Inappropriate Speech

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This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.

The Torah goes out of its way in a verbose way in order to use clean speech and to teach us a lesson in the importance of the purity of one's tongue. Therefore, a person shouldn't let a vile expression exit his mouth.[1]

Gravity of the Sin

  1. The Gemara states that even though everyone knows why a bride enters a wedding canopy, the one who fouls his mouth to speak about it will lose any good decree God had in store for him and that decree will be turned into a harsh decree.[2]
  2. It is forbidden to speak vile speech in any amount, a lot or even a tiny bit.[3]

Using Positive Speech

  1. One should compliment a bride in a way that is nice and kind. [4]
  2. See the page about the Prohibition of Lying for details about lying for constructive purposes.


  1. Gemara Pesachim 3a. Rabbenu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuva 3:230) sources this prohibition in a few pesukim including Iyov 15:5, 33:2, and Mishlei 10:20, which indicate the importance of clean speech. Furthermore, he (Shaarei Teshuva 3:229) writes that someone who speaks inappropriately is distancing himself from the positive qualities of modesty and embarrassment of negative actives. Finally, he is disgracing the kedusha of Klal Yisrael who are praised for their wisdom (Devarim 4:6).
  2. Gemara Shabbat 33a. See Mesilat Yesharim (Ch. 11) who explains that vile speech is an extension of the prohibition of not exposing or seeing a person's nakedness. See Yerushalmi (Trumot 1:4).
  3. Machzor Vitri no. 424 s.v. shimon. See Taz YD 124:1 who thinks that there's no punishment for saying inappropriate speech without any negative intention whatsoever.
  4. Gemara Ketubot 17a