For better or worse there is no danger of that sort of damage being done, as my kids are already fluent in the foulest imaginable profanities that the Hungarian language has to offer, which make their anglophone equivalents wilting flowers by comparison. I have lived in eight different countries, mostly in central or eastern Europe, and have heard every expletive that the words “Communist”, “Russian” and “Gypsy” can provoke, and in all that time I have never met a match for Hungarian’s broad vocabulary and imaginative metaphors, nor for the enthusiasm with which both are deployed by the populace, without regard to age, sex or social class.
To this day I vividly recall hearing a sweet silver-haired granny with her shopping caught in a tram door describe uses for a horse’s cock that would make a docker pale, all while her cherubic grandkids looked on unfazed. There must have been a good fifteen permutations, all of them a rare combination of the graphic and yet strangely plausible, in a tirade lasting long enough for the tram to reach the next stop and the doors open again, whereupon she got off in a huff to the spontaneous applause of her fellow passengers.
I’m therefore going to stick my neck out and nominate lófasz (horseprick) as the most powerful swearword in any language anywhere ever. What say, my globetrotting crew – can you beat that?
Additional bonus question: Complete the following sentence in ten words or less:
I think swearing is both big and clever because…
What's everyone looking at me for?