Ofcom reveals most offensive swear words on TV

Ofcom released a new report this morning all about the naughty words used on TV, and found that these days, it’s discriminatory language that the UK finds the most offensive.

(Warning: We've used a little bit of strong language in this article. If you'd rather not see that, have a read about Ofcom's more pre-watershed-friendly mobile research instead.)

We've relaxed a little over the years in our attitudes towards traditional swears - think general swear words like bloody, words relating to body parts, and sexual gestures - but when it comes to slurs and derogatory words about marginalised groups, we're far less tolerant.

Still, we take context into account, and are more forgiving if words are used after the watershed, understood in a story or character's context, or occur in an older programme - although, quite rightly, we're still not keen on them. Interestingly, the time of day a programme is broadcast is still considered the most important factor in how acceptable we find a word.

So, here we go. The words that the UK finds the most offensive on telly - defined as "strongest language" in Ofcom's report - are mostly discriminatory terms and slurs against members of particular communities.

That includes words relating to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability, with participants saying they find these kinds of terms "highly offensive" and "derogatory" towards the groups they referenced.

All slurs relating to religion are considered strong language as well, though they're mostly recognised as such by members of religious groups.

The good old F-word and C-word are still considered strongest too, including their fun spin-offs like the one that starts with mother, and we aren't keen on particularly "vulgar" sexual terms either.

Some words, however, have been downgraded in the British mind. Bugger, bloody and arse are all considered mild language and "generally of little concern", while bollocks, pissed, and shit are considered medium language.

For the full list of naughty words and what we think of them on TV, you can take a look at Ofcom's full report here.

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