When calling someone a "cocks**ker" are you calling them a "girl" or are you calling them a "homo"?
July 14, 2005 11:31 AM   Subscribe

BadWordFilter - Does the word "buttf**ker" refer to a man who sodomizes a woman, and in turn is just a "dirty sex act" word, or does it refer to a homosexual who sodomizes a man and in turn is a homophobic word? Likewise for "cocks**ker"? When calling someone a "cocks**ker" are you calling them a "girl" or are you calling them a "homo"? Am I thinking too much about it, or should I avoid using these words around women / homosexuals so not to appear sexist / homophobic?
posted by pwb503 to Writing & Language (41 answers total)
How about just not using it because it's crass and inappropriate?
posted by mkultra at 11:42 AM on July 14, 2005

Both of those words are offensive in general and I would avoid using them around anyone you wouldn't want to offend. That said, I don't think they are anymore offensive than the use of the word "bitch" to insult men or "c*nt" as an insult.
posted by slimslowslider at 11:43 AM on July 14, 2005

I can have a tendency to use spicy vocabulary at times, but I really try to stray away from these words and those with similar connotations. I don't judge people based on their choices in these activities, so to insult them in such a manner would make no sense. I imagine there are more creative combinations of vocabulary for maximum impact, if that's what you're aspiring to. Now I have thought about this too much.
posted by prostyle at 11:53 AM on July 14, 2005

"Buttfucker," to me, has explicit sexual associations: it is used to derogatorily refer to someone who fucks (an)other(s) in his/her/their butt(s). So this falls under your "homo" category, I believe.

"Cocksucker," on the other hand, can be used much more generally, to mean something like "asshole" or "shithead." Even more generally than that, I've heard it used like "sucker" or "puppy" to refer to some unspecified thing: "Hand me that cocksucker from the shelf," eg. This doesn't mean it can't also fall under "homo" epithets, but this word's definition is a bit more broad, I think.

In both cases, context is very important.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:55 AM on July 14, 2005

If you get any responses that suggest there is an appropriate audience for those words I will be surprised. Both are unpleasant, intrinsically pejorative and do little to clarify your own thinking or thoughts. Really, they add very little to a conversation and are just plain nasty. Further, you really are over thinking this.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:55 AM on July 14, 2005

The word buttf**ker refers to someone who f**ks butts. The word cocks**ker (and shouldn't it be c**ksucker?) refers to someone who s**ks c**ks. I don't think either word is gender-specific.

And I agree with most of the above posters--save the dirty talk for the bedroom (and, depending on your partners, maybe not even there).
posted by box at 11:57 AM on July 14, 2005

I'm not sure that words can be homophobic in and of themselves. Likewise, any word can be taken as offensive by someone who hears it.

When I hear someone say "buttfucker!" I assume they mean it as a synonym for "fag", yeah. It's one of those words that reminds me of how guys talked to each other in high school. It's probably one of those words that should be left in high school, too. I have trouble with this sort of stuff myself, so I can't exactly sit in judgment, though.
posted by Hildago at 12:03 PM on July 14, 2005

yeah, i haven't heard anyone use "buttfucker" in years. "cocksucker" is a tried and true classic, and yeah, the offensiveness is likely derived from their ability to imply someone's homosexuality (but don't let that limit your usage!*). that said, I find vulgarity infinitely useful in language. For one, it's good for freaking out the squares.


* "buttfucker" sounds kinda stupid though. I think I only use that for locational vulgarity at this point -- you know, buttfuck, nowhere (although I'd be more likely to use the always popular "bumfuck"). I'd refrain from using "buttfucker" just because it'll make you look like one of those 40 year olds wearing clothes from the young men's department.
posted by fishfucker at 12:23 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: According to the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, a buttfucker is simply 'one who indulges in anal intercourse,' which is how I've always understood it, with no necessary implication of homosexuality (news flash: straight people have anal sex too). Furthermore, I think of it more as a graphic descriptive term than as an insult; "You buttfucker!" sounds odd to me. "Cocksucker," of course, is an insult, part of the basic repertoire, and Cassell has this to say:

cocksucker n. (orig. US) 1 [late 19C] a sycophant, a toady. 2 [late 19C+] a fellator or fellatrix. 3 [1910s+] an abusive term, generally considered to be one of the worst (cf. MOTHERFUCKER). 4. [1940s+] a male homosexual. 5. [1940s+] (US Black/South) one who performs cunnilingus.

So, interestingly, it was a generalized insult well before it was applied specifically to gay men.

As for all you cocksuckers who didn't have an actual answer to the question but felt like abusing the questioner for unseemly vocabulary, fuck all y'all. I've flagged your comments as "noise" and hope you slip in some dogshit on your way home this evening. This is fucking MetaFilter, not the cocksucking Ladies' Home Journal. Capisce?
posted by languagehat at 12:27 PM on July 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

should I avoid using these words around women / homosexuals so not to appear sexist / homophobic?

