This article suggests that being on CBS All Access could afford the makers of Star Trek: Discovery more freedom in the language they use.

Of course, we know that in previous series, they sometimes avoid the issue by swearing in Klingon, Romulan, or French. And, of course there is this line from Generations:

But ignoring the movies, what exactly is the strongest profanity used in a Star Trek television show to date?

Clarification: Profanity is meant to include all taboo language, generally known as and/or including vulgarities, obscenities, swear words, slurs, curse words or cussing.

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    Note: a good answer probably needs to offer a few options since words have different levels of profanity to different people. – ThePopMachine Oct 12 '17 at 20:04
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    How is it not a matter of opinion whether one cussword is "stronger" than another? – user14111 Oct 12 '17 at 21:35
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    If you would include German and non-official Star Trek, there is a relatively famous fan dubbing called "Sinnlos im Weltraum". It's a mix of obscenity and a sort of "dadaism" (talking about total nonsense). Sound quality isn't too good, but it has a cult following in Germany, as it contrasts the very reasonable "normal" behaviour of TNG with its dubbing youtu.be/b709JRq_vgE?t=175 – Frank Hopkins Oct 13 '17 at 0:44
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    @user14111 Yes, but there are statistics covering which cusswords cause the most offense. – ApproachingDarknessFish Oct 13 '17 at 3:07
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    @user14111 Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. However, this question could be improved by clarifying which set of cultural norms are meant to used to determine level of offense. USA? UK? Canada? Some other region or subset? – user31178 Oct 16 '17 at 17:31

Some of this will depend on how you personally rate the offensiveness of the words:


  • Bloody, bollocks - Uttered by Miles O'Brien on a few episodes of DS9 (Also Scotty on "Relics")
  • Son of a bitch - Uttered by various characters in different episodes of Enterprise
  • Damn - Sprinkled liberally through all the ST variations
  • Hell - Confirmed in a transcript review from the comment by @magerber - City on the Edge of Forever (Last line)
  • nigger - As put forth in @Princess Ada's answer, DS9 used this slur in S06E13, "Beyond The Stars" (Added upon request).


  • Shit - Confirmed in a transcript review from the comment by @tim - Discovery episode 3.
  • Fuck - Confirmed in the newest episode of Discovery, (Season 1 Episode 5) as noted in comments and @thepopmachine in their answer.

There are, of course, other language ones (Merde comes immediately to mind) that have been said, but you limited it to English and television. Additionally, the context of it is cultural as well, as a common (everyday) phrase in the UK is "fuckin' hell", which carries much less stigma/gravitas than the same statement in the US regions.

Corroborating source: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Colorful_metaphor

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    Michael Burnham says "Oh shit" in episode 3 of Discovery. – Tim Oct 12 '17 at 20:35
  • @Tim - Thank you. Confirmed and updated. – JohnP Oct 12 '17 at 20:38
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    The word "hell" is used in "City on the Edge of Forever." I remember being really surprised as a kid that they had allowed Kirk to say "Let's get the hell out of here" on TV. – magerber Oct 12 '17 at 23:58
  • @Worse_Username Is CBS All Access what they were summoning? Or was the ritual satisfied by Voyager? – ench Oct 13 '17 at 17:48
  • A good answer, but apparently missing out the latest profanity from the most recent Discovery episode, which has set the Trek community ablaze. – user31178 Oct 16 '17 at 18:38

Star Trek: Discovery episode 5, "Choose Your Pain" contains the following dialog after they come to understand how the tardigrade interacts with the space fungal network:

TILLY: You guys, this is so fucking cool. ...
[regarding the swearing] So sorry.

STAMETS: No, cadet. It is fucking cool.

Whether this is the strongest language used in any Star Trek television series so far, especially given the intent to express amazement, not offense, given the instance of the N word (see this answer) is a matter of opinion.

  • That's not the strongest profanity to me, especially in context of admiring somethnig. Since you asked the question and left this comment on it: "Note: a good answer probably needs to offer a few options since words have different levels of profanity to different people.", I was wondering why you didn't provide more background or other options before accepting? – user31178 Oct 16 '17 at 18:35
  • @CreationEdge: Because the comment on requiring several options was predicated on the assumption that the answer would be somewhat in the ear of the beholder. But then they came around throwing the F word around (twice!) - which blows the others out of the water. If JohnP wishes to amend his answer to add it, I would accept. If future episodes of Discovery start throwing around e. the C or N words, then again it would become ambiguous and I would unaccept. But in the meantime, this is the clear unambiguous winner, and frankly, I think it is unlikely to change. But I guess we'll see. – ThePopMachine Oct 16 '17 at 20:08
  • Fair enough, but I'm not convinced it's unambiguous. Some sort of citation would help! :) – user31178 Oct 17 '17 at 4:05
  • @ThePopMachine - I'm not sure we can safely agree on that, since, per Pricess Ada's answer, DS9 did use the 'N' word... Furthermore, also in DS9, O'Brien used "Bollocks", which may not be quite as strong as "Fuck" in absolute terms, but since he used it in anger rather than in admiration, it would present the argument that it that particular usage is possibly more profane. – colmde Aug 15 '18 at 10:07
  • @colmde: I agree that the N word clouds whether this is the strongest profanity. – ThePopMachine Aug 15 '18 at 13:57

Deep Space Nine S06E13, Far Beyond the Stars. Captain Sisko has visions of life as a 1950s science fiction author struggling against racism while trying to sell a story about a black captain. The word “negro” is used repeatedly, but at one point Jimmy (Jake’s double in this world) uses a stronger N-word:

CASSIE: I'm sorry they didn't buy your story, baby. Really I am.

JIMMY: I told you you were wasting your time. A coloured captain. The only reason they'll ever let us in space is if they need someone to shine their shoes. Ain't that right, Cassie?

CASSIE: I don't know, and to be honest I don't much care what happens a hundred years from now. It's today that matters.

JIMMY: Well, I've got news for you. Today or a hundred years from now, it don't make a bit of difference. As far as they're concerned, we'll always be niggers.


Based on this clarification:

Profanity is meant to include all taboo language

I believe spoonhead fits. It seems around on-par with "negro", "chink", and other such slurs that are based on appearance.

It was originally included as a Bajoran insult for Cardassians, but in DS9 5x24, Empok Nor, it was used by a member of Starfleet.

There's another term, Cardie, that's been used plenty of times by O'Brien as well. Although it is said to be an offensive term, since it's just a shortened form of "Cardassian", I'm not sure it really counts as a slur.

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    These are also not taboo terms in modern English, regardless of how profane they may be considered in the 24th century. – ApproachingDarknessFish Oct 13 '17 at 3:06
  • I thought it would be obvious from the context of the linked article, and from the fact I excluded other languages, that I also wasn't really interested in made up insults that aren't actually offensive to any viewers. This would fit better as an answer to some other question. – ThePopMachine Oct 13 '17 at 13:22
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    I don't see how "Cardie" being "just a shortened form of 'Cardassian'" keeps it from being a slur. By that logic, "Jap" is not a slur. – user14111 Oct 16 '17 at 4:58

In Star Trek: Discovery, in Season 1 Episode 5 ('Choose Your Pain'), the word "fucking" was dropped twice. I was shocked to be honest; they really seemed to want to take the show in a different direction.

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    This answer would be better with citations, or at least proper English instead of txtspk. – Nic Hartley Oct 16 '17 at 3:54

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