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Swearing Is Good For You-And Chimps Do It, Too

Swearing

Swearing is usually regarded as simply lazy language or an abusive lapse in civility.

New research reveals that profanity has many positive virtues, from promoting trust and teamwork in the office to increasing our tolerance to pain.

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Swear words
By definition, swear words are offensive. If a word, over time, ceases to be offensive, then it falls out of use as a swear word.

We will often use swear words to vent some emotion. Swearing also centers on taboos. Around the world, swear words will tend to cluster around certain topics: lavatorial matters, sex, religion.

Swearing benefits
  • Swearing helps mitigate pain.
  • Those who speak more than one language, report that swearing in their first language carries a bigger emotional punch.
  • A few blue words, uttered in a good-natured way, indicates and encourages intimacy.
  • A recent study suggests that people who swear are perceived as more trustworthy.
It lessens pain

An experiment repeated many times has consistently shown that swearing makes you able to withstand discomfort better.

Using curse words causes actual physiological changes in your body, such as a heightened heart rate. Swearing appears to unleash the fight-or-flight response.

It helps avoid violence

It can be a seriously bad idea to let loose and throw a punch at someone who's made us angry.

We use swear words, to let profanity stand in for aggressive action.

You can achieve more

Swearing engages both sides of your brain.

This may be why people who have trouble speaking, such as stroke victims or stutterers, are often able to speak more easily when they curse.

Why people swear

Swearing is used to signify a number of emotions, (e.g. anger, frustration, joy, surprise). It can be used to achieve a specific reaction from others. It can also be a useful substitute for physical violence.

Swear words can also be used in a more positive manner, in the form of jokes and humor, sex talk, storytelling, self-deprecation or even social commentary.

Swearing: a universal constant

Swearing is not just for the uneducated or people of a lower socio-economic class -  it knows no social boundaries in its expression.

Personality research suggests that people who swear more, score higher on traits such as extraversion, dominance, hostility and Type A personalities.