Why use them at all? Surely there are other words that can serve whatever your purpose is just as well. For what it's worth, you can appear sexist/homophobic to men/heterosexuals, too.
posted by daveadams at 12:29 PM on July 14, 2005

Thank you, languagehat. There's no moralizing like MeFi moralizing.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:43 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: The OED (definition: cocksucker coarse slang, a fellator; freq. used as a generalized term of abuse) gives a reference from an 1891 edition of Slang and its analogues, past and present that refers specifically to a woman doing the sucking:

1891 FARMER Slang II. 144/1 *Cock-sucker, a fellatrix.

No OED entry for buttfucker. Never thought I would be saying that.
posted by trevyn at 12:55 PM on July 14, 2005

If not the Ladies Home Journal, is this the middleschool boys' locker room?
posted by Cranberry at 12:58 PM on July 14, 2005

If you get any responses that suggest there is an appropriate audience for those words I will be surprised.

The word "cocksucker" was used to great comedic effect in the movie Bull Durham, and it definitely seems to be a "homo" insult in that context.
posted by JanetLand at 1:08 PM on July 14, 2005

If not for the word "cocksucker", Deadwood would be 43% shorter.

Like lots of these questions, it depends a lot on your tone and how exactly you're using it. If you're cut off on the highway, a good gutfelt "Cocksucker!" is just about perfect, and says nothing about the target (be they male, female, homo, hetero, or other) except that they just pissed you off. I would hope that any listener would agree. "Buttfucker!" in the same context just doesn't have the same satisfying mouthfeel (so to speak), but I would argue it's equally independent of object, and equally inoffensive.

If, on the other hand, it's used specifically (e.g., "You are a real cocksucker, you know that?"), now you're on shakier ground.
posted by gleuschk at 1:29 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: [Suspects in a lineup are asked to read a phrase]

Cop: Number 1, step forward.
Hockney: Hand me the keys, you fucking cocksucker.
Cop: Number 2, step forward.
McManus: Give me the fucking keys, you fucking cocksucking motherfucker, aaarrrghh.
Cop: Knock it off. Get back. Number 3, step forward.
Fenster: [laughing] Hand me the keys, you cocksucker.
Cop: In English, please?
Fenster: Excuse me?
Cop: In English.
Fenster: Hand me the fucking keys, you cocksucker, what the fuck?
posted by patgas at 1:29 PM on July 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Janetland good to know, I will confine my use of those words to those who enjoyed Bull Durham (which I did) and gays that I want to insult. Languagehat,I believe three sets of questions were asked. Those of us who responded to the second and third questions did, admittedly, side step the first set and editorialized on the second and third sets. BTW, your language is most colorful. I was a bit thrown by your sign off. The neighborhood in which I grew up often used "capisce" as part of securing reluctant acquiescence and not just mutual understanding.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:51 PM on July 14, 2005

Buttfucker is someone who fucks butts. Men who fuck women's butts, men who fuck men's butts, women who use strap-ons to fuck men's and women's butts, dogs who fuck dog butts, cats who fuck goat butts, people-who-refuse-to-assign-themselves-a-gender who fuck people-who-claim-to-be-reborn-dragon's butts, aliens who fuck human butts . . .

Homophobic? Misogynist? No, just HI-larious!
posted by schroedinger at 2:20 PM on July 14, 2005

Oops, box already said it.
posted by schroedinger at 2:22 PM on July 14, 2005

My take on it is that if you are thinking this [ahem] hard about the propriety and/or origin of a word like "cocksucker", you probably shouldn't say it - that's a word that needs to be said with damn-the-torpedos conviction. Like earlier replies, I don't really see cocksucker as a misogynist/homophobic word - the best swears have so many uses. My wife uses this one a lot, and it is definitely in my top-ten-swears-of-all-time list.

I think that the appropriateness of any swearword (especially the really Filthy McNasty kind) really depends on how comfortable you are in using it, and how comfortable the people around you might be with your disgusting sailor-talk. I'm fine with swearing around my family and friends, but I generally tone down my salty vocabulary at work or when meeting new people.

You shouldn't use "buttfucker", because, like gleuschk said, it doesn't really sound so good and it's nowhere near as fun to say. Buttfucker does seem to more specifically refer to homo-sex to me, for whatever reason.

also, great reply, Languagehat!
posted by sluggo at 2:40 PM on July 14, 2005

5. [1940s+] (US Black/South) one who performs cunnilingus.

