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Who knew such a term would be highly offensive across the pond?

It is somewhat more offensive in British use than Americans typically realize.
Mary Cresswell on "wanker".

Sometimes a writer will use "international" slang to make a character seem more salty and "regional" (frequently American versus British usage of a word). Sometimes, however, an expression is still considered vulgar elsewhere. When words like "bollocks" or "wanker" appear in a work whose language is otherwise PG, it creates dissonance for those who are familiar with them. (Though it varies according to region, age, and circumstances, "bloody" is about as strong a curse as "damn", and "bloody hell" is about the same as "goddamn". It refers to "God's blood" as an oath. Maybe.)

This is also used intentionally, to the opposite effect: unfamiliar or foreign swear words may be used where an equivalent local expression would be inappropriate.

This trope covers any confusion or hilarity arising from foreign swear words, not just in the US. Since international expletives are often "G-rated" on American TV, "arse" and "shite" can be family-friendly ways of getting "ass" and "shit" past the radar. In Britain, "ass" can freely be used before the Watershed, while "arse" is used conservatively. Gestures may be similarly misunderstood, such as the vee finger sign that means "peace" in America but is not nice at all in some other countries.

See this trope's Super-Trope, Did Not Do the Research. Also, Separated by a Common Language.

Examples of Did Not Do the Bloody Research include:

Anime and Manga

  • From the mouth of James in Pokémon "That's why she doesn't know a bloody thing about us, there's no Sinnoh Team Rocket branch!". In a non-Anglophonic variant, the Japanese Lt. Surge (who is supposed to be American) exclaims in an early episode, "God damn!"
    • In the Napoleonic Wars, one of the French slang terms for the British was "Les Goddamns", because of how often they said it. On the other hand, randomly cussing for no reason at all is a common Japanese stereotype of Americans, though almost exclusively played for laughs.
  • For a different culture's take, see the Cluster F-Bomb from Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai.
  • Inverted in the dub of Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which was originally titled "Laputa: Castle in the Sky". This was changed because "Laputa" resembles "la puta", which means "the whore" in Spanish. And more people in Europe and North America are more likely to recognize a Spanish swear word than in Japan. Obviously, you don't want to take a chance with printing something like that out there.
    • The name Laputa was taken from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, so it's not too big of stretch to imagine Swift naming a floating island "the whore" on purpose. Of course, Hayao Miyazaki probably didn't realize the name had a hidden meaning.
    • NOT averted, out of all places, in the Latin American dub itself. The characters still refer to the place as Laputa, and what's even worse, the pronounciation they give to the word is the exact same you'd give to the actual insult.
      • Swift may have called it "Laputa" because it had "no visible means of support", a phrase used in vagrancy laws.
      • It may have also been more literal, referencing Martin Luther's "Reason is a whore", seeing as Laputa is a highly advanced society that cannot make anything practical for all its enlightenment.
  • The English dub of Negima!? has two British (specifically Welsh) characters at or younger than ten years old say 'bollocks' on more than one occasion, once in front of a British adult who just giggled. The rest of the language in the show is pretty tame, however.
  • In the first episode of Season 3's edited English dub of Dragonball Z, the apparently Australian Jiece gives us such lines as, "ah bugger, this blasted thing!" and, "no bloody Saiyan that we've ever met is that strong."

Comic Books

  • In an issue of Y: The Last Man, a captured woman calls the leader of the Amazon gang/army a cunt. The Ax Crazy leader lampshades this by going into a detailed description of the word and how it's not an insult in Britain. The captive responds by spitting on her and getting shot for her troubles.
    • Just to clarify it certainly is an insult in Britain.
      • It's a safe bet that any word that means "genitalia", is an insult in any dialect of any language. The exceptions are so rare as to be highly noteworthy.
  • In an issue of Generation X, Chamber (whose British-ness is often emphasized) uses the word "wanker" as if it was a rather harmless insult.
    • Chamber is also the team's Lancer, sort of a cleaned up version of an old-school British punk, and very grumpy most of the time, so him using strong language isn't too surprising.
  • Excalibur, the funny, light-hearted X-Men title, had Pete Wisdom, who tried to include 'bloody hell' in every sentence he spoke. He was supposed to seem rough and a jerk, but it was still slightly uncomfortable if you don't like swearing, especially if you're not quite sure how offensive the swearing is.
  • Lampshaded in one The Simpsons comic, Bart and Lisa end up staying with psuedo-South-american freedom fighters. When Bart utters his Catch Phrase "Ay Carumba!" He is immediately beaten down by a woman for using dirty language in front of her child.
    • Which is again an inversion, since Ay Carumba can be approximated to 'darn', or a similarly mild epithet.
  • Whoever decided that "wank" would be a good onomatopoeia for Captain America (comics)'s shield hitting a villain in the face was clearly unaware of the word's meaning in British/Australian/New Zealand slang. Or was 100% aware of it and having a laugh.
    • It's even better. Because of the placement of the speech bubble, it looks like "I command you to--WANK!"
    • The placement suggests that it most likely was intentional.
  • In an early issue of Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian series, British artist Barry Smith convinced American writer Roy Thomas to have a soldier call another soldier a "wank". After the issue's publication, Thomas shortly ended up with more informative letters from British readers than he'd have liked.

Fan Works

  • While all the swearing recognizable to American readers of So Bad It's Good Death Note fanfic Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami is censored out, British ones are not, leading to Watari yelling things like "THAT TIT IS TAKING THE PISS NOW!... WE MUST GET THE WANK OUT OF THIS SODDING CONTRACEPTION!" fully uncensored.
    • Note that the only thing that makes no sense (besides "contraception", which doesn't have a slang meaning) here is "get the wank out" which is nonsense.
      • "Sodding contraception" actually almost works as a synonym for "screwup so massive as to effectively eliminate one from the gene-pool".
    • Same goes for ITS MY LIFE!, to the point that overused British curses were associated with this fic's Wheatley.
  • The Final Fantasy VIII fic Phantom Dreams had Seifer refer to Squall as a little bugger, which given the nature of the fic was Accidentally Accurate.
  • Really, this is fairly common in most fanfiction written for something that originated in a country different than the one the author is from. The most prevalent example is probably American authors writing Harry Potter fanfic. Seriously, next time you see a long fic by a non-Brit, count how many times 'wanker' is said. It especially happens to Ron a lot, because he is implied to be swearing sometimes in canon, it's just never outright stated what he said.
    • No few Potter fan authors are aware of this, and make a point of recruiting UK natives (or Americans who've lived there) to check their usage. The colloquial term for such advisors is "Brit-pickers".


