Last autumn my youngest was walking around the house saying “Bloody Hell!” We were a bit taken aback, and asked him why. He told us that he was practicing to be Harry Potter for Halloween. We reluctantly taught him about profanity. (Reluctantly, because it was dang funny.)
But oh my flippin’ heck! Even when you have done your best to banish actual swear words from your vocabulary, there are substitute swear words all around. I think we would all agree that they are a common crutch in our modern vernacular.
Everyone seems to have a favorite SSW (substitute swear word) and most of us use them often. (I’m speaking of those who have matured to a point where they have left the real swear words behind.)I need help finding something new to say – quickly – before the BYU-Florida game on Thursday.
Before diving in, let me make a distinction: There are PROFANE SSWs, and there are VULGAR SSWs.
• Profanity comes from the latin “profanus”, which literally means “outside the temple.” We consider speaking irreverently of God and sacred things as profane.
• Vulgarity comes from “vulgaris” or “of the common people.” Of course those pesky “commoners” use a coarse and crass language because they done lack good breedin’ and refinement.
• The term OMG has gone viral. My eight-year-old FOML has little friends who use the phrase constantly
. Some would argue that the third commandment isn’t talking about this, but my heart disagrees. (Exodus 20:7)
You hear it everywhere, full out, and abbreviated.
• Oh my GOSH! (My mom used to say this, and sometimes she would unintentionally drop the end – the whole family would flinch and look at each other).
• Geez, Cheese and Crackers, Judas Priest. Same idea, different member of the Godhead.
• Dang, Darn & Heck are just religious words gone astray.
• Freakin’, Flippin’ Fetchin’, F-ing, Effin, Fudge, are all “F” words. Simple enough. It is still the “Queen Mother of all swear words.”
• Bigtime new offender: WTF.
• Shoot & shucks are words plays on the sound of the “S” word.
• Crap and crud are scatological as well. I know some ladies who are fond of using poo and poop as an expletive. Highly unbecoming to “Daughters of Zion”.
And there are many more… you get the point.
What all of these SSWs have in common is that they are replacing a profane or vulgar expression – but not hiding what is really meant – or interpreted by the hearer. You might innocently say “Oh my gosh”, but that may not be what my brain registers. Especially if the word is a close SSW. Isn’t there something else we can say? I am looking for words that do not sound or feel like the real thing.
So, I am asking you to help compile a list of your favorite Non-Associated SSWs that I can use. Because, crap, I have a dang good vocabulary, and I don’t want to fall back on these freakin’ SSWs anymore. I’m trying to be a saint here, you know!
I will employ my vast wisdom to serve as the judge and jury as to whether your suggestion may be added to the list. If I veto your word, please do not take offense and cuss me out. I will explain. Please contribute and I will cite you as the contributor. If you can’t, or won’t post a comment, email me at email@example.com. Multiple submissions welcome.
Blurgh! (Tina Fey on 30 Rock)
Good Gravy! (Anna – also the Cowboys on Amazing Race)
Barnacles! (JRiggles – Spongebob)
Sweet Niblets! (Mintifresh – Billy Ray Cyrus)
Oh My Heart! – Mintifresh
Oh Man! (Jaymi)
Devlin! (In the Doghouse from “Just Go With It”)
Bother! (Anonymous – Winnie-the-Pooh)
Cuss! (Stacy Q – Fantastic Mr. Fox)
Boy Howdy! (Stacy Q – Cold Sassy Tree)
Ratzafratzenfrickenlooper (Ardis – close to a veto for “fricken” buried in there)
Ah, Snap! (The mysterious Kandis) (This one is up for debate)
Dagnabbit! (Stephanie – Approved by my EC. I’m on the fence)
Suckbuckets (Lindberg – crass, but barely acceptable)
Great Scott! (Lindberg – Doc Brown, Back to the Future)
Great Honk! (Lindberg – Tommy Jeters, The Music Man)
Good Grief! (Carrie, Charlie Brown)Vetoed:
Rubber Duck (rhyme)
Holy Mother of Pearl (religious)
Holy Toledo/Holy Dorito (religious)
sunuva-BISH-op (duh! Someone is missing the point)
Sheebah (Biblical and “sh”-based)
Shazbot (Mork – just plain dated, and “sh”-based)
Got down, sat on a bench (You aren’t fooling anybody)
Quotes on profanity:
“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully”
“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both”
“Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple.”