The alphabet is rapidly filling. Now we have ‘the R-word’ to go along with ‘the N-word’ and ‘the J-word’, the ‘J’ courtesy of Google and the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus. Perhaps only Sammy Davis, Jr., would be an example simultaneously of J-, N-, and R-.
Of course the grand original was ‘the F-word’, making four. Sammy Davis probably qualified under that, too. There are twenty-two letters of the English alphabet left. Oh, yes, we mustn’t forget ‘the L-word’, ‘Liberal’. Twenty-one. Any more ‘x-word’ candidates?
Somewhat more seriously, here’s a post from Scientific American sci am online for 10 February, 2010:
“The word “retarded” seems to me to imply a temporary condition — just a little slower to catch up, will eventually do so. But that’s not what happens to most “retarded” people — they never “catch up”. I believe that “intellectual disability” is the more descriptive term of the two. I observe that “retarded” was originally a euphemism, and a poor choice of terminology besides. Time for a new euphemism!”