I've always been enthralled with linguistics, particularly etymology (the study of word origins). One aspect I've found fascinating is "minced oaths", the words used as substitutes for "curse" or "swear" words in polite company. (Minced oaths use seemingly unrelated words, rather than substituting curse words with clinical or less offensive words that share the same meaning.) Interestingly, minced oaths themselves can become so associated with the original that they themselves become taboo over time...and the word "curse" even gets substituted by some with "cuss". Here are all the most commonly encountered in English (primarily American, with several British examples). Got any more? Send 'em my way (allen@lutins.net)!

Buy Me A Coffee

bitch - biatch

bloody - blooming {primarily British}

bullshit - balderdash, baloney, B.S.

by God - begorrah, by George, by golly, by gum, by Joe, by Jove

by Jesus - bejabbers, bejeezes

Christ - Christmas, Christopher Columbus, crap, crikey, criminey, cripes, crud

damn - dang, darn, drat(s)

damnation - tarnation

devil - dickens

dicking around - dorking around

for Christ's sake - for crying out loud, for Pete's sake

for God's sake - for goodness sake

fuck - fark, feck, fiddle-faddle, fiddlesticks, foo, fooey, fra(c)k, frig, fudge, fug

fucking - f'ing (effing), fecking, flaming, flipping, freaking, frickin', frigging, cotton-picking

(oh) God - egad, George, golly, golly gee, goodness, gosh, gracious

God blind me - cor blimey (used in England)

God damn (it) - confound it, consarnit, dadblame, dadblast, dadburn, dadgummit, dagnabbit, doggone, goldamn, goldang, goldarn

God rot (it) - drat

God's hooks / God's wounds (referring to the nails in Jesus' cross) - gadzooks / zounds

good (great) God - good(ness) gracious, good gravy, good grief, goodness sakes alive, great Caesar's ghost, great googly moogly, great Scott

hell - heck, hey, "H-E-double hockey sticks", "H-E-double toothpicks", Sam Hill

Holy God/Jesus - holy cow, holy smokes

Holy Mother (Mary) or Holy Moses - holy mackeral, holy moley

horse shit - horse feathers, horse hockey, horse pucky {puckey}

Jesus - cheese, gee, gee whiz, gee whillikers, jeebus, jeepers, jeez, Jehosaphat, sheesh, sheez

Jesus Christ - cheese & crackers, cheese & rice, jeepers creepers, geez Louise, Jiminy Cricket, Judas Priest, Jumping Jehosephat

(for the) Lord's sake - land's sake

(Oh) my God - my goodness, my gracious, my word, Oh my

pissed off - ticked off

shit - shinola, shizzle, shoot, shucks, sugar

shut the fuck up - shut the front door

son of a bitch - s.o.b., son of a biscuit

son of God - son of a gun

suffering saviour - suffering succotash

For more information (formation, history, etc.) see the Wikipedia article on "minced oaths".
last updated 11 July 2023
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