A UK Standards Board Says Asterisking Expletives Isn't Good Enough. : Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! The Advertising Standards Authority over in the UK has ruled that blocking out part of an expletive with asterisks isn't good enough, and we take issue with that.
NPR logo In Defense Of The Asterisk

In Defense Of The Asterisk

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Over in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that asterisks in the middle of an expletive are not sufficient to cover up the expletive. This means "f**k," in their eyes, is just as bad as writing the whole word.

But you can't know what's behind those asterisks, really. And if you don't know for sure, you can't ban it, right? Maybe the way to save the Asterisking Expletives Technique is to establish an innocent precedent for asterisked words:

  • Grandma, I like the sweater vest you made me, but the a**holes are too small.
  • Spooning usually follows f**king.
  • Hey! That sh**he*d ran away with my sheep!
  • I like big b**ts.

Take that, British advertising standards board I'd never heard of before today!

*(That's armholes, forking, shepherd, and beets, of course.)