May you stink forever.
March 25, 2013 5:47 PM   Subscribe

What are the best non-violent curses?

Can you think of any curses to be mentally hurled at another person, which are non-violent? Worst wishes that do not involve bodily or direct psychological harm?
posted by tintexas to Writing & Language (49 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Just get creative. What are some bad things that can happen to people? You can be absolutely brutal without physical harm.

"Your children don't love you. They are going to put you in a home and then never visit."
"Your mother is disappointed in you. She didn't raise you that way and she cries when she thinks about how you turned out."
"Everybody knows your secret shame. Everybody. We're all laughing about it whenever you leave the room."
"Nobody will ever really understand you."
"You will always wonder what could have been. She (or he) won't."
"When the time-travelers show up, your friends won't even think to bring you along."
"You are already living your worst possible future and don't even know it."

ETA: I suddenly realize I might be a really bad person.
posted by gauche at 5:55 PM on March 25, 2013 [19 favorites]

The old saw, "May you live in interesting times" is non-specific, but pretty damning.
posted by xingcat at 5:56 PM on March 25, 2013

Jinx, jamaro! And not in a curse-jinx sort of way!
posted by xingcat at 5:56 PM on March 25, 2013

I fart in your general direction
Monty Python and The Holy Grail
posted by space_cookie at 5:57 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm a big fan of "May things never go smooth."
posted by teleri025 at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Silence! The curse descends! You are now the supreme fellator! The best in the world at blowjobs!

(This page, astonishingly, is safe for work. The rest of the site is really, really, profoundly not.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 5:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Bless your heart.

(Someone had to say it).
posted by 4ster at 6:00 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

Some Ashkenazi Jews might say something along the lines of:

Why doesn't somebody name a baby after you already?
posted by bilabial at 6:00 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your life is the darkest timeline.
posted by fireandthud at 6:01 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

May all your chickens turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

(This is apparently the 'real' version of this phrase but I only ever heard 'May all your chickens turn out to be roosters' which is much more internationally applicable. FYI dunny = outhouse)
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2013

Best answer: Some good Yiddish curses here. (My college roommate was particularly fond of the cat/blintz one, but I guess that is a "wishing bodily harm" one in a surreal, roundabout way.)
posted by scody at 6:06 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My grandfather used to say, "May all the fleas of Bangladesh land in your armpits." Sub other geographies as appropriate. (I'd use Virginia, myself.)
posted by emkelley at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Listen: Wherever you may be, you can never be happy. You will never love anyone or be loved by anyone. That is my curse. ... Bon Voyage. The two of us will never meet again."

-Boris the Manskinner's curse on Lt. Mamiya in "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

"You disappoint your significant other in bed."
"Your accomplishments are temporary and false."
"Your mother was less pained by your birth than by your life."
"Your Wonderful Life ends with you jumping."
"May you die rich, respected, and perfectly satisfied."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I have certainly not heard a few of these! Definitely interested in those that express future comeuppance or reversal of fortune. Keep 'em coming!
posted by tintexas at 6:12 PM on March 25, 2013

In December 1944, when the German army launched the surprise Battle of the Bulge, Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, was away, attending a staff conference in the United States. In Taylor's absence, acting command of the 101st and its attached troops fell to McAuliffe. At Bastogne, the 101st was besieged by a far larger force of Germans under the command of General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz.
On December 22, 1944, through a party consisting of a major, a lieutenant, and two enlisted men under a flag of truce that entered the American lines southeast of Bastogne (occupied by Company F, 2nd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry), General von Lüttwitz sent the following ultimatum to Gen. McAuliffe:
To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.
There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.
If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.
All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.

The German Commander.
According to various accounts from those present, when McAuliffe was given the German message, he read it, crumpled it into a ball, threw it in a wastepaper basket, and muttered, "Aw, nuts". The officers in McAuliffe's command post were trying and failing to come up with suitable language for an official reply when Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard suggested that McAuliffe's first response summed up the situation pretty well, and the others agreed. The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper, commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, to the German delegation. It was as follows:
To the German Commander.


The American Commander
The German major appeared confused and asked Harper what the message meant. Harper said, "In plain English? Go to hell."[3] The choice of "Nuts!" rather than something earthier was typical for McAuliffe. Vincent Vicari, his personal aide at the time, recalled that "General Mac was the only general I ever knew who did not use profane language. 'Nuts' was part of his normal vocabulary."[4]
The threat of artillery fire did not materialize, although several infantry and tank assaults were directed at the positions of the 327th Glider Infantry. In addition, the German Luftwaffe entered the attacks on the town, bombing it nightly. The 101st was able to hold off the Germans until the 4th Armored Division arrived on December 26 to provide reinforcement.
For his actions at Bastogne, McAuliffe was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Patton on Dec. 30, 1944, followed later by the Distinguished Service Medal.
posted by The Michael The at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've always been fond of the classic "May the bird of paradise fly up your nose." But of course, there's also "May the bluebird of happiness poop on your car."
posted by easily confused at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "May no one ever tell you what you're doing wrong."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:15 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best answer: For an Italian, "May your marinara sauce never cling to your pasta."
posted by amodelcitizen at 6:15 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

May your enemies be small and worthless and your quarrels never end.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

I like to think of things that would profoundly bug someone, but are too minor to be considered harmful. Like "may your sinks drain slowly" or "may your deodorant stain your shirts" or "may you always turn on the radio when a Katy Perry song happens to be playing."

