There’s a good chance that for most of your life, you’ve been told not to swear. The warning probably started when you were a kid, and your parents might have threatened they’d wash your mouth out with soap if you didn’t clean up your language. That kind of negative feedback likely continued through your school years, and by the time you reached adulthood, you were already well aware public swearing isn’t usually socially acceptable.
Despite the fact we’re urged to keep our lips zipped when we feel a curse coming out, scientists have found there are plenty of reasons why it’s good to let the foul language fly. An English study found people were more able to tolerate discomfort when they were screaming profanities.
Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing.
Another expert says profanity helps create social connections between peers. Also, someone who has spent decades studying swearing found the so-called “bad words” people are encouraged to hold back actually help them be more expressive.
Research has also shown that, contrary to popular opinion, using foul language can be an indicator of higher intelligence, because it suggests a broader overall vocabulary. Although that study only involved 43 college students, hopefully it’ll provide some comfort if people often look down on you due to the language you use.
Despite these scientifically proven perks, the fact remains there are just some situations that aren’t suitable for swearing. However, the resources below can help you use foul language as needed while being minimally offensive to others.
Researcher Jack Grieve analyzed numerous resources, including Twitter feeds, to find out how widely used certain curse words are across the country. By looking at his findings and exploring the associated color-coded maps for each expression, you can at least determine if your favorite swear words are similar to others in your state, or if you prefer some that aren’t as popular.
The Authentic Weather App (iOS and Android)
Are you feeling a little fed up by the weather forecaster‘s calm account of the terrible weather outside? Authentic Weather is an app built with your frustration in mind. In addition to using colorful language to describe the weather, the app often pairs the forecasts with encouraging statements meant to help you feel positive. Because this app doesn’t make sounds, you can safely use it in public. Also, reading the brutally honest words on the screen may be enough to calm your tension and make you chuckle instead.
Many people use their YouTube channels to go on rants about things that have gotten under their skin. You may also use that coping mechanism, which could be dangerous if you share videos on social media and are followed by your boss or other people you don’t want to be aware of your swearing habit.
Bleep is an app that can censor your videos at the points you specify. It’s useful if you are able to let off a lot of steam when you’re recording the videos, but don’t necessarily want the world to hear the results when you curse without a filter.
Download: Bleep for iOS (Free)
iPhone Keyboard Shortcuts (Mobile)
Maybe you and your best friend use swear words in text messages sent via your iPhones, and consistently get fed up when you try to type a certain word that starts with F, and the phone’s autocorrect setting always spells out “ducking.”
You can change that response by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Instead of adding an actual shortcut, just add the swear word you want the iPhone to recognize when you start typing certain letters. However, do so with caution, keeping in mind the words you add will be effective for every text message you send, and not just the ones received by friends that are cool with your cursing habit.
Reword Chrome Extension (Chrome Browsers)
Sometimes it can feel very cleansing when you write a very strongly worded e-mail but never intend on sending it anywhere. Unfortunately, many people use harsh language in their online communications to others, and do so regularly to the point where they don’t realize it’s happening. Furthermore, they possibly decide to send such e-mails without thinking about the implications for recipients.
A Chrome extension called Reword works similarly to the spell check function in a word processing program, because it puts a red line through profane words or phrases. This tool was developed during a partnership with an Australian youth mental health organization called Headspace.
Representatives there hope Reword will combat cyberbullying. They argue once a recipient reads a message that includes foul language, the results can be very damaging. While using Reword, people get immediate feedback about the swear words, and hopefully they’ll also think twice before actually sending strongly worded messages.
On the other hand, if you meant to call your boss that word…well, that’s on you.
Add the extension: Chrome (Free)
Push to Swear (Android)
When people learn foreign languages, they almost invariably want to learn a few curse words before learning basic necessities like how to order a meal, ask for directions or request clarification. If you can relate, Push to Swear is worth downloading. It teaches you swear words in 11 languages, and each one offers nearly 100 words or phrases to add to your vocabulary. There’s even an intensity feature that you can adjust depending on your mood. Since the app app has native speakers verbalizing the swear words, this is definitely an app to use when you’re alone, or while using earbuds.
Download: Push to Swear for Android (Free for 48 hours, then $0.99 to keep using)
Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book
A best-selling product on Amazon, this coloring book is definitely one to keep out of reach of children. It features 21 pictures to color, and they all feature things you might want to say out loud, but perhaps shouldn’t in certain settings. Because many of the phrases have an underlying element of dark humor, you may find this coloring book puts you in a better frame of mind so you’re not as tempted to curse out loud as you might have been before you unleashed your inner artist and opened your box of crayons.
Buy it on: Amazon ($6.45)
Swear O’Clock (Android)
If your smartphone needs a good time and date app and you’re in a snarky mood, Swear O’Clock should fit. The app shows the time and date on the home screen of your phone, plus when the gadget is locked. You’ll probably just want to keep it out of the hands of overly curious people though, unless you ready to explain the choice language.
Download: Swear O’Clock for Android (Free)
Mind Your Manners…Until You Don’t Have To
Although there are some situations that just don’t suit swearing, you now have many resources for expanding your vocabulary with some zingers that you definitely wouldn’t learn in an etiquette class. The key is to use them wisely and always be mindful of your audience.
When you’re around people who wouldn’t see swearing as an appropriate reaction, it’s best to just whisper, mumble or shout the words when you’re spending some solo time at home.
Does swearing help you get the rage out? Know of any other swear-savvy resources? Tell us about them in the comments section below!