OMG = Oh My (not God)?
March 25, 2014 9:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm an atheist with a God problem. My exclamations of surprise, disgust and frustration usually take the form of "Oh my God" or "Jesus Christ!" or "Holy shit". I want to find some new - preferably safe for work and young ears - versions of my favorite exclamations that have the same import and emphasis that I so enjoy from the current ones.

I'm not interested in "oh my goodness" or similar saccharine versions of the aforementioned. But, I'm coming up blank on new ones. Bonus points for creativity and credibility (as in, I can't really see myself swearing in seriousness with "Great Odin's Raven!").
posted by tafetta, darling! to Grab Bag (132 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I have the world's filthiest mouth and for true emphasis I say HOLY TOLEDO or HOLY COW

Maybe it's because I say every nasty word and blaspheme up the wazoo that these two have so much impact when I use them.
posted by janey47 at 9:32 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I use crimeny/criminy (how the shit do you spell that) a lot. It's an easy transition from christ.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Shiver my timbers
Dang nabbit
Heavens to Murgatroyd
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:36 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I say "JUNK MONKEYS!" in place of "fuck," "shit," and "Jesus Christ!" Try it. It's a very satisfying combination of sounds for expressing frustration or anger, and small children find it hilarious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:36 AM on March 25 [24 favorites]

I use "rats!" or "fiddlesticks!" The latter is something I imagine a little old church-going lady saying, and it doesn't get any more innocuous than that.
posted by lovableiago at 9:39 AM on March 25

"Gosh darn it" is a saccharine version of "god damn it", but it sure does feel good when you hit the "d" in darn with just the right amount of frustration force.
posted by 3FLryan at 9:42 AM on March 25

My grandmother was fond of "well, piss and bewilder." Not quite the same usage as a Holy Shit! - I can't imagine it written with an exclamation point - but the next step down, something to express dismay or disgust at a situation. It seems to connote a kind of recognition that this is the kind of shit the world gets up to because it's just that kind of world, and somebody should really do something about it, but nobody ever does.

I have no idea why those words as opposed to... pretty much any other words. But I love the expression dearly, and am pleased to introduce it to the world.
posted by Naberius at 9:42 AM on March 25 [19 favorites]

"Great Odin's Raven!" might not work for you, but "Holy crow!" might?
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:43 AM on March 25

I cringe in disgust when people use wacky or archaic substitutes for swear words, but obviously many people (see the rest of this thread) do not. As a plain, boring person, I say "Really??" or "WHAT?" or (slowly, sarcastically) "Wow..."
posted by raisindebt at 9:44 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]

I use "gosh dang it to heck" surprisingly often.
posted by rhizome at 9:48 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I've fallen into "Oh, good GRAVY, Marie." I give it a bit of emphasis on the "GR."

I don't know where I picked it up from.
posted by kimberussell at 9:48 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I like "oh Bother!" Winnie-the-Pooh style... you can really get behind that "b" sound.

I also say "pooh" or "poop", which, again, really satisfying p sounds, and more family-appropriate than "shit" (cuz poop is always funny, at any age).
posted by brainmouse at 9:50 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Zeus dammit!!!!!
posted by The Deej at 9:51 AM on March 25

Oh, man!
posted by steinwald at 9:51 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

This is something I struggle with too, since "safe for work and young ears" is pretty much incompatible with "the same import and emphasis", and I'm similarly not really feeling the ridiculous ones.

Some I've tried:

-balls (maybe still too impolite?)
-super dramatic scottish-style ACH
-bloody hell (ok, that's probably still too bad to say)
-slight modifications like crud, shite, frig, frickin, frickin hell, etc
-jeepers/geez (when I start to say Jesus)
-holy crow

I'm pretty bad at making any of them stick (except maybe ack and balls) so I'm watching with interest!
posted by randomnity at 9:52 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

"Oh my planet" or "aarg!"
posted by Jaelma24 at 9:52 AM on March 25

In "Brave New World", they exclaim "Oh My Ford!", because Henry Ford has become the secular god of the age. See also "Ford's in his flivver, all's right with the world."
posted by briank at 9:53 AM on March 25

