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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

daily list: 7 frakkin’ cool substitute swear words

Four years into Battlestar Galactica, AdAge finally catches on that frak means fuck and that hey, maybe this means that standards on American TV are finally loosening up a bit.

Somehow, I doubt it. Even if AdAge did entirely miss the fact that characters on Saving Grace, which airs on TNT, have regularly and casually been uttering the words shit and bullshit on commercial cable (which is quite distinct from the South Park episode that flung the word around with abandon, which was meant to be deliberately provocative). Then again, the FCC doesn’t have jurisdiction over cablecasts… which means there was no reason for AdAge to mention BSG’s creative use of pseudo profanity except, you know, for how cool it is. AdAge could have, however, also included some of Firefly’s cool substitute profanity, like goram for goddamn, not to mention all the clever Chinese swearing. And hey, didn’t Captain Picard say “merde” on the bridge of the Enterprise once?

So, taking a hint from BSG, how else can we get around FCC regulations and cultural prudity and swear up a storm on TV? Two of George Carlin’s seven dirty words are already taken care of by frak and its variants, but that still leaves five… and plenty others, too. Some suggestions:
1. Shit: substitute swut, as in, “You are so full of swut.” Variant: bingswut, as in, “That is a load of bingswut.”

2. Cunt: substitute cruk, as in, “I put that miserable cruk in her place.”

3. Cock: substitute cump, as in, “Quit standin’ around there with your cump in your hand.” Variant: cumplicker, as in, “That lousy cumplicker is so dead when I get my hands on him.”

4. Piss: substitute pix, as in, “I am so pixxed off right now I can’t even think straight. British variant: “Quick taking the pix, mate.”

5. Tits: substitute toms, as in, “Check out the toms on her.” British variant: “And that’s when it all went toms up, mate.”

6. Fart: substitute funt, as in, “We’re never gonna get anywhere if we don’t stop funtin’ around.”

7. Bitch: substitute bock, as in, “You son of a bock, I’ll make pay for that.”

Make up your own. It’s fun!

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  • JT

    Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) on 30 Rock says ‘Blerg’ a lot, which encapsulates so many emotions in one word.

    I would prefer these made up substitute curse words to the actual substitute words they use in cable showings of movies. It would make them entertaining to watch. I can hardly watch movies or shows like The Sopranos on cable anymore because of the commercials and the ridiculous substitutes they drop in like ‘Oh, fudge’

    (Which reminds of a classic Mr. Show sketch actually)

  • MaryAnn

    I always liked *Johnny Dangerously* for invented curse words, though those were more malaprops than deliberate inventions.

    Fargin’ icehole!

  • Katie

    Frak has definitely become part of my daily vocabulary. I love using and it’s always a kick when someone else hears me use it and knows where it’s from.

    And I swear I’ve heard bitch on TV recently. Though it could have been cable.

  • MontyGurl

    When I was thirteen, I picked up “fasterisk” somewhere. After I read Hamlet, “Oh fie!” became a huge part of my vernacular.

  • Kate

    One of my favorites from Firefly was “We’re humped.”

    Also, I work with a churchgoing woman who does not cuss, so when she gets really frustrated, she lets fly with “FOOT!” which cracks me up and occasionally now I use it when I MEANT to drop a real f-bomb.

  • JSW

    Four years into Battlestar Galactica, AdAge finally catches on that frak means fuck

    It’s actually been 30 years since BSG started substituting “frak” for “fuck”, although I don’t recall them ever using “feldergarb” on the new show.

  • I always liked DNA’s swear words… turlingdrome, swut, zarking, joojooflop, and of course the king daddy curse of them all:


  • Dave


  • bluestationwagon

    Ever watch the British series Red Dwarf? They’re always using “smeg” in a variety of forms. Me, I’m clueless.

  • “Smeg” is a shortening of “smegma”. Look it up and you’ll see how gross that actually is.

  • MaryAnn

    Right, frell! I’d forgotten that one.

  • MBI

    I substitute “Mr. Falco” for “motherfucker” all the time.

  • How about Conan O’Brien’s Crunk, which is now being co-opted by hip-hop?

  • Love it… The original BSG, though, had another swear substitute, besides frak. Felgercarb. Or maybe it was Felbercarb. Whatever, it was long and a lot more difficult to say.

  • Spencer

    Not entirely the original thread, but brought up by smegma: I’ve always been struck by the hypocrisy of denying fuck and cunt, et. al., but allowing “bloody” and “bugger” and “bollocks,” et. al. or similar ‘foreign’ curse words. Think of how many times you’ve heard “schmuck” and then look it up to see what that word means.

    But I’m using rationality… silly me…

  • I use those “foreign” curse words all the time… a remnant of having grown up in Germany and England and having been exposed to all kinds of foreign language. I’m constantly dropping bombs like schmuck and putz (which are mildly insulting to Americans, but pretty offensive in Yiddish), Scheisskopf, bloody (which used to be really offensive in the UK; now it’s pretty PG-rated), bollocks (which is bad; “the dog’s bollocks” are good), and that ole Russian classic yob tvoyu maht, which is really, really unpleasant.

  • Spencer

    As an unrepentant, pathological, and rabid Anglophile, I do the same with the Brit words in everyday conversation. A few of my other faves:

    Tosser/Whanker (a jerk, bastard, etc.)

    Cobblers (alternative for bollocks)

    Sod (it/off/you/all)

    Fanny/Berk/Fud (all regional variations on cunt/twat)

    And who can forget the Irish series “Father Ted” and its popularization of “feck!”

  • Spencer

    Also, Scheisskopf translates pretty literally; what about more idiomatic phrases like Schweinhund?

  • Wanker doesn’t really translate to “jerk” or “bastard”, even if we mean it that way. It literally means “one who wanks”, and wanking is masturbating… so “wanker” equals “masturbator”. We don’t have a good short equivalent for that here in the States, so I will sometimes call someone a wanker (usually prefaced by “bloody”).

    Saying Schweinhund makes one sound like a German army officer, if you ask me. I’ve never used it.

  • All I know is that ‘nig nofsa’ is Arabic for ‘fuck yourself’…

  • MaryAnn

    allowing “bloody” and “bugger” and “bollocks,”

    It’s because most people in the U.S. don’t realize those are supposed to be naughty words. It’s not hypocrisy: it’s ignorance.

    My favorite British curse word is “bint.” I use that a lot. :->

    “wanker” equals “masturbator”

    Right, but why is that bad? I mean, you’ve heard the statistics: 90 percent of people masturbate, and the other 10 percent are lying.

  • Hdj

    Poodoo! – thats from star wars

    Personally I use funk alot like ” get the funk outa my face” or “what the flash funk”

  • Shane

    What the yotz? I’m done with this frelling dren!

  • Shane

    Tina Fey said merde a few weeks ago on 30 Rock.

  • pedro

    hello! Elliot from Scrubs! how could everyone forget her!?

    “Frick on a stick with a kick!” – isn’t that substitute profanity?


  • jessica anderson

    whats a professional word to use instead of the word cool.

  • “Excellent.”

    Optionally said in a Monty Burns voice.

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