More sweary maps from Stan Carey

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Stan Carey, "Sweary maps 2: Swear harder", Strong Language (A Sweary Blog About Swearing), 3/22/2016:

You may remember Jack Grieve’s swear maps of the USA. Now he has a nifty new web app called Word Mapper that lets anyone with an internet connection make use of the raw data behind those maps.

Being a mature grown-up, I put on my @stronglang hat and went searching for swears and euphemisms. What emerged were some intriguing – and visually very appealing – patterns of rude word use in contemporary discourse.

My personal favorite is DANG:

But you should read the whole thing.


  1. BlueLoom said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 9:37 am

    Interesting: "dang" and the n-word pretty much overlap. So in the southern states you really shouldn't use something as strong as "damn" but it's OK to call a person of color an n-word.

  2. Keri said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 10:26 am


    I've lived most of my life in the bottom right bit of the red area for "dang" (NE Fla) and I think there's a correlation with other euphemistic/softer swears – you can compare that map to the others to see the overlap (or not) for euphemisms. But also, the heat map for "damn" (on the previous post!) is almost identical, so it's not like people feel it's too strong to use!

    Speaking of, the N word map is for "nigga" which is a little different.

  3. Guy said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 12:03 pm

    The nigga/nigger difference has always been interesting to me because it's a difference in accent that has widely been perceived as becoming a difference in words, even though these "two" words are completely homophonic in AAVE and many southern dialects.

  4. majolo said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 1:31 pm

    I was struck by the apparent existence of a shit-shitty exclusion principle.

  5. Gregory Kusnick said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

    "[T]here’s endless fun to be had," says Carey, and I'd like to believe him, but it looks like the site hosting the app has put an end to the fun at least for this month. I guess we'll have to try again in a couple of days when the usage quota resets.

  6. Guy said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 2:40 pm


    I would guess that it's mostly a consequence of whether "shit" is widely deployed as a modifier in a nominal (e.g. "That's a shitty idea"/"that's a shit idea"). If we assume that variation in that respect is large compared to variation in usage of "shit-words", which seems plausible, it explains the data.

  7. Noel Hunt said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 3:10 pm

    What is a `swear'?

  8. Stan Carey said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 3:24 pm

    @Gregory Kusnick: Bah. The app does seem to renew monthly at the moment, but I understand a more stable version is in the works.

  9. Martha said,

    March 30, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

    I now know there's a good reason why in my head, "dang" always seems like it should be said with some type of southern accent.

    With some words, I'd be interested to know the differences in usage. As in, where do people say "so-and-so fucked so-and-so" vs. "that's fucked up" vs. "we're totally fucked."

  10. Graeme said,

    April 1, 2016 @ 5:46 am

    Utah: politically red but linguistically blue. When it comes to blue language..

  11. David Marjanović said,

    April 2, 2016 @ 11:50 am

    Interesting how sharp the line between the Lowland South and the Inland South sometimes is… and that the Lowland South occasionally reaches all the way to Connecticut. :-)

  12. R. Fenwick said,

    April 3, 2016 @ 2:02 pm

    Not at all surprising that "dang" corresponds almost exactly with the Bible Belt. See Wikipedia's map of the latter. Though I confess I am intrigued by the discreteness of the hotspots for "cock", and Pennsylvania seems to be particularly enamoured of "dickhead".

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