  • The story goes that Steve McQueen didn't know the meaning of the reverse V-sign while making Le Mans and, when told, used the gesture instead of The Finger at the end of the movie as a way of giving his character a European-flair, as a globetrotting racing driver would probably have picked up all kinds of foreign insults on his travels. (There was probably some thought of getting crap past the US radar too).
  • The film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has the Highly Evolved Beings a.k.a. mice shout "Oh bollocks!" before being crushed by Arthur Dent. The DVD Commentary states that they wanted to sneak in a curse word which wouldn't be as well known to American audiences.
  • Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me had some trouble being marketed in the UK entirely because of this. The posters either partially censored the middle of the offending word or displayed the title of Austin Powers 2. They also had to run different sets of ads before the 9pm Watershed, because they couldn't use the film's full title.
    • Mike Myers' father was British, so he's likely well-aware of those words' connotations. It's also likely that the film was aimed at U.S. audiences, with British marketing an afterthought.
  • Jack Sparrow manages to say "oh, bugger" a number of times, despite the film's PG-13 rating and very sparse cursing. This might be yet another case of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • In Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, the repeated use of the word "bender" (a homosexual male) has been said to provoke inappropriate laughter from British audiences.
  • Muppet Treasure Island is otherwise free of profanity, though when Billy Bones is dying, Gonzo and Rizzo lampshade the fact that "this was supposed to be a kids' movie!" Shortly after that, when Billy's shipmates search his room, one of them says "Billy's dead, and he hasn't got the bloody map!" Billy himself asks aloud "How does [Mrs. Bluberidge] bloody do that?"
    • Some versions of the film dub over "bloody" with "bloomin".
  • In the first Tomb Raider movie, Lara is fond of the word "bugger". She uses it a couple times, once with something as innocuous as some food blowing up in the microwave. The movie is PG-13, but it's mainly because it's an action movie, so there's very little in the way of swearing anyway.
  • In The Avengers, Loki calls Black Widow a "mewling quim" at the end of a particularly vicious rant, quim being old English slang for the female genitalia. The film is rated PG-13. The word is pretty archaic, and even those who know what it means would find it more a novelty than actually offensive.


  • In the Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan Saga novel Memory, Miles Vorkosigan is said to have "buggered the cartridge" from a Sonic Stunner to improvise a grenade. Also, he describes Impsec's security recording as having been "buggered" when he finds evidence of tampering. Nowhere else in Bujold's books do we find this sort of expression. "Buggered" is fairly innocuous US slang for fouled-up or broken (but usually not irreparably). In the UK you can describe something as "buggered" or talk about "buggering something up", but in most dialects if you say you've buggered something you'll get some strange looks. Thus Miles' statement sounds as odd to the British ear as it does to the US ear when a Brit "lights up a fag."
  • Used in-universe on several occasions by Diana Gabaldon. She does do the linguistic research, but several characters (from different countries or different centuries) manage to cuss each other out and have it go right over the other person's head. (Such as Claire using the word "fucking" and utterly perplexing her husband.) In a more fitting sense for this trope, the author also gets away with a lot of creative language in the Outlander series by way of it being exotic and Scottish, or terribly dated—and then lets loose with the contemporary profanity.
  • Harry Turtledove doesn't do too badly at curse levels, but uses things like 'bloody' far too often in a lot of cases (which has to be quite a bit, given how much we use it). Furthermore, some of the slang is simply wrong. 'Crikey' is an exclamation of surprise, not a swearword that you can chuck in anywhere.
  • The aliens in Ender's Game are known as Buggers, which makes an awful lot of the text hard to stomach for British readers... "We can't let the Buggers win!" "I'm going to kill as many of the Buggers as possible!" It would be akin to somebody writing a huge sci-fi epic where we're being invaded by deadly swarms of Dumbasses or surrounded by Assholes.
    • Or for older readers who think of the literal rather than generalized-pejorative meaning of Bugger, the deadly swarms of Faggots.
      • Somewhat ironic given Card's views on homosexuality, though he nonetheless probably would not advocate killing them.
    • The formal name of the aliens is "Formic," as demonstrated in Ender's Shadow, where Bean is entertained by the Americans and others calling the aliens expletives.
  • The Han Solo Adventures series contains a character named Bollux. Whether that was a deliberate attempt at Getting Crap Past the Radar is up for debate but, unsurprisingly, he was renamed for the UK release.
    • Han specifically asks him at one point if he minds that his name is a rather insulting joke, so it's not really worried about the radar. In some rural parts of the US, "bollocks" is simply used to mean "testicles, usually of an animal", (e.g. in the context of castrating a bull)—it's slightly more objectionable than "buttocks".
  • John Brunner, in his dystopian near-future novel The Sheep Look Up (set in a Twenty Minutes in The Future version of the USA), fell foul of this by having a midwestern DJ (who had been poisoned, alongside thousands of others, by leakage into the water table of a military psychedelic) use the word "bollocks" in what is probably the filthiest limerick ever printed.
  • In The Kane Chronicles, which is G-rated, except for a Narrative Profanity Filter with Carter sometimes, Sadie uses the word "bloody" a lot.
  • Jack Vance innocently named an alien race the Wankh; the resulting book Servants of the Wankh sold quite well in a niche market. For a recent republication he consented to rename them Wannek, irritating at least a few fans because a race that can express a sentence in the overtones of a single chime ought to be monosyllabic.
  • Some of the Warhammer 40,000 novels in The Space Wolf Omnibus seems to have very little cursing other than this.

Live Action TV

  • Spoofed in Thirty Rock: After the supposedly British Phoebe accidentally used an American accent when she got upset and Liz called her on it, Phoebe picked up her British accent again and replied "I don't know what you're on about, you daft wanker."
  • In one episode of Friends, Chandler calls a character a "wank", to which many British viewers react with surprise or disbelief.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer lived and breathed this trope through the character of Spike and occasionally Giles.
    • Giles also repeatedly calls people "pillock," which despite being a mild swear word in the UK, stands out compared to the American characters' cleaner language. Especially given Giles' clipped and somewhat posh phrasing most of the time.
    • Not to mention Spike used that certain hand gesture several times. Probably the director worked under the assumption that no-one outside of the U.K. would know that an outstretched index finger and middle finger do not form the victory sign if the back of the hand is pointing away from the body, in the direction of the viewers. Done this way, it means the same as an outstretched middle finger gesture. Hilarious.
      • And then he put it in the Season Five opening credits.
      • The original "V for Victory" sign, as done by Churchill, was palm inward. Whether the aristocratic Churchill knew what that gesture meant to other classes in England is subject to debate, but he turned it around later in the war. One story ran that Churchill, while visiting troops, would give the palm-out V sign, then, "And this is what we think of Hitler!" turn it around, to great cheers.
    • Then there's the hilarious moment in the episode "Tabula Rasa" where Anya accuses Giles of using a lot of British slang that she doesn't understand. When he argues that she couldn't possibly have heard him say any of them words she mentioned (they had lost their memories at this time), she retorts, "Oh, bugger off, you brolly!" which is a slang term for umbrella. Clearly Anya overestimates her curses.
    • There's a truly startling moment in Angel where Spike instructs Angel to "wank off," the writer apparently believing this is analogous to "piss off." It really isn't. It's commonly believed that Joss knew what was meant. The creators have joked in the commentaries about how they could use language that would never have made it past the censors if not for the fact that it was British, rather than American, obscenity. Although it may have worked well for American broadcast, it somewhat spoiled the UK transmission of the show, which had to cut the "wankers" and the "bollocks" from pre-watershed airings, thus making dialogue occasionally choppy and nonsensical.
    • How about in the flashbacks in "Fool For Love", where a respectable Victorian woman in mixed company uses the word "bloody" twice in rapid succession ("bloody awful poetry"). Eternal Language Freedom, anyone?
      • Well the entire point of that scene was to demonstrate how "William the Bloody" got his name. If people didn't use the word it wouldn't have made much sense at all, would it?
    • Spike is just wonderful for this. He at one point dismisses another character as a "Bloody poof", pronouncing "poof" the way it's spelled...the combination of the surprising harshness/homophobia of the word 'poof' (still used in Britain as a VERY slightly more acceptable variant on "faggot") with the bizarre delivery is hilarious.
    • Sought to be averted, but backfired to hilarious effect, when Anya, then Aud, and Olaf speak Swedish. Apparently everybody was so pleased with the delivery that it was allowed to remain. What it sounds like is beer - mumble, mumble - rabbits -mumble mumble - Baltic -mumble, mumble etc. in modern Swedish. Not to mention the fact that their names at that time would have been Auðr and Óláfr - Áleifr.
  • Subverted in Arrested Development when Michael's British girlfriend refers to him as a pussy and he assumes he's being called a wimp. A voice over explains that in England this is actually a term of endearment. They are later forced to bleep the same word and comment on what a shame it is to have to ruin an adorable moment. And it's not even true; the word means the same thing in England as it does in America. Getting Crap Past the Radar mixed with Refuge in Audacity.
    • This is probably deliberate though, as they use the storyline involving Rita to parody other examples of people having not done the research.
    • Could also be an instance of Fridge Brilliance. Rita is retarded, meaning that mentally she is a child. Therefore, although pussy is by and large an offensive term to adults, a child would only know it as a friendly word to describe a cat.
  • In an episode of iCarly, a one-shot British character calls the main characters hob-knockers at least five times. Only one of them knows what it really means, however, and they don't say it out loud to the viewers.
  • In Leverage, which is otherwise almost entirely devoid of profanity, Sophie Devereaux is introduced in a flashback where Nate shoots her and she snarls, "You wanker!"
    • But let's be honest. What would YOU say if you'd been shot?
  • Ewan McGregor was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno a few years back, and the conversation turned to the V-sign. McGregor was asked to explain the history of it (the false folk etymology based on the English longbowmen at Agincourt), and while doing so he demonstrated it to the entire audience. The audience cheered madly, and McGregor started laughing about how he had just flipped off both live and viewing audiences and was being applauded for doing so. He actually looked rather embarrassed by it.
  • Dinner: Impossible chef Robert Irvine frequently throws out stuff like "bollocks," "bugger," "bloody," and "tosser" and Food Network never bleeps any of it. It's only when he uses profanity that's unsuitable for US TV that they bleep him.
  • In Corner Gas, when Davis feels the need to use British English words ('football') over their Canadian English counterparts ('soccer').

Davis: Thanks for donating the footballs.
Lacey: Well, it's the least I could do for our soccer team; give them some soccer balls, to play soccer with.
Davis: The proper term is 'football'. It's good for the kids to hear some of the British terminology.
Lacey: So what's the British term for a person who uses stupid British terms?
Davis: A wanker.

    • Given the entirely-innocent grin on Davis' face, he likely didn't realize how offensive the word was. Which was probably part of the joke.
  • It's a little jarring, considering the superficially clean nature of MST3K humour, to hear them burst out with the occasional stronger-in-Britain profanity. They use the terms correctly, it's just an unexpected comedy bonus as there's virtually no US profanity in the series.
    • Neil Connery inviting someone to 'kiss my white Scottish arse.'
    • Receptionist at 'Nirvana Village' doppling centre: "Your kind has to take what you can get." "And what's that?" "Bollocks!"
  • In Weird Science, Lisa once used 'wank' to mean any pointless pastime. "Then you can wank to your heart's content. Wank, wank, wank."


  • On LoveLine, Adam Carolla once pondered if it was okay to say "shite" on the radio at 10 PM pacific (it is, or at least it was when he said it).
  • A succession of radio commercials with an Austin Powers tie-in had him openly talking about "shagging" every thirty seconds, apparently without any notion of what the Belgium it means.

Tabletop Games

  • Having researched Victorian thieves' cant enough to create a glossary but not enough to know which words were still in use, the Dungeons & Dragons setting Planescape also included "berk" on its list of slang. To make matters worse, most of the books were written in-universe style, slathering virtually every character's speech with cant, and that was the writers' single favorite word. Most Brits don't know what berk derives from, so it does sometimes get used casually in the UK as well, but it is still a reasonably strong term (equivalent to "moron") even if you don't know its history.[1]
    • Though the few still-in-use terms included in the Cant were jarring enough (Blood and Sodding being the most jarring) the use of the word Pike for "move on" was ill-advised, since the only derivation still in use is "Pikey", which is rather racist
      • Strangely enough, "pike" is still in use in Australia and New Zealand (where it isn't offensive at all, and means "to cancel at the last minute on a social engagement"), along with "piker" (one who is notorious for doing so). "Pikey" is however completely unknown (or at least it was, until Snatch).


