The Buggers at Britain’s Broadcasting Regulator Made a Bloody Detailed Ranking of the Swears You Can Say on TV

Tony’s language is definitely post-watershed. Photo: Channel 4

One of the joys and confusions of watching British comedies is trying to figure out British slang. Sometimes things are “bloody awful,” sometimes people are “shit” at things, occasionally you just “bugger” it. Mostly this makes things sound charming and classy, unless you are British, in which case it’s normal. But now Ofcom, Britain’s TV regulatory service (think their version of the FCC) is here to enlighten and disgust you with a thoroughly detailed guide to offensive language. In one instance, it ranked all the swear words from most to least acceptable, judged by whether they can air before or after the watershed. So, yes, “bloody” is fine most of the time, but “beef curtains” is pretty hard to justify, and also just weirdly vivid.

Elsewhere, the report has a guide to gestures, from the blow job to the “Iberian slap.”

But mostly, it’s here to provide a thorough taxonomy of every British swear imaginable. Some takeaways: “Minger” is a mild insult, while “minge” is far more offensive. “Pussy,” as any fan of Arrested Development might know, is far more acceptable when speaking about a coward. With regards to “dildo,” “often discomfort rather than offence is associated with this word.” There, now all you arseholes are bloody well-informed.

Here’s a Detailed Guide to British Profanity