In this study terms of abuse are investigated in three different cultures. Spontaneous verbal aggression is to a certain extent reminiscent of the values of a certain culture. One hundred and ninety-two male subjects from Spain, Germany and the Netherlands were asked to write down terms of abuse that they would use given a certain stimulus situation, and in addition to give their rating of the offensive character of those terms. A total set of 830 useful expressions was thus collected. The frequencies of the expressions were established, and the total list of expressions was categorized in terms of what they were about. In Spanish abusive language is typically about family and relations, in Germany it is typically about anal aspects, and in the Netherlands it is mainly about genitals. Explanations are provided in terms of dimensions on which the three cultures differ Copyright (c) 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.