back to article Swearing at work 'good for business'

There's some good news today for El Reg hacks and indeed anyone who likes a solid bit of effing and blinding at work - the University of East Anglia has found "the use of non-conventional and uncivil language can be a useful emotional release and an effective way of promoting social relationships with others". Put simply, …


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  1. Kane
    Paris Hilton

    Well, F$@k Me!

    I knew it! I always suspected this to be the case, and now I have evidence to prove it! (Empirical I hear you say? Suck My Balls!). Ha! No one can stop me now....

    What's wrong with a good swear every now and again? Eh?

    Go on, let the expletives fly.....


    Where is the Paris Hilton angle?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Know this for ages.

    I could have told F*CKING told them that!!!!!

    I've worked in a IT support office where I wasn't allowed to let rip after having delt with a "thicker than pig shit" Luser. Drove me &^%($$£ !()*& *"*"!)" king nuts!!!!

  3. Dogbyte


    They got f**king paid to research that?!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, just what's needed for the decline of civilization

    Great, just what's needed for the decline of civilization. Back to the 1600's.

    In the same vein, a mew book touted here in the colonies by Donald Trump is "Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life" Another nail in the coffin.

    No wonder China is stomping all over western businesses. We're having such a fine time cursing and swearing and kicking a$$ that we don't even care. Trade deficit, who gives a hoot?

  5. BossHog
    Thumb Up


    .. fuck off!

  6. Dave Burns
    Thumb Up

    F**king Quality!

    I swear all the time at work and now i've got an excuse! thanks el reg :)

  7. Ned Fowden

    Biggest load of ******

    what an absolutel load of f****** b*******, complete twaddle.

    what kind of t*** comes up this kind of s***

    every office i've ever worked in had swearing, every office i've worked in has always had stress

    swearing is too intgrated into our society for this "research" to be considered anything other than f****** obvious

    bloody hell, what do they f****** take us for, useless t****** students, trying to justify their grants?

    f*** off

  8. Matt Taylor

    Yeah, Right

    I've just pointed my colleague to this article and he agrees with me that's it's a load of bollocks...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "suck a fat one"

    Not actually swearing is it?

  10. Jeff Wojciechowski


    I can't friggin believe none of you a$$hats have commented on this GD story! :o)

  11. Luther Blissett

    Management discovers....

    The emotive theory of ethics, which covers not just swearing, but grunting, moaning, grumbling, and articulating words like "ought", "should" and "better", and "incompetent", "toady", etc.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I say

    Fuck that!

  13. The Other Steve
    Thumb Up


    Like I always say, it *is* big, and it *is* clever.

  14. Nick

    Swear Jar

    Maybe it would be great incentive to set up a swear jar at work !!!

    I hope you can see this outside the US.


  15. Dale
    IT Angle


    I doubt telling your boss to "suck a fat one" then presenting him with this news article will exactly go down good. Would it?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    hoo - fuckin - ray

    imagine that not walking on bloody eggshells is good for bastard staff morale :-O

    never understood offense at a word, might as well get in a strop about apples or mushrooms being said as someone saying cu*t or fuck.

    personally id rather be a stupid cu*t than a prolapsed rectum, or a wolf bagging greasy fart taster any day.....

  17. Gleb


    This response is the only one without profanity in it. Hurray for maturety! I'll get my coat..

  18. Anonymous Coward

    re: Bugger!

    Bugger isn't a swear word. At least, not here in New Zealand...

  19. Kwac


    Perhaps the reason for the expanding Chinese market is ALL the fuckers swear?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Does that include any of the non-English swearwords?

    Does that include any of the non-English swearwords like:

    merde (s***), Niquer ta Reum (F**k off!) (French)

    merda (s***) (Portuguese)

    perkele (s***), vittu (f***) (Finnish)

    fek (s***), Forfikiĝ! (F**k off!) (Esperanto)

  21. Terry Bernstein

    Profanity? Surely that's not quite what you mean..


    characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.

    Would this be sloppy journalism?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @The other coward

    Naa, bugger describes a normal human-ovine relationship in New Zealand, eh?

  23. Nick

    @ The Other Steve...

    'Pissflaps' - one of the best words in the English language. F**king ace! Good show!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    @wolf bagging greasy fart taster

    What is it exactly.

  25. Jason

    What the fuck??

    What the fuck people? Here we are reading a fucking good story about being able to swear in the shit hole of a work place, full of wankers, and we're using fucking stars on el reg!!

    Get a grip you fucking retarded piss buckets

    In the nicest way possible :P


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The office swear jar

    Yeah, we got one of those, and between the 15 of us it usually averages about $12,000 a month in IOU's and about 80 bucks in cold hard cash, at 50 cents a curse word... We usually split the kitty at the end of the year and give half of it to charity and then use it to pay the department's bar tab at the annual christmas party.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That is all.

