four-letter word

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four-letter word

1. One of a handful of words with four letters that are considered profanity. Jimmy was suspended from school after the teacher heard him shout a number of four-letter words at his classmates. The move received its rating solely due to its high amount of four-letter words.
2. By extension, a word that has a positive or neutral connotation but that is treated as if it were highly negative. Such words do not have to literally contain four letters. Young people today seem to think "school" is a four-letter word. All they want to do is sit around and play video games all day. To most voters, "taxes" is a four-letter word.
See also: word

four-letter word

Any of several short English words that are generally regarded as vulgar or obscene. For example, No four-letter words are permitted in this classroom. This expression is applied mostly to words describing excretory or sexual functions. [First half of 1900s]
See also: word

a ˌfour-letter ˈword

a short word that is considered rude or offensive, especially because it refers to sex or other functions of the body: Four-letter words used to be banned on radio and television.
See also: word

four-letter word

Any of several short words that are considered vulgar or obscene. Dating from the first half of the 1900s, the expression applies mostly to words describing sexual or excretory functions.
See also: word
References in periodicals archive ?
And he said the comments by some Labour MPs went beyond the traditional barracking, as opponents used a series of four letter words to insult him as he was delivering his speech.
My boyfriend shouted at him the other day, using four letter words, but then carried on as usual.
I think they would have been cruelly disappointed if there had been no four letter words from me."
ART is a three letter word, but when Serge buys a 4ft by 5ft painting for 200,000 francs and invites the opinion of his two closest friends, a few four letter words fly around in this very funny play by Yasmina Reza.
However had the Normans not succeeded in subjugating the barbarian and illiterate Saxon hordes, the English of today would no doubt have had to try and make do with their original vulgar form of utterances, a few four letter words, gesticulations and grunts .
Because of one of the most important four letter words in the language: pope.
Only inarticulate boneheads, ill-bred lowlifes, trying to prove their manhood by using 'shocking' language descended to the level of the gutter in their speech, using four letter words everywhere and to everybody.
Now, of course, it is different: writers of films and TV dramas seem to vie with each other to produce scripts consisting of streams of four letter words, strung together by conjunctions.
Almost every evening, I am subjected to drunks and loud-mouthed yobs whose vocabulary of four letter words must be related in size to their brains.
However, I wonder at what age he will feel they can be subjected to the four letter words and other expletives which tarnished this series.
Prosecutor Dominic Geelan said: "The officer felt he was exceeding the speed limit." Failing to control his emotions, Croft let out the torrent of four letter words.
It was crammed full of four letter words even though that sort of thing tops the list of complaints in all viewer surveys.
He let rip with a string of four letter words and threats against veteran rockers George Harrison, Sir Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger.
DAVID MOYES has been offering four letter words to anyone who wants to know the secret behind his transformation of Everton's playing fortunes.
It's a very healthy working environment, brought about by a couple of four letter words!