Which swear words or subjects are considered as most offensive in Russian, and why?

  • 1
    I did not down-vote this, but I think it would be helpful to expand the question, as to what exactly your interest in this is (beside the obvious “I want to be able to curse like any sailor of the seven seas from any which country”).
    – theUg
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 7:06
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    Sorry v'-5o but questions like "what is the most..." are usually not constructive. Especially in this case asking the "most offensive" is not going to bring definite answers so I think you should reword your question in order to ask for more concrete answers.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 10:11
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    Why am I prohibited from voting my own questionz down? That's ridiculous, isn't it!? Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 14:58
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    @Alenanno, while I understand your concern, and do agree that this question should be expanded, I do not think there could be much arguing with what I wrote. I don’t pretend to possess the ultimate truth, but it seems fairly self-evident. Mayhaps, if I could find an authoritative soure, or two?
    – theUg
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:34
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    @theUg "offensive" is a subjective concept. What is offensive for one, might be not offensive for someone else. So asking "the most offensive" doesn't aim to a particular answer. That's why I closed the question. As is, it has no place on this site, even if the the user is free to ask this question in Russian Language Chat, of course.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Minding the comment I had left to the question, I can give a simple generic answer (provided sensitive women and children had left the room): the most offensive words would those describing such tabooed things like the sex organs, and the sex act itself.

Of the first category the most offensive forms would be хуй (penis) and пизда (vagina), with former being so offensive that even its euphemism — хер (from the name of Old-Russian letter хѣръ which is today’s ха — basically an “Х-word”) — nowadays is just slightly less offensive.

And for the second it would be the verb ебать which means “to fuck” which is contraction of “to fuck your mother” meaning, in a sense, “How dare you argue with me? I’ve had an intercourse with your mother, and for all we know, you well may be my son, so behave accordingly!”. That explanation is culturally universal, really. Or so I’ve read.

I would also add that this kind of swearing is offensive by the virtue of its shock value, not necessarily literally. Of course, there are elements in society where this language is used in its own right, as a sort of group identification (such as criminal circles). But in a mainstream culture it is considered extremely crass and inappropriate.

Certainly, there would be traditional cultures where mention of one’s mother in any context other than respectful would constitute a deathly offence, perhaps, even within the borders of Russia and former Soviet republics. But for your average urbanite cosmopolitan Russian, so to speak, it would be offensive as it is plainly rude.

  • Ewwwwww! Gross! Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 11:36
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    @v'-5o-1's73- what’s so gross about it, especially considering that Americans a lot more tolerant to foul language then Russians (I, for one, almost never use the above words in Russian, but I curse aplenty in English (given the proper company) for it is more culturally acceptable)?
    – theUg
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:08
  • You just said penis and vagina, I felt grossed out by that! Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:24
  • @v'-5o-1's73-, ah, sorry I used the actual medical terms. I though we are all adults here.
    – theUg
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:29
  • fine, I was kidding Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 15:30

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