holding four Royal Warrants in his time to supply plumbing and sanitary needs to the British Royal Family.

Crap-a-chow
However, I must tell the story that one of the older stores (now closed) in my town has a toilet in it with the Crapper name. I thought it was John, it may have been Thomas, but I remember clearly looking down at the toilet and, in the area where you see the porcelain rim between the sides of the split seat (beautiful old oak, IIRC) was the name CRAPPER. As I recall -- this was decades ago -- the first name was mostly under the left side of the seat, the PER was under the right side of the seat, and centered in the middle was "CRAP". (The first name was in smaller letters than the last name.) I left that bathroom and told my husband about it. It seemed logical to me at the time that it was why some people called that "crap". (However, our family used "crap" to mean "junk".)

They are about to tear down that building. It's been abandoned for years. I wonder if that toilet is still there?

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by diddy:
Did "Now pay attention. I dont want anybody to throw any stones, unless I blow this whistle. Even if, and I want to make this perfeclty clear, even if they say Jehova! " dy

 -

YOMANK!!!!!!

[lol]

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fictional lie
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:


But what about "pussy" in the "wimp" sense? I thought that was universally dirty, but I notice it is not bleeped out on The Daily Show, e.g.

----Karen [/QB]

you'll notice, too, that ALL swear words have been said (on basic) TV lately. Pussy is one of those words that people always complain about, but isn't really that harsh, and depends on the personal preference. I seem to find it is mostly women who don't like the word, and even know a few that prefer c*nt or t*at over "pussy" because they think that pussy is a dirty word.
TV is a whole other subject. I have heard everything from "shit" to "uncle fu*ker" muttered on (basic)TV. It's the world we live in.

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I am nothing but I'm more than you will ever be

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Simonstrical
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Tobermory:
But what about "pussy" in the "wimp" sense? I thought that was universally dirty, but I notice it is not bleeped out on The Daily Show, e.g.
I always thought of pussy in the sense of "wimp" as being slightly on the rude side, not something you'd say in front of someone with delicate sensibilities, but not really dirty either. I'd place it a step or two below "crap," myself, maybe around the vicinity of "hell."

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2ys4u
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Personally, as a girl, I say crap, damn, & hell on a regular basis. I even say shit and the f word every now and then. The one word I will probably never say is "pussy", because to me, when I think about a girl saying it, I think of a girl that looks like Charlize Theron's 'Monster' character, spitting on the ground and saying "F**in pussy". It's just kind of a dirtball word, IMHO.

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"Guns and butter."

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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I don't think of 'crap' as a bad word at all. I use it all the time...in classes for example, (grade 12). I'll use it in front of my parents, my friends' parents...I don't know people who really care at all about it.

As for 'pussy'...I think it is a little more offensive than 'crap', but I'll still use it. people don't usually have any qualms about calling someone a 'dick', so how could it be worse to use the term 'pussy'? (I know they are used in different contexts, but male genitalia is not better or worse than female. if you use one, use the other too)

And i like the comment about God not being the real name. I think of it more as a job description. It's like saying "Mr. President" instead of saying "Dick Cheney"!

lol...okay okay [fish]

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

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