"Wash your mouth out with soap!" It's a phrase we heard as children from our real parents and those perfect TV sitcom parents. It was typically a threat for saying something inappropriate like a four-letter word (you now a curse word).
Things sure have changed this century. In general, four-letter words are more common. I'm not sure they are more accepted, but they sure do surface a lot more on TV.
I may get embarrassed watching primetime programs, but it usually has to deal with the sexual content or context — not the words being said by fictional characters or by reality TV cast members.
With 2009 still not far in our rear view mirrors, there are several lists still making headlines for 2010. Time magazine reported on a list of banned words for 2010. It's not dirty words. It's a list of over-used words. The list came from Lake Superior State University folks, who have been releasing a list of words banished from the Queen's English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness for 35 years.
While the list might not wield any power in 2010, it's interesting to take a look at the list. I don't think I'll be using No. 14: Chillaxin'. I never knew about this word before reading the list. Other words like transparency will most likely be used whether it's talking about health care reform or full-body scans at the airport.
The complete 2010 list:
7. Friend as a verb
8. Teachable Moment
9. In These Economic Times ...
11. Toxic Assets
12. Too Big to Fail
15. Obama as a prefix