phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Why profanity?

Posted by ESC on November 21, 2000

In Reply to: Why use profanity on this site? posted by Jeanine Plante on November 20, 2000

: I think someone has added the "f" word to a phrase to see if the rest of us are noticing("'f' a duck")! (I found it when typing in "turkey".) Well, when I let my 6th grade Writing Lab class go to your site during our class today, and they found this profanity, it was, to say the least, embarrassing that I hadn't seen it before. Why do you need such a word on an otherwise very appropriate and educational site? I would love to hear from other people on this. When I went to check the meaning and derivation of this phrase, it wasn't there! Which means that someone had to have added it for "shock value" or to get a laugh! Well, I don't think that is too funny, not in this day and age where parents are blaming teachers for everything, not to mention letting their kids find the "f" word on the internet! Thank you for letting me vent! May I have a response, please?

Hi, I'm a contributor to the Discussion Forum at Phrase Finder. Sorry about the incident. I can imagine your dismay. Sixth-graders have, unfortunately, probably heard the word before. But I understand you wouldn't want "the F-word" part of your classroom instruction. All you could tell your students is that language is "the good, the bad, and the ugly" like everything else. (There is, by the way, an entire book on the subject - "The F Word." I haven't purchased it because I figure I know all I need to know about the word and accompanying expressions. I ran into the word early-on in my reading career. When I was a child, learning to read, I embarrassed my big sister by sounding out and reading the word on a restroom wall.) Anyway, parents with any sense would applaud your efforts to get the kids interested in language and consider the "duck thing" just an oopsy.

The expressions under "Search for a Phrase" (I think) are added by the host of the site. So he'll have to speak to the appropriateness of the entry. Regarding the Discussion Forum, most contributors keep it "clean." The forum is unfiltered and we do have an occasional bad seed who adds an obscene entry. I remember one time when someone added a REALLY nasty post. I e-mailed the host frantically, fearing some child might read the post, and he deleted it fast. The "funny" thing is that when I mentioned it to my teenaged children, they said, "Oh yes. That's the lyrics to a song in 'The South Park Movie.'" South Park, as you probably know is an R-rated TV cartoon on the Comedy Channel. So most of the kids in the U.S. probably knew the words by heart already.

A search of the Discussion Forum archives has several good entries on "turkey." I hope this incidence hasn't soured you on the site. ESC