Exclamations of fear
March 26, 2013 9:20 PM   Subscribe

What are some exclamations people make when shocked, freaked out or frightened? I've seen this question and while it's awesome, I'm trying to find more serious things people blurt out in crisis situations. Alternatives to "Oh my god" or "Jesus Christ" or "Oh #@%&!"
posted by pgswim to Writing & Language (56 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by DoubleLune at 9:25 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Jesus Mary and Joseph" is a good one.
posted by 23 at 9:25 PM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Jesus wept. Crud. Crap. Holy fuck. Holy moly. Bloody hell. Tony Abbott.
posted by taff at 9:29 PM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Christ on a Crutch!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:32 PM on March 26, 2013

The two I use are "God BLESS IT!" and "sweet baby Jesus asleep on the hay!"
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:34 PM on March 26, 2013

Are you freakin' kidding me?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:36 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I read somewhere about a man whose job was to listen to the "black box" audio tapes from planes that crashed. According to him, by far the most common "last words" from the pilots was "Oh, shit!"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:37 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by facetious at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2013

"Jesus, Mary, and holy saint Joseph!"

Used to know a very religious guy who'd say "Cheese and rice!" when startled or upset as a less blasphemous alternative to Jesus Christ. It was unique. And made me hungry every time.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hell's bells and what the flying fuck are my go-tos, personally
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:42 PM on March 26, 2013

posted by facetious at 9:45 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Holy Shnikes!
posted by oceanview at 9:51 PM on March 26, 2013

No no no no no no no
posted by rhapsodie at 10:05 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

10+ years ago i was reading a novel, forget if it was mario puzo canon or just godfather fanfic. a mobster rival of michael corleone was flying a small plane across a lake. the plane had been sabotaged so that it would go down. when the mobster pilot realized this, he said...

"sono fottuto."
posted by bruce at 10:09 PM on March 26, 2013

I just say "Fuck" or "Fucking shit" or "Shitting fuck" but I presume you've discarded those options.

"Sweet mother of pearl" was my grandfather's go-to, and "Heavenly days" was my grandmother's. I had a great-uncle who said "Suffering cats" or "Suffering fish".
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:28 PM on March 26, 2013

My personal favorites are Will Ferrell and Steve Carell influenced, such as "great Odin's Raven," or "Kelly Clarkson!"
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:32 PM on March 26, 2013

I read an article about Hurricane Sandy, a mom described yelling "Holy Shitake Mushrooms" upon driving up to her wrecked house with her kids.
posted by dottiechang at 10:35 PM on March 26, 2013

posted by samthemander at 10:41 PM on March 26, 2013

In Chinese... "Aiyahhh!"
posted by keep it under cover at 11:09 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Paternal grandfather used to exclaim "Great day in the morning!"
posted by likeso at 11:10 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

'HOLY MOSES' when something weird happens.

There's always the classic 'GAAAAAAAAAAAAH WHY'
posted by zennish at 11:13 PM on March 26, 2013

I seems to go with this weird nasal "Haannnnnnngaaaaa" when I dump things on my feet/drop them. I have no idea what I'm trying to say, but that's the noise I make.

I've also used 'dang' and 'oh hells'.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:19 PM on March 26, 2013

I personally tend to yell something like "crap on a spatula!" and proceed to flail around with angry jazz hands.
posted by couchtater at 11:33 PM on March 26, 2013

posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 11:44 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sharp intake of breath
posted by meijusa at 12:02 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm totally interested in spontaneous surprise-related utterances based on language/ethnicity.

Exactly like how the sounds that cats/dogs/chickens/roosters make are "stereotyped" totally different between some cultures. Some may be attributed to the difference in the prevalent species of domestic animal, others to common phenome useage that differs between languages.

Non-scientifically, I'm noticed a sharp intake of breath (ghaaasp!) or sharp outtake of breath (gahhh!) after an initial involuntary glotal stoppage followed by corrective in/out-take of breath, and their variations as the base expression regardless of culture in response to acute terrifying shock.

As a former unrepentant obscenity dropper, I've been somewhat successful in replacing my naturally reflexive shit fuck damn hell with crap/shoot forget darn hecks in my everyday language at (my new) work, so I'm fairly convinced that specific words are from culture rather than from innate neural architecture.
posted by porpoise at 12:06 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I go "oh dear." I think it's about a fall of a minor sixth.

Some people will type 'meep.' I think some would say it too, but I haven't personally seen it in the wild.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:07 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

What the fork and blergh
posted by penpenne at 12:07 AM on March 27, 2013

Mother Fucker!
posted by JujuB at 12:37 AM on March 27, 2013

Holy shinola. Christ on a cracker. Sweet baby Jesus. Fibber McGee!
posted by brundlefly at 1:04 AM on March 27, 2013

For things that are scary by implication, and which I have time to prepare for, I usually say "well, this can't be good." for more immediate things, I curse. "...the hell?!?" being most common.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:59 AM on March 27, 2013

'God BLESS America....' (usually said through gritted teeth, like when I drop something on my foot) or 'Christ on a crutch!'
posted by easily confused at 3:02 AM on March 27, 2013

Ive adopted a couple of SFW ones from Wallace and Gromit "flippin' 'eck" , and "ohhhheck", and less polite "bleedin' flippin' eck"
posted by Abinadab at 3:15 AM on March 27, 2013

There is a truly global way in which people reference religion, human waste, or sex in these situations in just about every language and language family. While I was in the US I got around the vulgarity of this by just cursing in French - though this now works significantly less well living in a French speaking country.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:15 AM on March 27, 2013

When I get startled (like, I think I'm alone and then someone comes up behind me and taps my shoulder, or I open the door and someone's standing there) I tend to blurt out a string of expletives under my breath that have absolutely nothing to do with one another or the situation.

