Possible Duplicate:
What does “Thundering typhoons” mean?

What does "you blue blistering barnacles" or "Billions of blue blistering barnacles" mean?

marked as duplicate by Matt E. Эллен, Hugo, TimLymington, FumbleFingers, aedia λ Mar 26 '12 at 17:07

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  • Give more context. – tenfour Mar 25 '12 at 17:04
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    This should possibly be merged with the Thundering Typhoons question: english.stackexchange.com/q/60801/3820 – Rory Alsop Mar 25 '12 at 18:34
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    Mike - you have your answer in your previous Tintin question. – Matt E. Эллен Mar 25 '12 at 20:39
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    This should be closed – not just because it's a duplicate, but because it has the potential to stick the Sponge-Bob Squarepants theme song in everyone's head. – J.R. Mar 25 '12 at 20:48
  • got it , sorry for duplicate ! – Freeman Mar 26 '12 at 14:16

Blistering barnacles is a "euphemistic oath" used by Captain Haddock, a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, who sometimes extends the alliteration to "Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles!", for example.

It doesn't really "mean" anything, being just a made-up exclamation coined by the author (Herge) so as not to offend anyone. But it'll have become much better known (effectively, a catchphrase) since Spielberg's animated film version was released last year.

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    Isn't Tintin written in French? Does Captain Haddock swear in English anyway? Or is this alliterative exclamation due to a translator? – GEdgar Mar 25 '12 at 19:20
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    @GEdgar: Yes, Herge wrote the originals in French. He probably had a tolerable command of English, but I don't know how involved he'd have been in the translations for worldwide syndication. I'm pretty sure there was no "direct" equivalent "curse" in the French, where he said things like "mille sabords!" (thousands of portholes). Curiously though, I think he was actually called Captaine Haddock in the original! – FumbleFingers Mar 25 '12 at 19:43
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    According to this answer the translators coined them, but that is a minor detail. – Matt E. Эллен Mar 25 '12 at 20:20
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    @Matt Эллен: Oh dear! I hadn't seem that earlier one, or I wouldn't have bothered answering this one. I can't imagine why OP would wait a couple of weeks and then ask what's effectively the same question again, in order to be given the same answer. – FumbleFingers Mar 25 '12 at 20:29
  • @FumbleFingers it puzzles me too :) – Matt E. Эллен Mar 25 '12 at 20:38

More specifically, barnacles are a kind of crustacean that lives on the bottom of ships and boats, and are usually considered vermin that get in the way of steering the boat. Captain Haddock, being a seaman, uses this as an expletive.

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