Holy god, that's beautiful.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:42 PM on July 14, 2005

I once had a lengthy conversation with a friend about the misogyny she heard in the word motherf*cker. Whenever she heard it, she heard a pejorative built around the notion that mothers were having sex. While I thought and think that her reasoning was faulty (the word is clearly a slam at people who would figuratively or literally fuck their own mothers), it just goes to show you how specific people's perceptions of these things are.
posted by OmieWise at 2:47 PM on July 14, 2005

(Interesting to note that the OED's cite doesn't match the text of my Farmer and Henley's, which spells the word as "feliatrix." That could easily be a typo for "fellatrix." it makes me wonder whether the OED cite mis-read the original, which perhaps did say "feliatrix" or if the error was introduced later, perhaps if the original was re-set in type, in which case my reprint is wrong.)
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:48 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: I've always thought of both of those as homophobic words, although I tend to like "cocksucker" better than "buttfucker" anyway -- I think this is because "buttfucker" seems to be used only in a homosexual context (er, if that makes any sense at all), where "cocksucker" can tend to also mean an Extreme Suck-Up nature (i.e. someone could say that the way Jay Leno is so sycophantic towards the guests on the Tonight Show that he's basically sucking their cocks), so I tend to think of that one as somewhat less so -- that and cock-sucking is often thought of an activity done by both gay men and straight women (so, I suppose you get to choose between homophobia and misogyny).

Unfortunately, I kind of like "cocksucker" -- it's not a favorite swear of mine by any stretch, but it does have a certain rhythm to it -- so I sometimes clarify (half-jokingly) that when I say it, I don't mean someone who engages in fellatio, as I have no problem with folks who are into that sort of thing, but rather someone who engages in fellatio with roosters -- it's still offensive, but I think that's a demographic most folks are more comfortable with offending. (And, I suppose it makes some sort of point about the use of offensive language and hurtful phrases like that and all that sorta stuff.)

But, hm, I honestly can't think of a time when I've used "buttfucker" outside of quoting South Park (and even then, clearly in a "this is a direct quote of..." context, rather than a "I am merely alluding to..." context). The more blatant homophobic aspect (though, as mentioned above, butt-fucking isn't merely a gay-male thing, but it's typically thought of as such) puts me off, as does the fact that I can't think of a satisfying joke explanation for the use of the term ("someone who has a fetish for the handle part of a gun" doesn't really cut it). And, I dunno -- it just doesn't have a euphonious sound like "cocksucker" does.

However, I suppose I must echo prostyle on that one and that those particular words are probably swears to steer more clear of. (I cannot, as a person to whom "goddamn" is a vital part of their vocabulary, recommend one not curse on principle without coming off as a goddamn hypocrite.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:52 PM on July 14, 2005

Holy god, that's beautiful.

Yeah, I was impressed by that too.

Mo: I can't find my Farmer and Henley; I fear it may have gotten lost in one of my moves. You'd think it would be online, but apparently not.

On preview: I find it a bit strange to be triaging one's swear words by potential offensiveness. I mean, isn't offensiveness part of what they're for?
posted by languagehat at 3:01 PM on July 14, 2005

Hmmm. I'm pretty sure calling a guy is a buttfucker is the same as calling him a homosexual. Not sure what it would mean to call a woman a buttfucker.

Calling a guy a cocksucker is the same as calling him a woman--it's like calling him a bitch. This is a regional thing though. In some places, cocksucker has been expanded to mean asshole. Also, cops are cocksuckers.

I'd steer clear of buttfucker since it's a bit too edgy and graphic for polite conversation on the other hand. Cocksucker on the other hand can be made to work. It's not too out there and it's hard to misinterpret.
posted by nixerman at 3:04 PM on July 14, 2005

If not for the word "cocksucker", Deadwood would be 43% shorter.

Actually, it be seven minutes shorter. These seven minutes.

I think the word "buttfucker" is pretty funny.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:26 PM on July 14, 2005

"You strike me as the type who would crawl through a perfectly good whorehouse to get to a fat boy's ass."

Look, is there something offensive about calling someone else a cocksucker? Yeah, you cocksucker, there usually is. Why? Why is there an implied sexism or homophobia about it? Well, because a lot of the history of sex is a history of power. Somebody's sucking your cock, they're in a submissive position to you (traditionally speaking). Same with when someone else is being fucked in the ass (added to the general belief that anal sex is painful).
But, if you prefer, you can always turn it into "cuntsucker." The offensiveness is still there, though you lose a bit of that internal rhyming. And buttfucking? Well, anybody can be fucked in the ass, and anyone (with the proper accessories successories) can fuck someone else in the ass.
You probably don't want to use the words at church, but ease up a bit on the "Will it hurt someone's feelings?" Yes, if it's supposed to.
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on July 14, 2005

Calling a guy a cocksucker is the same as calling him a woman--it's like calling him a bitch.

I think this is key. The word has tones of an earlier era, when women were second-class citizens. (Okay, when they were even more second-class citizens.) A "cock-sucker" as a woman is probably an earlier term, because it probably connoted a prostitute or some other lower-class woman doing a sexual service for some other consideration. The word means someone who is submissive and less, perhaps, than fully human. It's bad enough for a woman, of course, but these things happen. A man, on the other hand, to take on the role of cock-sucker by choice or circumstance, has sacrificed much of the social status that made him a man. In that sense, it's an emasculating term.

"Butt-fucker", on the other hand, has an entirely different set of connotations. On one level it means a man who preys on, well, cocksuckers. It may be used in this sense -- but I think the seemingly similar word "butt-boy", which probably always means the opposite (a butt-fuck-ee), mainly fulfills that role. When a man calls another man a "butt-fucker", he's probably suggesting that he's a dangerous man, in the same sense as the joke about dropping your soap in prison -- a male rapist. I think this word has connotations of "back-stabber".
posted by dhartung at 3:30 PM on July 14, 2005

Cocksucker is a good swear word, buttfucker makes you sound like an eighth-grade boy. (In case you're wondering, "fudgepacker" is also squarely in the eighth-grade-boy camp.)

Sodomizes? That's not so much the name of the sex act as the name of the crime. Weird.
posted by desuetude at 3:40 PM on July 14, 2005

What is with the PC shit here, people? George Carlin said it best in his racist words routine--these words are only offensive in context, and even in those context, you really have to be stuck-up to be deep-down offended by them. they are powerful weapons at times, and can hurt, but know that they're meant to hurt. when an insult (rarely) truly hurts me, i don't whine about how it was offensive--i know the purpose of curse words.

and why are we bleeping these words? it's the 200(fucking)5. We don't need to fucking act like preschoolers about it and fucking put fucking asterisks all over the fucking place.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 8:34 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: A quick, belated, note of dissent.

Most men, I've heard, like having their cocks sucked. It seems a little counterproductive to make an insult out of doing something that you like having done to you.

No, I won't assume that someone who uses the word is sexist, or homophobic; the word doesn't bother me, but rather the persistent idea in the culture that there's nothing worse than being submissive/emasculated/equated with a girl.
posted by Jeanne at 8:56 PM on July 14, 2005

i think in some contexts, buttfuckers can have a meaning similar to clusterfucks or clusterfuckers - a bunch of people in cahoots with each other who are screwing things up ... i can't hear this word without hearing iggy pop on "metallic k o" snarling about "buttfuckers trying to run my world" ... i don't think he's talking about homosexuals there

sample usage - "the people running our company are a bunch of stupid buttfuckers"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 PM on July 14, 2005

this thread is dirty
posted by docpops at 9:36 PM on July 14, 2005

"pwb503," my ass! Timmy, if you're not in bed when I get upstairs, you're in BIG trouble!
posted by rob511 at 2:05 AM on July 15, 2005

I find it a bit strange to be triaging one's swear words by potential offensiveness. I mean, isn't offensiveness part of what they're for?

This question is presumably whether the insults are offensive to just the particular person you are insulting, or to that person as well as large swaths of society that you don't really want to insult.
posted by advil at 3:06 AM on July 15, 2005

Somebody's sucking your cock, they're in a submissive position to you (traditionally speaking).

When you have a dick in your mouth, you are entirely in control, hon. Believe you me.
posted by Rothko at 4:40 AM on July 15, 2005

is "carpet munch(er)" offensive?
posted by Grod at 5:51 AM on July 15, 2005

Alex: Note the "traditionally," and further note that when you're sucking cock, it's about his pleasure more than yours. You're acting to please him. Or, to put it another way: Think fast. When you're sucking cock you're a) top, b) bottom?
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 AM on July 15, 2005

When you're sucking cock you're a) top, b) bottom?

How about c) neither? The dynamics of a same-sex relationship can be as fluid and complex as the parties involved would like. The whole top-bottom stereotype is overabused.
posted by Rothko at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2005

By way of answering the question: don't use "*uttfucke*", because nobody does. Whereas "*ocksuc*er" is actually in vaguely common use. But why abbreviate -- use "motherfucki*g *ocksuc*er" if you're going to use it at all. If you're worried about offending people, you should be using something else.

I don't tend to hear it at all, perhaps because I don't frequent homophobic enough communities. That tends to make accusations like "shirt-lifter" (or fudgepacker, cocksucker, or fag) more technical/informative ("is he? I hadn't thought about it") than negative. So one moves on to things still carrying useful negative connotations -- asshole, motherfucker, shit, fawning sycophant, etc.

I continue to find it completely mysterious that "sucks" is now considered inoffensive enough to be in common use on broadcast TV. (Other mysteriously non-dirty words: "shafted", "brown noser".)
posted by Aknaton at 12:13 PM on July 16, 2005

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