Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Cursing is not uncommon during conversations in the physical world: 0.5% to 0.7% of all the words we speak are curse words, given that 1% of all the words are first-person plural pronouns (e.g., we, us, our). On social media, people can instantly chat with friends without face-to-face interaction, usually in a more public fashion and broadly disseminated through highly connected social network. Will these distinctive features of social media lead to a change in people's cursing behavior? In this paper, we examine the characteristics of cursing activity on a popular social media platform - Twitter, involving the analysis of about 51 million tweets and about 14 million users. In particular, we explore a set of questions that have been recognized as crucial for understanding cursing in offline communications by prior studies, including the ubiquity, utility, and contextual dependencies of cursing.


Presented at the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Baltimore, MD, February 15-19, 2014.

Cursing in English on Twitter project page can be accessed at

Slides that accompanied the proceeding can be accessed at