Bloody useless as it stands, innit?
January 17, 2013 12:40 PM Subscribe
What were the curse words George Orwell was trying to list?
posted by komara to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In Down and Out in Paris and London
Orwell writes a short passage on the use and function of curse words and their eventual detachment from their roots. Either he or his editor chose to expunge (or is there a better word to use for this?) the actual curses themselves, leaving this almost humorous passage:
"A word becomes an oath because it means a certain thing, and, because it has become an oath, it ceases to mean that thing. For example, -----. The Londoners do not now use, or very seldom use, this word in its original meaning; it is on their lips from morning till night, but it is a mere expletive and means nothing. Similarly with -----, which is rapidly losing its original sense. One can think of similar instances in French - for example, -----, which is now a quite meaningless expletive. The word -----, also, is still used occasionally in Paris, but the people who use it, or most of them, have no idea of what it once meant."
Is there a public extant copy of the original? I'm assuming the first was "bloody" but I've no guesses for the rest.