  • The term Fan Wank: There's usually discord between it and the tone of the environment in which it's being used. This gets even more discordant when someone describes a claim as being Wankable. And of course, if you know what it means you could take it as a compliment (it's used as one in porn reviews).
    • That apparently metaphorical meaning of 'wank' seems to have overtaken the literal British meaning on the Internet. Apparently alternate history's full of wankers.
    • However, the term Fan Wank often has a more literal meaning when used by Brits. In the Doctor Who fandom, for instance, Fan Wank is used to mean "Continuity references put in the script to get the fans off", as if the writers were tossing the fanbase off.

Video Games

  • In Recettear, Charme, The Lady Thief, repeatedly introduces herself as a "professional Berk." One wonders whether Carpe Fulgar knew exactly where that quaint colloquialism came from.[2]
  • Sonic Rush Series Adventure got a 12 rating in the UK partly because the (American) translators gave Marine the Raccoon, who speaks in an exaggerated Australian accent, a line involving the word "bugger." It still got a G rating in Australia, because Australians tend to take swearing much more in stride.
    • Sonic 3 had a a tank-like, insectoid badnik named in the manual as Buggernaut.
    • The European box art for Sonic Heroes has the titular hedgehog holding up three fingers to symbolise the three-character teams used in the game. The three fingers in question are his thumb, index and middle fingers, from the back. The American box art doesn't show his hand.
  • Mario Party 8 (seen above): The line "Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic!" in the Shy Guy's Perplex Express board game initially caused the game to be recalled in the UK, where "spastic" is seen as an insulting term for the disabled. It was changed to "erratic" over there.
  • The GBA game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga features a race of snails named 'winkles'. Nothing wrong with that in America - 'winkle' is simply a shortened form of 'periwinkle', which is a snail. But in the southern UK, 'winkle' is also an old-fashioned childish word for a male organ. And this is a game primarily aimed at kids.
  • Super Mario RPG has Croco refer to Mario as a "persistent bugger" at one point; when Europe finally got SMRPG on the Virtual Console, it got changed to "persistent pest" to avoid PEGI giving it a 12+ rating.
  • Reverse example. In the DS version of Dragon Quest V, Prince Harry tells the main character, before his wedding to not "cock it up." Cue the player making innuendos about the wedding night. Although, considering Prince Harry's choice of souvenir for his own wedding (he has musical instruments made so he can gleefully present the player with his very own *coughcough* "marital organ,") this one might be intentional.
  • Jak and Daxter The Precursor Legacy features a fisherman with a stereotypical pseudo-Bristolian seafarers' accent. He describes unwanted fish as "buggers". The game got off with a 3+ ("general") rating.
  • (Perhaps) unintentional: Shagohod. Makes perfect sense if you understand the Russian name. If you don't, you might only pick up on the first few letters...
  • Subverted by Ratchet and Clank. The American subtitle of the third game is Up Your Arsenal; for some reason, they decided to drop the subtitle for the European release. It's almost certain they knew what they were doing given the subtitles of the other games, such as Going Commando (which also didn't make it across the Atlantic without a rename), and Quest for Booty (which did).
    • And the previous game got away with a character saying 'arse'. However, the third game is careful to avoid the trope. A character uses the word 'bollocks', but it's censored.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit 2 fell into this trope in Britain, due to Jazz' brother being called Spaz. "Spazzy" in American English simply means "zany" or "crazy", which definitely describes him, but anywhere else it would be like naming him "Retard."
  • An interesting version that's actually not with American and British English but Japanese and American English happens in the little known PSP game PoPoLoCrois. A monster fought very early in the game is called "Pecker". Well yeah, it is a bird after all, except guess what "Pecker" means in English? It's a slang word for a penis. It's unknown whether the game is rated "T" in North America for this reason or because there are some rather violent scenes.
  • On Team Fortress 2, the phrase "bloody" is pretty common in the vocabulary of Demoman and Sniper. Sniper is also keen on using the word "wanker." The game is rated Mature (17 and up), but the other characters keep to milder language, in keeping with the lighthearted tone of the game (the strongest words they use are "ass" and "son of a bitch").
  • The Korean-developed Alliance of Valiant Arms has one of the EU side's taunts vocalized as "Go ahead, shoot some more, you bloody tossers!" One can suppose it was the British voice actor ad-libbing a bit, as the other English taunts use somewhat more benign words like "rascals" and "cowards".
  • The manual for Crash Team Racing offers advice for avoiding missile attacks by saying that, if the player is, 'being tailed by one of these buggers,' it's a good idea to drop something behind you. Could be Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Chrono Trigger features enemies called Buggers (possibly a Shout-Out by the translators to the Ender's Game example, but as they are robotic and accompanied by enemies called "Debuggers" it is likely to be a coding reference and unintentionally funny). The Nintendo DS release had a new translation that changed the enemies' names to Verminator and Deverminator respectively since that release was the first time the game made it across the Atlantic. The new names seem to imply that they're rogue pest control robots.
    • Non-offensive example - the band of carpenters are referred to as "blokes" by their boss. Obviously the translator has heard that "blokes" = "guys" - however, when an English-speaking player sees "Come on, you blokes!" it stands out like a sore thumb just if he had greeted a group of women with "Come on, you females!"
      • Perhaps they've just been hanging out in Australia, where that would be the primary usage of the word (along with "What are you blokes drinking?").
      • It stands out when writers have a British character using it in the way 'mate', 'pal' or 'chum' would usually be used. British people don't use 'bloke' in that way.
      • These days, particularly in Australia, they are interchangeable.
    • Early on in the game, one particularly disgruntled character will tell you to "take your bloody time!".
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 is almost completely devoid of profanity, which makes it surprising when an Imperial officer acknowledges a particular Jedi Master with what seems to be a sarcastic, 'Yoda? Bloody wonderful' (if it's not 'bloody', it's something similar enough to be a euphemism).
  • The Australian versions of the New Play Control Pikmin games change the name of the Pollywog and Wollywog to Pollyhop and Wollyhop, respectively. ("Wog" is a slur for Mediterranean people, and the words "pollywog" and "wollywog" are evocative of "Gollywog", which are offensive caricatures of black people.)
  • British players of Escape from Monkey Island have been rather taken aback upon hearing the usually family-friendly Guybrush Threepwood describe a group of termites as "little buggers."
  • Portal 2 features Wheatley, a personality core with a pronounced British accent and vocabulary to match. Later in the game, when things stop going his way, he begins tossing around "bloody" an awful lot for a game rated E10 in the U.S. (One must also however consider that Wheatley was made in the United States in-universe, so it could just be stupidity on the part of Aperture.)
  • Any number of online swearfilters for games: take this list of banned words (rather obviously NSFW) from Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, which includes typos and foreign language swearing, but not bugger, arse, bloody, wanker, sod, shag...
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution's Missing Link DLC, being made outside the UK, shows the development team isn't too experienced with the lingo; an Irish character comments on a weapon being "the bollocks" (read: slang for very good), which, most likely to the confusion of whomever wrote the subtitle script, has compromised with "bullocks".
  • Rocket Racoon in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 gets away with calling people 'wankers' just by having a British accent. Which is strange, since one of his other taunts gets censored to "Flark-Face".
    • Actually, the term "Flark" is commonly used in the comics by Marvel's cosmic heroes including Nova and Star-Lord. Whether or not it's supposed to be a swear in the cosmic culture or a case of Gosh Dang It to Heck is not clearly defined.
  • The Banjo-Kazooie games contain a lot of racy Britishisms that slipped past ESRB censors and got an E rating. Note that given Rare's sense of humor this was almost certainly on purpose.

