11 Words That Sound Dirty, But Actually Aren't,…

by Lily Feinn
Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

You know those totally innocent words that make you giggle in the middle of a meeting or turn bright red while at dinner with your parents? Well, the good people of Reddit have compiled an entire list of words that sound dirty, but aren’t for your sophomoric pleasure. Yep, these words are so offensive to the ear that it’s hard to believe their definitions are so very innocent. You could probably use most of these words in place of obscenities, and they would still be bleeped on TV. I mean, if "humpenscrump" is a real word (it's a "crude instrument"), anything is possible.

The English vocabulary is a strange and wonderful thing, giving us words so rude we can gross out our friends by simply repeating them over and over. Many of the nasty terms that make the list sound like euphemisms for sex acts and genitals, while others contain rude words which spoil the whole darn thing (ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Clatterfart”). But we are not here to judge these words, our mission is to delight in the strangeness of their aural obscenity and totally wholesome definitions.

It's good to get a little dirty every now and then, so check out this list and let your inner 6 year old have some juvenile fun! I dare you not to laugh aloud while reading this, because, um, caulk. Yep, I said it. CAULK.

Here are a whole bunch words that sound dirty, but aren't, according to AskReddit:




Definition: Any of various chiefly marine bivalve mollusks (family Cardiidae) having a shell with convex radially ribbed valves.

If you think there is nothing dirty about cockles, just remember that within their heart-shaped shell lies a delicate moist morsel with a salty flavor. So tasty (gags).


Cum Laude


Definition: With distinction or honor.

Try and keep a straight face next time you have to congratulate your cousin for graduating "magna cum laude," and definitely don't tell them that their academic distinction sounds like the title of a porn film.




Definition: A small device that plugs into a computer and serves as an adapter or as a security measure to enable the use of certain software.

How ever did such a useful device get so dirty a name? The word "dongle" sounds completely made up. Though I do remember laughing about "hard" and "soft"-ware as a kid — so I guess technology can be funny.




5. Definition: To grind or crush (food) with or as if with the teeth.

This fancy word for "chewing" sounds anything but proper. In fact, it sounds like... well, you do the math. So, there's that.




Definition: The pendent fleshy lobe in the middle of the posterior border of the soft palate

While "uvula" really isn't all that bad, the phrases "fleshy lobe" and "posterior" used in the definition certainly don't help.




Definition: A lightweight conical object with a rounded often rubber-covered nose that is used in badminton

... So basically anything with "cock" in it qualifies? Guess so. We are an easily amused people.




bMagnesium Iron Silicate Hydroxide, or Mg7(Si8O22)(OH)2

This mineral probably has the sexiest name ever. It's gonna "rock" your world... get it? Get it?


Cul De Sac


b A street or passage closed at one end; a blind diverticulum or pouch

Literally never thought of this phrase as dirty until right now. I don't think I can live on a cul de sac ever again after this. Thanks a lot, Reddit!




Definition: Fruitful in offspring or vegetation.

You would never guess from the sound of it that this word actually refers to something positive. There is just something about it that feels a bit off, and, in fact, the term is a regular on many lists of most hated words. Sorry, fecund (shudders).




Definition: Of, relating to, or involving punishment, penalties, or punitive institutions.

You definitely don't want to get caught up in the penal system. For more reasons than one.



Definition: A record of events arranged in yearly sequence.

This dirty-looking word refers to dry old historical records, so don't get too excited!