My Word In praise of cursing.

My Word In praise of cursing.

  • Words Robert Ito
  • Photograph Charlotte Lapalus

Falstaff was a master of the imaginative curse. In Henry IV, Part I, the wayward knight calls Prince Hal and others starvelings, whoreson caterpillars, bacon-fed knaves, and bull’s pizzles. 

To many, Falstaff is just the sort of individual one might expect to curse so often and well: crude and hot-tempered, an inveterate drunkard and all-around scoundrel. But what if swearing weren’t the mark of an impoverished character or intellect, but rather the sign of a great communicator? According to Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing, letting loose with the occasional expletive is an excellent way of communicating meaning. When you swear at someone, really swear at them, that person knows you’re deadly serious. When you unleash a string of four-letter words af...

The full version of this story is only available for subscribers

Want to enjoy full access? Subscribe Now

Subscribe Discover unlimited access to Kinfolk

  • Four print issues of Kinfolk magazine per year, delivered to your door, with twelve-months’ access to the entire archive and all web exclusives.

  • Receive twelve-months of all access to the entire archive and all web exclusives.

Learn More

Already a Subscriber? Login

Your cart is empty

Your Cart (0)