By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
Compared to people in other states, Wyomingites swear more than average – at least online — and the big “S” is our go-to curse, some researchers says.
While that may be how people behave online, the proprietors of two Wyoming establishments said they like to keep things family friendly.
“Once you start getting those (swear) words going, then you’re creating a negative atmosphere, so our bartenders tell people to stop,” said Alf Grzegorczyk, owner of Alf’s Pub and Package in Cheyenne.
“Fans do get excited once in a while and we’ll start hearing some things, but we really don’t get a whole lot of it,” Brad Murphy, general manager of the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper, told Cowboy State Daily.
People are generally forgiven for letting a little fire roll off their tongues in the Wyoming Center, he said, but there comes a point where decorum has to be respected.
“If it’s anything that we think is on the borderline of being egregious, we’ll talk to them first,” Murphy said. “And if they just don’t let up, then we’ll ask them to leave.”
Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red
With “blue” states apparently having the most delicate sensibilities and “red” representing those that swear like sailors, Wyoming rates “orange,” according to “The United States of Cussing,” a report that tracks how Americans colorfully express themselves.
That’s according to the number of curse words per 1,000 social media posts in each state, as determined by the researches behind the website.
Scoring a mere 15 naughty words detected per 1,000 posts, Minnesota is solidly in the blue zone with the cleanest speech of any state.
Montana hit the “green” zone with 25, while Coloradans, despite their yuppie reputations, leaned into “yellow” territory with 30 per 1,000.
Wyomingites matched Texans at pushing sailor talk into the orange zone with scores of 35.
Meanwhile, Georgia peels the paint of the walls in the red zone, scoring 48, making it the most foul-mouthed state.
Let the ‘S’ Hit The Fan
Among the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains States, Wyoming stands alone with the big “S” – an unsavory term referring to excrement – apparently being our favorite swear word, researchers report.
There are 14 other states where that’s also the case, but they’re mostly in the South and Northeast.
Wyoming is surrounded by states that prefer hell, crap and F-bombs.
Idahoans seem to have the cleanest language in the region, with “crap” being their favorite sentence seasoner. Utah and the Dakotas favor the good old H-E-double hockey sticks.
But Montana and Colorado aren’t messing around. They both like to drop F-bombs.
And moving just a little farther out, but still in the general region, Kansans had a yellow zone score of 31 for its rate of no-no words. But when they do cuss, they apparently like to pull out the stops, with the compound “M-Fer” being their favorite.
It’s Easy To Slip Up
Grzegorczyk agreed that when somebody does let things slip in his establishment, the slang term for fecal matter seems to be the most commonly used.
He admitted to having to occasionally check himself for that particular barnyard exclamation.
“I know I’ll slip up and say it when I throw darts, because I suck at darts,” he said.
Murphy said he hasn’t noticed a particular favorite bouncing around the Wyoming Center.
“As far as the ‘F’ word or the ‘S’ word, I can’t single either one out,” he said. “It seems kind of random.”
The Origin Of The Word
As for the roots of Wyoming’s favorite foul word, a longstanding assumption is that it was derived from the phrase “ship high in transit.” It’s a warning against letting bags of manure get wet in a ship’s bilgewater.
That’s probably not true, according to some etymologists (experts who study the origins of words).
Instead, it probably evolved from such old German and English words such as “skit” and “scearn,” used to describe what cattle and horses leave behind them.
Wyomingites Generally Well-Behaved In Public
As much as they might like to cuss online or out on the range, Wyomingites seem to generally be polite in public, Grzegorczyk and Murphy said.
It rarely takes more than a single warning for patrons to cool their talk down at his bar, Grzegorczyk said.
And Murphy said the crowds he gets at the Wyoming Center are far better-spoken that what he’s encountered elsewhere.
“I’ve been to football games in North Carolina, and it’s appalling what those people will say about their opponents,” he said. “I’ve never heard anything like that in my building.”