[[quoteright:350:[[ComicStrip/TheFamilyCircus http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/content.jpg]]]]
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->'''Mrs. Read:''' Well, you're off the hook this time because you didn't know what you were saying. But I hope you know now that swear words are not appropriate things to say, especially for three and four year old children. \\
'''D.W.:''' Why?\\
'''Mrs. Read:''' Because most people are offended by them. It's as simple as that.\\
'''D.W.:''' But why? What do they mean?\\
'''Mrs. Read:''' I guess you could say they mean "I want to hurt your feelings".
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'', from the end of the episode "Bleep"

When someone uses a naughty word without realizing it's a naughty word. Quite often, the person (almost always a child) will get into a lot of trouble for using such a bad word without knowing the meaning of the word or what he or she has done wrong.

Related to EntendreFailure. Compare FeeFiFauxPas. TruthInTelevision for kids who are very young or very sheltered. See also FowlMouthedParrot if the one doing the swearing is an animal.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In episode 20 of ''Anime/Persona4TheAnimation'', Nanako happily announces to the group that the fortune teller at the cultural festival told her that Yu was a "gigolo" (translated as "man-whore" in the dub). The teller is Margaret, though Yu and the audience only know that by her voice.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has a stark, morbid example. Toddler Rei Ayanami calls Naoko Akagi a "hag": Naoko, while shocked, takes it softly and gently discourages her from using the word, but, again, Rei insists that she is a "hag", sincerely and flatly; genuinely miffed, Naoko warns her that she intends to spank her and tell Gendo; [[spoiler: Rei asks her why she would tell him, when he is the one who refers to Naoko (his lover) as this, quoting him as saying (of Naoko) "'That hag is useless'... 'That hag is unwanted'... 'That hag'"]]. Naoko reacts [[spoiler: and strangles her to death]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/TheFamilyCircus'' had this with Jeffy, who got spanked.
* ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'' had an example involving April.
* One storyline in ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' has Paige watching ''[[Series/TheJerrySpringerShow Jerzy Spaniel]]'' while babysitting. Of course, the kid hears the word and starts repeating it. In the epilogue, Paige reports that the mother said kids always hear bad words and repeat them, but if you don't use them often or attach special significance to them, they'll eventually drop it. ''Then'' they discussed watching ''Jerzy Spaniel'' while babysitting...
* A storyline in ''ComicStrip/BabyBlues'' had infant Wren naming her stuffed puppy a curse word (censored with SymbolSwearing). Her parents calmly explain to her that she can't call her puppy that, so she gives it a different name... a DIFFERENT curse word that was presumably even worse.
* In one storyline ComicStrip/{{Marvin}} learned a swear word, represented by him yelling "Censored!" He figured it meant "mommy", as every time he said it she'd run over urgently.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/DonnieDarko'': "What's a fuckass?"
* From ''Film/BlastFromThePast'':
-->'''Calvin:''' It's still not safe to go up. We're going to have to wait twenty-four hours.\\
'''Helen:''' Oh, shit!\\
''[Helen immediately covers her mouth]''\\
'''Calvin:''' Excuse your mother's French, son.\\
'''Adam:''' "Shit" is French?\\
'''Calvin:''' Its... uh... a colloquialism meaning... roughly... good.\\
'''Adam:''' Well then.... Shit!\\
'''Calvin and Helen:''' Heh heh. ''[sigh]''
* From ''[[Film/MeetTheParents Meet The Fockers]]'', Little Jack's first word is "asshole".
* ''Film/ThePursuitOfHappyness''
-->'''Chris:''' The sign is spelled happiness with an H-A-P-P-Y instead of H-A-P-P-I.\\
'''Chris Jr.:''' Is fuck spelled right?\\
'''Chris:''' Well, yes, but you shouldn't use that word, it's a word grownups use when they're angry.
* ''Film/ComingToAmerica'':
** "What does dumbfuck mean?"
* From ''Film/MrsDoubtfire,'' "We're his goddamn kids too."
-->'''Miranda:''' [[WhatTheHellHero Any other choice phrases you'd like to teach our five-year-old, Daniel]]?
* Towards the end of ''Film/WeBoughtAZoo'', little Rosie informs a USDA inspector visiting the eponymous zoo that everyone has said that he was "a dick". She admits that she doesn't know what it means.
