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    • I've always been pretty fond of vehement expressions. Maybe it's because I grew up with a dad who said things like 'GOD OH FISH-HOOKS' when he dropped something on his foot: the sort of thing that would have been considered swearing in the 19th century, but these days really isn't.

      I wasn't much of a swearer, growing up: I honestly don't think I'd ever dropped an f-bomb until college. Now, thanks (?) to watching prestige television, and to a shift in my language in general -- from the most pedantic of prescriptivists to a dirty descriptivist -- I swear up a storm. I'm pretty sure I was the first person to drop the f-bomb on Cake, in fact.

      But I still love weird curses, and fun words to substitute for swear-words. I've picked up several old-timey Catholic curses from reading Patrick O'Brian novels, for instance; and I enjoy using some of the language from the show Adventure Time -- 'oh my glob' instead of 'oh my god', and 'biz' in many of the casual, non-scatological places one might say 'shit'. In fact, I started this conversation because I was enjoying the phrase 'all up in my biz' once more.

      What archaic, foreign, Bowdlerized or badly garbled curse words strike your fancy? :)

    • It's funny, having grown up on the streets, my native language was the language of a poor black neighborhood in East Oakland. We said a bunch of words to be cool and I don't think we really knew what was a swear word and not, except for words like cracker. My best friends called me white meat and vanilla cookie as terms of endearment.

      When I moved in with my dad in a white neighborhood, I got the nickname cracker because I liked saltines. Oh my God, I couldn't believe anyone would utter that word to me. Yet they were like, huh, what did we say? My step mom called me cracker all her life.

      Now I find that sometimes, there just aren't phrases as powerful as oh my God, bloody hell, and damn. But I would never call anyone cracker.

    • Interesting! I just finished listening to Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson's verse novel about her childhood, and there's a poem about how her mother wouldn't allow them to listen to any music with the word 'funk' in it, which for a few years was just about every song on the Black radio stations she and her sibs wanted to listen to. I guess some moms don't know whether the 'cool' words are swear words or not, either!

    • What archaic, foreign, Bowdlerized or badly garbled curse words strike your fancy? :)

      Dunno...over 200,000 useful words in the English language - I tend to (over) use a few of 'em!


    • Hahaha, that was seriously hilarious! I didn't know about him and we're into stand-up.

      Toni and I watched a Netflix last night of early Trevor Noah struggling to transition from taxi driver to comedian. He said he swore like a sailor in everyday life, but never on the stage.

    • Hahaha, my family in Scotland has probably called me wallpaper and nugget and I didn't even know.

    • Those Scots... On the one hand, this is the most hilarious stand-up bit ever performed. On the other, it's not for delicate ears and you can never unhear the lyrics of some popular songs once you watch it:

    • I am a fan of the f-bomb.....but, it is a lazy way to make a point. I like the idea of alternative expressions....There are some really funny youtube videos about the usage of the f-word but, "God OH FISH-HOOKS" is made for a great movie line or sitcom for sure.

    • Oh I attended Brigham Young University and nobody curses there, so you do get some very interesting substitutions. "Cheese and crackers" was popular as was "oh my stinkin' heck." "Fetchin'" is about as close as you get to an F-bomb.

      My husband used to say "carp" plenty and I grew up with "gol" (pronounced "gall") courtesy of my mom. But my favorites are actually taken from my mother-in-law when she plays cards. <Read these with plenty of feeling.>

      "Honest to Pete."


      "Good Night Nurse!"

    • I love Mike Birbiglia!

      Tom Segura also has a great bit about how the only racial slurs that are perfectly acceptable to say are white racial slurs, because nobody cares.

    • In one of my boarding schools, they preached that cursing was a sign of a limited vocabulary. We swore, but not prolificly.

      When I worked in local news (TV) it was a high-pressure environment with a little bit of a swashbuckling, cowboy mentality. We often swore a lot.

      When I moved to The Weather Channel it was in the South (Atlanta) and one of my direct reports was a deeply religious young lady for whom even G-d dammit was offensive. The more genteel environment taught me to once again curb my tongue.

      I've recently become acquainted with a guy who works as a store manager for a bar-restaurant chain. I notice that he swears a lot and I wonder if his work environmnent, which can also be pressure-filled, is partly why he does so.

    • I mostly work from home, writing, so I don't know that I can excuse my mouth by citing a tense work environment. I sometimes moonlight as a high school substitute, and there I have found myself saying incredibly dorky things to avoid swearing, so I guess the interest in swear-substitutes has paid off? I wish I could avoid saying 'okey-doke' in front of teens, but being a huge square is better than getting in trouble for swearing.

      In worlds colliding, I'm writing a YA novel, and I've had to decide whether to put swear words in life-threatening situations written for ostensibly teenage readers. I've gotten a fair amount of mileage out of '[Character] swore', which after all doesn't remove much information, but won't squander any goodwill I might get someday from censorious adults (or teen readers as prim as I myself was.)

    • For the BBC Comedy series Red Dwarf the writers invented a swear word 'Smeg' as no swearwords would be broadcast by the BBC.

      Smeg is a vulgarism or expletive used throughout the series of Red Dwarf. Although no specific meaning is ever given, it and its derivatives such as Smegger, smeg off, smegging hell, smeghead and Smeg for brains are regularly used for swearing or as derogatory terms.

      Mechanoids were programmed to obey their human masters and were not programmed to swear. However, Kryten managed to override his core programming, but could not say smeg head. The words would cause a minor malfunction, causing them to come out as "smeeeee heeee".

      On a personal note I have used 'Flaming Red Flashing Firetrucks' in polite company.

    • Same milieu, different solution to starting the F-word:

      Which reminds me, as a high school upperclassman who didn't use the F-word, I did say 'shit' pretty often. Which was a potential problem for me when playing tennis -- plenty of mistakes occurred that inspired the exclamation, but swearing was bad form and could get me and my doubles partner in trouble. So I started substituting. Since I'd get the 'shhhh' sound out pretty routinely, I went with a 'nonsense word' that matched: the French word for 'smurf', which is 'schtroumpf'. This seemed appropriate to me, since as any child of the 80s could tell you -- even one like me who was only allowed to watch public television -- 'smurf' can mean anything!

    • What an elegant solution to a teenager’s desire to vent in public.  I did not know that there even was a French version of the word smurf (!).

      My earliest memory of euphemisms in place of profanities was also on television.

      “H-e-double hockey sticks!”
    • I always liked the dubbed lines they'd use in network TV airings of movies.

      I fondly remember watching Die Hard with a Vengeance on TV and laughing uproariously when Zeus called McClane a "racist melon farmer" instead of the more profane original line.

      And then there's the classic TV edit of The Big Lebowski in which Walter destroys a Corvette while yelling, "You see what happens Larry? You see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?!"