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May 13, 2005


James Field

My fundamentalist relations never accepted "gosh" and "darn" or "jeez" as allowable expressions.

The two words that we use in the tech department all the time that are borderline are "sucks" and "hosed" which are not always acceptable either.

Prentiss Riddle

When my girls were preschoolers they were taught that the very worst bad word was "stupid". I like that.

"Sucks" bothers me a lot not because it's sexual but because just a few short years ago it was an extreme homophobic slur.

I'm sure there must be a linguistic term for a euphemism which loses its "niceness" and becomes a slur, but I don't know what it is. One sees this process all the time with attempts to replace racial slurs with less offensive terms that, in time, become pejorative themselves: n-----, colored, negro, black, Afr(o/ican)-American. The point being, I guess, that you might be able to persuade racists to use a kinder word, but when they say it with malice in their hearts, it becomes tinged with racism, too.

Then once in a while a word does a 180 and gets rehabilitated, like "queer". I love the mainstreaming of the word "queer".

The latest oddity in the realm of synonyms for homosexuality is that the word "gay" has taken on the meaning among young adults of "uncool, dorky, lame". But even that can get turned around: the other day I heard a comic deliver a long complicated joke that ended in the punchline, "homophobia is so gay!"


Spouse and I were discussing this just yesterday. On Battlestar Galactica (for the dorkily inclined, it is excellent!) they use the word Frack as a curse. Although they use it in cases where the more colorful word is clearly intended, it is ok, because it's not an actual curse word. Since Spouse and I are both dorkily inclined, we have both added it to our vocabulary, not intentionally. I will be interested to see what happens to Offspring when she, inevitably, picks it up.


Hi MommyProf,

I hope Offspring pronounces it correctly when y'all are in public. :) "Frack" is a great word. I was wishing I'd started using something like "dagnabbit" b/c it would be so cute to see little girls saying that, but everytime I tried I felt faintly ridiculous. Their grandma says "Rats!" but somehow, "Rats!" isn't satisfying as an expletive.


How about, "Cheese and Rice".


woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooots dis bout cant be boverd 2 read any i swear 2 much ! nd i need 2 stop! cus im only 13!
i say these words alot

fuck off
go lick cock
piss off


Well as we would see through blabla's comment, a person's iq is inversely proportional to the amount of curse words they use at a young age.

When I was in elementary school, crap was HORRIBLE to say. And I didn't know it.


I don't think 'darn it' is a curse word. Well, in my friend's opinion, 'damn' is much worse. Darn is actually a 'British term' of darn, but it's more polite.


"Darn" is what is known as a "minced oath", and its descent into social unacceptability (if that is really happening) would make it a victim of what is known as "the euphemism treadmill".


Thanks, Sohan, for letting me know the technical term for this phenomenon.

Your Sister

We'll give dagnabbit a go in our house. Maybe your nephew can pick it up instead. I'm realizing cursing in Swedish isn't going to help us any when we go to visit Farmor.


okay, wouldn't normally read this shit but i stumbled upon this iBeth thingy and my god is it funny. it was sweet at first with the "mom" talking about darn being a new swear word. and some of the other (overly sensative, probably bible thump'n middle american's) saying "it's just awful hearing a for year old say darn" oh my. but what really gave me a giggle is the 13 year old tourettes case telling everyone what swear words they use all the time! aaahhhhahahahaha... oh man thats awesome.
oh yeah, and anyone who thinks darn is a swear word really should get out more. and stop bubble-wrapping your kids!


Darn is not a swear word, but it is an inappropriate word for a child to use. Consider it the gateway swear word. If they will say darn frequently as a child, then they will use damn and other highly offensive words as an adult. We all know that most educated and sophisticated adults consider others who use swear words in their vocabulary to be less intelligent and uncoth. Instead of teaching children to use euphemisms for swear words, teach them a better vocabulary to express their feelings and emotions to communicate effectively with other people. PS. I am a teacher and students who say darn are often viewed by other students negatively and many of the children I work with- (10-13 year olds)feel this way.



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