Ohio leads the nation in foul language, while Washingtonians are the least likely to cuss

Those around the GeekWire offices know that I occasionally like to drop an f-bomb or two every once in a while. It’s not in anger, typically. It just kind of feels nice rolling off the tongue.

Now, I’ve got an excuse for my potty mouth.

It’s a cultural thing. I’m from mother f***ing Ohio, dammit!

Image via SodaHead

Marchex, the Seattle mobile call advertising company, used a sophisticated call mining technology to analyze specific swear words in more than 600,000 phone calls between consumers and businesses (including frequently cussed-at customer service reps at cable, Internet and auto companies).

The goal? Determine which states’ residents cuss the most and which cuss the least.

What did they discover?

Ohioans lead the nation in cussing, while Washingtonians are the most proper in their choice of words. Washington residents cuss every 300 conversations, compared to Ohio residents who cuss every 150. (No wonder I sometimes feel like an outcast here).

Obviously, there’s a reason for this. Have you ever encountered the bitterness of a Cleveland sports fan? You almost have to cuss in order to relieve that stress.

As for me, I grew up just a few miles away from the hometown of one of the legendary cursers of all-time, Hall of Fame swearer (and chair thrower) Bobby Knight. For those not familiar with Knight’s work, I give you this roundup from the former Indiana basketball coach:

Other findings from the Marchex survey, released in conjunction with National Etiquette Week:

—66% of curses come from men.

—The calls that contain the most cursing are more than 10 minutes long. So the longer someone is on the phone, the more likely that conversion is to devolve.

—Calls in the morning are twice as likely to produce cursing as calls in the afternoon or evening.

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  • Mike_Acker

    cussing is a bad habit. clean up your act.

    • johnhcook

      Agreed. My mom, who lives in Ohio, would not be proud (except all of her friends are cussing out customer service reps on the phone! :)

    • Tomo

      Not really. If you know the right time/place to curse without repercussions, then it’s just a general habit. Not good, not bad, just a habit. I swear like a sailor when it’s generally appropriate to, like at home or with friends, but not when I’m around my under-age-12 siblings or when professionalism is needed in a situation (interviews, at my job, etc.). I’m generally a great talker when I need to be. My vocabulary of choice doesn’t define me or my character, nor does it mean I’m uneducated in English. :)

    • Kelly S
  • Todd Bishop

    That’s funny — I actually would have said you never cuss. Maybe I’ve just learned to ignore it.

    • johnhcook

      Among other nasty habits, I am sure… :)

  • Carrie

    I think this is misleading. The study didn’t measure the frequency of cursing in general, but rather the frequency of cursing specifically in “phone calls between consumers and businesses”. I’m from Washington and I curse all the time, but I would never do so on the phone with a company/customer service representative.

    • Stephen Medawar

      Maybe that’s the point :)

      • Carrie

        I guess that’s true, haha!

  • Guest

    Congrats to Marchex on a succ. vir. creat.! Those motherfucking telemarketers that Marchex supports have driven me to swear all the cunting day.

  • Dave

    That’s my f’ing brother!

  • Daniel Rossi

    What? I’m from Ohio and NOW I’m here in Washington. And I think this is Bolshevik!

  • Jason Gerard Clauss

    Is it really because Seattle is somehow more classy? I doubt that. Do you see how residents of this city dress? I dread to say it’s because of the same milquetoast regional anima that causes our drivers to be such wimps and people not to voice what they truly feel.

  • OhioDude

    I’d really like to see the actual research behind this.

    Also, what Carrie said. People in Ohio swear a lot, yes, but this is specifically data from phone calls from consumers to businesses. Not sure if it’s this way around the country, but people in Ohio seem to think that the moment someone puts on a uniform or is behind a phone line, they stop being a person. People will call doctors, businesses, etc; just to scream at them, and there’s not a thing the customer service reps or whoever answers the phone can do about it.

  • Kelly S

    ….that ranking for texas cannot possibly be right. i call bullshit. ;p

  • Hillbilly Hotrodz

    Hillbilly Hotrodz has a song on youtube about two well known curses Ohioians have carried around for years, called Ohio.

  • Joanie Moore

    They don’t know south dakota very well..

  • atypicaloracle

    Only every 150 fucking conversations? They been talking to the wrong motherfucker from Ohio, then. I can barely manage to go every other conversation without letting some goddamn profanity rip, and that’s only if I’m really fucking trying.

  • Mary Rochelle Unsworth

    I was born in California and grew up in Louisiana, and somehow I’ve only sworn once (on accident, turned beet red). I’m sure everyone is highly disappointed in me.

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