Women are more likely to say the f-word than men, according to a new survey of swearing habits.
The study looked at habits for two decades, revealing that there had been a big increase in swearing among women compared to 1990. While the amount men swore had gone down, the number of times women swore had risen.
Men and women agreed to their conversations being recorded for three hours.
Researchers then looked at how much swearing there was over the course of 10 million spoken words.
While the data which was first recorded in the 1990s showed that men said the f-word 1,000 times for every million words they uttered, women only said it 167 times.
But, by 2014, the picture had completely turned around. Men swore 540 times, while women dropped the f-bomb a total of 546 per million words.
Women were also much more likely to say s*** than their male counterparts.
Researchers said the findings showed that there was now equality between the sexes when it came to swearing.
Professor Tony McEnery of Lancaster University’s Linguistics and English Language department, who led the research, said the findings highlighted increasing equality of the sexes for the change in women’s use of language.
He said: “As equality drives on, the idea that there is male and female language, that there are things which men and women should or should not say, is going to be eroded… gentlemanly behaviour and ladylike language should become a thing of the past.”
However, while Professor McEnery says that attitudes towards swearing in women are becoming more equal, when women swear it still captures more media attention.
When the wife of tennis ace Andy Murray was seen to swear at his opponent during the Australian open, she made the news, as did the singer Adele when she swore on stage at Glastonbury.
The research is believed to be the first of its kind to be carried out. Not only did it identify a pattern of increased swearing among women, it also discovered that variants of the f-word are on the increase.
Language deemed to be homophobic or racist, however, had dropped dramatically.
The research will now be used by the Cambridge University Press, who conducted the survey alongside Lancaster University and the Economic and Social Research Council, for its dictionaries. It may be, then, that we see more swear words in our dictionaries in future.