RaveNew York Journal of BooksTwo paradoxes within Nine Nasty Words make it a most enlivening read. The first is of profanity embraced by the masses while also being held in puritanical quarantine in certain quarters. The second is McWhorter’s personal anecdotes and guy-on-the-next-barstool’s witty and often cheeky asides juxtaposed with his brilliant, erudite, dizzying command of the English language ... This is not a book for those who are easily offended ... But those who love words and the magic and mischief they make in life will be spellbound ... Hopefully, this delightful and scholarly exploration of profanity will move us to think more generously about so-called nasty words and give us a deeper intellectual understanding of their place in modern life and in our own lives.