Using swear words in print makes me feel childish and guilty, like I’ve gotten caught drawing penises in my middle school science textbooks.
In person, cussing doesn’t trouble me at all. Shocking and salacious words are tennis balls, boomerangs, Super Soakers that I really enjoy wielding when I’m in the mood (and now, with that reference, you have a clue as to how old I am). But in print, it’s another story. Except for the rare instances that most obviously cry for some genuine invective, I dislike using swear words.
Instead, I’ve collected and dusted off some alternatives that I happen to prefer. Bookmark this list (h/t to My Very Educated Mother, among other sources) in case you’re like me in the writer’s guilt department.
Let me get one thing out of the way, right up front. Balls are not, in themselves, cussworthy. How do you know I’m not referencing Chinese stress balls?
17. Shut the front door! (h/t Stacey Clinton)
16. Sweet Darius Rucker! (this is a MVEM add)
15. Barbara Streisand!
14. Great Scott!
13. Bent Richard
According to The Sceptic’s Companion, this means, “piss (Scottish). It can be used not only to refer to urine/urination, but also as a mild sort of swear word, similar to “crap.”
You know I couldn’t leave this one out.
These next few gems come from a wonderful thread on Sparkpeople.com.
9. Sneezing hotpockets!
6. Judas Priest
Or any number of suprising-name variations
From wordsyoudontknow.com: This is odd because the word bollocks is from the Old English word beallucas, meaning testicles. One can only assume that the word bollocks was regarded as offensive to idealistic Protestants and thus didn’t make it onto the Mayflower.
The second reference to masturbation on this list.
Shakspearean for “lazy”
1. Mewling quim
Famously used by Loki in The Avengers, “mewling quim” is, uh, an insult to women and other people with feelings.
What are your favorite swear word alternatives? Share them in the comments (and I would say, “Keep it clean!” but honestly… why bother?)