Offensive and derogatory or just a bit of harmless fun? The word banter is more than 300 years old but is increasingly finding itself under the spotlight, with questions being asked about its true meaning.
The word is believed to have originated in London as street slang and has evolved to its current form, defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as "the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks".
But some would say a more sinister use of the word has developed alongside this - one which was pointed out by teacher Mike Stuchbery.
Mr Stuchbery made a stand against banter, saying it had become an "excuse for inappropriate behaviour" in his classroom, in Gorleston, Norfolk.
"If I catch somebody nicking someone's pencilcase, calling another student a derogatory name or thumping them on the back, nine times out of ten I'll be met with a 'Siiiir, it's just bantaaaaaaah!", he wrote on his blog.
Magazines including Nuts and Loaded aided the rise of banter, author Musa Okwonga said
Following nationwide media coverage, Mr Stuchbery left the school by mutual consent.
Author and journalist Musa Okwonga said the evolution of the word was partly the work of magazines such as Loaded and Nuts.
It's becoming a popular word which could cover up a whole host of more problematic meanings
John Bangs, Former head of education at the NUT
"The lads' mags may have gone now but their legacy was this demeaning commentary disguised as jokes," he said. "Banter blurred with innuendo."
He said this banter usage was propelled by comments made by Premier League manager Malky Mackay, and before that Andy Gray and Richard Keys, who made sexist comments about a female referee.
"The defence about the comments was that it was just banter," Mr Okwonga said.
"That showed the extent that it was acceptable, that someone in the public eye who works for a major broadcaster thinks that it's totally fine to use this language in the circle he was living in."
Mr Okwonga believes the type of humour now described as banter is now firmly established in the mainstream, citing as an example the success of the comedian Dapper Laughs, whose popularity on YouTube saw him offered an ITV2 show which was then pulled following complaints about his behaviour.
"There was a guy who was a mainstream character, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube," he said.