Skip to main content

That's a Bad Word?

A while ago, my SIL and MIL told me that "fart" is considered a bad word and my nephew is not allowed to say it at his daycare. This was a huge surprise to me. I've since asked around, and many people agree that it is not an appropriate word to say.

Really? Fart? That's not okay? I ask people what about "burp"? Apparently, burp is okay, but fart is not.

To me, fart and burp are the same type of word. So if burp is okay, why isn't fart? Is it because one comes out of your mouth but one is out of (heaven forbid!!) your butt?

For that matter, is "butt" okay to say or should I be using the word "bottom"?

Londo and I really try to call a spade a spade, so we don't plan to use euphemisms for anatomy in general. We call pee "pee" and poop "poop." So why wouldn't we call a fart "fart"?

This seems like such a little thing, but I don't want the Pumpkin to be considered inappropriate--at least without meaning to be. She is starting to repeat the words we say, even when we say them only once. It's hard enough to stop the actual cussing in front of her (apparently, I have a mouth like a sailor, no offense sailors). Now I have to watch out for fart?

Please, internetters, tell me what you think. And if I should not use "fart," must I really use something as formal sounding as "passing gas" or as silly as "poot"?


Justin said…
I believe Colleen and I have different opinions on this. I agree that fart (just like burp) is a gaseous cloud that has exited one of two orifice the body possesses.

Somehow I can't see why a noun is a bad word (Yet George Carlin taught me how "F" can be all types) ;)
ImpostorMom said…
that's ridiculous

I tend to say toot more than fart or poot though. I do not however thing that fart is a bad word. Besides, doesn't that just make them want to say it more, calling it bad?

Boog has recently started saying something that sounds suspiciously like a certain S word. I'm going to believe that he is actually trying to say sit or something similar. Or merely babbling. Otherwise, aww his first cuss word. :P
limboland la la said…
"passing gas" sounds kind of disgusting to me. and it has possibly a pretentious note too-- "oh excuse me, I just passed gas..." who says that?

i think in this case, calling a spade a spade is much better. there really ought to be no delicacy when discussing a fart.

once one has dropped the bomb-- we are all on equal footing. depending on our company, we are either attempting to avoid admitting that it's the smell of our own shit wafting through the air-- or attempting to avoid the smell of someone else's shit wafting through the air. either way we cringe slightly.

The "Fart Flight Fright" syndrome.

I believe "toot" was once used in our family home. And although it didn't take long for us to discover we were actually "farting" we still enjoyed tooting our own horn. doesn't everybody?

Sharina said…
I don't consider it a bad word, but I know lots of people from the South do. One of my childhood friends wasn't aloud to say the word; her and her brother had to say "eruptate." My husband and I say it around my son all the time (because he farts all the time). Both of our families say it around children too (from my family’s from CA, his is from PA). In my experience, it’s been mainly a Southern thing.
- Dana said…
That's so funny. Our little girl recalled the word "fart" all on her own. She even said "I farted"...well, because she did! She's so smart. Goofydaddy and I laughed and started saying "you tooted". But, I'm kinda like, what is so wrong with the word? I think there are other things in life that are more important to worry about. We probably need to work on her pronunciation of "Clock" and "Truck" before we correct her "Fart". haha
-goofydaddy said…
well, you're not really calling a spade a spade, are you. fart, toot, poot, butt, pee, and poop are all slang terms. if you want to be a true spade caller, then you would use flatulate, buttocks, urine and excrement. now with burp, that's different. that's not classified as slang, only an informal term for belch.

i think the key thing here is not to teach our kids any slang terms. otherwise they'll grow up thinking a B.M. is really pronounced "beeum" (not me, Dana). edificate yer kids!
-goofydaddy said…
oh yeah that entire comment was a joke, btw.
MommyEm said…
Okay...I'm one of those people who don't like the word fart. It has always seemed crass to me, and I was not allowed to say it in our house. I can't imagine saying fart around my parents even now! I also don't like the word "pee," and I always cringe when I hear the phrase "I have to pee." Telling people you need to use the facilities is fine, but do I need details as to what you are going to do once you are there? No. My parents are older and I guess things were a little more formal in our home, which is okay with me. Call me uptight, but that's how it is with me. :-)
I'm Not Skippy said…
Someone mentioned him, but "fart" was one of George Carlin's 7 words you can't say on television. It actually was added after the first group.

I think if we as a society say a word is "bad" we give it power. Learning when to use them is the important part. Do you say "bitch-ass punk" or "punk-ass bitch?"
Jan said…
In the household where I grew up, there were two categories of 'bad' words. The usual ones (a la George Carlin's 7 Word You Can't Say On Television) fell into one category. Then there was another category that was recognized as not vulgar, exactly, but definitely not approved for, say, conversation with grandma. Poop, pee, shut up, screwed up, bull [baloney: acceptable], suck (unless referring to the vacuum), butt, and, yes, fart.

