four-letter word


: any of a group of vulgar or obscene words typically made up of four letters
broadly : a taboo word or topic
tax is a four-letter word to him

Examples of four-letter word in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For Polis, who disdains hardliners in both parties, ideology is something of a four-letter word. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2023 Despite being an overall success in stabilizing the financial industry — the federal government actually made almost $8 billion on the program — TARP became a four-letter word in politics. Paul Kane, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2023 Never one to censor herself, Madonna's latest fashion statement can be summarized with a four-letter word. Glenn Garner, Peoplemag, 12 Mar. 2023 What’s a four-letter word for funny, sweet, silly, huggable, wonderful, and mine? Angela Belt, House Beautiful, 2 Mar. 2023 In an audio excerpt, an air traffic controller can be heard uttering a four-letter word. Livia Albeck-Ripka, New York Times, 15 Jan. 2023 The only hard coral in Rhode Island waters, it’s often described with a four-letter word: drab., 20 May 2021 Their cackling machinations to keep their seats and punish opponents, all while insulting Black people, Oaxacans and others, made the very idea of Latino political power a four-letter word. Gustavo Arellanocolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2022 Mater Dei Catholic tennis coach Jose Oropeza says there is a four-letter word that is unacceptable on his team. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'four-letter word.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of four-letter word was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near four-letter word

Cite this Entry

“Four-letter word.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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