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  1. #1
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    Question piss off = vulgar?

    Hi!

    In the Oxford Dictionary I use, which shows that "piss off" means "to make sb. annoyed or bored". Possible entries for

    But the Merriam Webster says that this phrase would be sometimes vulgar to someone. piss off - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    What I could not figure out is, why is "piss off" a vulgar and offensive phrase? Is there a culture background behind it? Could you tell me more about this phrase? Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Well, the Oxford does note that the word "piss" is taboo or slang. Also keep in mind that the first definition of "piss" is to urinate, so you can see how the derivative phrases could be regarded as unpleasant. They are often associated with anger and vulgar language (at least in American culture). There may be a difference in use or connotation between American and British English. I have heard that in England "to be pissed" means to be drunk, while in America it means to be extremely angry.

    ETYMOLOGY: Middle English pissen, from Old French pissier, from Vulgar Latin *pissiare, of imitative origin.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsense View Post
    Well, the Oxford does note that the word "piss" is taboo or slang. Also keep in mind that the first definition of "piss" is to urinate, so you can see how the derivative phrases could be regarded as unpleasant. They are often associated with anger and vulgar language (at least in American culture). There may be a difference in use or connotation between American and British English. I have heard that in England "to be pissed" means to be drunk, while in America it means to be extremely angry.

    ETYMOLOGY: Middle English pissen, from Old French pissier, from Vulgar Latin *pissiare, of imitative origin.
    **

    Absolutely correct. In British English, there is also a verb 'to piss off' which means 'to go away'.

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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsense View Post
    Well, the Oxford does note that the word "piss" is taboo or slang. Also keep in mind that the first definition of "piss" is to urinate, so you can see how the derivative phrases could be regarded as unpleasant.

    Hi! nonsense,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. It helps me a lot! I will pay attention to when I use this phrase in the future. Thank you!


    And thank you, bhaisahab!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    To piss somebody off is not the same as using the imperative, "piss off".

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    dragn is offline Member
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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    XINLAI-UE, if you're ever concerned or curious about the extent to which a word or phrase is vulgar and therefore suitable (or unsuitable as the case may be) for certain situations, just apply the mom test. Ask a native speaker if they would say it in front of their mom.

    Would I say pissed off in front of my mom? No friggin' way.

    Oops, there's another one. Sorry, mom.

    Greg (with the lingering taste of soap in his mouth...)

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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Note that pissed off (angry) is more common, and less shocking, in Canada and the UK than in the US.

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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragn View Post
    XINLAI-UE, if you're ever concerned or curious about the extent to which a word or phrase is vulgar and therefore suitable (or unsuitable as the case may be) for certain situations, just apply the mom test. Ask a native speaker if they would say it in front of their mom.

    Would I say pissed off in front of my mom? No friggin' way.

    Oops, there's another one. Sorry, mom.

    Greg (with the lingering taste of soap in his mouth...)


    I've always been a little hesitant about using this phrase but then again as I examined the usuage or this more I only found out that to piss somebody off is very common and people use it very easily in their colloquial speech. but now that I read this again I am doubtful about the use of this phrase.

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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    I've always been a little hesitant about using this phrase but then again as I examined the usuage or this more I only found out that to piss somebody off is very common and people use it very easily in their colloquial speech. but now that I read this again I am doubtful about the use of this phrase.
    If in doubt, leave it out. While you will hear almost anything on TV, and read anything on the 'net, you will still offend some people if you use terms marked as "offensive/vulgar", etc. in the dictionaries.

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    maral55 is offline Member
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    Default Re: piss off = vulgar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    If in doubt, leave it out. While you will hear almost anything on TV, and read anything on the 'net, you will still offend some people if you use terms marked as "offensive/vulgar", etc. in the dictionaries.

    You're correct. It's better to not use it in your talking when you're not sure but you know sometimes when I'm writing a story and especially while in a casual conversation that I want it to seem less formal I want to be able to use these words in their proper place. and that's why that it's very important for me to know whether they are offensive or if so how much is the intensity and other things.

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