When I'm censoring myself for notably Christian people what tends to come out of my mouth are "oh my.. gosh," "jeeze," and "chr- ..ying shame".
posted by onehundredand80 at 9:53 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

My current go to is lordy, lordy, if I remember to use it instead of fuck, fuck me, fuck it, you are fucking me up, fuck me in the ass, fuck all. You don't sound like you have much of a fuck problem which is a good thing.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:54 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

For Maude's Sake!!!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:56 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Had a friend who said mother of pearl! and that worked well for him.
posted by kmennie at 9:59 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]

kmennie -- I've recently taken to saying "mother of pearl!" in place of "mother of Christ!" after certain people in my life told me they took great offense to the latter, so I think (at least for me anyway) that's precisely the kind of saccharine replacement that taffeta, darling! is trying to avoid.
posted by tckma at 10:04 AM on March 25

It skirts the edges of child-appropriateness depending on the savviness of the child, but I just substitute "eff," "frack," and "ess" into regular fuck/shit expressions. What the ess, well eff me, that mother-fracker, and so forth just feel more like regular cursing to me, maybe because I can think the real words in my head as I say them.
posted by Bardolph at 10:05 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

What the cuss?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:08 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]

oh yeah one more - I've started trying to draw out my fucks into fuuuuuuuuhs now. I don't really know if that's any better since it's totally obvious what word is being not completed, but I guess it's a minor improvement. I guess I could turn it into fu....dge but I don't like that particular substitution. Fu....ngus? Fu....gly? F...arts? I kinda like farts actually.
posted by randomnity at 10:10 AM on March 25

My mother, who was a tad oversensitive to swearing, used to say "Oh... blazes!" when we were kids. I never picked it up, but it seemed to work for her.

I am more of a "bloody hell!" user myself, although I have no idea if that would offend your interlocutors.
posted by zadcat at 10:14 AM on March 25

Sweet sassy molassy!

posted by JimBJ9 at 10:17 AM on March 25

I can't count the number of times my dad yelled "Gosh darn your hide" at me.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:20 AM on March 25

posted by my-username at 10:25 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]

I like science fiction swearing, such as "frak."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:26 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


It's a long story...
posted by o0dano0o at 10:26 AM on March 25

A co worker says "eff word," which I like. I also like "cuss" and "cussin" as they were used to such great effect in Fantastic Mr Fox.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:28 AM on March 25

I mostly resort to assorted non-word sounds. Lots of "Gaaaahh!" and "Errgh!" and so on.

I also use "aw dang" and "oh no!" a lot.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:28 AM on March 25

I swear a lot, except round my Mum who never ever swears and who is also very religious (even at my age a rogue "Jesus!" will earn me a telling-off). So I've adapted to using:
sugar - shit
frig / eff - fuck
dagnammit - god dammit
and "knickers!" as a general catch-all which is fun to say and hear. The intensity is just the same as when I'm having a good old swear but I'm not worried about getting a clip round the ear.
posted by billiebee at 10:30 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

For a long time I went with "gods". This was in fact before I watched Battlestar Galactica. No, it's not deity-free, but it's kinda clear you're not talking about a monotheistic deity, anyhow.
posted by nat at 10:32 AM on March 25

tafetta, darling!: My exclamations of surprise, disgust and frustration usually take the form of "Oh my God" or "Jesus Christ!" or "Holy shit". I want to find some new - preferably safe for work and young ears - versions of my favorite exclamations that have the same import and emphasis that I so enjoy from the current ones.

It sounds like you want new versions of these words to replace the religious overtones in your current ones, but I would argue that it is precisely those religious overtones that make them such satisfying curses. A curse has to have some element of the taboo in it to function. For religious people, the taboo is taking the name of the Lord in vain (or whatever) but for you (for me, at least, I may be projecting a bit here), the taboo is granting "curse-worthy power" to Jesus or God or holiness or whatever.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:34 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]

Another less familiar SF swear: somewhere James Blish has John Amalfi say "Helleshin!". "The word was Vegan:no-one now alive knew what it meant".
I learned "Oh, piss on it!" From a former colleague who was born in Hungary.
posted by Logophiliac at 10:34 AM on March 25

Heh like Metroid Baby, I make a lot of noises, like "Argh." Also "rats" and "holy crow".

I also say "Sweet Jeebus" because Homer does, but not anything else like "Oh my God" because I have no god, so what would the point of that be?
posted by lyssabee at 10:38 AM on March 25

I think this is largely a non-starter. People don't say a particular exclamation because it reflects their personal religious beliefs, it's just part of our language. I mean, when I tell someone to fuck off, I'm not literally commanding that they exit stage left while penetrating the orifice of their choice*. It's just our language's way of expressing a particularly mean sentiment.

That said, here are some good ones:

Great Caesar's Ghost!

Oh My Lomas!

Oy Gevalt

Thor's Hammer

Any permutation of subbing "Flying Spaghetti Monster" (or perhaps Cthulu?) for a reference to the judeo-christian God.

Personally, I find "dammit" and "holy [whatever]" to be much more pernicous than Oh My God, in terms of eradicating all references to religion from your vocabulary. Not to mention, what do you do when someone sneezes? ("You're so good-lookin'!") This stuff is just hopelessly complicated and in my semi-professional opinion as someone who once minored in socio-linguistics, just way above the pay-grade of personal religious belief. You're playing Chinese cultural revolution with your vocabulary, and it's silly.

I don't see the point in exchanging all your fucks and shits for cutesy "See You Next Tuesday" type phrases, since those words don't refer to religion at all. I respect your desire not to cuss, or whatever, but to me that has nothing to do with whether you're an atheist.

*Hm, perhaps this could work for you?
posted by Sara C. at 10:39 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I use "Jesus Jones."

It has the added benefit of reminding me how silly cursing is.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:39 AM on March 25

I've watched a little too much Adventure Time, and have found myself actually saying "oh my glob" instead of oh my god sometimes. It's weirdly satisfying to channel Lumpy Space Princess with a well-placed "Oh. My. Glob."
posted by yasaman at 10:40 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

My father said "Jumping Jehoshaphat!" when we were kids; YMMV on whether that even approaches credibility, and it's not entirely free of religious associations, either.

"Sugar!", "Fudge!", and "Kittens!" all make phonetically satisfying exclamations.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:42 AM on March 25

I've always liked Dad-Gummit for Goddammit.
posted by Sara C. at 10:42 AM on March 25

A great one from "Ghostbusters", simultaneously not at all vulgar but terribly nasty nonetheless:

Mother pus bucket!
posted by Ipsifendus at 10:52 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Go and buy or borrow (maybe here?) The Middleman and just use any of the dozens he uses. I like "hearts of palm!"
posted by sevenless at 10:53 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Sandy Beaches!!
Mother Tucker!!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:53 AM on March 25

+1 for "Shut the Front Door"

I saw it on a commercial the other day it is so brilliant.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:54 AM on March 25

posted by nicwolff at 10:54 AM on March 25

When in doubt, just say Frak.
posted by inturnaround at 10:54 AM on March 25

Crap on a Cracker
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:55 AM on March 25

Great Scott!
posted by xenization at 10:58 AM on March 25

Liz Lemon's "Whuck?!" is perfect.
posted by nicwolff at 10:58 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]

(oh safe for work... huh, you got me there)

I had a professor whose catchphrase was "Heavens to Murgatroyd"?
posted by demons in the base at 10:59 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Have you watched Dexter? Deborah's character is an expert swearer! Although the combinations are more fuck-centric than God-centric (and DEFINITELY not kid-friendly), they are pretty creative and funny. I wish I could give you an original suggestion, but these three previous threads might give you some ideas, in addition to the great suggestions above.
posted by lettuce dance at 11:03 AM on March 25

I've fallen into "Oh, good GRAVY, Marie." I give it a bit of emphasis on the "GR."

I don't know where I picked it up from.
posted by kimberussell at 12:48 PM on March 25 [+][!]

Watching too much Match Game like I do? It seems to be Brett Somers' favorite expression.

posted by bijou243 at 11:11 AM on March 25

oh wait, yes I do have a couple. Sometimes, if I have the presence of mind in front of kids (which is unfortunately not often, oops) I'll say "fudgecicle(s)" instead of "fuck" or "shit" or whatever, and "son of a cockroach" instead of "son of a cocksucker", which seems to be my go-to exclamation when inanimate objects are refusing to bend to my will.
posted by lettuce dance at 11:14 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

I say "Gawl darn You!" sometimes. It is remarkably satisfying. Also, "Oh my goodness!" and "Cheese 'n' rice!" However, my religious friends tell me that they find substituted swears just as bad, "because God knows what you meant to say". So, whatever.

