The Meaning Of Curse Words All Depends On Who’s Saying Them


This Kim/Taylor/Kanye tea is life right now. It’s everywhere and one of the things at the center of the issue is whether Swift was cool with Kanye referring to her as “that bitch.” I’m not gonna lie, I’m fully #TeamKimye on this one – but I’m not going there right now. Instead, I started thinking about the word at the center of the situation.

Back in February, when this entire shitshow started, Yeezy unleashed a string of tweets that included this:

Now, I’m not sure if this is true or not, but Kanye’s tweet, like most things Kanye does, got me thinking: this is actually pretty applicable to most words that girls are called. I mean, the meaning definitely depends on who is dropping the word (along with their tone, I suppose). So, wouldn’t it be much easier if we had a dictionary of sorts to break it down?


Origin: Everyone knows that bitch literally means a female dog, but you probably didn’t know the reason it was an affront. When it was first used as an insult, it was meant to imply that the lady in question was slutty, alluding to the fact that female dogs have lots of puppies… like tons of puppies is a bad thing.

Today’s Definitions
When you say it: Used by ladies as a term of absolute self-empowerment.
Example: “One bad bitch.”

When a dude says it: Usually refers to a woman who has done him wrong.
Example: “That bitch took my favorite t-shirt when she left this morning.”

When a random woman says it: Usually used when jealousy is at play.
Example: “Ugh, look at that bitch’s Louis Vuitton/Louboutins/hot boyfriend.”

When a friend says it: Affectionate term used between friends, who know each other well enough to understand it’s being said in love.
Example: “Hurry up and get over here with the wine, you bitch.”


Origin: Whore has pretty much meant the same thing from the beginning. It goes back to the Old English “hore,” which meant, quite simply, a prostitute or a harlot. But who made it popular may surprise you. Shakespeare used “whore” nearly 100 times in his plays, including Othello, Hamlet and King Lear. Totes missed that in high school.

Today’s Definitions
When you say it: Used when you are attempting to convince others you are sexually adventurous, when you’re more than likely a prude.
Example: “Ugh, I’m such a whore,” you say when you only give him an over-the-pants hand job.

When a dude says it: He wants to convince his friends that he was able to convince you to be more sexually adventurous than you actually are.
Example: “She’s such a whore,” he says when you only give him an over-the-pants hand job.

When a random woman says it: A tool women use to convince themselves a guy only likes that other girl because she puts out.
Example: “He’s only taking Rachel to formal because she’s a total whore.”

When a friend says it: Term of sarcastic endearment.


Origin: Slut’s origins are actually quite upfront as well, coming from a word meaning a woman of “doubtful morals.” But fun fact: at one point, it also meant rags dipped in lard and set on fire in place of candles. Of the two, I’d rather people think I have loose morals than compare me to lard, though.

Today’s Definitions
When you say it: Used as a reverse psychology technique when you are attempting to convince others you are not as sexually adventurous as you actually are.
Example: “I wish I could be more slutty and sleep with randos, but that’s just not who I am.”

When a dude says it: Only acceptable when you are in bed and find his use of the word a turn-on.
Example: “You’re such a dirty slut.” (Wait, am I the only one who’s into that?)

When a random woman says it: Said by a woman who is jealous of your ability to be scantily clad and look hot (not skanky) and/or successfully flirt with guys without having to send a nude to get them to text you.
Example: “That girl Becky is such a slut in that crop top and short shorts.”

When a friend says it: Used when she is secretly judging your sexual escapades, but wants to appear like she’s joking.
Example: “Oh my god, you are such a slut. Hahahahaha. But really…have you had an STD test lately?”


Origin: Obviously, cunt is derogatory word for female genitalia, but did you know that the Compact Oxford English Dictionary also is defined as “an unpleasant or stupid person” (of either gender)? Or that it’s actually a positive word in England, New Zealand and Australia? So if you’re traveling overseas and a guy calls you a “good cunt,” please refrain from kneeing him in the balls.

Today’s Definitions
When you say it: I’ve legitimately never used cunt in reference to myself because there’s something about the word that just bugs me, so I’ve got nothing.
Example: Sorriez, you’re on your own here, ya cunt.

When a dude says it: There’s no way this isn’t meant to be totally degrading. If you aren’t overseas and a guy calls you a cunt, he’s an ass, who deserves to be kneed in the balls.
Example: “That cunt over there wouldn’t give me her number.”

When a random woman says it: You have somehow seriously offended a stranger. How, I don’t know, but perhaps you need to reign in your resting bitch face before you manage to insult all of the women that frequent your favorite bar (not to mention the waitresses/bartenders).
Example: “That cunt at table four just ordered her fifth mojito. I may spit in it.”

When a friend says it: The only one on this list that can’t be made affectionate when it comes from the lips of a friend. At the very best, she’s your frenemy; at worst, she’s a back-stabbing bitch (and I’m not using bitch in a nice way). The only question is whether you deserve her scorn or not.
Example: “That cunt Jennifer texted my ex behind my back.” (You def deserve it.)

So maybe Kanye’s right… certain words do mean different things coming from different people.

Image via Ovidiu Hrubaru /

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Jenna Crowley

Jenna used to be known as 2NOTBrokeGirls, but then one of the girls actually went broke, so she's struck out on her own. Jenna spends her free time saving the world, one sorority girl at a time (usually while wearing yoga pants), questioning why she decided to get a doctorate, and documenting her love of all things cheese related. You can ask her anything you want about football, using your boobs to get what you want, and pizza at @JennaLCrowley on Twitter or via email at

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