Proto-Indo-European is an interesting topic. I'm fascinated by how it spread. But, I wonder how to use curse words. These words, like others, will probably be reconstructed from other languages: Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. I looked up classic curse words, and all I found were words like shit giving "to divide", and the fuck giving "prick" (the latter is oddly cognate with the Latin word for fist).

Are there reconstructed curse words, and if so, what are they?

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    Sorry, we don't do vocabulary requests or translations here.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 5, 2019 at 23:21
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    Note, trust Wiktionary over Etymonline if applicable. Etymonline has a strong aversion to citing any sources, whereas when Wiktionary is wrong, it's usually possible to tell where the problems came in.
    – Draconis
    Nov 6, 2019 at 0:08
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    I could also see an on-topic question coming out of this if it were "are there any expletives or interjections reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European?"—comparative stuff tends to be better received.
    – Draconis
    Nov 6, 2019 at 0:10
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    @curiousdannii I think you should speak for yourself about what we do or don't do here, unless it's stated in the rules, and this isn't (and is not a "vocabulary request"). If you think this is a question that doesn't belong here, just vote to close, with a relevant reason.
    – LjL
    Nov 6, 2019 at 0:38
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    This is a legit question. Linguistics sometimes involves curse words Nov 6, 2019 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


You can always count on biological functions to furnish vulgarisms:

  • fornicate: *YEBh, EIBh > Greek οιφω, Sanskrit yabhati, Russian ебать

  • defecate: *GhED > Greek χεζω, Sanskrit hadati

  • feces: *SKER > Greek σκωρ/σκατ-, Old English scearn

  • That is a very smart way to reconstruct these words, they would be cool to go after a time traveling Nov 6, 2019 at 17:22
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    What makes you think that these words were tabooized in PIE? Greek οἴφω is definitely not a swear word.
    – fdb
    Nov 6, 2019 at 19:48
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    All anybody knows about PIE comes from studying the daughter IE languages and extrapolating backward. If these words are "tabooized" in the latter, it's a good bet that they were in PIE. The precise usage of one Greek word is not the point. A word from the same old root is a common insult in Russian, and words for fornication are taboo or vulgar in many languages. Nov 7, 2019 at 12:07
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    Wouldn't taboo words be less likely to be inherited into daughter languages?
    – Draconis
    Nov 11, 2019 at 20:18
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    Vulgarities used as curses aren't really taboo. Nov 11, 2019 at 20:41

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