I've also been known to say "freaking". But, really, a 4yo yelling, "Gol darn you, ______! Where are my freaking shoes?" is not really something I want to encourage either. But I'm imperfect and my kids also sometimes get the "real" words too. lol
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:23 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

My later mother used to say "Oh, Balzac!" in lieu of "bullshit!" or perhaps "balls!"

For years I didn't know why she invoked the name of a 19th century French author to express annoyance. I've never heard anyone else say it, so I don't know where she picked it up.

She used to say "oh, Lordy" a lot so I picked it up as well, and someone heard me and said "oh, are you from New York?" Apparently it's not common in the West? (I was born and raised in Southern California, while my parents were from upstate New York.)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:23 AM on March 25

If you follow this advice, you'll be taking guidance from a bunch of 1980s TV writers, but if you need some good child-safe, agnostic swears, I can only recommend the ejaculations of Col. Sherman T. Potter, US Army.

"Horse hockey!" is my favorite, but "Pig Feathers!" is right up there.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:31 AM on March 25 [7 favorites]

I use

for the love of Larry
holy mackerel
posted by Pax at 11:32 AM on March 25

I say "for the love of Dog," a lot.
posted by Violet Hour at 11:32 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Not clear if you want non-religious curses or just G-rated ones, but either way my favorite (which I have sadly gotten out of the habit of using, something I vow today to correct) is Rowrbazzle! (From Walt Kelly's wonderful Pogo comics)
posted by Wretch729 at 12:02 PM on March 25

I've been trying to start "Divus Iulius!" as a replacement for "Jesus Christ!" so if you wanted to help with that. . .

Plus, it's pretentious, which is fun.
posted by General Tonic at 12:10 PM on March 25

What the what?!
posted by sparklemotion at 12:17 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Bunion fungus.
posted by Corvid at 12:18 PM on March 25

Expletive! Malediction! Deity!
posted by Soliloquy at 12:20 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]

Crikey! (or, as Steve Irwin used to say, "Croykey!")
I used to work with a German woman who walked around muttering, "Scheiẞe, scheiẞe, scheiẞe"
Billions of billions of blue blistering barnacles!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 12:28 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I say "fudge" and "fudgecicles" a lot. Also, "balls!" (which is you can pretty easily explain away).
posted by ethidda at 12:39 PM on March 25

Feck, fack, GUH, eff, shite, galdurn, DANGIT, cripes, peef.

My mom says fluff instead of fart and it makes me giggle.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 12:41 PM on March 25

Start swearing in Quebec French.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:46 PM on March 25

jagaloon instead of jackass.

oh and sometimes my dad (who actually cusses quite a bit) replaces fucking with flucking and it also makes me giggle.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 12:50 PM on March 25

Take a cue from parent who doesn't want their kid repeating something at school (at one point I saw my daughter walking around in circles repeating, "Oh God damn it").

I usually will instead say:
Oh, great.

with a huge amount of bitter bite.

When then kids are nowhere to be seen:
Oh for fuck's sake.
posted by plinth at 12:51 PM on March 25

My go-to is "Holy cats!" This can be expanded to "Holy fucking cats!" if the situation demands it.

"Holy Mary Mother of Cats!" is seldom called for, but "Mother of Cats!" is weirdly satisfying.
posted by nicething at 12:52 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Satisfying short sharp sounds learned from Brit colleagues:

kin ell: (fuc)kin' (h)ell

Really hit the first syllable on the latter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:54 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

posted by lordcorvid at 1:01 PM on March 25

If you say "Fudge," you must say it with long drawn-out emphasis, a la A Christmas Story.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:01 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

posted by psoas at 1:02 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]

I've been using "Oh my science" since I watched Season 10 Episode 12, Go God Go
posted by 6ATR at 1:17 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Not totally pg, but I love Sons of Bitches. The plural just makes it satisfying. I also will use Curses! non-ironically.
posted by catatethebird at 1:19 PM on March 25

For crying out loud
posted by bunderful at 1:22 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

"That's bananas"
posted by Rinku at 1:23 PM on March 25

Or in the words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief!"
posted by marsha56 at 1:23 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

My mother speaks English as a second language. I grew up hearing her exclaim in German. One of my favorites:

Mensch und kinder!

