For most, swearing is part of our everyday vocabulary. Studies have shown that people who swear more could be more intelligent, more creative, and more honest. Whether you believe that or not, it’s hard to avoid coming across expletive language, especially online. And with Brits known for being foul-mouthed, we were left wondering which UK cities are most guilty of breaking out the profanities?
To find out, the digital PR experts at Reboot took to popular forum site Reddit to examine the UK’s most populated cities’ subreddits to find out just how many times profanities are used online, and the most common swear words involved.
Which UK cities swear the most online?
We can reveal the city that sweats the most online is the Scottish city of Glasgow. With 52,100 members and nearly 516,000 comments, r/Glasgow averages an impressive 109 swears per 1,000 comments.
Glasgow’s favourite swear word is f*ck, with 53 mentions of the word per 1,000 comments. The second most prevalent swear word for Glaswegians is sh*t, with an average of 33 comments per 1,000 containing the word. Glasgow’s least used swear words are tw*t, b*tch, and b*llocks, both averaging less than one mention per 1,000 comments.
Ranking in second is Liverpool, averaging 65 swear words per 1,000 comments. With 21,200 members and over 108,500 total comments, it is clear that Liverpudlians like to let off a bit of steam.
Liverpool’s most used swear word is f*ck with 27 mentions per 1,000 comments, followed by sh*t with 25. Liverpool’s least proclaimed swears are w*nker and b*tch with less than one mention per 1,000 comments, on average.
The third sweariest city is the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh - the second Scottish city in the top three. Members of the city’s dedicated subreddit, with over 338,000 total comments and 53,400 members, average 58 swear words per 1,000 comments.
Edinburgh’s most used swear word is f*ck, with the profanity used 24 times per 1,000 comments. In second place is sh*t with 21 mentions per 1,000 comments. Their least used swear words are b*tch, tw*t, and b*llocks averaging less than one mention for every 1,000 comments.
Ranking fourth is the capital of England, London. Londoners average 58 swears per 1,000 comments on their subreddit, which has 380,000 members and over two million comments in total.
The most used swear word used by members of the r/London subreddit is f*ck, with 25 mentions per 1,000 comments, followed by sh*t with an average of 19. London's least used swears are b*tch and w*nker, with less than one mention per 1,000 comments.
Rounding off the top five sweariest cities in the UK is Manchester. The city averages 57 swear words per 1,000 comments on their subreddit (r/Manchester) which has nearly 76,000 members and over 323,000 comments.
Their favourite swear word is f*ck, which was mentioned 23 times per 1,000 comments, on average, followed by sh*t with an average of 22. Manchester’s least used swear words are b*tch and w*nker, with less than one mention per 1,000 comments.
Which UK cities swear the least online?
The city that swears the least is Sheffield with an average of 35 swears per 1,000 comments on their subreddit, which has 32,200 members and over 69,000 comments.
Sheffield’s favourite swear is sh*t with an average of 14 mentions per 1,000 comments, followed closely by f*ck with 13. Their least used swear words are b*tch, b*llocks, tw*at, and w*nker, with each swear averaging less than one mention per 1,000 comments.
Nottingham is among the least foul-mouthed city in the UK, according to our research. After analysing the comments on the r/Nottingham subreddit, which has 22,000 members and nearly 56,000 comments, we found that members use an average of 37 swear words per 1,000 comments.
Nottingham’s most used swear word is sh*t, with an average of 15 mentions per 1,000 comments, followed by f*ck with 13 uses per 1,000 comments. Members use the swear words b*tch, w*nker, b*llocks, and c*nt the least after our research found less than one per 1,000 comments for each.
Cardiff comes next, with an average of 39 swear words per 1,000 comments on their subreddit which has 17,600 members and more than 56,000 comments in total.
Cardiff’s favourite swears are also f*ck and sh*t, averaging 15 mentions per 1,000 comments each. Cardiff’s least used swears on Reddit are b*tch, w*nker, tw*t and b*llocks, with our research identifying less than one mention of each per 1,000 comments on average.
The seaside city of Southampton also ranks among the 'best behaved' in our research and swears the least of all UK cities studied. The city's dedicated subreddit, which has 12,600 members and over 50,000 comments in total, averages 39 swear words per 1,000 comments.
Belfast's most used swear is sh*t with 16 uses per 1,000 comments, followed by f*ck which averages 13. Southampton's least favourite swear words are w*nker, b*llocks, tw*t, c*nt, and b*tch, with all words having less than one mention per 1,000 comments, respectively.
The West Midlands city of Birmingham is the fifth least foul-mouthed city in the UK. Members of this city's subreddit, which consists of 43,800 members and nearly half a million comments, average 40 swear words per 1,000 comments.
Birmingham's swear words of choice are sh*t and f*ck, as our research found that members use these profanities an average of 17 times per 1,000 comments. According to our analysis, the city's least used swears are tw*t, c*nt, and b*stard, averaging less than one mention per 1,000 comments - b*llocks and w*nker weren't used at all.
The UK’s favourite swear words
After analysing a grand total of over 4.5 million comments and 271,000 swear words across each city’s subreddit, we can reveal the top five most popular swear words in the UK are as follows:
1. F*ck (40%)
2. Sh*t (38%)
3. Cr*p (5.9%)
4. C*nt (4.1%)
5. Bullsh*t (3.3%)
Accounting for a whopping 40% of all swear words analysed is f*ck, and can be crowned the UK's favourite swear word. Coming in second is sh*t, making up over one third (38%) of our online swearing. Interestingly, f*ck and sh*t make up 78% of the total swear words used across each UK city!
On the other hand, the swear word used the least is b*tch and w*nker, which only accounts for 1.4% of the total profanities analysed. Following closely behind are b*ollcks and tw*t with a share of 1.5% each.
- Reboot Digital PR found a list of 10 swear words to analyse according to Ofcom’s Offensive Language Report.
- Using a list of the most populated UK cities, we chose cities from around the UK, including cities from Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
- We then located the dedicated subreddit for each city, and utilised redditsearch.io to find total comments in each subreddit, and to examine the total instances for each swear word and its variations across every city’s dedicated subreddit.
- Data was ranked to find the city that swears the most, and the most common swear words per city and across the UK.
All data is correct as of 31/03/21 but is subject to change.