Web Original

  • Played straight and averted by Survival of the Fittest, as some British characters are played by British handlers themselves, while others do tend to lapse into this.
  • Bakura in Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series swears one bloody hell of a lot. You wankers.
    • Invoked since the maker of the videos actually IS British.
  • While swearing is very infrequent and mild in the Homestar Runner universe, in sb_email 22, Strong Bad receives an e-mail from a fan from England. Since the e-mail concluded with "Thank You," Strong Bad told the sender he would sound more English if he used something in its place like "Cheers," "Cheerio," or "Nevermind the Bullocks." Of course, knowing Strong Bad he probably didn't know or care he was being offensive, or perhaps thought he was but wasn't, since the British term is 'bollocks', and 'bullocks' refers to cattle.
    • Swearing is mild and rare except for the fact that the use of the word "crap" was a running joke in some of the Strong Bad e-mails.
  • Linkara once, "borrowed a phrase from the British" to describe people as 'twats', but pronounced it 't-wot' - to rhyme with hot, instead of 't-wat' to rhyme with hat, cue many confused British people wondering what the hell a twot is and why it's apparently British.

Western Animation

  • Happened in The Simpsons several times - Bart has used the word "wanker" several times, and more egregiously, Groundskeeper Willie used the word "shite" to describe a tractor. You'd think people would notice that it's just one almost silent letter away from its American counterpart. (Sky 1 apparently didn't notice this until after their first airing of this episode - unsurprisingly it's cut from future screenings, and as Channel 4 runs the series at 6pm it's safe to say it's snipped there as well.)
    • One episode featured a Sex Pistols parody including a song consisting entirely of "<Noun> is bollocks!"; for comparison, this is essentially equivalent to "bullshit." When the episode was aired on Sky in the UK it was the first Simpsons episode ever to premier after the watershed.
    • Possibly lampshaded in an episode where Homer is forced to ensure the safety of a screaming caterpillar taking up refuge in their garden. After making it clear several times he wishes to kill it but knows he can't, Homer accidentally (almost) kills it. The judge then sentences him to community service for (among other things) "... aggravated buggery."
    • The episode Wild Barts Can't be Broken features a spoof of classic English horror films, which centres on a group of children being able to tell the adults of the village their secrets. One of the children accuses two men of rogering a woman. That scene is uncensored on Channel 4.
    • The episode "Trash of the Titans" features the Irish band U2, and repeated use of the word 'wankers'.
    • It's gone right over Skinner's head at least once.

Bart: Oh, come on, everyone knows the first day of school's a total wank.
Skinner: If by wank you mean educational fun, then stand back, it's wanking time.

      • All the kids assembled break into laughter, obviously.
  • Family Guy have also used to the 'w' word - when Stewie makes it to the set of Jolly Farm Revue and is told to "Piss off, you grotty little wanker!" Although Family Guy being the tasteful show it is, they probably knew what was being said.
    • Almost certainly the latter, to judge by previous examples of FG fun with Anglicisms:

Cleveland: The only British idiom I know is that "fag" means "cigarette."
Peter: Well, someone tell this "cigarette" to shut up.

    • Stewie (who has a fake British accent because he's a villain), uses both British and American words. Cue hilarity when he vainly refers to his backside as his "fanny". Again, the writers could well have known what it meant in Britain. They may have even been using the dual meaning to joke about Stewie's sexuality...
  • In the Daria episode "Depth Takes a Holiday", the Holiday Spirit of Guy Fawkes Day punctuated nearly everything he said with the word 'Bollocks!'; "wanker" and "tossers" also make an appearance. As a result, the entire episode was (mercifully, one imagines) cut from the UK presentation of the series. The fact that the episode played mostly uncut on Noggin, when the song 'Gah God Damn It!' from "Daria! The Musical" was removed, is the source of quite a few snickers by those few US fans who were in the know.
  • In the Sam and Max Freelance Police cartoon, Sam once had a rocket launcher in his back pocket, sticking out all the way past his head, and asked Max if his pants made his arsenal look big.
  • One episode of The Powerpuff Girls featured the Mayor catching a flying object and exuberantly yelling "I've got it, I've got the little bugger!" The first part of the line was apparently looped when it aired in Europe.
  • Animaniacs: Amusingly, Wakko, who speaks with a Liverpudlian accent, has used the term "fanny" a few times.
  • Mighty Max had an episode featuring swarms of killer insects in which Max regularly refers to them by the term "bugger". It's not clear whether the creators wished to imply that he was a closet Orson Scott Card fan (unlikely given his Book Dumb tendencies), were Getting Crap Past the Radar or genuinely didn't know what it meant in the UK. Hilarity Ensued when the show was picked up for syndication over here and transmitted without anyone bothering to watch it all the way through first...
  • This clip from The Flintstones where Wilma says bollocks.
  • Transformers Generation 1 episode "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide" opens with a man with a British accent saying "I feel like an absolute bloody fool."

Real Life

  • BBC America also ran an advert that went "Bugger. Roger. Wanker. Shite. Find out what they mean before the censors do."
  • "Bloody" is not generally considered an offensive swear word. Police forces in Alberta and Saskatchewan ran a series of ads with the slogan, "If you drink and drive, you're a bloody idiot!". Exactly the same campaign was used in Australia and New Zealand, but not in the UK, where the word would've seemed slightly more offensive and risky. (In fact, in Canada the ads drew protests not about the word "bloody" but the word "idiot".)
    • In contemporary times, "bloody" can be an emphatic way of saying "very", with little residual offensive value. Ironically, it's so inoffensive now that using it often sounds like a bowdlerization of worse swearwords. "Bugger", in modern Britain, is mostly harmless in much the same way (but "bugger" really really does not mean the same thing in the UK as it does in the US. See also "fanny").
  • Real life examples abound in Asia as a result of the practice of Gratuitous English. The sight of a demure girl in a T-shirt reading "A Fuck" (not just "fuck", not "the fuck" but "A fuck") is pretty jarring. It's rumoured that there are hospitals in China where the gynaecological ward is labeled (in huge letters) "Cunt Examination."
    • Also, the time when Aya Hirano wore a T-shirt reading "Did you cum twice too?" in a concert.
    • The DVD of the Korean movie Tae Guk Gi includes an interview with one of the special effects supervisors. He's wearing a t-shirt which says "D-Squared Fucking."
    • The (extensive) rules and regulations for Shanghai municipal park, prominently displayed on signs by the entrances, include the instruction that visitors should not "urinate or shit" anywhere in the grounds.
    • Like the above examples of Americans using British swear words, most younger Asians know the meaning of these words (more or less), but find them cute or funny because, as foreign words, they don't have the same emotional impact. Westerners are brought up thinking the words are offensive; Asians are not. Europeans as well. At least one European T-shirt company makes child sized T-shirts that say "Fuck You". Some words just aren't as offensive.
    • Many Japanese people, particularly young ones, are aware from movies that the middle finger gesture is rude in the United States - they just don't realize HOW rude, and will happily throw it around as if it was just a gesture of wacky mild defiance. Manga and anime characters are sometimes drawn making the gesture as well, with the same not-meant-to-be-offensive context, which can be very jarring for American manga readers who aren't used to that kind of thing.
    • The same story happens even in Europe. In Russia, for example, a pitched battle still rages in translators' circles about whether English profanities have the same level of obscenity as Russian ones, with lot of seemingly reasonable and well-qualified people insisting that they are significantly milder. The idea of English swearwords being indeed milder can be best supported by the fact that most of the "harsher" Russian swear words have never been used uncensored in mainstream media, sans R-Rated DVD releases of movies like Wanted or Kickass. To a foreign ear, English swear words sound inoffensive,leading to things like "fuck" being a borrowed mild swear in Russian.
      • 'Same in both Germany and the Netherlands.
  • Many English-language publications in the USA are quite happy to print the offensive Spanish word cojones (often misspelled as cajones) as a euphemism for "balls." An owner of a faux-Mexican eatery got away with calling his place C. O. Jones for about a year before anyone caught on.
    • Also pendejo ("limpdick") and cabron (literally "randy old goat" but somewhere between son-of-a-bitch and mother-f***er in severity). Nobody has managed to get the Ch-word (which only exists in Mexican and possibly Cuban Spanish) past the radar, but doubtless someone will try.
  • Some years ago, a US network purchased an Australian tv show (The Flying Doctors) but required certain dialogue changes made - specifically, when a young boy describes his injuries as hurting 'like buggery'. In Australian, although most people are aware of the actual meaning of the word, it's rarely used that way or censored when used in other ways. The comedy troupe Doug Anthony All Stars got considerable mileage out of variations on this joke:

Richard injures himself
Paul or Tim: Does that hurt, mate?
Richard: Yeah, it hurts like buggery.
Tim and Paul in chorus: No Richard, nothing hurts like buggery...

