How to Swear Creatively

Two Methods:Skipping the Expected Curse WordsSpicing Up Four-Letter Words

When you're at work or with your grandparents, you may need to come up with some creative replacements for your basic curse words. Mostly, you need to use your imagination to come up with something that works for you, though you can take inspiration from places such as Shakespeare and other languages. You may also want to spice up how you use plain, old curse words, and you can take a few steps to do that, as well.

Method 1
Skipping the Expected Curse Words

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    Find old-fashioned swear words. Old fashioned swear words certainly don't hold the same power today that they once did. Therefore, you can get away with using them in polite company. As a bonus, old-fashioned words may make people in the room giggle, diffusing the tension.[1]
    • For instance, "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat," "dagnabit," and "Jiminy Cricket" are old-fashioned swear words that you could use to replace cuss words in polite company.[2]
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    Use the bard to curse. Shakespeare was a master at cursing people, and you can use that to your advantage. As a bonus, you'll confuse your adversary in the process.[3]
    • For instance, you could try "Thou art a hideous, eye-offending, hedge-pig!"[4]
    • Other options could include "Thou art as loathsome as a toad," "I do desire we may be better strangers," or "Away, you three-inch fool."[5]
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    Try cuss words from other languages. If you really don't want to give up cuss words, try looking up bad words in other languages. You may be able to get away with these words with your polite-tongued grandparents, but beware, as many people do speak other languages and may call you out.[6]
    • If you're worried about offending someone who speaks the language, try picking a word close to the cuss word but that's not actually a cuss word, such as "Miercoles," which means "Wednesday" in Spanish but sounds close to a curse word.[7]
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    Pick substitutes. Come up with your own creative substitutes for your favorite curse words. The word should be catchy and not too close to the original, since you are trying to go your own way with your curse words.[8]
    • For instance, you could try something silly such as "fartknocker," which gently invokes the same types of taboos as curse words without offending most people.[9]
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    Try an acronym. An acronym is a word or group of letters taken from the first letter of each word in a phrase. Therefore, you can use an acronym to build a curse word that no one realizes is a curse word.[10]
    • For instance, you could use a "Yafs!" as a cuss word that represents "You are fracking stupid."
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    Say it right when you slip up. If you're trying to cut cussing from your vocabulary, you probably will slip up from time to time. Instead of getting mad at yourself, repeat the word you'd rather use to yourself, so that it becomes embedded in your memory.[11]

Method 2
Spicing Up Four-Letter Words

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    Use tmesis. Tmesis is when you cut a word in half with another word or phrase. Using it when you're cussing can add emphasis to the word or phrase. For example, you could say "Abso-blooming-lutely," mixed up with your favorite cuss word.[12]
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    Borrow from other languages. You can, of course, curse in another language. However, it's far funnier to borrow the phrases that people use to curse in other languages and translate it into English. In fact, because taboos are the similar around the world, they often do make some sense in English. For instance, angry drivers in Italy use "che cazzo," meaning "What the [male genetalia]."[13]
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    Get emotional. One study should that you become more creative in your swearing just by getting angry or emotional. The study examined how many curse words a person could come up with in a minute; when people were angry or emotional, they were able to come up with more.[14]
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    Combine them creatively. One way to spice up how you swear is to combine curse words in your own creative way. Throwing together one swear with another, or turning one into an adjective, can help make your cursing a bit more interesting.[15]
    • For instance, you could say "Darn that fracking house."
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    Try rhymes. Sometimes, rhyming (or half-rhyming) curse words with other words can lead to more creative uses. For instance, saying "Frack a cat!" is more fun than just saying "Frack," though it's not quite a true rhyme.


  • If you accidentally swear around someone who might not be terribly pleased to hear it, always apologize or ask them to pardon your bad language.

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Categories: Language Nuances