is "nonsense" vulgar/pejorative word?

civic   Monday, July 12, 2004, 14:54 GMT
When i discuss questions with someone else whom i don't know well can i say "you are talking nonsense" or "it's nonsense" if I find his/her thinking is ridiculous? Is it vulgar word like "bullshit"?
Damian   Monday, July 12, 2004, 15:12 GMT
If you disagree with the person, irrespective of whether you know them well or not, and you wish to be polite, you may say "nonsense" just as you did in your post.

If you do not feel like being so polite then go ahead and say "bullshit". I am talking UK terms here. I may be wrong but I think "bullshit" is used much more in the US than it is here and therefore perhaps more acceptable generally in non offensive speech. We use the word "crap" rather than bullshit.

If you want to be really, really rude you can use some other good words like..................oh! sorry....telephone to go.
Steve   Monday, July 12, 2004, 15:31 GMT
No respectable person would use bullshit in regular speech here in the US… unless of course you are the Vice President, who recently told the Senate minority leader to “fuck off” while the Senate was in session… lol.

I’m just playing of course. But anyways, most people would be taken aback if you told them they were talking bullshit. As Damian said, “nonsense” is the more polite word that should be used in most situations.
civic   Monday, July 12, 2004, 17:20 GMT
Damian and Steve,thanks.

But i was just told by my colleagues that "nonsense" is just another way saying somebody is foolish. So it's an impolite word.(no better than "bullshit") And they told me using "You are mistaken" or "You are not making sense" instead.

I am really confused now...
mjd   Monday, July 12, 2004, 18:10 GMT
"Bullshit" is considered vulgar..."nonsense" isn't.
civic   Monday, July 12, 2004, 19:06 GMT
Will the person feel insulted if I said "nonsense" to him/her?
Is "nonsense" used for cursing?
Ailian   Monday, July 12, 2004, 19:29 GMT
"Nonsense" is not used for cursing. As has been stated before, it is a more polite word and would be used (and preferred) as an alternative to cursing. Some people may, however, be offended by it, but that is because the speaker is telling them that what they are saying makes no sense. They would most likely take offence as well to being told that they are "mistaken".
Random Chappie   Monday, July 12, 2004, 21:40 GMT
Pooh! Must "impolite" words be relegated to the gutter of vulgarity? For all I know, people like Civic's affectedly posh colleagues would only approve of refined and mild language- "oh, I'm really so sorry to tell you, my good sir, that you are seriously mistaken." Bah! Stuff and nonsense!

"Nonsense", in my opinion, is a very decent word, more decent than many people deserve. "Bullshit", on the other hand, is indecent because it refers to the faeces of cattle and the f-word is even more taboo because it refers to sexual intercourse.

As for "foolish", it is SUCH a mild word that anyone who is offended by it is nought but a prissy weakling.

So, by all means, indulge freely in spouting the word "nonsense". The world would be a boring place if everything you say has to be so poshy-politey.
civic   Monday, July 12, 2004, 23:13 GMT
mjd, Ailian, Random Chappie, thanks.

But a lady told me she would rather hear "Oh, shit" than "You are talking nonsense" because "nonsense" is not "no sense" but equal to "You are foolish".
Random Chappie   Monday, July 12, 2004, 23:27 GMT
Yes, nonsense is equal to "you are foolish" but "you are foolish" is ever so mild. Personally, I have a great affection for the word "foolish".
D   Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 03:31 GMT
As a native speaker, I would find "that's nonsense"
to be insulting. If you think that someone else is
entirely wrong about something, you can say
"That doesn't make any sense to me." But to say
"That's a lot of nonsense" would be much harsher, since
it implies the speaker should know that it is nonsense.
Someone   Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 04:05 GMT
I can understand why she would be more offended by "That's nonsense." "Oh, shit." is vulgar, but not insulting. "That's nonsense." is not vulgar by any means, but it's somewhat insulting.
Damian   Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 06:28 GMT
Personally I have no problem with using "nonsense". If you see it as has "no sense" as you see it...then I think you have a right to say it as an opinion. What's wrong with that? If someone says something I know to be factually stupid and ridiculous, and to me makes "no sense" then why not say so? "It's nonsense!" If anyone has a problem with that, then they DO have a problem with over sensitivity. I can think of some people who would genuinely be offended if I said "Oh shit!" but not if I said "Nonsense!" It depends who it is you are talking with. I would never ever say "Oh! Shit!" to my grandmothers. On second thoughts, I don't think I would say "Nonsense" to them either. They are ALWAYS right anyway!
Paul   Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 17:53 GMT
People talk a lot of nonsense, and most of them don't object to being
called on it.
Nonsense is very mild.
BenIII   Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 20:21 GMT
"But a lady told me she would rather hear "Oh, shit" than "You are talking nonsense" because "nonsense" is not "no sense" but equal to "You are foolish"."

I wouldn't put too much faith into things like that. "Nonsense" isn't going to offend anyone like "bullshit" would. Of course, you could just avoid saying either by simply smirking when someone's wrong. It usually gets the point across.