It means "people and children!" -- kind of like you might say "Women!" in disgust in English if you are male, only without that gender bias.
posted by Michele in California at 1:24 PM on March 25

The answers in this previous question may help as well.
posted by papayaninja at 1:25 PM on March 25

For Jesus Christ I say "cheese on fries"

Shut the f___ront door!

I also use golly and golly gee a lot. Its actually a stronger epithet because people are like whoa... I think he's pissed.....
posted by chasles at 1:32 PM on March 25

"Criminy!" or "Crikey!"

"Cheese and crackers!"

"Shut the French windows!" (Thank you, Phyllis Logan!)

From my Dad: "Son of a biscuit!"

From one of my teachers: "Good night!"

Then there's the tried and true "Oy vey!" and "¡Ay, caramba!"
posted by jgirl at 1:38 PM on March 25

In the Intermountain West, "Oh my heck!" is popular.
posted by jgirl at 1:40 PM on March 25


I'm the first person to suggest "for Pete's sake"!?!

for Pete's sake people! :)

I also like "good grief."

When I'm really peeved I get into "for the love of Pete" territory.

My first dog was named Pete. Technically you are still somewhat in Biblical territory though, since it's generally believed it refers to the keeper of the keys to the pearly gates. I always think of my beloved Cocker Spaniel, personally.
posted by fraula at 1:42 PM on March 25

I say things like "oh my goodness gracious" (people love this so much for some reason), "geez Louise" and "well I never" - I took "God" out of my vocabulary a long time ago much like you, and it has been fun to say neat things instead of making a comment that might unintentionally hurt someone. This thread has some great ideas for me to try!
posted by sockermom at 1:43 PM on March 25

I'm the first person to suggest "for Pete's sake"!?!

Pete refers to St. Peter, so it doesn't actually work for OP's criteria.

Same goes for many delightful epithets that don't sound particularly religious, like "Zounds!" and "Egad!" Also my perennial favorite non-swear, "Holy Schnikes!"
posted by Sara C. at 1:45 PM on March 25

Import and emphasis is where you find it, or make it. I disagree as much as it's possible to disagree with the fundamentalists who ran the primary school I attended on most matters - I mean, our classroom copy of Little House on the Prairie was redacted, for Pete's sake. But there's one thing I do think they had right.

They didn't allow faux-fanity like "heck" or "darn," because they said it came from the same place inside you that "hell and "damn" does. It's like getting off on a technicality. I grew up to be an atheist myself, and I think ANY word can be a swear word if you use it right.

OK, all that said, some of my favorites are below.

"Crud!" or "Holy crud!" SFW and mixed company, gets a giggle from kids.
"Jumping Jehoshaphat!" One of Grandpa's favorites, and endorsed by Pete Campbell.
The good, old-fashioned F-word.
"Flip" is my go-to SFW substitute for the good, old-fashioned F-word.
"Holy Carp," just to subvert people's expectations
"Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ on a Cracker," just for the imagery.
"For Pete's sake," as seen above. Pete was my Grandpa.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:48 PM on March 25

Nthing "What the cuss."
posted by ATX Peanut at 1:53 PM on March 25

I also have been know to channel Yosemite Sam with stuff like this RassaFrazzaFirnkinPhilaBorminWackaBattleStrammingFraxin...
posted by mon-ma-tron at 1:56 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Am I too late?

A favourite of mine that has nothing to do with religion and *sounds* tame to the naive ear is "poopnoodles!".

This is, in fact, a very dirty reference, so saying it is still satisfying but fun to boot. Google it + Dan Savage (but perhaps not at work).
posted by Halo in reverse at 2:17 PM on March 25

We often say 'oh dearie me' in around small children situations in my family. You need to stagger it out/grit your teeth so it is clipped. I.e. Oh. Dearie! Me! Or I resort to the Yosemite Sam approach like mon-ma-tron does.