  28. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    Arse-biscuits, I am reliably informed, the most amusing swearword ever.

  29. Jon Tocker

    Theraputic catharsis

    That's what it is.

    At a place I used to work, one of the receptionists was always unfailingly bright, cheerful and polite on the telephone when people rang in, no matter how abusive, ignorant or just plain stupid they were (or the person who rang immediately to them was). I've seen her deal with an especially difficult customer, hang up and then the phone rings, instant smile, cheerful voice "Good morning welcome to..." The model professional receptionist.

    At tea breaks and lunch time however, she would come down to the smoking area, light a cigarette and it'd be "fucking stupid fucking cunt this morning..." She'd wax lyrically and obscenely for a few minutes and she'd be all refreshed, restored and set for another session on the phone putting up with and being exceptionally polite to fucking morons.

    Good on her - at least the anger and frustration was coming out in safety amongst workmates who'd understand and not directed at clients, visitors or senior members of staff. She'd get through an entire session of reception duty (8:30-10, 10:15-12, 1-3 and 3:15-5) knowing that she would be able to go somewhere, have a coffee and a cigarette and "unload" later on.

    If you can't vent in safety afterwards, a few crappy calls/encounters/tasks can foul up your handling of the next poor bugger that calls/arrives.

  30. Scott


    Personally I have always found referring to somebody as a cockspank more amusing

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I hate the living fuck out of my boss because she can't manage a god fucking damned thing - every single email is her threatening to fire the entire fucking IT department over not filling out her current piece of misnamed paperwork. Today, it was "Project Plans" which for whatever fucking reason aren't plans at all, but the same fucking thing as the "Project Time Sheets" she was on to us about last week, which are prettymuch the same fucking thing as the "Work Logs" she was on about the week before that, which are deadly identical (except on letter paper instead of an index card) to our hourly workers' time cards. But yeah. Threatening to fire the whole fucking department over paperwork that most of us do as a condition of getting fucking paid anyway is real fucking motivating and good for fucking morale. Useless fucking pissflap cuntsack.

    So, naturally, I've announced my intentions to leave the company, because I've had enough of her shit. I'm told by my surviving coworkers that I'll be missed - my constant fucking swearing about how much I hate that useless cunt (preferably within earshot of her. This is a bridge that I not only want to burn but want to light ABLAZE, and then fucking call the Department of Labor about some payment irregularities that I've noticed (THE FUCKING CUNT STIFFED ME A WHOLE WEEKEND'S OT PAY BECAUSE SHE TRIED TO CALL MY DESK "TO MAKE SURE I WAS WORKING" AND I DIDN'T ANSWER BECAUSE THE FUCKING PHONE NETWORK WAS OFFLINE FOR FUCKING SCHEDULED UPGRADES - WHICH I WAS FUCKING WORKING ON!)) is apparently the only thing keeping some of these other people sane - and they aren't confident enough to just quit and then go job-surfing.

    In short, if it weren't for my motherfucking foul mouth, some of the brightest minds I've ever worked alongside would have probably hung themselves by their fucking ties (oh yeah. I forgot about the fucking UNIFORM TIES. With computers printed on them. There were matching shirts at one point, but I led the revolt against those. My tie is tied in a hangman's noose and currently dangles from the ceiling above the Helldesk - out of the useless cuntbag's reach. I don't even wear fucking dress shirts anymore.

    And then there's the meetings with the bitch. Her personality is so absolutely abrasive it feels like sandpaper on your god damned nuts. She makes it a point to drag you into her office and shut the fucking door for positive things (which don't exist these days) and leave the door open and shout at the top of her lungs about disciplinary things. You should've heard her when I refused to sign the disciplinary form about my "fraudulent overtime" - on account of the fact that the security systems and a half dozen coworkers vouched for the fact that I was indeed present and that the phone system was indeed offline because we were indeed installing VoIP - god knows the rest of the building heard her - including HR, who promptly sent someone up to explain that what she's doing is A) Illegal and B) Against policy and will get her fired if I so much as breathe a word to the Department of Labor - which the HR weenies actually advised that I do (because they can't fire her for internal reasons relating to equal opportunity employment... she's apparently been diagnosed with about 808324883 different mental conditions that the company shouldn't and didn't know about, but she decided to make common public knowledge specifically so that, if she's ever dismissed, she can cry about it.

    Ahhh, that was cathartic. Fuck my job. In 2 weeks, I'm out, in a month she'll be out, and I'll be working for one of our suppliers.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @@The other coward

    Oh go f*&k yourself

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    In The House Of Commons

    If swearing at work is a good thing then I guess it might just make PMQ's a bit more flavoursome. I can just see the speakers response now:

    "Get the f**k out of here you b*ll*ck merchant!"