* ''Film/CoalMinersDaughter'': When Doolittle and Music/LorettaLynn are buying baloney at a store, Doo says that baloney makes you horny. Supremely innocent Loretta asks what "horny" means, whereupon Doo cackles with laughter and picks her up. Unfortunately Loretta takes this to mean that "horny" means having fun and making mischief ("cutting up"), so when she's interviewed on the radio she starts talking about how baloney makes her husband horny, much to Doo's horror.
* ''Film/BigDaddy'' has Julian's "The goddamn Jets".

* "When I was very young, my mother always said "pardon my French" when she swore. So you can imagine the reaction of the teacher in my first French lesson after she asked if we knew any French."

* The novel ''My Best Fiend'' had one chapter where the headmistress was cracking down on swearing at the school. When the main character's friend fell and got a nasty gash on her leg, and all the other kids were crowding round, she shouted "She can't move her bloody leg!" A variant, since she ''did'' know "bloody" was a swear, but that wasn't what she ''meant''; she meant the leg was covered in blood. She explained this to the headmistress, who agreed that [[HaveAGayOldTime it was a shame perfectly good words]] ''became'' swears.
* Famous Victorian poet Creator/RobertBrowning used the word "twat" in ''Literature/PippaPasses''. Browning was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pippa_Passes#.22A_distressing_blunder.22 under the mistaken impression]] that "twat" meant a part of a nun's habit.
** It's sometimes mistaken for an example of HaveAGayOldTime. Weirdly, it isn't- everyone but Browning was using it in exactly the same way as now.
* Two-year-old Friday Next in ''[[Literature/ThursdayNext Something Rotten]]'' learns naughty words (notably "bum", "bubbies", "arse" and "pikestaff" [[ForeignLookingFont rendered in an Old English font]]) from St. Zvlkx. Thursday speaks as if she isn't certain what he said the first time he uses them, but the second time she tells her son, "If those are rude Old English words, St. Zvlkx is in a lot of trouble--and so are you, my little fellow."
* In ''Literature/TheJungle'', little Antanas learns "God damn" and starts repeating it after his father reacts to his saying it with laughter.
* In ''Discworld/{{Thud}}'', Sam Vimes reads his son his own version of ''Discworld/WheresMyCow'' with the {{catch phrase}}s of prominent Ankh-Morporkians instead of animal noises, including Foul Old Ron's "Bugrit! Millenium hand and shrimp!" The next day Young Sam announced "Buglit!" to his nanny, and from then on Vimes sticks to the written version.
* In one of the ''[[Literature/EmilOfLonneberga Emil of Lönneberga]]'' stories by Creator/AstridLindgren, Emil decides to teach his little sister Ida all the word he gets chastized for saying, and telling her she must not ever use these words. He is quite honest in his intentions, he's just become victim to some InsaneTrollLogic.
* In ''Literature/TheShining'', when five-year-old Danny and his mother, Wendy talk about the family car:
-->'''Danny:''' Do you think the bug will break down?\\
'''Wendy:''' No, I don't think so.\\
'''Danny:''' Dad said it might. He said the fuel pump was all shot to shit.\\
'''Wendy:''' Don't say that, Danny.\\
'''Danny:''' ''[surprised]'' Fuel pump?
* In ''On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft'', Creator/StephenKing recalls that when he was a child, he thought that "bitch" meant "an extremely tall woman" ("A son of a bitch was apt to be a basketball player!").
* From a ''Franchise/StarWars'' EU story: "Daddy, what's [[PardonMyKlingon kriffing]]?"
* In ''[[Literature/TheBelgariad The Mallorean]]'', Belgarath mentions the name "Zandramas" to the leader of the Ulgos--only to learn that it is an [[BilingualBackfire absolutely horrific word in their language]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'', the Ingalls briefly move to the city and get a house near the local bar. This leads to the youngest daughter Carrie exclaiming "Damn!" at the dinner table. Pa reprimands her and tells her to ask him about unfamiliar words before using them in the future.
