In Norwegian we use an expression which in direct translation means:

to swear in church

The expression can be used metaphorically in a situation where you give your opinion that is totally outrageous in the eyes of the people you are talking/writing to.

Is there a similar expression in English?

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    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 12:27
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    Please give a complete sentence in English and put the appropriate version of the Norwegian expression in it. This way we will have some direct context of how it is used. Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


The one that springs most quickly to mind is to blaspheme, or to be blasphemous: to speak irreverantly about God or sacred things. Blasphemy is commonly understood to include behaving inappropriately in a church but is also used colloquially (and jokily) for many other things outside a religious context. For example: I might say that Team A were far better than Team B and I might be told that my view was blasphemous.

  • This has no connotation of being said to an audience that will be particularly offended. Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 23:54

Yes, I guess I am unsure if you want a word for the speech act or the speaker or the speech in general. That being said, I'll try to cover all three (the first example being specifically non-religious; the rest carrying religious weight.

A challenger in a specific context: An Agitator speaks to agitate a group or a people. Their speech act is agitation.

A challenger in a religious context: A Heretic speaks heresy against the church. They are heretical before the Church.

Other words that describe such a person without as strong a force "Heretic" conveys, for example, (the person who speaks - the idea/position - the type of speech) as used in the context of a Church:

Apostate - Apostasy - to Apostatize (to dissent, to denigrate)

Sectarian - Sectarianism - no direct verb (to imprecate, to execrate)

Pagan - Paganism - "Paganry," while a word I've heard and used for its humor....apparently is not a word (we can change that!!!), but to speak as though one were a pagan, basically any speech form that offends the church works - "to blaspheme" is probably the most applicable for someone who engages in "Paganry," as a specific speech act.

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