Because no-one had strong feelings about this once taboo was removed, I went ahead and did it. I'm still on the fence about replacing with , so we can tackle that another time. I think there must be a better tag to describe questions about where a word or phrase falls on the informal to formal range.

I propose that we :

Proposed Tag Descriptions
- for questions about whether a word or phrase is appropriate in a formal context or that are requesting a word or phrase for use in a formal context.

- for questions about whether a word or phrase is appropriate in an informal context or that are requesting a word or phrase for use in an informal context.

- for questions about language that may be considered offensive or inappropriate in certain contexts.

If you like the proposal, please up-vote it. If you dislike it please down-vote it, or suggest a way to make it less icky in comments or answers. If you want to kick around some ideas before you post, I pop into the Editor's Lounge chat room almost every day and I have seen at least one other person in there!

  • I don't think the word taboo should even be there. – Lambie Nov 29 '16 at 18:08
  • @Lambie Why not? It's used in scholarly papers to refer to vulgar/profane/ etc. language. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 29 '16 at 20:37
  • In English, there are no taboo words. In other languages, there may be taboo words. Though not any that I speak. Vulgar/profane, yes. Taboo no. Fuck is a vulgar word, the most vulgar perhaps in the English language, it is not taboo. – Lambie Nov 30 '16 at 0:46
  • For example, South Pacific speech communities have taboo words: books.google.com/… – Lambie Nov 30 '16 at 1:00
  • @Lambie the Polynesian sense of taboo isn't the only definition. grammar.about.com/od/tz/g/tabooterm.htm The term taboo language refers to words and phrases that are generally considered inappropriate in certain contexts. and taboo language certainly exists in English: academypublication.com/issues/past/tpls/vol03/12/23.pdf As is typical, English took a word from somewhere else and gave it a slightly different but related meaning. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 30 '16 at 2:43
  • We have plenty of taboo words, but because they're taboo, I'm reluctant to list them in a comment. – snailcar Nov 30 '16 at 9:42
  • My main issue with "taboo" is that tags need to be something people will try to use and, yes, I know that the synonym will fix it to some degree, I don't (as a native speaker of English) think of curse words as "taboo"... with the possible exception of the broadcast TV world where fines are levied if certain words are used. What about "Profanity" or "offensive-language"? – Catija Nov 30 '16 at 15:55
  • I gave the Polynesian example as an example of a taboo word: no one in those speech communities are supposed to ever use those words. That is the proper meaning of a taboo word. English does not have taboo words. Period. Yes, a word can BE taboo IN a particular place. Still, the words are not in and of themselves taboo words as in some TRIBAL societies. Profanity is fine. I agree with Catija. – Lambie Nov 30 '16 at 16:46
  • OK, so we don't like taboo. On ELU, taboo is a synonym of offensive-language. Would that be OK as opposed to profane or vulgar language? I like the tidiness of the x-language grouping @Catija – ColleenV parted ways Nov 30 '16 at 17:50
  • and @Lambie because I can only ping one member per comment. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 30 '16 at 17:51
  • Offensive language is better than vulgarity or profanity. – snailcar Nov 30 '16 at 23:36
  • Not sure about "offensive language". It seems too broad. There's a lot of "offensive" language that isn't really offensive except to those who enjoy taking offence. Much of the so-called "offensive" language is what has often been euphemised as "barnyard" language -- notably the words for bodily and interpersonal functions. So for my part, I'd prefer to preserve the social distinction between "barnyard" and really offensive language use. – MMacD Jan 2 '17 at 16:47
  • @MMacD I don't think slicing the distinctions too thin is helpful for tags. Offensive language encompasses the entire range and it's fairly well understood that different folks have different thresholds for offense. Keep in mind that these tags are not just for fluent speakers. I doubt a learner is going to want to make the distinction between "offensive" and "barnyard" (which as a native AmE speaker I've never heard before, so it's probably a regional term) when they're searching the site for answers about language that is not polite/potentially offensive/vulgar. – ColleenV parted ways Jan 2 '17 at 16:55

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