Countdown host Nick Hewer was left stunned when a rude word cropped up during the game show’s letters round.

The daytime programme’s lexicographer Susie Dent suggested the word “asswipe” as a seven-letter word in Friday’s episode, after her Dictionary Corner guest, TV presenter Raj Bisram, offered the word “passive”.

Dent, laughing, told Hewer: “Block your ears Nick, there is a US slang term for a fiendish or contemptable person, or toilet paper, and that’s asswipe.”

CountdownCountdown (Channel 4 grab)

As the audience tittered in amusement over the word spelt out on the board by co-host Rachel Riley, Hewer could not disguise his surprise.

He said: “I can’t believe that’s in the dictionary!”

Dent said: “It is, and it’s been there since the 1950s and it was found in Saul Bellow’s novels.”

Hewer said: “Well, he was a great writer but that’s no excuse for putting it into the… amazing.”

Countdown is known for swear words and rude terms cropping up on occasion, and in October viewers were amused when the word “gobshite” was offered up as one of the longest words of the round.

Countdown airs weekdays on Channel 4 at 2.10pm.