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The reason I put this topic here is not trying to pull attention to the question by using swear words, but because of asking this myself the other day, when I heard this in Sunday school.

I personally, don't mind hearing the word, since I feel that it became a "normal" word like verdammt - whose roots are for sure worse than referring to excrements, especially in Sunday school.

Even the Duden, only classifies it as

[..] salopp abwertend [..] ausgesprochen schlecht, unerfreulich, ärgerlich

which does not categorize it as an offensive word.

On the other hand, I know several mothers uttering this word in front of their kids, will give you an evil eye at best.

So no matter one would object if you use the word or not, my question is:

Are there any sources which shows whether or not the word scheiße has become a "normal" word in the German language?

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5  
Scheiße, ja, natürlich ist es ein normales Wort. –  John Smithers Feb 16 '12 at 20:40
2  
Die Frage ist scheiße ;p –  Em1 Feb 16 '12 at 20:58
    
You might be interested in the facts used to argument in this SO answer. :) –  sbi Feb 17 '12 at 10:44
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Also, from my own experience: The trouble with speaking such words in front of a two-year old is that two-year olds invariantly will pick up the habit. And a two-year old saying "ßeiße" is disturbing on a totally different level than a teenager doing the same. –  sbi Feb 17 '12 at 10:47
    

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Note that from Duden the vulgarity level for the noun "die Scheiße", is not the same as for the noun "der Scheiß" and the adjective "scheiße":

Scheiße f.: derb abwertend
Scheiß m., scheiße: salopp abwertend

All other dictionaries agree in classifying all of these expressions as vulgar. This is especially true for its literal meaning of faeces.

Having said that, there is need to clarify that most likely nobody will be offended by its figurative usage e.g.:

"Ich sehe so scheiße aus heute."
"Oh Mann, bau bloß keinen Scheiß nachher."

This is also reflected in its impressive increase in usage not only in colloquial speech but also in printed media, movies, music, and television. This makes me believe that some of its usages are already accepted in a non-vulgar but still very casual context.

Mostly however especially the noun "die Scheiße" is still considered to be a rather strong (but not really offending) expression. Whether it will be tolerated or not will very much depend on both the context, and the people you are with. The younger they are the more likely the use of "Scheiße" may not even be realized as being something possibly controversial.

Still it is better to avoid using them unless you are very sure that it will be o.k..

Note that you still should not use "Scheiße" in its literal meaning. For swearing there are many alternatives that you could use instead.

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z.B.: Sch.....eibenkleister –  Em1 Feb 17 '12 at 7:46
    
@Em1: Don't. Just... don't. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 18 '12 at 23:46

The "normalization" of this and many other words is only gauged by its "common" use, not a grammatical change. Just because people say it, and perhaps even often in some circles, does not qualify necessarily as being "normal" in the sense you mean. It may get into the dictionary because of its frequency of use, but it is still listed as vulgar and inappropriate in most uses outside of colloquial among friends and close acquaintances.

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While the general trend is that "Scheiße" is not too bad, there are some offensive uses, e.g. addressing a person as "Stück Scheiße" or "Scheißkerl", or seriously criticizing the actions of a person: "Das war jetzt wirklich Scheiße von dir!".

Of course this depends very much on the context. If someone was quite foolish and you say with a smile "Du redest nur Scheiße", it is very colloquial, but not really offensive.

Note that you can almost always (*) use "Mist" instead of "Scheiße", which is slightly softer.

(*) "in der Scheiße sitzen" doesn't work with Mist. I'm not sure if there are more differences.

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  1. It is about in which social environment you are. If you meet people doing craftsmanship they talk as usual offensive and "Scheiße" is part of their speech.

  2. "Scheiße" is offensive, regarding a person it is super-offensive.

  3. People of higher social class use it very careful (more "droken" language excluding most offensive words, which puts more weight to words which sound only really offensive in context).

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