Instigator / Pro
16
1429
rating
58
debates
27.59%
won
Topic

The F-word is the most powerful word in the English language

Status
Voting

Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

The voting will end in:

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Time for argument
Two days
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Two weeks
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Contender / Con
24
1703
rating
31
debates
85.48%
won
Description
~ 417 / 5,000

F-word: a euphemistic way of referring to the taboo word "fuck"

Powerful: having great effectiveness, as a speech, speaker, description, reason, etc.

English Language: a West Germanic language first spoken in early medieval England which eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name

Round 1
Pro
1) Power as a swear word
The power we assign to F-word is due to the cultural association with "profanity". We have a study that shows, it increases the pain threshold and makes the tough easier to get by. Despite  “fouch” vs. “twizpipe” both being humorous, due to their nonsense being, they held far less influence on people's emotion. A journalist did note it wasn't quite as insulting as say, the C word or the N word, but both are arguably oriented towards a specific sex (woman) or a specific race (black). He still noted that "Eliminating the word from our vocabulary makes life and work more pleasant". It is a universal insult to say "F*** you", while a white person would raise their eye in confusion to N word in comparison. Can you name another word that has this power and versatility? I think not. 

2) Versatility
Why is a versatile word more "powerful"? Well, it was defined as having effect. Consider the magnificent word "serendipity". As wonderful as this word is, it can only be used in a positive context, and extraordinary scenario. On the other hand, the F-word can be used as a stressor (f***ing awesome), a swear word (as noted above), a verb indicating bad situation (we are f***ed!), sexual context, and more. The India Times even admits it's the most versatile word of the language. As the F-word encourages people to use it in any casual scenario, and brings attention as a crux (due to its syllabic stress), it is extremely powerful. 

As you can see the F word is the most powerful word in the English language. There is a reason we continuously use it throughout countless conversations in real life. Unless con can overcome these two points, I win.
Con
Thx,

Resolved: The F-word is the most powerful word in the English language

OBSERVATIONS:

  • CON accepts all definitions except PRO’s definition of “Powerful,” which CON directly challenges.
PRO’s flawed definition of “Powerful” is: having great effectiveness, as a speech, speaker, description, reason, etc.”
Effectiveness” means the ability to achieve a certain undefined outcome, which means under the definition, “power” can be literally anything depending on the goal in mind. Not only is this extremely vague, it invites ambiguity and chaos. 

Another reason this is flawed is because under the definition, something with objectively great power will be bottlenecked by overly-nit picky goals. For example, does a thermonuclear bomb make a good hairbrush? But at the same time, does a hairbrush have more influence over people than a thermonuclear bomb? As you can see, we can not use PRO’s definition to outline an objective measure of power at all. 

A better definition is Oxford Dictionary’s “Having control and influence over people and events.”
More specifically, since we are talking semantically, “the ability to elicit reaction.” For example, a word that leads to public backlash and the resignation of a US Senator, is objectively a powerful word. Unfortunately for PRO, under this metric, his case falls flat. 

  • The word “is” in the resolution means we are confining the debate SOLELY to what is PRESENTLY the most powerful word. 
CONTENTION 1: INFLUENCE 

Currently, the N-word, defined as “used instead of or in reference to the word “nigger” because of its taboo nature” has far more influence in society.

Young adults were surveyed as to which words they found the most offensive, and overwhelmingly they rated the N-word as the most offensive word.

A survey of the broader population finds that all ethnic/political groups agree the word is extremely offensive. For race, 55% of whites and 59% of blacks found it offensive, with many more labeling it "inappropriate."

The taboo nature of the word can be easily demonstrated. What other word will give you an instant condemnation as a racist, an accusation that regularly leads to jobs lost, lives ruined?

Just recently, an officer was fired for using the N-word, and there are countless other examples. One notable one is when a Florida Senator stepped down after using the n-word in front of black colleagues. 

There is none. And it certainly is not the F-word. In the young adult survey above, they rated the N word 2.5 times more offensive.

In fact, The Conversation specifically outlines why swear words like “f*ck” are becoming less and less offensive over time while the N-word and other slurs gain offensiveness.

“The F-word really raised eyebrows in 1972. In 2019, it had dropped to 23rd in my survey, just ahead of “asshole.”...These rankings have barely budged over the past decade.

So why do many bad words sting young people less than they used to?

Partly it’s because they’re so common. People are now estimated to use an average of 80-90 profanities per day...So it’s no shock that these words would lose their impact. But this doesn’t mean young people find nothing offensive. Specifically, they don’t like slurs.

REFUTATIONS:

“The power we assign to F-word is due to the cultural association with "profanity". We have a study that shows, it increases the pain threshold and makes the tough easier to get by.”
Not only has CON demonstrated that swear words are losing power over time while slurs gain power, but the study PRO shows actually proves that we as a society do not find them to be particularly distressing. 

Quoting from PRO’s source:
“One property of swearing that may usefully distract one’s attention from pain is if the word is perceived as humorous or novel. That swearing can be perceived as funny has been shown by Engelthaler and Hills (2018), who had 821 participants rate 5000 English words for humor. The word “fuck” was rated in the top 1% of funniest words.”

The n-word is demonstrably not perceived as “funny.”

“but both are arguably oriented towards a specific sex (woman) or a specific race (black).”

PRO’s own source demonstrates that the N-word and other slurs are offensive to many types of people no matter who uses them. 

“The N-word is so offensive that it is painful to even mention it as an example.”

RECALL: All demographics considered the N-word offensive.

“It is a universal insult to say "F*** you", while a white person would raise their eye in confusion to N word in comparison.“

Not true at all, for all of the above reasons. 

“Can you name another word that has this power and versatility? I think not.”

This discussion is exclusively about power, not versatility.

“Why is a versatile word more "powerful"? Well, it was defined as having effect.”

A versatile word is not more powerful. The word “the” is used in any and all contexts. That does not make it influential. And as outlined in the observations above, “effectiveness” and power are not the same.

Round 2
Pro
I concede.
Con
PRO has conceded the debate, unfortunately

Extend CON's arguments & responses, and please award conduct to PRO
Round 3
Pro
blah
Con
blarg