Minced oaths

    Spotlight 3/2020
    Von Dagmar Taylor

    Did you know that swearingFluchenswearing can actually reduce a feeling of pain? Well, you do now. Whether you say “fuck” or “fiddlesticks (ifml.)Unsinn, Quatschfiddlesticks” in a moment of crisis will depend on your own sensibilities, as well as on those of the people within earshotHörweiteearshot. But will a minced oathdurch Verballhornung abgeschwächter Fluchminced oath like “fiddlesticks” provide as much reliefErleichterung, Trostrelief as a taboo word like “fuck”? See for yourself next time you to stubanstoßenstub your toe.

    Below, we present words and expressions that are used as non-offensive substituteErsatzsubstitutes for swear words — so-called “minced oaths”. For example, in polite company or in front of children, someone might say “sugar” instead of “shit”.


    Swear words Minced oaths
    bastard B, bar steward, basket, blighter (both UK)
    bugger (UK) B, beggar, blighter (UK), mugger
    bullshit baloney, bull pucky (N. Am.), phooey
    fucking chuffing, effing, fecking, flaming, flipping (all UK),
    freaking (US), frigging, fruiting
    Fucking hell! Flaming heck!, Flipping heck! (both UK)
    Fuck off! Eff off!, Naff off! (both UK), Go forth and multiply!
    shit, shite shoot, sugar
    Shut the fuck up! Shut the front door!
    What the fuck? What on earth?, What the dickens?,
    What the French toast?


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