C U Next Tuesday

Sydney Morning Herald

Is the C-Bomb going mainstream? Inga Muscio thinks it is time to mainstream the word:

Muscio believes the word, a mere four letters but so powerful (as she says, “There is something about it … it’s just so base; it’s like, it means business, you know?”) is a metaphor for the status of women. While they are oppressed, the word will be oppressed, too.

But as much as Muscio wants to reclaim, reshape and empower women to use “c…”, much in the way the gay community has adopted “queer” and African-Americans have taken back “nigger”, even she says that she sometimes uses the word for ill.

“Once in a while, when someone makes me really, really angry, I will call them that,” she admits. “I am not immune. It feels good sometimes.”

It is as though the word – coyly known as the C-word, the C-bomb, the Anglo-Saxon swear word, tnuc or C U Next Tuesday – has a life of its own. Unlike other words in our lexicon, which we marshal and deploy to suit us, ”c…” seems to exist outside and beyond us, with a mysterious and plosive power belonging only to it.

It is a word even the most liberal of swearers hesitate to use and is arguably the most notorious in the English language, so taboo it’s heard less often than the N-word.

Feminists hate it, most comedians avoid it, grown men are punished for saying it. It has caused sackings and scandals, bannings and banishment. When pronounced, it sounds hard and violent.

Even Germaine Greer admits it is shocking.

How can one syllable cause so much offence? And why, in a world where even the most offensive terms such as “nigger” are being reclaimed, does the C-word remain singularly ostracised?

Why can’t we tame ”c…”?

I am a liberal swearer…I find profanity fascinating and incredibly useful, plus some people just are c…s, as Alexander Downer once noted about Kevin Rudd:

“I don’t use the c-word, but I do use the f-word pretty freely, and I can tell you that Kevin Rudd is a f…ing awful person,” he said.

“He was so incredibly unprincipled.”



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  • The real fozzie

    What wrong with being called a Caring Understanding Nurturing Type..

  • Brian Smaller

    It is strange how it has become a taboo word, considering before the names were changed just about every other old town in the UK had a Gropecunt Lane (or St).  

  • michaels

    C U Next Tuesday has been a favourite of mine for some time now.
    I also prefer KAFA over NIGGER, however I will still catch a nigger by the toe as it seems to offend kids somewhat.

    Ahh the PC world we live in today.

  • Phar Lap

    **** Cant be all that bad.I notice there is a guy in the Liebour Party who even has a name close to the so called evil word.C u n Liffe is his name,who or what could have dreamt up such a surname.There has to be a story to that unusual name.Hoping to hear from the filthy few,or is it terrible trio.

    • @BoJangles

      We call him silent T

  • Dirty words, dirty mind, impure heart.

    • All hearts are impure, no person is without sin.

      •  True, however, the aim has to be to conquer that impurity rather than just to let it loose.

    • Guestosterone

      Judge not, lest ye be kicked in the c*nt…

  • Steve P

    “Muscio believes the word… is a metaphor for the status of women. While they are oppressed, the word will be oppressed, too.”


  • LesleyNZ

    Inga Muscio is not feminine so no wonder she doesn’t care. Non-feminists (the true feminist IMO) also dislike that word. Why would you want to use such words? To make you feel better?????
     “To use foul language means that one is not intelligent enough to find other words” (BK)

    • I can use other words, but sometimes profanity is just way better.

      • Groans

        Shame on you.  Is there no concept amongst you Generation Xers that being a Gentleman is something to aspire to? I fear the MOE policy department has gotten inside your heads. (not just on this either)

  • johnbronkhorst

    like all words of this type, in English, context is everything!!! Now help me out here, is it noun, adjective, pronoun….? and used as such, which would be worse?

  • I used to think it was just laziness on the part of the person – not able to find the right word in their vocabulary – but sometimes you know a four letter word with the correct about of spittle and volume says it perfectly.

    • Random66

      Nice, that was quite a visual picture you just painted then.

    • Sarrs

      I also particularly enjoy ending a conversation with someone I’m not a fan of with ‘C U next Tuesday!’ and usually they say ‘what’s happening next Tuesday?’

    • Groans

      Can be true Neil.  At the end of the day don’t swear if you can’t do it properly.  Best swearers I’ve come accross are American military men

  • John Q Public

    Is it more or less offensive to use, than burning a pile of Korans, and has anyone ever died over the word ‘cunt’?

    • Bunswalla

      Yes. Mary had a little lamb, and it was always gruntin. So she tied it to a 3-bar gate, and kicked its little c… in.

  • Peter Wilson

    I’ve always thought it a shame about the c-word. Quite a feminine and pretty word when you think about it; the soft curviness of the c and u, combined with the rough edges of the n, and of course the hardness of the t.

    It’s a word, in a sense, that’s been corrupted by the feminists, who have targetted it as something showing disrespect for the fairer sex. Far better than the silly p-word in my opinion – sorry can’t bring myself to use those words in print ;)

    • Brian Smaller

       In English usage it has pretty much always had a somewhat vulgar connotation. Chaucer used it in a vulgar, but comical, sense. I wouldn’t blame the feminists for that one.

    • Sarrs

      My understanding is that it originates as a somewhat vulgar term for lady bits but it’s use now extends to mean a horrible or annoying person (you c**t) or something that is tricky or complicated (that was a c**t of a job to fix) I guess much in the same way as f**k evolved. 

      I don’t think it will ever be as versatile as f**k though. NSFW and you need an youtube account to view this little gem. 

      • Peter Wilson

        Yes, the f-word is extremely versatile, probably rivaling “cleave” as having totally opposite meanings, depending on context.

      • grumpy

        Found that reference yet???

      • Sarrs


  • Sarrs

    If the use of the dreaded c word becomes more acceptable and mainstream, is that the last taboo word in the English language?

    • starboard

      no theres one more…helenclark.

      • Sarrs

        Arghghghgrrhghghahahaa my poor eyes for having to read your profanity, starboard!

      • Gazzaw

        Very droll, starboard (and very good)

      • Patriot

        helenclark was the worst PM  NZ  ever Had 

        she refused to sack a corrupt phillip Field + lose his vote  — delaying it with a nonsense whitewash called the Ingram report where witnesses were not obliged to answer questions — The Law Court nailed  Field with corruption making Clark  herself corrupt .

        Then she lied about Owen Glenn donations .

        Then the UN  give her #3 job — UN are hopeless  

    • parorchestia

      – the W word – work (wash my mouth out)?

  • @BoJangles

    ~ Populuxe1

    19 March 2012 at 1:24 am

    Robert Browning thought than “c—t” was the name of a sort of headgear worn by medieval nuns.