We have tags [offensive-language] and [vulgarity]. The former has synonyms including [vulgar].

I've suggested that [vulgarity] should be a synonym for [offensive language].

  • 1
    Vote here: english.stackexchange.com/tags/offensive-language/synonyms
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 16:57
  • A piece of text can be offensive without being vulgar, and vice-versa. I don't see them as synonymous.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 10:46
  • @Chenmunka I agree. But we're starting from a position that already confuses the two, so in a way I'm proposing one big mess instead of two smaller overlapping messes
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


The vulgarity tag's description is

Use this tag for questions that relate to questioning whether certain words are taboo or if your question relates to the level of appropriateness of a word or its possibility to offend in certain situations and contexts.

The offensive-language tag's description is

This tag is for questions about offensive language. It is for questions about words or phrases that could be considered offensive. If reason of offensiveness is belittling or painting a negative light instead of 'just offending' CONSIDER using the tag PEJORATIVE-LANGUAGE.

There is a difference between using language which could be considered offensive and asking whether certain words are taboo. With the former one knows that there are people who do consider the language offensive, even if there are also those who do not. The latter suggests that you think the words might be offensive, but there is no certainty that anyone actually finds them so.

There is enough of a difference there for these not to be synonyms.

  • 1
    That's a fair point, though it suggests further tidying up is required as vulgar and vulgarity are currently on different sides of the divide. Also pejorative language maps back to offensive language, which makes a nonsense of the current tag wording (a synonym I disagree with, by the way).
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 18:56
  • I don't know how much can be done with existing synonyms, like desynonymising. But existing issues are not really a reason to add to them!
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 18:59
  • You're right there. While I accept that there's a distinction in the tag wikis I think there's so much overlap that most questions tagged vulgarity could also be tagged offensive language based on "It is for questions about words or phrases that could be considered offensive" from the latter's wiki
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 19:40
  • 3
    @ChrisH NVZ's protip: Tags are a mess. They always are.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 20:49
  • @NVZ perhaps so, but they are much much messier on ELL. It is impossible to use the tags there to search for duplicates, at least on EL&U the tags make this task a little easier
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 9:02

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