5

Is there a term for the following phenomenon or the words that are used in this way: One starts to utter a swear word, but continues to form an innocent sounding word. Examples from German are Sack Zement instead of Sakrament and Scheibenkleister or Scheibenhonig instead of Scheiße.

  • I guess it's a kind of bowdlerisation? – curiousdannii Jul 12 at 11:40
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: Looking up bowdlerisation (a term that is also new to me) it seems to mean something different (censorship on a written text). The replacements I have in mind happen in spontaneous speech. They are also at least partly conventionalized. – jknappen Jul 12 at 11:44
  • Bowdlerisation is also used to refer to replacing swear words with "heck", "darn" etc, so that sounds pretty similar to what you're asking about here. – curiousdannii Jul 12 at 12:14
  • My favorite Hungarian example is Le van szarva...sbőrrel takarva. – Martha Jul 12 at 22:39
13

What you're talking about are called minced oaths.

Some contemporary examples from English are sugar and fudge for shit and fuck or even the longer phrase shut the f...ront door for shut the fuck up.

  • To add: Two very common ones among internet people today is "fork" and "fluff", both replacements for the F-word. – T. Sar Jul 13 at 0:08
  • You've also got fictional ones used by writers to be able to have characters swear and not have to censor it, for example Battlestar Galactica uses "Frak" as a replacement for "Fuck" – SpacePhoenix Jul 13 at 19:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.