  • This wheelchair caused considerable offense when it was released in the UK because of the word "Spazz" on it.
    • It originally referred to 'Spastic', which means someone with a particular developmental disability. Much like the similar epithet "retard," it has become somewhat divorced from its origins; and the perceived offensiveness of the word depends greatly on crowd and context. Some will find it highly offensive, regardless of the use, and others hardly bat an eye.
      • It originally meant "prone to spasms," for any reason.
      • Within medical circles it still does, although the use is context dependent as mentioned above; You would say somebody has a "spastic paralysis" or a "spastic limb" but you'd never say that they were "a spastic", this mirrors the way that referring to people as "a [medical condition]" has become a lot less acceptable
      • Either way the Spastic Society had to rename itself as Scope as their word was taken over to mean "moron" (which itself formerly meant a mental age of 8-12).
  • Similar to "spastic" above, "retard" is considered a pretty strong pejorative in the UK whereas in US media it still seems to get thrown around with a fair degree of regularity
    • ...although Sarah Palin made an effort to change that.
  • In some Spanish translations of children's (and even preschool) shows, they use words like idiota and estúpido which, at least in part of Mexico, were certainly not words you would want children saying. They did this because they were direct translations of the words in English, which were not bad words.
    • They're not really words one wants small children saying in English, either—there's a reason kindergartners consider "stupid" to be the other "S-word".
  • Due to years of enforced squeaky-cleanliness by the Franco regime, there was an enormous backlash of profanity on Spanish television during the transition to democracy. This has led to Spaniards being comfortable hearing "joder" being dropped left and right in early evening sitcoms. Exporting them to Latin America, on the other hand...
  • Not a particularly offensive example, but Twitter amused a few Brits when it was launched, "twit" being a very mild term for "idiot".
    • "Twit" is also equally known as a mild form of "idiot" or "ditz" in the States. One can only assume that Twitter banked on the fact that "twit" isn't actually used often on the other side of the pond.
      • Personal experience suggests it is at least considered more offensive in Canada than it is in England.
        • "Twit" isn't used very much up here, but it's still fairly mild.
      • On the other hand, given that about 99% of Twitter content would qualify, maybe they were in on the joke ahead of time.
      • "Twitter" also means (or at least meant) to rabbit on inanely without really engaging a brain, Yours or anyone elses. ie What are you twittering on about now?.
    • Of course, this has also led to particularly useless or stupid Twitter users being referred to as "Twatters" in the US, in part because it's a mild swear compared to that other word.
  • Brat Camp, a documentary about British delinquents being sent to an American disciplinary camp, had one of the teenagers in question making use of this, explaining to the camera crew that they "Don't know what the word 'bollocks' means, so don't tell them".
    • They do know. It's just not used as profanity here (it's basically just used, mainly by older people, in its literal sense, and almost exclusively of animals). Saying "oh bollocks" sounds, to Americans, like saying "Oh pizzle" or "oh phallus".
  • Often satirized on British magazine TV shows such as That's Life, which sometimes featured foreign products which accidentally fell into this trope—such as (Danish) Bollux washing powder. Such a pity that was never marketed in the UK, imagine the campaign; "To all your tough laundry stains, say Bollux".
  • French from France and Quebec French have various dialectal differences. When the Premier of Quebec visited France in 2009, a French member of parliament thought that it would be a friendly gesture to welcome him with a nice, informal Quebec phrase. His staff found a phrase online meaning "I hope you're not too tired" (from your trip.) Unfortunately, it was J'espère que vous n'avez pas la plotte à terre, literally meaning "I hope you don't have your cunt on the ground." The story (in French).
  • "Sacré bleu!" in English-language works is a silly, meaningless expression that a stereotypical character will utter in order to demonstrate his or her Frenchness. It means "holy blue" and could be a veiled reference to the sky-blue clothing traditionally worn by Mary (the mother of Jesus) in Roman Catholic illustrations. However, dictionaries explain it as being a bowdlerization, with "bleu" substituted for "Dieu" (God), occurring also in old phrases like "parbleu" ("by blue") or "morbleu" ("blue's death"). Such phrases are thus comparable to English phrases like "zounds" (from "God's wounds") or "dagnabitt" ("God damn it").
    • Interestingly, "Sacrement!" and "Tabarnak!" [3] and other French Catholic curses are still used in Quebec. It's common in English Canadian children's shows to have the French character say them as a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar, since they aren't swear words when translated into English.
    • Also popular in Quebec in the 90s was t-shirts which contained the phrase "ouate de phoque" which messily translates to "cotton of seal" but in English sounds like the familiar WTF.
  • There is a chain of themed pubs (traditional Irish apparently) in Australia called Pug Mahones. Wonder how many people know that 'pugmahones (póg mo thóin)' is Irish Gaelic for 'Kiss my arse'? There is probably as much if not more Irish ancestry in Australia than English. Plus, kiss my arse is pretty mild for Australians. And with this being Australia, it's more than likely it's entirely intentional.
    • It's also the derivation of the band name "The Pogues", originally "Pogue Mahone". They shortened it when BBC airplay became a likelihood, as it was pointed out that there are Irish-speakers who listen.
  • One of the sponsors of the 2010 Olympics was a Canadian clothing company called Roots (a longtime Olympics and NHL supplier, and Canada's answer to The Gap) . One wonders why the Australian team seemed so interested in wearing their stuff...
    • On a similar note, in the promotional trailers for the Yogi Bear movie in Australia, they left in the voiceover saying "It's time to root for the bears."
  • The word 'twat' in some parts of Britain is just as offensive and has the same meaning as the C-word, but in Scotland it is often used as a marginally-more-offensive form of "twit" (as in "you complete twat"). When a scientist was quoted as saying anyone who thought the Large Hadron Collider was going to destroy the world was "being a twat," it was rather amusing to note the difference in how many letters of the word, if any, various newspapers chose to censor.
  • It's also worth mention that "Twat" is actually a less extreme epithet than the "C-word", even in Britain (with "fanny" being far, far less offensive, school-child version of both) however none of these words is considered as bad as it is in the U.S., where calling someone "female genitalia" is potentially grounds for divorce proceedings to take place.
    • It's also worth mentioning that to twat something means to hit it extremely hard in some regions of the UK. Hence, all the original Red Dwarf videos were rated PG, except for series III part 1, which was rated 15. This was due to the episode Polymorph containing the line from a Lister temporarily devoid of fear, talking about an emotion-devouring shape-shifting monster, "Well I say, let's get out there and twat it!"
    • For reference, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a 'twat' as a 'small gap or forest clearing'. So now you know.
    • Note that it's usually pronounced to rhyme with 'hat', but can be pronounced to rhyme with 'hot'.
      • Pronouncing it to rhyme with "hot" would appear to be an American thing, from personal experience.
  • "Fanny" in American English is an old-fashioned euphemism for "buttocks", and is generally not considered offensive at all. In British English, however, "fanny" is a crude term for female genitalia, it and words like it (minge and so forth) carry the same impact as "pussy" in American.
    • In Australia "fanny" is the generally accepted word that children use for vagina, much like "willy" or "doodle" for a penis. The fact that it's offensive makes its use in Australia all the funnier.
      • It's the same way in British English, really. I have no idea what the above Troper is talking about. Fanny does not carry the same weight as minge/pussy in the UK at all.
    • This lead to a wonderful moment in the '90s when (then) Radio One DJ Steve Wright was forced to explain on his afternoon show that "in America 'fanny' means 'bottom'" after playing the radio edit of Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" (which, of course, contains the line "jumped on the big fat fanny" when Ice Cube is relating some "fun" he had with a girl).
    • Bizarrely, the use in the Title Theme Tune for The Nanny was left uncensored in Australia. Of course, the mental images provoked by the line "out on her fanny" become fairly bizarre...
    • Fanny was also at one time quite a popular name for girls and dogs. This has led to generations of juvenile sn****ring when 'classic' literature comes up with lines like "Will no one come and play with my little Fanny?".
  • Fox Sports showed a lot of interest in British sports by being one of the first outlets to report on English footballer Wayne Rooney's plan to leave Manchester United. Just as impressive was their choice of article name - 'Later, wankers.' It was changed, but British papers and panel shows had a field day.
  • Hebrew has rather few original common cursewords, often using loanwords from Russian and Arabic, and are perceived as far milder in Hebrew (actually, only elderly people in Israel would really frown upon cursewords nowadays). For instance, the common phrase kus emek (literally 'yo' mamma's cunt' in colloquial Arabic, used as a very strong version of 'fuck!' or 'fuck you!') could startle Arabs but is seen as a frequent term of displeasure for Hebrew, albeit somewhat crude (somewhat like 'damnit'). Similarily the most common Russian curseword in Hebrew, k yebyona mat´, literally meaning 'to the fucking mother', is pronounced kibinimat in Hebrew, with the vast majority of native Hebrew speakers entirely unaware of its meaning and using it as an equivalent of 'kus emek', or as the equivalent of English 'Hell' or 'to Hell' ("send them kibinimat"/"to kibinimat" is like a crude version of 'to Hell with them', and 'go kibinimat' is, well, go to Hell).
    • Israelis have also picked up on English swearwords, but they don't carry the same offensive connotation as they do in the United States or Canada. It's not uncommon to hear a little Israeli boy say "fuck" or "shit" with no one batting an eye.
    • Other popular Arabic curses include 'In-al dinac' (curse your religion) and 'Tiz a nabi' (ass of the prophet). Both are offensive to Muslims and used by Jews without understanding the true meaning. In particular, the latter is used to denote a forsaken, far away place.
    • Another pearl is the Ladino/Spanish/Italian 'De mi culo' (literally 'my ass'). Israelis somehow decided this means corrupt/incompetent adjective. In one notable instance, a parliament member called her own party that...
  • In Germany, English curse words are used quite often and are usually considered to be less offensive than the German equivalent. So any German who visits the US should remember not to say shit or fuck as they're used to doing. Also Germany is in general more relaxed concerning swearing, so they will rarely be censored. Tho only place where this happens is on MTV when they show subbed American shows like Pimp My Car.
    • Same goes for The Netherlands; shit and fuck are thrown around willy nilly, but "Kut" which only ranks medium on the swear-0-meter, probably won't be said on a family show.
      • Hehe, Willy.
  • In Switzerland, English curse words are used also quite often, but I wouldn't say that they're considered less offensive than german ones. It's just about the same, and nobody would consider them too offensive for TV or Radio anyway. Apart from the usual german ones such as "Scheiss" (shit), "Pisse" (piss), "Seckel" (scrotum) or "verfickt" (fucked) There are some words very specific to switzerland: "Huere" (Whore) which is used as intensifier as in "Huere Scheiss". Another intensifier is "Rüdig" (Scabietic). They can be used in positive context too: "Rüdig Geil" (And "Geil" of course literally means "Horny", but is used to mean "cool" or "grand").