And there are certain types of mean-spirited/aggressive/catty/whiny/just-plain-jerky people who make me think "Well, at least you'll always find something to be upset about."
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mercedes Lackey invents a brilliant curse in the Mage Storms Trilogy. She has a vengeful adept curse an aspiring king with an inability to lie.

It works out well in the end, but when delivered it is very harsh.
posted by alms at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2013

It sort of violates the bodily harm clause, but I just love it too much not to share: "Ten thousand mischiefs in thy gut."
posted by anderjen at 6:25 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The classic Yiddish one is (paraphrased):

"May all your teeth fall out but one, and may that last tooth give you a horrible toothache for the rest of your life"
posted by Quisp Lover at 6:36 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: May you outlive everyone you love.

May you enjoy more than your usual share of feces today.

May all your dreams come true for someone else.

May your conscience stretch to encompass your guilt.
posted by notquitemaryann at 6:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Top notch maryann! Hurtful, but not a threat, you are wicked!
posted by tintexas at 6:49 PM on March 25, 2013

Off the top of my head:

-Everytime you have multiple tabs open online, one of them starts playing an ad and you can't figure out which tab it's coming from.

-Everytime you get a text message, instead of it being someone who actually wants to talk to you, it's just your cell phone provider telling you that they are changing their privacy policy.

-You get a new iPod and when you go to sync it, it erases all the songs in your library by accident.

-You check your significant other's browsing history and find out she likes (insert gross hilarious porn niche).

-Everytime you go out to eat, they give you the wrong thing.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:24 PM on March 25, 2013

Best answer: May you live forever.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:39 PM on March 25, 2013

Apparently, a popular curse/toast during the American Revolutionary War was "Perpetual itching without benefit of scratching to all America's enemies!"

I learned this from "Angel in the Whirlwind," quoted here.
posted by pompelmo at 7:42 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The "May you live in interesting times" curse is only the first of three. The other two:

"May you come to the attention of powerful people."
"May you find what you're looking for." i.e. "May all your wishes come true."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I think I was told that this was an old persian curse maybe?

"May your piles hang like grapes".
posted by amorphatist at 7:49 PM on March 25, 2013

May your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

Chooks = Chickens
Dunny = outhouse/bathroom
posted by wwax at 8:13 PM on March 25, 2013

In William Steig's "The Amazing Bone", the bone calls the fox an "odoriferous wretch", (after first calling the fox a worm).
posted by gubenuj at 8:16 PM on March 25, 2013

To childless people who criticize or second-guess your parenting: "May you have triplets." You can pretend it's a blessing!
posted by peep at 8:42 PM on March 25, 2013

A classic Yiddish curse: May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground! Interestingly (as I just discovered), once linked before on the blue, as part of a series of Yiddish curses.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:03 PM on March 25, 2013

I often use an adaptation of the prophecy made about the titular character in Dave Sims' Cerebus comic when wishing ill will upon someone: "May you die alone, unmourned and unloved."
posted by KingEdRa at 9:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer, but hopefully interesting and topically relevant:
Bob Dylan, "Seven Curses"

Curses contained in final two verses.
posted by EKStickland at 10:50 PM on March 25, 2013

I came in to say a variation on the Yiddish curse, "Zoltz vaksn vi a tsibele mit'n kop in dr'erd!"
(May you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground.), the first Yiddish curse I learned, but Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell beat me to it, so I'll have to give you my second favorite, "Gay kachen affen yam, tzvei mull." (Go shit in the ocean. Twice.)

(Please pardon my phonetic liberties.)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:59 PM on March 25, 2013

Captain Haddock from Tintin is really good at this. My favorites: Odd-toed ungulate! Lily-livered bandicoots! Ruffian! Polygraph! Sea-gherkin! Miserable earthworm! Vagabond! Freshwater pirate! Moth-eaten marmot! Troglodytes! Insolent porcupine! More here.
posted by colfax at 4:04 AM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

I hope you step on a Lego.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

"May you marry and have children" is a common one, told in jest to me and my wife by her (still married) father. He said this to us before we had a kid, and I think he's said it since.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Potverdomme!" and other variants explained in the linked video from
posted by iviken at 9:15 AM on March 26, 2013

The Golden Girls used to trade in these a lot, I remember one episode in particular where Sophia's sister comes to visit and it devolves into them hurling these types of curses at each other back and forth rapidly. Can't find a YT clip, but here's some quotes from the show for example (including the "may your marinara sauce never cling to your pasta" one already mentioned), just search for "may your".
posted by ifjuly at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2013

I've always been partial to "May your finger poke through the toilet paper."
posted by IAmBroom at 12:19 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hope your wifi dies.
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2013

I've long loved the Teutonic Leck mich im Arsch, from "Gotz im Himmel."
posted by klangklangston at 4:32 PM on March 26, 2013

When you see something on your face, you wipe the mirror
posted by JujuB at 1:19 AM on March 27, 2013

May your shit come to life and kiss you.
posted by NedKoppel at 8:49 PM on March 28, 2013

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