This is an interesting idea, but also a bad one in my opinion. but "the B-word" can stand for any word beginning with B that is considered taboo in a particular context. I'm not sure how helpful it is to give a list of what Google finds, because this list is subject to change and indefinite expansion. Most of the words on this page are nonce words and do not have a sufficient lifetime to justify immortalising them in a dictionary.
I think we should give only the accepted meaning(s) of "the B-word" that are in common use (swear-words such as "bloody", "bastard", "bugger") rather than a somewhat arbitrary list of nonce uses. The same goes for other "<letter>-word"s, such as "the F-word" ("fuck") and "the N-word" ("nigger"). — Paul G 08:53, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
- I tend to agree. The whole thing started when, doing the usual trivial google search for support for a random new entry, I turned up nonce after nonce, indicating that there was no support for the original definition per se. Slightly stunned by the diversity and slightly miffed that the original author hadn't done the basic homework (but then, it's not really required), I pasted in a representative sample of the hits I found.
- So the surprising result here is that, unlike 'F and N, there doesn't seem to be a widely accepted meaning for "B-word". My first guess was "bitch", but that was way down on the list. I never considered "bastard" or "bugger". Looking at several dozen hits, I seldom saw the same word twice -- the exceptions were budget and blog. Here are some raw numerical results (more on this below)
- "b-word" blog 3600 (blog alone, 60,000,000) .06 per 1,000
- "b-word" budget 3600 (budget alone, 81,000,000) .05 per 1,000
- "b-word" bitch: 1500 (bitch alone 5,500,000) .27 per 1,000
- "b-word" boring 880 (boring alone 4,700,000) .19 per 1,000
- "b-word" bastard 850 (bastard alone 2,000,000) .43 per 1,000
- "b-word" bugger 230 (bugger alone 400,000) .56 per 1,000
- I'm not sure what, if anything, to read into that, particularly since "B-word" will usually be used specifically to avoid using its referent. Nonetheless, it would seem that, for whatever reason, bugger, bastard and bitch correlated most closely. Given that these follow the classic pattern of abbreviating a profanity, they should be primary, though it's hard to tell if any particular one of them should be first among equals.
- Nonetheless, I'm not sure that we should dismiss all the other hits as nonces, though many clearly are. The key test would be whether the reader would be expected to understand the elipsis without explanation. If a schoolkid tells a teacher "Chris used the F-word!" everyone knows what is meant. By this criterion, I would consider budget, in the context of financial planning books, bishounen in its context (given that the website is so named), bisexual in the context of gay culture (can anyone confirm or deny?), and bubble in the context of business/investment news.
- For the rest, we should add an entry for -word in the sense of abbreviation for something taboo. -dmh 14:37, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC) (-dmh)
- I agree. It is too easy to get carried away with this class of entries. I just checked out L-word expecting "liberal" to be the most common usage, but found "lesbian" to be far more common. I do expect that as gay activities become more broadly acceptable the use of the euphemism will decline.
- Perhaps the other way around. I'm guessing the use of "L-word" to mean lesbian has been significantly increased by the American TV series of the same name (and connotation). -dmh 02:21, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
- I agree too that a -word entry would be a good idea, but I would define it more broadly as a form of euphemism generation. "Budget" isn't exactly a taboo word, but referring to it as the "b-word" certainly adds connotations it.
- I would keep the term but limit it to only the most common of usages. Anything beyond that should have evidence from a printed source. Eclecticology 19:07, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
- Or significant numbers of independent google hits, where appropriate -dmh 02:21, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
- Below is my (Paul G's) proposed solution.
B-word (plural B-words)
- A euphemism for any of various taboo words beginning with B.
- (add examples here for "bastard", "bitch", or whatever are the commonest usages)
- (jocularly) A euphemism for any of various non-taboo words considered to be taboo in a given context.
- (here we can add examples for "budget", etc, ad libitum without fear of giving credence to nonce usages)
Note the way I have worded the second definition - the words are not taboo in general usage, but are jokingly considered so in the given context. — Paul G 09:43, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Here is the original list of (putative) nonces etc. mentioned above: -dmh 21:57, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- bimbo in the BUST lounge
- bitch various places
- biodiversity — John Harte, from DEFENDERS Magazine, Spring 1996 issue
- bisexual — Melida Lo writing in AfterEllen.com
- bishounen on bword.ricochetmoon.net
- blog — John Bokma, April 28, 2004
- boring — Jacquie McTaggart in ArticleCity.com
- breakthrough: The "B" word--breakthrough--divides scientists and journalists as no other. — Barry A. Palevitz and Ricki Lewis in The Scientist 12:7, Jul. 20, 1998
- bridezilla — Elise Mac Adam in The B-Word, Indiebride Spring 2002
- bubble in the economic sense, attributed to Paul Krugman, also found in The Age, September 18, 2003
- budget various places
- bureaucracy David Hall in New Internationalist, April, 2003