Example: "jesus fucking bitch shit damnit [deep breath] what??"

Usually this amuses the other person, and now that it's been pointed out to me...yeah.
posted by phunniemee at 4:44 AM on March 27, 2013

Jimminy Christmas!
posted by colin_l at 4:56 AM on March 27, 2013

There's nothing like a good ol' "son of a bitch!" for moments like that. Also: ¡Pa' carajo! and its myriad variations if you're from the Caribbean Hispanosphere.
posted by jquinby at 5:02 AM on March 27, 2013

FWIW, in surprise crisis situation I use:

Holy shit
Holy shitballs
Fuck me
Fuck me running
Fuck me with a chainsaw
Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ

For milder, less startling situations, I use:

Mercy sakes (yes, I actually say this)
Goodness sakes
Oh, for heaven's sake
Good Lord
Good heavens
Good gracious
Gracious me
Holy poot
posted by magstheaxe at 5:33 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's a difference between knowing you are going to die, and general scrapes and bangs. Scrapes and bangs, yeah, it's swears. But for death I just stick with "No.", and I don't mean that in a "No!" or "Oh no!" way either. Just a nice, firm, "No.", as though you were saying it to a child who just started begging for a candy. That was my response to drowning, suffocating, the car accident, and all the other times I've been close. I just tell the reaper: No.
posted by jwells at 5:37 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Good grief!

Oh my stars [and garters]!

I am the only person I know who occasionally still says "Heavens to Murgatroyd!".
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:22 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

I spent so long working around kids that I had to come up with something. I just borrowed from my grandparents' generation. I say "rats!" a lot. And "shoot!" and "sugar!" and my grandfather's favorite, "Awwww, foot."

There was also some character in cartoons when I was growing up that was always muttering angrily under his breath. It sounded like "Rats a fratsa mugga boogah" and stuff like that. I do that some times.
posted by Miko at 7:37 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Miko, that would be Yosemite Sam.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:41 AM on March 27, 2013

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick!
posted by Jaymzifer at 7:56 AM on March 27, 2013

I used to know someone whose go-to was "Fuck-shit-DAMN, bitch!!" If you're gonna say language, might as well cover the whole field I guess. I've taken to muttering "No es bueno" under my breath when blindsided by an unpleasant realization, which I attribute to listening to banda music on Mexican radio in the mornings.
posted by geneva uswazi at 8:04 AM on March 27, 2013

I have a friend who uses specific strings of curses to mean specific things. If he says "shitfuckass!" it means he touched something hot. The same words in a different order might mean he pinched his fingers, or his leg has fallen asleep. Me, I'm fond of "christshitters!" It's kind of awkward to say, but that just makes it better.
posted by echo target at 9:04 AM on March 27, 2013

Miko, that would be Yosemite Sam.

No, it's not him that I'm referencing though I love him. It was some sort of dog/mutt. He was on Wacky Races, but I don't know what his original cartoon home was.
posted by Miko at 11:07 AM on March 27, 2013

Dark, sneering sarcasm being second nature, I've gone with "Nice!" on a few occasions, most memorably while separating from my bike in mid-air after taking an unpainted speedbump at full pedal on an unlit street.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:12 AM on March 27, 2013

I'm partial to "Jesusfuck" and "Godspit" (which I will admit I stole from China Miéville)
posted by Aversion Therapy at 11:12 AM on March 27, 2013

I'm prone to exclaim "JE-sus loved his mother!"
posted by ersatzkat at 1:00 PM on March 27, 2013

...also "SWEET fancy haircut!" - not sure at all where it came from, as I typically curse enough to clear out a sailor's pub...
posted by ersatzkat at 1:01 PM on March 27, 2013

There was a Seinfeld episode in which George says "sweet fancy Moses!" I assumed it was one of their efforts to create a catchphrase.
posted by Miko at 1:04 PM on March 27, 2013

(Miko, that mutt was Muttley. And yep, there were earlier incarnations.)
posted by likeso at 1:14 PM on March 27, 2013

Judas H. Priest is a favorite in my family.
posted by freezer cake at 2:54 PM on March 27, 2013

Mary, mother of God; Holy Mary; or in truly desperate times, Holy Mary, mother of God.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Oh, no; oh, how horrible.
posted by epj at 3:01 PM on March 27, 2013

I try to keep my swearing to a minimum, so my go to is "Fudgebuckets!" for things like stubbed toes, dropped dishes and other surprising events. I also tend to say "Oh poop" when something disappointing happens.

An old friend uses "Merle H. Stubing!" (we were big Love Boat fans as kids)
posted by dogmom at 6:42 PM on March 27, 2013

I learned not too long ago that I actually "EEEEP!" during turbulence. I was almost as surprised as my seatmate.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:08 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

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