I will also resort to the odd curse in Welsh but they are still fairly religious in nature, but as I live in England, virually no one knows what I'm muttering.

Also uttered frequently 'for the love of little fishes' (no idea where that one came from though)
posted by halcyonday at 2:18 PM on March 25

Learn to swear in a foreign language?
For example (NSFRussianSpeakingWorkplaces).
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:33 PM on March 25

Since moving to Minnesota, I've adopted "Holy Buckets!" as an expression of surprise.
posted by nickmark at 2:45 PM on March 25

I had a friend who used to say "Mother Father!" with a lot of veracity. It was always good for at first shocking us and then making us laugh (this was in an office setting).

Although I am inordinantly fond of the eff word when I am alone, when I am in public I tend to swear in different (and not common) languages.

When my kid is in the car and another driver has caught my ire, my standard is "Dude! What are you doing?"
posted by vignettist at 2:48 PM on March 25

Cussing is a continuum. Is it at a person or because of a circumstance? Even at a person under your breath? I mean, if you're biting it back nothing is better than some variation of f-you, jerk/whatever name you like. If it's at a circumstance or object a sort of primal UHHHHHHHHHHHHH works just fine if you're really trying to avoid religious language. I'm a total atheist but grew up in the South (of the US), so GODDAMN IT! was always the worst swear so I use that. I promise you goddamn will get you more reaction than the f-word where I come from. I told off about it from a friend just last week and I was like "really? you know my version of god was pretty big on damning?" but only because I was annoyed to be scolded me in public (no kids around).
posted by syncope at 3:23 PM on March 25

"Bastards!", sometimes with a fist shake at the sky. Not sure who I mean, but it's no one specific (and nothing to do with legitamacy in my usage).
posted by pennypiper at 3:41 PM on March 25

"Bastards!", sometimes with a fist shake at the sky. Not sure who I mean, but it's no one specific (and nothing to do with legitamacy in my usage).

When I want to say, "Bastards!" but can't, I use a typo I made once and say, "Batsrads!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:00 PM on March 25

My kids are fond of "Barnacles!" They picked it up from Spongebob Squarepants, but I have to admit it's a pretty effective word to spit in frustration.
posted by KathrynT at 4:14 PM on March 25

Nads! Nuts! Nerts! Nips!

Anything with a soft consonant to start (fricative or nasal) and ends with a hard consonant (stops, mostly) will give you that snap.
posted by klangklangston at 4:41 PM on March 25

I enjoy the following euphemized swears:

What the what?! (sounds like something worse)

Horsefeathers! (say this out loud right now, it's fun)

Well, Shhhhhucks (which, if said in the right way, clearly communicates "I would say 'shit' right now if I were allowed to")
posted by Ndwright at 4:53 PM on March 25

My clean expletives for when I can't be sure who's listening are, in no particular order, Blast!, Holy Crow!, and Jeepers Creepers! That last one has the advantage of identifying anyone who's seen the Mr. Show sketch, because they will turn and hiss "Language!"
posted by Devoidoid at 4:59 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Oh my word! (favorite of my late MIL)
Jiminy Cricket! (I know, JC, but it rolls off the tongue so nicely)
Get. Out.
posted by maggieb at 6:22 PM on March 25

I think it's good to be literal. Shout things like "are you serious?!" or "is this really happening?!"
posted by oceanjesse at 6:49 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Also: Judas Priest.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:55 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Sugar snaps!

I wouldn't let your atheism keep you from saying "Oh my god." If anything, Christians aren't supposed to say "Oh my god" because it takes the lord's name in vain. Personally, my go-to is "Jesus fucking Christ!" I also say "Motherfucker!" more than I care to admit. I'm basically a sailor.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:08 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

"Christmas." Emphasis on the "kriss."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:40 PM on March 25

I have been known to exclaim "Balls!" or mutter "Farts." under my breath.
There is no satisfying substitute for a well-earned Jesus Fucking CHRIST! though...
posted by sleepykitties at 7:44 PM on March 25

In my family, we try to imitate the father in "A Christmas Story." Our current favorite is "Dadgummit BLAH!"
posted by 4ster at 7:45 PM on March 25

when mildly annoyed
Crap (I use it spontaneously but still hate how it sounds)
Aw maaan
Are you kidding me?

when annoyed
Fuck and shit, but whispered or with vowels aspirated

When I've injured myself (in ogre voice)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:58 PM on March 25

Two Irish curse substitutes I learned on a kids' cartoon TV show, so they can't be too bad/offensive:

Janey Mack!

