I admit I’m still working on this one: I have sworn for so long it’s become a not-very-nice habit. Although those old Anglo Saxon words are satsifying and easy to hurl around, I always feel sort of cheap when I swear.
Also, I have a 6-year old granddaughter, and her younger sister, who is 16 months old. I really do not want to swear in front of them.
So I invented a whole new “swearing dictionary” to help get myself out of the habit. This is what I’ve come up with so far:
- The F-bomb has been replaced with any (or all) of the following: “floobety-floo,” “frickity-frack,” “flubbly-odey,” “flim-flam-flooberty,” “fiddly do-dah,” or “flap-doodle.” (The less offense “fart” is always a crowd pleaser, so that one stays.)
- The D-word has been replaced with these: “ding dang,” “devil’s toenails,” “dog wart,” and just plain “dang.”
- The S-word has been replaced with these: “schnitzel,” “sheet cake,” “*schaz-bat,” “shim-sham,” “shooty-shoot,” “**shucky-darn” and “scharbudnaza.”
There are more, but these are the ones that make me laugh, so that real swearing isn’t needed.
Then I got to thinking about swears and curses in general. Some of the curses are classic, such as the Yiddish one that says “May every tooth in your head fall out except for one; and may that one have a toothache!”
Then there are the Shakespearean classics such as these (from the New York Telegraph):
1. Thou art a boil, a plague sore!
Short but sweet, this insult packs a punch.
No one wants to be a plague sore. It’s from King Lear – Act II, Scene ii.
2. Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!
Imagine being so filthy, you’re too dirty even to be spat on.
What an incredibly clever and cutting jibe! It’s from Timon of Athens – Act IV, Scene iii.
3. The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril!
This is leagues above telling someone they stink.
It’s from The Merry Wives of Windsor – Act III, Scene v.
4. Poisonous bunch-backed toad!
Imagine being not just a toad, but a deformed toad at that.
This insult is from Richard III – Act I, Scene iii.
5. I scorn you, scurvy companion!
This is absolutely brutal.
Tell someone this if you want to say they’re not worth knowing. It’s from Henry IV Part II – Act II, Scene iv.
6. Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows.
This means your opponent is a dumb drunkard, but isn’t it beautifully expressed?
It’s from Troilus and Cressida – Act II, Scene i.
7. I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.
It’s also a really great way to get out of a physical fight, for those of us who are quicker of tongue than fist. It’s from Timon of Athens – Act IV, Scene iii.
8. Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.
This person doesn’t just deserve a slap – everyone the person you’re insulting comes into contact with should hit them.
That’s pretty harsh. It’s from All’s Well That Ends Well – Act II, Scene iii.
Now, no one ever said that we need to swear, but when we feel the need to swear, why not leave the “swear-ee” scratching his/her head, wondering what kind of insult being called a “sodden-witted lord” might be….
*Remember “Mork and Mindy?” That was Mork’s favorite swear word.
**”Shucky-darn” is a very Southern way to swear without using an actual swear word.