‘Compromise Is a Four-Letter Word.’ No It %@#$ing Isn’t.
These are all four-letter words. Any time an individual (especially someone in politics) tries to convey just how third-rail or taboo a subject is, they always describe it as “a four-letter word.” “Compromise is a four letter word in Washington.” “Fracking/abortion/raising taxes is a four letter word.” “Friend is a Four-Letter Word.” You get the idea.
(By the way, maybe this is just me, but isn’t it kind of stupid to take words like ‘love’ and ‘work’ that are already four letters long, and declare them to be four-letter words as if this is some sort of grand revelation?)
I’m not a fan of clichés in general, but this one particularly bothers me for two pretty simple reasons: there are plenty of profanities that are not four letters long, and there are plenty of four-letter-long words that are not, in fact, profanities.
Examples of the former: bitch, ass, jagoff, whore.
Examples of the latter: fire, hard, golf, jump.
There are roughly 5500 four-letter words in the English language. Less than a hundred of those are profanities. The English language contains over a million words and is growing by thousands of words a day.
This cliché can #&@% a $*!@.