* In ''Series/{{Outnumbered}}'' episode "The School Run", six-year-old Karen asks her father, Pete, about some words she overheard:
-->'''Karen:''' What's a twat? ''[Pete looks at her surprised]'' Twat.\\
'''Pete:''' It's not a very nice word for children to use. Where did you hear that -- you've been watching ''Trisha'' or something?\\
'''Karen:''' No, last night when you were arguing with Mum.\\
'''Pete:''' Well, mummies and daddies do argue sometimes, don't they? You shout sometimes, don't you? Did you... did you hear any other words?\\
'''Karen:''' There were some other words that I heard but I just can't remember them.\\
'''Pete:''' Good.\\
'''Karen:''' Something about midlife. Something about... pillock, and there's pillock and another word. I think it's ponk. And there was one and it was tight-bum.\\
'''Pete:''' Right, well, probably best not to use those too often.
* An episode of ''Series/TheDickVanDykeShow'' revolves around Richie learning several swear words from another kid he made friends with at school. The episode ends with Rob and Laura confronting the boy's parents about what he's been saying, only to find that they wanted to talk to Rob and Laura because their son was disturbed about some things Richie had been saying as well.
* At the climax of the first season of ''Series/BetweenTheLines'', the main villain becomes tangled up in a group of schoolchildren while trying to flee the heroes. As he tries to push the kids out of the way, one of them can clearly be heard to say (probably unscripted) "you dirty bastard!".
* One challenge of ''Series/ImpracticalJokers'' involved the guys working with a kid, Luke, who closed out the explanation of the challenge with "Let's do this, bitches!" (Cue the guys falling apart).
* The Japanese version of ''Series/RomperRoom'' had an unintentional example. There was an episode where Miss Midori, the Japanese localization's hostess, asked the children if they know any words beginning with "ki", and a boy responded with "I know: ''kintama''!", which is Japanese slang for testicles. Miss Midori then asked the boy if he could think of anything more ''kireina'' ("nice" in Japanese), prompting the boy to respond with "Kireina kintama!" ("Nice nuts!"). Cue the boy being replaced with a teddy bear after a commercial break.

[[folder: Music]]
* In the song "Watching You" by Rodney Atkins, the singer mentions a time when his four year old said "shit" in front of him. His son mentioned learning it from him.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/{{Dinosaurs}}'' has one episode where Baby learned one such word, "smoo". (In the dinosaur lingo, this is a dirty word because it describes debris that accumulates on the sole of a dinosaur's foot. This also doubles as GettingCrapPastTheRadar, since "smoo" is also a slang term for the vulva.)
* In ''Series/WimziesHouse'', this is done with the word [[GoshDangItToHeck "stupid"]] with one cent going into [[TheSwearJar a "charity cup"]] each time it's said. Only Wimzie's little brother Bo is exempt because A.) He's only 1 1/2 and B.) He doesn't have any money. See more examples under Western Animation below.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/YouDamnKid'':
** At one point it recounts an incident with the author's little sister who asked him who Sunsub is and why he itches when something bad happens. Things didn't click for him until at the dinner table when, after his dad tells a story, the sister shouts, "Sunsub itches!" (say it out loud if you haven't figured it out).
** And similarly to the ''Film/BlastFromThePast'' example, The Kid wonders what "[[RagingStiffie Sportin' wood" and "Pitchin' a tent"]] mean, and one of the older kids tells him it's when you get excited. Cue his parents asking [[ExactWords if he's excited]] to see a movie, and he blurts out - "Am I!? I'm sportin' wood!" Cue SpitTake from dad.
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' has [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1200 a twist on this one]]. After Pintsize tells Hannelore that robot swear words come from mashing on the keyboard, she asks him and Winslow what "qwerty" means. They're shocked.
* In ''Moon Over June'', little June Akagawa's first words are "cunt", and then "cunt fuck shit" (on one of the few remotely SFW pages in the entire series).
* This exchange from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' Act 6:
-->'''GT:''' The last thing i need on my bday is another installment of and i quote manbro bukkake theater.\\
'''TT:''' You still don't actually know what that means, do you.\\
'''GT:''' Not really? It's your friggin figure of speech man. I gathered it just meant getting slimed like in Film/{{Ghostbusters|1984}} or somesuch.\\
'''TT:''' Kind of. I told you to look it up.\\
'''GT:''' Yeah yeah. Im a busy fella dirk!