I was taught "potty", "BM", "bottom" and "pass gas".

With our kids, we use 'pee' and 'poop', though I'm still not comfortable with 'fart' -- we say 'toot' -- though I'm not sure what daycare has to say about that.

It's definitely a word that could offend some people, is all I'm saying. It's just a word, sure, but isn't etiquette supposed to be all about making the other person comfortable? I'd say if you teach your adorable little girl to use the word 'fart', you run the risk of making some (particularly older) adults uncomfortable.

("Butt", by the way, I think is more universally considered unacceptable unless you're referring to an animal -- I know my kids' daycare frowns on that one.)
paola said…
I can't believe your nephew can't say 'fart' at daycare. What should he say instead. I would have politely asked the teacher for an alternative. However, I wouldn't put fart and burp in the same category though. Firstly one is informal language and the other regular language without an alternative. What would you say instead of 'burp'? I can't think of anything.

Anyway kids should learn both formal and informal language, but not necessary be compelled to use the formal alternative as 'to pass wind/gas' is far too long and pretentious.

We call them 'farties' here in our house, but I know that's not right. But then I think it is as wrong as calling a 'duck' a 'ducky', or a 'dog' a 'doggy'. But I should be modeling correct language as I am the only English speaking model my kids have and I do not want them to be saying 'farty' when they go to university.

But gee, we need some alternatives. If people are offended by 'fart' or 'vagina' or god forbid 'clitoris' ( my mother almost died when I told her my little boy calls my private parts - correctly- that), give us a less-shameful other choice..
Rudyinparis said…
I personally love that we say fart in our house. But then, I grew up in a house where not only did we not SAY fart, I can't recall anyone ever actually farting. It was a bit Stepford. I love my parents dearly--but--a bit Stepford. I wouldn't want either of my little girls to be embarrassed by what their body does. Not to sound high and mighty--I totally understand why some people wouldn't like the word, and I think it's good to teach that certain words are not acceptable in certain places. Like, for example, in Cabinet meetings or while sitting at the head of the table in the boardroom.

Eldest actually referred to Younger as being "pissed off" the other day and I am aware that that's probably not entirely appropriate!
Cloud said…
It is funny- I grew up saying "toot", so I instinctively switched to "toot" when Pumpkin came along. I have no idea how old I was when I transition from "toot" to "fart" in the first place, either.

But I do not consider "fart" a bad word. I just live in fear that Pumpkin will start saying things like "damn" at day care, because Hubby and I aren't so good at not saying them. We're working on it....

Funny, true story: I have a cousin who tended to drop the last consonant in things like "dump", saying "dum" instead of "dumP. He also said "f" instead of "tr". One day, he and his mother were standing on the street and a dump truck drove past. Cousin very excitedly said "Look, Mommy, a dump truck!" Except that isn't what it sounded like....
La folle maman said…
The whole bad word thing really seems to need revising IMO. Fart shouldn't be considered a bad word or butt for that matter. Really, they're pretty innocent, I think. Given what they can say on TV these days, are we really still saying tsk-tsk to fart?

However, I understand your concern and for the same reasons we will probably try to teach Monkey "toot". Just to conform to the silly social rule so he won't be considered a bad kid or teased by others.
Karen said…
We've found this to be family-individual. We say fart and butt, but others won't allow it. You know, the same families that allow their kids to swear.
limboland la la said…
man, I grant I have one month to go before I start pondering all these things with child raising. But I can't even believe this is an issue !?!!?

I understand censoring certain terms-- or having age related appropriateness -- such as with damn, or f*#K (see I'm not even sure if it's appropriate to type that "F" word on a mommy blog" but "fart"!?!

Human beings fart from day one till the end....till death do we part we humans shall fart--in sickness and health...okay i'll stop. and a day that you can't fart is a really bad day.

bodily functions are such a no no, in U.S. society. and the reason I say U.S. society is because we're the ones creating them (and have been created inside of these U.S. norms.) I'm not thumbing my nose at the U.S. (as being a U.S. citizen myself) but it's interesting to see what we consider acceptable, not acceptable or take issue with.

Right now I'm living in Thailand, teaching English to late teens and adults. Come class break, even the most delicate of teenage girls can be heard stating nonchalantly to both her female AND male friends she's going to take a dump.

On the other hand, ask a 30 year old unmarried woman to even admit she's possibly had a romantic relationship or god forbid a sexual one is a total taboo. Top secret! Sex is a dirty word and they are all public virgins forever.

What I'm getting at is, we or those before us have created the norms that we live in or are unnecessarily confined by.

I think it might be good to ask ourselves, Why is "fart" a bad word? Why does it make people uncomfortable? What kind of discomfort does it create? Should I censor my speech because of someone else's discomfort?

Like "F*$k", "B*&tch" and others... those are words that are often used to hurt other people, or complain about life in a nasty way. And perhaps those should be censored.

But the term "fart", well-- that's just used as a warning or an accusation that the room's atmosphere is about to change. Like, "hey, I farted" or "damn, did you fart again?" ... what's so bad about that?
caro said…
I grew up believing that "fart" WAS "the F-word," and I lived to resent my parents' verbal prudishness. I believe that being able to swear gracefully in appropriate settings is one of the fine pleasures of adulthood, and my upbringing severely delayed my ability to practice that skill.

So we are all about "fart" and "butt" in our house, as well as "toot" and "gas" and "bum" and "bottom". But if my kids' day care were anti-fart, so much the better; we've all got to learn eventually about different places for different words.
Becoming Mommy said…
We've heard a lot about bad words. Some people consider "pee" a bad word.

I'd like us to use the technical word for everything. Then, really, no one can tell you it's wrong. Flatus, urine, etc. No need to worry he'll say fart.

And then they just have to deal with it when he starts talking about his bitches at
Tranny Head said…
My mom bellows about the word "fart." I don't get it - what's the big deal? Then again, she also made me say "bottom" for butt and "BM" for poop. What the hell was that about?

Anyway, we're all about butts, poop, and farting!
Colleen said…
eh, I'm kinda old fashioned I guess. I never thought it was appropriate for a kid to say fart. It's a bit more crass. Plus, getting a 4 year old to say "I blew a stinker" has to be one of THE funniest things I've ever heard.
So we (and by "we" I mean "me") say "toot", and I try to say "bottom" or "behind" instead of butt. But burp is okay.
However, I have not taught my kids the exact proper names for genetalia and that sort of stuff because I'm really not up for hearing my kid say "penis" sixty times a day and watch me cringe. Both my boys have plenty of time to learn the correct names later on. From their friends.

Popular posts from this blog

Baby Fidgets in Sleep (and While Awake)

Since I've started this blog, I've had quite a few visitors find me through a search for something like "baby fidgets in sleep" or "baby fidgets in bed" or simply "baby fidgets." This leads me to believe that there are others out there with fidgety babies who drive them crazy enough to search on the internet for some information about fidgeting babies. So I thought I'd do a whole post to discuss the fidgety nature of my child and how I deal with it.

Do you want to know when my child first started fidgeting? IN UTERO!! I'm not kidding. When I was pregnant, this baby moved a lot. She was very often kicking and pushing and hiccuping. OMG, the hiccups! I thought they would drive me nuts. Every. Single. Day. For. Months. Straight. Often more than once a day. I am not exaggerating--you can ask Londo or the many people I worked with, all of whom had to hear about it. I just thought it was part of being pregnant, and it probably is, but I've al…

Some Babies Just Fidget

I have mentioned before that we had a very fidgety baby. It's been a while sinced I talked about it. Although she is still pretty fidgety, at her currently toddler stage it seems more normal and has in many ways translated into bigger, general movements, like climbing.

But I still get a ton of search hits that have to do with baby fidgeting or flailing while sleeping or nursing. Some people stay around and read a bit, and I hope they get what they need from the posts I wrote specifically aboutthis topic hoping that others realize they are not alone. Most people don't stay at all, and I figure they are probably looking for medical reasons why babies fidget (like I would).

Then I got this comment, which does indeed show that people are looking for medical reason. Anonymous said that she wasn't sure if the Pumpkin's fidgets were as severe are her 3.5 month old. Well anonymous, I can't be positive since I haven't seen your child, but at some points they were as bad …

Fidgety Baby Growing Up

My daughter was a very fidgety baby. More fidgety than any other baby I knew through all my years of babysitting, being an aunt and having friends and family with babies. So fidgety that I wondered if something was wrong, if there was an underlying reason for her fidgetiness.

There really wasn’t anything wrong. As far as I can tell, she simply has a LOT of energy in her body. Her father is the same way. Londo is full of energy and has always been a fidgeter. And me? I can’t sit in one position for a long period of time. I don’t really fidget so much as I shift positions periodically, and I don’t think I ever simply sit normal, facing forward with both feet on the ground when I’m in a chair. In fact, sitting normal sounds like torture to me.

But three years ago, when the Pumpkin was a few months old and through her babyhood, I didn’t know why she was fidgeting so much. When I would nurse her, when we’d be rocking her to sleep, when we would try to hold her calmly, when we’d be lying in…