four-letter word

four-letter word

[fawr-let-er, fohr-]
noun
1.
any of a number of short words, usually of four letters, considered offensive or vulgar because of their reference to excrement or sex.
2.
any word, typically of four letters, that represents something forbidden, disliked, or regarded with extreme distaste: In the dieter's vocabulary, “cake” is a four-letter word.

Origin:
1925–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To four-letter word
Collins
World English Dictionary
four-letter word
 
n
any of several short English words referring to sex or excrement: often used as swearwords and regarded generally as offensive or obscene

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

four-letter word

Any of several short English words that are generally regarded as vulgar or obscene. For example, No four-letter words are permitted in this classroom. This expression is applied mostly to words describing excretory or sexual functions. [First half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature