Simple Vocal or Phonic Tics - Throat clearing, yelping and other noises, sniffing and tongue clicking.
Complex Vocal Tics - Uttering ordinary words or phrases out of context, echolalia (repeating a sound, word or phrase just heard) and in rare cases, coprolalia (vocalizing socially unaccceptable words).
Echolalia- Involuntary repetition of words or phrases said by others; the involuntary parrot-like repetition (echoing) of a word or sentence just spoken by another person.
Palilalia - Repeatedly saying one's own words or phrases
Coprolalia - Involuntary utterances of obscene or inappropriate statements or words including excessive and uncontrollable use of foul or obscene language, including words related to feces (bowel waste).
Persons with Tourette syndrome might also curse out of anger or displeasure, but they should be able to discern between an angry outburst and an uncontrollable compulsion.
Coprolalia can upon occasion also be a symptom of schizophrenia, a severe psychiatric disorder of thought in which the sufferer loses touch with reality, withdraws from social activity and exhibits bizarre behavior. The schizophrenic may curse for no apparent reason.
There is no known relationship between Tourette syndrome and schizophrenia.
Undiagnosed persons with Tourette syndrome or schizophrenia are often subjected to public ridicule from persons within earshot of a coprolalia outburst. Observers believe the outburst is the result of a conscious and voluntary decision to swear. It is not. Medication is available to control the outbursts.
Persons who swear excessively, repeatedly and deliberately -- that is, they swear because they want to --are not technically exhibiting coprolalia, although the media often applies the term loosely to them.
"Coprolalia" is derived from the Greek words "kopros" (dung) and "lalein" (to babble).