  34. benito darder oliver

    i've been waiting for this soooo long....




  35. Greg

    @Anonymous Coward number 1

    Oh, lighten up, you silly old sod. One bunch of words aren't different from another bunch of words. They certainly aren't going to cause the downfall of anything.

    I used to impolitely let loose a string of expletives at my computer while in work, especially while trying to get Oracle DB to work. Did a marvellous job of offending some of the sales team in our little open plan office. Oh, I'm sorry, did my rendition of the "awwwwwww, FUCKNUTS" song physically wound you? Hehe.

  36. Bytus


    God-fuxx0ring-damned time!

    My personal favorites definitely are "cuntface", "assjockey" and "fucktard".

    Have a fucking splendid day you blistering cunts ;-)

  37. Alan Potter
    Paris Hilton

    Why the asterisks?

    This is something that I have always wondered about. Why is "fuck" rude, but "f*ck" isn't? Why do newspapers asterisk out key letters in swear words? Are there really people out there who look at "f*ck" and _don't_ think "fuck"? It's not as if any other letter would fit (unless you count 'feck'). C*nt? Well, I suppose it could be 'cant', I suppose. But who would think that?

    It's a bit like prossie postcards in phone boxes. Why do they bother putting the black dots over nipples? Everybody knows what's underneath, the postcards are against the law anyway, and the photo is almost certainly not that of the female at the end of the phone number (alledgedly...) Even if they are photos of Paris Hilton.

    So asterisks and black dots, in my mind, are just signs of denial. Bollocks to them.

  38. JohnG

    In Germany...

    ... there's quite a few ex-Army types here who get away with a level of profanity that would have seen them hauled before personnel/HR back in Blighty. The Germans seem to have accepted that this is perfectly normal for Brits.

    My favourite phrase was some years ago when a German girl asked some guy to check something on our X25 network... His response after a cursory investigation: "The fuckin' fucker's fucked" :-)

  39. Mark Johnson

    I know this works...

    My mother used to frequently swear at work, and she always prided herself on never being stressed. Then again, she did work as a porn actress at the time.

  40. One-armed Freddy

    Michelin Stars

    The odd swear or nine hasn't done Gordon Ramsey any harm in his workplace. Say what you like about him, he's not afraid to call a spade a fucking cunt.

  41. Slaine
    Thumb Up

    No limits eh?


    Now I can talk about my wife whilst at work.

    However chaps and chappesses.... unless you are typing FROM work, all this profanity is being aired whilst at home or during a WiFi stealing exercise for which I am absolutely sure that there has been no law passed to permit you to say all these terribly naughty words.

    So off you go now and write out 100 times, "I will not swear without a fucking good reason"

  42. Jon Tocker

    @ Whodafuckingthunkit?

    Feeling better?

  43. Simon Foxwell

    Sorely needed in IT

    I cant think of anything worse than not being able to swear while working with users, computers, bosses and other assorted twats.

    If I couldnt swear at the retards asking me stupid fucking questions about why their print job hasnt come out (not switched on, paper jam, out of paper/toner) because their too fucking stoopid to have a look themselves I'd go cocksucking fucking mental!!

    Fuck being able to use language, we need some punch bags! The last stupid cunt of the day gets a punch up the bracket. This should be written into my contract.

    @One-armed Freddy:

    Brilliant!! I wet myself at that one. God knows why.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has to be...


    Rude word/animal throws up some nice ones... shitweasel and jizzferret.

  45. H'arj Imladd

    Best Swear Word Ever :

    and you can use it anywhere because nobody else knows what it means


    A combination of Quim and Cunt !

    Oh hang on, I've told you lot now and the secrets out .... Awwww Fuck it

  46. Lickass McClippers

    What a bunch of fucking shite...

    ...fucking stress at fucking work fucking well cause fucking swearing. I'd have fucking thought that was fucking obvious...

    Now fuck off and stop wasting my fucking time with this fucking shite, you fucking fuck-wits..!!

  47. Steve Sutton

    @Best Swear Word Ever

    Oh nice work! Now you've gone and blown it for everyone you Wanunt

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Nick

    I could see the vid but unfortunately it seems the swearing is beeped out when viewed outside the US. You cunts are so lucky!

  49. kerlmann

    An alternative perspective

    We're all having a good giggle about this (and why not), but there's a more serious side to it. Now, I'm no prude, and in an appropriate context the odd swear-word at work can be quite effective / impactful, however consider the following.

    1) Some people may find swearing seriously offensive, distasteful, blasphemous or even intimidating / frightening

    2) What we say is taken at face-value by many and remembered. In other words, it may not do your career prospects much good especially if someone in 1) complains about it, or if your current / future boss isn't a fan of it

    3) It's frankly unprofessional in an office environment. I work in marketing (a relatively respectful white-collar industry) and I get new prospective suppliers who come in to see me and a few will start using coarse/mildly blasphemous language like they've known me all my life. It's a very easy decision not to use them at all after that - and I'll tell them why, some look sheepish and apologise, others look at me like I've dropped down from Mars.

    There are however certain industries where 'industrial' language is the norm, so it's horses 4 courses I guess....

  50. Campbell
    Thumb Up

    Steeped in our psyche

    Agreed, swearing is way down there in our most basic instincts.

    Fuck the fucking fuckers!!!


    I don't know why it makes sense, but it does.

  51. Sam Therapy
    Thumb Up

    About time, too

    The idea of having taboo words is completely ridiculous and largely stems from the time when Latin and French were the languages used by royalty (in this country, at least). Perfectly good and acceptable words were looked down on as common - in the original sense of the word - and fell into disuse and disrepute as the rest of the populace tried to emulate the nobles.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with words we regard as obscene, foul or profane; they're just words, like any other. That said, I'm not entirely free from the brainwashing, either. I don't like to hear children swear.

    As for other people, I really couldn't give a fuck.

  52. Steve Sutton

    Has anybody told kerlmann to fuck off yet?

    ...well i guess someone has too.

    Seriously tho, in answer to your points:-

    1) If people find the specific words I use to communicate, then that's their problem. Swear words are just a part of the language, and I reserve the right to make use of as much or as little of it as I see fit. I can be all of those things without swearing, and an can swear and be none of those things.

    2) If someone complains about my use of language, and I am reprimanded, then I'll be out of here faster than you can say "bollocks to that". Seriously, in the context of personal abuse / bullying / etc.. it's unacceptable, but then again, it's not the swearing that is the problem in that case. If my boss were more concerned that I avoid using one or two particular words, then the clear and efficient use of language to communicate, I'd be somewhat concerned - not to mention overstressed!

    3) Again, that's a load of crap. It is simply part of the English language. You may look down at the likes of me for swearing, but I look down upon the likes of you for deliberately stunting your use of the language (particularly when you say that you find it easy to do). The only possible reason to not swear is that it is offensive, and nobody has ever given me a better explanation of why swearing is offensive other than the self-fulfilling "people think it's offensive." Not good enough, I'm afraid. It is only unprofessional to use such language in customer facing roles, where, because of their inexplicable dislike of certain words, customers may leave or avoid the business. Anywhere else, it's often useful for clearly expressing and communicating information.

  53. The Other Steve


    Grannies pubes, y' whore.

  54. Anonymous Coward


    The funniest swearword in actual spoken useage (as opposed to how it just looks on paper or on your monitor) is clearly fuckstick.

    Just shout it out now and see how funny it is.

  55. Ilya

    Compulsory expletives day

    Well, what would you know.

    The next thing yet another brain-dead executive would impose on his helpless employees might very well be a compulsory expletives day.

    Just imagine all the employees gathering in circle and going "fuck!" and "shit!" for at least 5 minutes every hour, to reduce stress and improve working conditions by 3.51 percent or whatever.

    Ah, the joy.

  56. kerlmann

    @Steve Sutton

    Oh dear, Steve - as well as being a real charmer, you've vainly tried to make some points to justify your use of whatever language you like, but not very well.

    1) "If people find the specific words I use to communicate, then that's their problem". I think you missed out the word 'offensive' there, but I got your drift. If someone finds you or your language offensive then it's YOUR problem, sunshine. Who are you to say how someone should feel? By your own lofty standards is homophobic, sexist or racist language also acceptable? If you answer "no" to this, you're guilty of appalling double standards.

    2) Using offensive language can amount to bullying on its own, doesn't need any actions to go with it. Cases have gone to European Court over this.

    3) Mostly tosh, Steve - I'm not telling you to stop swearing, but just to consider the thoughts of others. Would you swear in a job interview? In court? Of course not - it's part of cultural etiquette not to use certain words in certain circumstances. And as I said earlier, if someone finds it offensive, that's reason enough that you should at least consider refraining. How on earth can that be considered self-fulfilling? What exactly does it fulfil?? In any case, the less frequently it's used, the more value it has - keep it up your sleeve for hard-hitting impact.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    just told the boss to "suck a fat one"...

    ....and he's doing rather well. Hem

  58. j prince


    ...who's cultural etiquette?

    Chill man you seem a little over programmed.

  59. Roast Duck

    thats so nice

    .. i got to learn soooo many beautiful words today... i wud request el reg to preserve these beautiful gems somewhere on their site so that i have an easy reference at hand...

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