Definition of four-letter word in US English:

four-letter word


  • Any of several short words referring to sexual or excretory functions, regarded as coarse or offensive.

    ‘the four-letter words were cut out of the program’
    • ‘It all comes down to an obscene four-letter word.’
    • ‘This is dangerous territory - the land of four-letter words.’
    • ‘Does the First Amendment limit the government's ability to regulate four-letter words and other forms of indecent speech?’
    • ‘As the cameras rolled, an actor unspooled streams of profanity, and Hale had to assure his extras, all Mormon, that the four-letter words would be dubbed over with a ref's whistle.’
    • ‘When teaching Linguistics, especially to mature students, Americanisation is a four-letter word.’
    • ‘However, Barbara is absolutely correct in summarizing the natural selection theories of Charles Darwin (whose name has become somewhat of a four-letter word in some circles) as inarguable.’
    • ‘A guitar-playing ‘trendy’ teacher tried to engage the children by unleashing a flurry of four-letter words, but eventually admitted defeat.’
    • ‘It's also worth noting that the four-letter words Toto includes are not obscene.’
    • ‘I mean, if you wanted to make me feel bad, I guess you did, but only at the expense of making yourself look like a drooling idiot whose vocabulary is limited to four-letter words.’
    • ‘They are getting so irate that the Institute Of Directors, which represents 50,000 of these delicate little flowers, is now calling for a ban on bad language and four-letter words.’
    • ‘I uttered a four-letter word and continued thrashing along, sweating like a pig and gasping.’
    • ‘It's a commonly thrown around four-letter word.’
    • ‘Although the decision turned on other points, a question arose whether it constitutes offensive behaviour to use certain four-letter words in a police station.’
    • ‘I had never heard four-letter words used so frequently.’
    • ‘The four-letter words often grate - not because they are particularly offensive, but because they seem over-used and the violence too becomes repetitive.’
    • ‘Okay, my current four-letter word isn't really four letters.’
    • ‘Seeing Rooney utter a four-letter word isn't going to suddenly turn them into cursing zombies.’
    • ‘Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a volley of four-letter words - and that includes almost everyone in a job dealing with the public, from nurses to train guards - understands it as an act of violence.’
    • ‘Tell your mother these horrible four-letter words!’
    • ‘From my observation, the words ‘profane’ and ‘profanity’ are used to describe four-letter words that aren't suitable for printing on this blog.’
    bad language, foul language, strong language
    View synonyms


four-letter word

/ˈfôr ˌledər ˈˌwərd//ˈfɔr ˌlɛdər ˈˌwərd/