Questions about softened euphemisms or misspellings of potentially offensive words and phrases, like using “gosh darn” for “God damn”.

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21
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “what on earth” still commonly used in real life? Is there any alternative that is not cursing or obscene?

I'm a non-native speaker. When I was at school, we were taught that "on earth" is used for emphasis in questions such as: What on earth are you talking about? However, from my experience ...
18
votes
5answers
12k views

What is the origin of “holy smoke”?

What is the origin of holy smoke? To what is holy smoke referring?
17
votes
6answers
87k views

Meaning and usage of “bite me”

I often come across the phrase bite me in many TV shows. What does it mean and is there a specific context in which this phrase can be used?
14
votes
6answers
19k views

Non-offensive substitute for a swear word

What term describes a non-offensive substitute for a swear word? For example, Battlestar Galactica used frack instead of fuck. Another example is the use of snap instead of shit. I think I may have ...
9
votes
2answers
12k views

Origin of “man!”, “(oh) boy!”, and “oh brother”

Where did these interjections: man! (oh) boy! oh brother come from, and why are they all male? If you don’t know their current meanings as interjections, it sounds very strange to say Man! when ...
8
votes
1answer
971 views

A more acceptable word to replace the word “rectum”?

I wrote in a short paragraph describing how a cartoon character, after being eaten up by a shark, swam through the shark's internal body and fled from its rectum. It was meant to be a ...
8
votes
1answer
7k views

Where did the phrase “diddly-squat” come from?

It sounds like something Ned Flanders would say. I believe it just means "nothing at all". But what are the origins of the phrase? Is it common in the US as well as the UK?
7
votes
6answers
597 views

Better way to say “cover our a***s”

I'm looking for a couple of good coined phrases that I can use in front of business people, apologies if the one I had in mind offends anyone. I'd use "can sleep at night" but I want the phrase to ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

Where did the term “doggone it” come from?

Where did the term "doggone it" come from?
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Meaning of “bejesus” in the idiomatic expression “… the bejesus out of …”

According to multiple online dictionaries, bejesus is a quite common mild expletive used to express surprise and/or dismay and is derived from by Jesus. But what does it mean? The phrase “you scared ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “to pick someone's cherry” mean?

Does it strictly refer to taking someone's virginity, or does it express sexual intercourse in general?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

I have questions coming out the yin-yang about yin-yang phrases!

Yin Yang is the Chinese philosophy of Light and Shadow, often signifying the need for balance or that everything exists in balance. But the (reasonably enjoyable to use) phrase Up the Ying Yang ...
6
votes
5answers
317 views

Grammatical explanation of “what the blank”

In emphatic questions, it's common to see or hear an interjection such as the heck — or something more vulgar — between the interrogative and the verb. What was that? becomes What the heck ...
5
votes
11answers
902 views

Substitute for F*** in emphasizing disbelief, anger, etc

How do I replace F*** while expressing fully my disbelief, anger, etc? E.g., "I think Homer Simpson is incredibly sexy" My reply "Get out of here! That's f***ing ridiculous."
5
votes
2answers
562 views

Are there religious swear words in English the way there are in French-speaking Québec (like “Câlisse!”)?

Are there in English any cases of using religious words for swear words, most likely in predominantly Christian regions? I ask because in the Canadian province of Québec, which is primarily ...
5
votes
3answers
778 views

How, or where, did “Ye God” become “egad”?

Looking up the etymology of 'egad' I saw that it is an archaic, euphemistic form of 'O God' or 'Ye God.' I assume this was a one off evolution, and the 'how' was some idiosyncratic shift in the ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

“My goodness!” Mine? Goodness?

Why do we say my goodness? It doesn't sound appropriate for the contexts in which it is used. Both the my and the goodness don’t seem to bear on a surprising or startling situation. When was it ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “Land Sakes”?

In a children's story I was reading the other day, one of the characters said "Land Sakes" ...from the context of the story, it must be to indicate they are surprised? It was completely ...
4
votes
0answers
534 views

What is the origin of “bite me”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Meaning and usage of “bite me” Here’s the dilemma: What body part does the oft-used expression, “Bite me!” refer to? All the males (man on the street) I’ve ...
4
votes
6answers
10k views

Where does the phrase “holy crap on a cracker” come from?

Where does the phrase "holy crap on a cracker" come from?
3
votes
8answers
980 views

What's the more appropriate substitution for “give a f**k/d**n/s**t”

I want a more appropriate phrase that has the same form ("give a **") and meaning as the offensive "give a f**k/d**n/s**t". Is there any?
3
votes
3answers
998 views

In the movie “Meet the Fockers” does the word “Focker” really sound different?

In the movie "Meet the Fockers" does the word "Focker" sound really different from the four-letter word? I don't hear any difference. Do all the actors pronounce this word really differently from ...
3
votes
1answer
203 views

Is “what in hejudas?” a common idiom or phrase?

I noticed the following phrase used in another question: Is this a common idiom? If so, what in hejudas inspired such a phrasing? Obviously, this is similar to the phrases “what in hell” or ...
2
votes
1answer
771 views

Formal word for 'emit anal air'?

Is there a formal single word for 'emit anal air'? I've heard 'eructate' being used, but this means air from the mouth only; not from the other end.
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Modern-day equivalent of “dog my cats”

As you know, somewhere in The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim expresses his certainty that he's noticed that a noise came from the garden of Miss Watson by saying (my emphasis) "Say, who is ...
2
votes
1answer
751 views

Oh my God, Oh my Lord, Oh my Gosh

What are the differences between them? Is there a cultural and/or social interference? Do young people say "Oh my Gosh" more than others?
2
votes
1answer
4k views

What does the expression “for crying out loud” mean? [closed]

What does the expression "for crying out loud" mean and where does it come from?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Should we avoid using words that have alternate offensive meaning [closed]

There are many English words that could be used to refer to something innocent that also has a common slang meaning, such as pussy, ass, bitch, etc. For convenience' sake, should we avoid using ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Should I use “damn” or “darn”? [closed]

How unseemly these days is it to use the word damn in educated or elderly circles? I have heard that there is a modified and supposedly less intense darn. Should I be careful to avoid the former and ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Cleaner alternative for “sucks”. [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Formal alternative for “suck” Since the word "sucks" does not have an origin that would make it a good word to use in many contexts, I want to know whether ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Polite swearing words? [closed]

I hate to swear, i.e to say "fuck you" or whatsoever of those words. However sometimes I get angry and I wish there are words that could be a polite replacement for those swearing. I wish there's a ...
-1
votes
3answers
4k views

How does 'don't give a toss' differ from 'don't give a damn'?

I was told it is very unusual to say 'I don't give a toss'. If so, why is that?
-1
votes
1answer
291 views

Oh fudge knuckle!

What does this expression mean? I heard it in a video where the person said something like This sounds right, but in fact, son of a gun, or as my younger son would say, fudge knuckle, it goes ...