TikTok angry emoji.

People think of TikTok as an “anything goes” platform, but that’s far from true. There are some very mild words that will get you in trouble if used. You may be surprised by just how innocent some of them are.

Censorship has been a concern on TikTok for years, but it’s not just about politics and minority groups. Certain words are banned from comments and private messages. Other words aren’t officially banned, but using them will greatly reduce how many people will see your video.

The result of these banned words has resulted in a new language of sorts. Creators say things like “seggs” and use emojis (🍆🐱) in place of words. It’s a very interesting side effect of some heavy-handed moderation. Let’s take a look at some of these words people can’t use.

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It’s no mystery that cigarettes are bad for you. There’s a reason why they have a surgeon general’s warning on the box. Nonetheless, plenty of people still smoke—it’s a part of their daily life. Yet, TikTok does not like it if you say the name of these perfectly legal cylinders.


It’s amazing what changing one letter of a word can do. “Thick” is a word that refers to the, well, thickness of something. “Thicc” means something else, which has resulted in the completely innocent “thick” being banned along with it. You can’t even use it in private conversations.


Here’s where things start getting really crazy. You can’t say the word “dead.” This is a word you’ll hear on Sesame Street, yet it’s not allowed on TikTok. Is it a fun word? No, but it’s also not an inappropriate or vulgar word either.


Here’s another innocent word that has been dragged down into the gutter. Yes, some people use “hole” to describe certain parts of the body, but it also has much, much wider use. Should a word be banned because of how it’s used in unintended contexts?

Anatomical Terms for Reproductive Organs

The last one we’ll touch on encompasses a few different words. Rather, these are scientific and medically accepted terms for reproductive organs. The interesting thing about these words being banned is their slang counterparts are not.

There are plenty of euphemisms that are allowed, but some of the widely accepted terms that you would even teach young children to use are not. Then there’s the case of “Dick,” which obviously has a certain meaning, but is also just a common nickname for “Richard.”

These are just a few of the more surprising things you can’t say on TikTok, but there are plenty of other words and phrases that are also banned. Some terms aren’t outright banned—such as common swear words—but you may get a violation warning or have the audience of your video restricted.

Of course, there are some things that should be banned—like hate speech—and they are as well. A little moderation is necessary and good. When your censoring is more extreme than basic TV, things may have gone too far.

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Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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