The word “profanity” is generally a reference to curse words and it is a word that has many meanings. It means using the type of words or language that can be construed as inappropriate, vulgar, insulting, foul, bad or dirty – essentially it is the act of cursing or swearing. Profanity is the type of language considered to be offensive or illicit. Additionally, it comes in different forms, e.g., it can be an expression, gesture or part of speech. It is also connected to how one behaves in a social context.
In some societies, certain types of speech and/or gestures are associated with vulgarity, desecration, obnoxiousness or are taken as insults. For as long as people can remember, cursing and swearing have been an integral part of human discourse; certainly, it is not a new phenomenon. But is profanity in human discourse good or bad? This essay on profanity says that, in fact, it is bad and extremely harmful.
Many curse words often have a sexual connotation and some are considered to show racial bias. Clearly, words like these or where one finds parents or teachers cursing is not appropriate and is fundamentally wrong. Indeed, a lot of curse words are considered so offensive they are punishable by law. There are certain countries that have legislation in place to monitor profanity, particularly in public places. Swearing or cursing in public, for example, can constitute an offense under the 1986 Public Order Act (Section 5(1) and (6)) if it is deemed to alarm, distress or harass the recipient.