Google the TV show Jakers! The Adventures of Piggly Winks to find clips of these expressions in action.
posted by Mallenroh at 9:35 PM on March 25

I feel your pain. Problem is, I really like the cadence of "Oh My God" - it just has such a nice ring to it, and it's such a cultural artifact, and it already has a nice textspeak version.

I've tried to cut it out, but I figure, if an atheist can't take the lord's name in vain, who can? It's just language, it changes all the time. "Zounds!" is a truncation of "By God's wounds" which was trendy back in Chaucer's day. "Sacre bleu" = "sacred blue." On and on. The entire concept of cursing is sort of tied up in religion to begin with, in a sense.
posted by quincunx at 10:05 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]

For instance, just look at this list of minced oaths. Almost everything you can imagine originated with a religious phrase that was then tweaked euphemistically, even the things you wouldn't expect. It's a losing battle. You could always start cursing by Zeus or blood and thunder.

If you really want to scrub all religious stuff, you'll have to stop saying damn, God, Jeez, holy shit, cor blimey, for Pete's sake, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

They're all religious! I just gave up.
posted by quincunx at 10:13 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]

Holy Mother of Pearl comes from (or is at least used by) SpongeBob SquarePants.

From that show I also say Barnacles! and Tartar Sauce!
posted by clerestory at 10:30 PM on March 25

posted by davidmsc at 11:14 PM on March 25

Likely the weirdest expletive ever, this started out as part of a mnemonic to learn the provinces of Canada, but for some reason Basmoq (pronounced with a heavy emphasis on the "Bas" and a second syllable that rhymes with "clock") has an exquisitely angry feel in one's mouth. It is strangely satisfying to burst out with.
posted by wjm at 3:11 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

So, your username. This just occurred to me.

Taffeta, darling! would make an excellent exclamation. As in, "Oh taffeta." Or just "Taffeta!" It's completely inexplicable. I kind of dig it.

(Taffeta, darling would also make a good safeword. Or password for anyone who wasn't a seamstress or designer. Or name for a dress shop.)

Apparently it's also the name of a pin-up model in Dallas.
posted by quincunx at 3:27 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Spider Bites
Bat Knackery
Carpet Tacks
Fishing Hooks
posted by pracowity at 5:00 AM on March 26

I can't believe of everything that's been posted, the best one of all has been overlooked.


technically, (Annoyed Grunt) as written in the Simpsons scripts, but eh
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 5:21 AM on March 26

I use "Oh, My Stars" sometimes.

(I used to have a big habit of "Shut the Front Door" until I saw Guy Fieri say it...)
posted by getawaysticks at 6:28 AM on March 26

I also sometimes find myself saying my Grade 12 English teacher's favorite, "Holy Croley!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:29 AM on March 26

I've had good luck with either Cazzo di Buddha! or putain de merde!? depending on context. Both roll off the tongue so pleasantly to this native English speaker.
posted by Seeba at 7:01 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Personally I have no more problem with OMG than I do with talking about the sun "rising" or talking as if "the heart" was the source of emotions.

If I felt the need to find alternatives I might look at taking the Great Prophet Zarquon's name in vain. See also other HHGG rude words.
posted by philipy at 6:14 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]

We're fans of "bananas" in the Freedom household. Dad Freedom started it. It goes like this:

*stubs toe*
"OHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh . . . ."
*hops around in pain*
". . . bananas."

The key is to say it after the situation that caused you to swear is over. Try it, it's hilarious!
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:38 AM on March 28

It's pretty difficult to overtop the stylings of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:31 PM on April 4

I like this one: Jesus Joseph and Mary in Tinseltown!

- technically it's not religious because Jesus Joseph is not part of Christian pantheon.. I think..
posted by rainy at 8:58 PM on April 6

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