Profanity Filtering Techniques: Embedded Words

Brian Pontarelli

The sixth in a series of posts about the finer points of profanity filtering…


Embedded words occur when a dictionary word or proper name contain profanity:

  1. Don’t assume profanity filters are inaccurate
  2. Harry Lipshitz has a hard time creating accounts on web sites
  3. This has been documented as the Scunthorpe problem

CleanSpeak’s sophisticated profanity filter looks for dictionary words that contain profanity and safely ignores them during the filtering process. Poorly written filters will often get caught up on these simple cases and flag large number of dictionary words as profanity. CleanSpeak pulls from a large set of dictionary words and proper names in real time, over 140,000 in all, to correctly handle this situation and avoid a potentially large number of false positives without hindering performance.

Learn more about the Scunthorpe problem online at: