How often do people half-swear at work?

Last month I had to do the harassment training at my job, and I was wondering:

how common is it to say things like “effing” (not spelled out), “shitty”), etc. ?

Apparently our workplace bans excessive profanity when used for harassment or bullying.
I have coworkers who very very occasionally uses one of the above in a cute way. It’s to make a joke, not to be aggressive, and it’s fine.
I also have coworkers who use all of the above in an aggressive way. It’s not for a joke, and it doesn’t feel fine.

I was wondering, how common is the second type of coworker’s outbursts? At your workplace, does this happen once a month, once a year, something else?

i find most office profanity to be used venting to someone, not cursing at someone.

know your audience


I think there might be like 5 words that are occasionally used but some of the more sexist ones would probably be off limits. Gender-neutral ones like shit and damn are fair game.

Like dammit I hate shitty data


:iatp: Have to use adult-level discretion to know who you can use adult language around.


What about “there’s no effing way what you’re saying is true, that’s a shitty way to look at it”, how often do people say stuff like that?

I hear that maybe once a month or so

It’s usually not directed at a person though, more like cursing at clouds aka processes and things. I would be pretty offended if someone said that to me.



never from someone who intends to stick around.

that is a line that could get you to HR, if the recipient is offended enough

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Depending on tone and who’s saying it, that could be offensive even without the (borderline) swearing.

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Is your office in a shitty location?

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No, it’s actually a great location. Yours?

They also pay really well and the coworkers are way better than average, other than this one fly in the ointment kind of guy.

P.S. And this, ladies and gentleman, is what I like to call the two-year-old gene. I come with an honest question, after having a pretty bad interaction at work, and someone wants to tease about it. Kind of like when I see my nephew teasing my niece. Except that he’s probably much younger. I’m all for kidding around, but it takes talent to kid around without being rude, and some people just don’t have that talent…

I’m sorry to hear you had a bad interaction at work. I know how much that sucks and I certainly don’t condone that. It was an old South Park reference that I should probably retire and was not my intention to tease you.

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to be fair, i did not pick up from your original post that you had a poor interaction, i read it as a general situation.

what i told my daughter, when she had a supervisor whose behavior crossed the line.

Document everything. dates, what transpired, discussion…

doesn’t mean you have to use it, but better than referring to “past incidents”

I’ll see if i can find the link when i am awake


That’s some good condescension right there.

i curse at work (and in life). i do not curse AT people or tell them that their work/thoughts/plans are bad w curses used for emphasis (unless close friends who know me well enough to accept it knowing it comes without harm intended).

like, someone rounding the corner at work and telling us in the cubes that “these spreadsheets are shitty. let’s get your heads out of our asses and not f-it all up, mmmkay?” that someone would not be tolerated in my work experience (multiple employers).


There is a manager here that used to cuss all the time. Probably not F—- but definitely S—— or D—-. As he moved up he cleaned up his act but sometimes it came out. When he became part of my upline the topic came up and I told him that if he cussed at me I’d probably cry. I don’t know if he remembered that or not but he never directed his cussing at me, even when we were working closely together, and including when he sort of reprimanded me for something.

I don’t consider cussing a regular part of conversation at work. I don’t know if it’s just that people know I’m sensitive & don’t do it around me. I just know I rarely hear it.

I used to never curse at work but I’ve become less civilized in the last few years.