Chart Of The Day

by Dish Staff

Swear Words

Swearing may be getting more common:

Kristin Jay, a psychologist at Marist College who’s collected data on public swearing says that, on the whole, it seems to be getting somewhat more common. Recently, she and her husband Timothy Jay asked a group of American adults to rigorously record every time they heard a swear word in public for an entire year. When they compared their data to a similar study conducted in 1986, they found that the frequency of most words had increased over time.

In an interview, Jay cautioned from reading too deeply into the findings — especially on the individual word level — because the volunteers might not have perfectly recorded every curse they heard, and the subjects weren’t spread out across the country (they were clustered in New England and Southern California). That said, Jay notes one possible reason that swearing may be on the upswing. “We see changing speech standards in the media we consume,” she says. “The media we used to consume were much more sanitized, and we had fewer things to choose from and less control over what we exposed ourselves to.”