Apart from those sex-related ones, there's a plethora of religion-related ones like "Gopderdammi"/"Gottverdammt" (god damn me/god damned).

    • US-American exchange students are often quite a bit baffled to hear things like "fucked up" in swiss lecture halls (used by the professor, of course).
  • In general, most Europeans are more comfortable with swearing than Americans.
  • In an accidental aversion of this trope, English-language works of fiction will often have a stereotypical French-speaking character shout "Zut alors!" What they don't realize is that this expression almost literally means....GoshDangItToHeck.
    • "Zut alors!" is more of a cross between "Oh Man!" and "I've had enough!" and is the kind of profanity you would expect from first graders
  • In Norway, the word "skitt" is a slightly informal word for "dirt" (the verb form, "skitten" is the common term for "dirty"), but can also be used as an extremely mild expression of anger (we're talking about as offensive as saying "oh no" here), as well as a very mild insult typically directed at physical objects (around the level of calling something a "stupid thing"). The word is pronounced exactly the same way as the English "shit". Cue not-very-English-savvy Norwegians picking up the word "shit" from English television and movies and assuming it's as inoffensive as the Norwegian word, then trying to use it in English-speaking countries.
    • Also, "homo" is a common shortform for the far more stiff "homofil" (homosexual), and also an informal, though not rude, word for "gay man". Assuming the same is the case in English-speaking countries is not good for your health.
  • While the horns are used as a warding/cursing gesture in most latin countries, in 'some' of them (mainly Brazil and Italy) they can also mean "your wife is cheating on you". Incidentally in some latin countries (mainly Brazil and Italy, notice a trend here?) "your wife is cheating" is considered one of the worst possible insults, and in the wrong company can easily get you stabbed for the trouble. (Which, in turn, makes the trope played quite literally).
    • Sales of Spider-Man comics must be pretty dire in those countries.
  • "Where the bloody hell are you?" Australian tourism ad. Banned in American (for hell) and Britain (for bloody).
  • In Aussie slang, the word "root" apparently is somewhat offensive. One website describes it as "a synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses" and uses some examples including: "I feel rooted;" "this washing machine is rooted;" "(s)he's a good root." This created a pretty funny story after the 2008 Olympics, when Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won the gold medal in a pretty amazing come-from-behind (no pun intended) victory. He was apparently pretty amused and surprised when he heard a bunch of American fans saying "they were rooting for him."
  • The N-word has made its way to Bosnia through rap videos on MTV where black people throw the term around casually as a term for friends. Cue Bosnian youths greeting each other with "Vatz-ap mah nig**" and some very pissed off tourists. Also South Slavic profanities are infamously crude, creative and ubiquitous, so most English swear-words are barely acknowledged as such.
    • It reeeeaaaaally doesn't help that the word seems to have developed a meaning akin to "my brother" or "my friend" with no racial loading outside English-speaking areas. This can be extremely awkward...
  • Romanian language has made (over centuries) the slang word for a Jew (jidan, borrowed from Slavs) to turn into a rather mild and acceptable insult, due to endless repetition in informal speech and jokes. It has similar meaning to the closely-related word yid as used in modern English language and it's just as offensive.
  • Many half-decent tries at imitating a Jamaican accent depend heavily on an irate tone and liberal uses of the word "ras claat" or "bombo claat" without the speaker actually understanding what they are saying. For all intents and purposes, the speaker is calling the object of their annoyance a used tampon. This insult is (for obvious reasons) hardly ever used on a daily basis, being reserved for the worst sort of people; by hilarious contrast, it most probably appears more times in imitations of Jamaican speech (because of how strange it sounds to outsiders) than in Jamaican speech itself.
  • An American actor was being interviewed live on BBC Breakfast, and used the word 'Wanker', obviously oblivious to its actual meaning, presumably having heard it being used by the British actors/crew he was working with as a greeting.
  • Used Brilliantly by an American prisoner of war in Vietnam to show his cruel treatment by the guards. They 'interviewed' him about conditions in his prisoner of war camp and made it very clear that if he didn't say he was well treated they would punish him. When they photographed him to send the photo along with his statement back to the US he gave the photographer a Double Middle Finger. The guards, not familiar with the meaning of the gesture sent the image back to the US. His middle fingers were airbrushed out and the image was used as on the front page of Life Magazine (seen here).
  1. "Berk" is Cockney rhyming slang, where a shortened version of a phrase is slang for what the phrase rhymes with. It's short for "Berkshire (or "Berkeley") hunt." Yeah.
  2. While drunk, she even goes so far as to say that she is Recette's personal berk.
  3. sacrament and tabernacle