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/YouTube has plenty of examples of toddlers mispronouncing words. For example, "dump truck" becomes [[spoiler:dumbfuck]], "vacuum" becomes [[spoiler:fuck you]], and "frog" is [[spoiler:fuck]]. Some adults in the videos exploit this: "Say 'awww, truck'."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'': In "Bleep", DW hears a bad word and wants to know what it means. (She doesn't know at all that it's a bad word.) She accidentally gets her entire preschool class saying it. The Tibble twins tell her it's a hypnosis word, and saying it will make adults follow their orders. Her mother finally tells her that it means that someone wants to hurt your feelings. We're never actually told what the word is, and due to the various ways it's used in the episode, it's not based on a specific word.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' episode "Curses", the girls overhear Professor Utonium using a naughty word and start using it themselves. Many {{Sound Effect Bleep}}s ensue.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' entitled "Word Of The Day" had Angelica overhear a DepravedKidsShowHost state, rather sarcastically, that the "real" catchphrase of the show is that the children who watch it "are all little [[NarrativeProfanityFilter (censored by outside noise)]]" while auditioning for it. Angelica, being a toddler, thinks this is sincere. HilarityEnsues
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episode "Sailor Mouth", [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick read a bad word (heard as a dolphin chirp) written in a trash bin and start using it. Patrick claims it's a "sentence enhancer". Later Mr. Krabs ends up launching into a whole tirade of every one in the book, which even makes [=SpongeBob=] aghast.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** After overhearing Homer one day, one of the Flanders children swears twice at the dinner table ("Hell, no!" and "I don't want any damn vegetables.") The humor turns heartbreaking after he is scolded and runs from the room crying, not understanding what he has done wrong.
** In a different episode: Moe has turned his tavern into a family restaurant and has worked himself near to the breaking point. And then one little girl complains that her soda is too cold, causing Moe to erupt into a sanitized-for-primetime ClusterFBomb, ending with:
--->'''Moe:''' And I'll tell you where you can stick your freakin' sodie too!\\
''[crowd gasps]''\\
'''Todd Flanders:''' Ow, my freakin' ears!\\
''[crowd gasps again]''
* Seen in a story from the ''Literature/{{Franklin}}'' television series. The word in question? [[GoshDangItToHeck "Stupid"]]. The moral of the episode was that the words you use say a lot about you, and [[TropesAreNotBad it actually works fairly well]] if you can get past your knee-jerk reaction to the idea of "stupid" as a swear word. (It's credible too, since the writing on the show is monitored carefully for the language they use, and normally they ''don't'' use "stupid").
* Done on the Creator/PBSKids version of ''Literature/TheBerenstainBears'' with Sister Bear and her friend using the word "furball" after watching a video that belonged to Lizzie's brother - ''[[ShowWithinAShow Trouble at Big Bear High]]''. Apparently this is highly offensive to anthropomorphic bears. The book that inspired this episode never said exactly what word Sister learned and repeated from the video, just that [[AndThatsTerrible it sounded offensive]].
* "Dingle-Dangle-Doodle" in ''WesternAnimation/RoliePolieOlie''. The title ''is'' the bad word in question.
* In one episode of ''WesternANimation/BabyLooneyTunes'', Daffy learns a swear word from a passing garbage man. He later tells the other Tunes about it.
* Implied on the WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} short "Fathers Are People". A photo on Goof Jr.'s baby album marked "Baby's First Word" is of Goofy [[SoapPunishment washing his mouth with soap]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLoudHouse'' episode "Potty Mouth", the siblings get scared that they accidentally taught their one year old sister how to say "damn it". It turns out Lily is instead mispronouncing "donut" because she saw donuts in a TV show the girls wanted to watch, though she does curse at the end of the episode. Interestingly, most of the siblings (the second youngest child is ''four'') are all shown cursing without it being depicted as this. They all know exactly how to use the word.
* ''Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!'': In an episode aptly titled "The Bad Word", Toto goes around spouting a curse he learned from a group of mean apes. He ends up alienating everybody, until he finally gets the courage to say sorry.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Caillou}}'' did this with the word "stupid", which Caillou learns when he learns how to ride a skateboard from an older boy. After doing so, he uses the word at Clementine when she says he didn't actually skateboard by himself, which makes her upset. Caillou doesn't know why the word is bad until his mom gets a call from Clementine saying that it hurt her feelings.