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    17 Swearing Facts That You Probably Didn't Know

    The word "fart" is 200 years older than Leonardo da Vinci!

    1. It's illegal to swear in public in Virginia.

    Artolympic / Getty Images

    It's actually considered a Class 4 misdemeanor.

    2. If you think that's bad, swearing would've given you the death penalty if you lived in the Byzantine Empire during the sixth century.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Later on in the Middle Ages, penalties for blasphemy got more severe the more you were caught.

    3. The word "rooster" was invented when "cock" started to become slang for "penis" instead of the male fowl.

    Isaacruiz / Getty Images, Lolostock / Getty Images

    "Rooster" was the Puritan alternative in the 1700s.

    4. "Fart" dates back to 1250, making it one of the oldest obscene words in the English language.

    Warner Bros.

    It also predates the word "buttocks" by 50 years.

    5. Some automated answering systems are programmed so that if you swear at them, they'll transfer you straight to an operator.

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    They try to measure your annoyance level.

    6. "Shit" is the most popular swear word used on Facebook.


    "Fuck," "damn," "bitch," and "crap" round out the top five.

    7. Swearing relieves pain.

    Gnurf / Getty Images

    A study had college students submerse their hands in ice water. Some students were given a neutral word to say, and some were given an expletive. The students that were allowed to say expletives could keep their hands in the water for an average of 40 seconds longer.

    8. Children learn swear words as early as one and two years old.

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    They start learning name-calling and psychosocial insults at 3-4 years old.

    9. IBM fed their AI robot, Watson, all of Urban Dictionary to understand slang. As a result, the robot became so profane that the scientists had to quickly wipe it from Watson's memory.


    The robot went on to beat both Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in Jeopardy!.

    10. Using your middle finger as an obscene gesture dates all the way back to ancient Greece.

    Warner Bros.

    You can see it in the 419 BCE play The Clouds by Aristophanes.

    11. Contrary to popular belief, there is no correlation between how much you swear and how intelligent you are.


    There are rumors that go both ways (swearing more makes you more intelligent or swearing more means you don't have as good of a vocabulary), but a study from Yale showed no correlation between IQ and colorful words.

    12. The string of symbols that replaces swear words in comics and graphics is called a grawlix.

    Mort Walker / King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    The term was coined by Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey.

    13. Chimps swear, too! Washoe the chimp was shown a "taboo" sign in sign language, which her and her child used when frustrated or angry.

    14. The most obscene state is Ohio.

    bearclau / Via

    In contrast, the most polite state is Washington.

    15. Andrew Jackson's parrot had to be taken out of Jackson's funeral because it was swearing so much.

    Library of Congress / Via

    The reverend presiding said the bird "commenced swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people and had to be carried from the house."

    16. "Fuck" is the third most offensive word in the English language, and "motherfucker" is the second.

    Warner Bros.

    I would tell you the first, but my mother would come clean my mouth out with soap.

    17. And the world record for most F-bombs in a movie goes to The Wolf of Wall Street, with the word being used 506 times.

    Red Granite Productions

    That's 2.81 fucks per minute!

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