Great Caesar's Ghost! I need some kid-friendlier curses
February 23, 2016 12:57 PM   Subscribe

As a new parent, I need to work on tempering my foul mouth. I am a bit of a grumpy bastard and man, do I ever fight with my computer (programming, spreadsheets, etc) a lot. I quite often tell it how I feel and I pull no punches. So, I was reading this Power Man and Iron Fist Have a Hilarious Way to Get Around Marvel's 'No Swearing' Policy article the other day and thought that I'd ask the hivemind for some help cursing somewhat more respectably.

The kicker is that they need to be curses that I'm actually going to be able to train my brain to say. As much as I love "Great Caesar's Ghost!", I have a hard time believing that I'll ever work that into my vocabulary. In terms of the cursing spectrum, I don't need to go as far as sounding like someone's kindly southern grandma, but maybe closer to something like Yosamite Sam. What I have so far:

Mother Hubbard!: Excellent replacement for "motherfucker".
Bullhonky!: self-explanatory
Blasted: seems like a pretty good substitute for "fucking"
Jando pele!: This is actually Romani for "Go to ball!" I looked up Romani curses for a D&D character that I was playing and I absolutely LOVE this one. I really hope I can pick this one in the heat of the moment.

What else do we have?
posted by JimBJ9 to Society & Culture (62 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:59 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh my gee, you need to get to this thread.

I'm partial to "consarn it!" and "GM Chrysler!"
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:04 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

My grandmother says "AW, FOOT" when she's fuck-level upset.
posted by phunniemee at 1:06 PM on February 23, 2016 [7 favorites]

I have trained myself to use "HARRUMPH!" in place of other short/punchy expletives. It most often gets used in place of "Dammit!" or "Shit!"
posted by theatro at 1:07 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

You may find this thread helpful.

I'm partial to saying "cuss" instead of the word, as in "what in the mothercuss do you think you're doing?"
YMMV on that one.
posted by tuesdayschild at 1:07 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

I say "RATS!" pretty often. Not the most exciting, but it works for me!

Other ideas:
Christ on a CRACKER
I sometimes say/ think "aw, son of a nutcracker!"
"Cripes!" for something not as bad
posted by sucre at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2016

I'm a fan of Elizabethan English for these instances. The Elizabethan Curse Generator's a good source.

Also, Fie! is a great replacement for 'fuck.'
posted by culfinglin at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2016

"Like Fun"

Also, I had a friend whose only cuss word was "Good Grief!"
posted by chiefthe at 1:12 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've managed to adopt the rather mainstream frig/friggin and shoot when I need to be swear-free.
posted by General Malaise at 1:14 PM on February 23, 2016

Anything will do as long as you make a habit out of it. I would keep it far away from actual swearwords linguistically as possible because teachers still won't appreciate your kids shouting "Mothertrucker" in class...

"Kukla, Fran and OLLIE!"
posted by JJ86 at 1:14 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The movie Fantastic Mr. Fox uses the word "cuss" for all of its cussing cusses.

"Oh, darn" can also be used to effect.
posted by cardboard at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm a huge fan of "heck" and "frick".
posted by terretu at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2016

I'm the one who posted that mom swear thread. The ones I find most satisfying are

Mother Hubbard!
Holy shittake mushrooms!
Shut the front door / back the truck up
Stone of a peach
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:20 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Criminy is a good swap for crap or christ mid-word.

I suggest watching Adventure Time and picking up some of Finn's weird word choices. Stink-up instead of fuck-up, "what the jug", "crab it to the butter nuts!", janked up instead of fucked up, the list goes on and they are all kid's television programming approved.
posted by Mizu at 1:20 PM on February 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

"Monday to Friday" for Motherfucking (stolen from an edited-for-TV version of Snakes on a Plane)

I will also occasionally shout nonsensically-out-of-context phrases or cultural references when I stub my toe or what have you. Some examples below.

FOUR-SCORE-AND-SEVEN-YEARS-AGO-OUR-FOREFATHERS-etc.etc.etc. (until the pain ebbs or I reach the limits of my memorization)
posted by duffell at 1:20 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

My mother switched to "Fiddlesticks!" as her general curse of choice when I got to verbal mimicry.

Father Ted, season 2 ep 4 has a lovely scene on a beach with astonishing cussitive gymnastics.
posted by monopas at 1:22 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also swearing in other languages

Scheisse (German for shit)
Merde (French for shit)
Putain (French for whore but really fuck, a great catch all swear)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:23 PM on February 23, 2016

posted by JimN2TAW at 1:23 PM on February 23, 2016

Previously, from me: G*******t, I swear too f***ing much.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:26 PM on February 23, 2016

Dangnabbit, bad rabbit!
posted by mochapickle at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2016

My father, when exasperated: "Fiddlesticks!"

Me, when exasperated: "OH GOD BLESS AMERICA"
posted by komara at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm also partial to Heck, Crumbs, and Good Heavens.
posted by mochapickle at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2016

I'm not really a Yosemite Sam type, so I've ended up saying things like:

"DUDE, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL" when dealing with bad drivers. DUDE! in general is a good non-curse word. Also WHAT, ARE YOU KIDDING and so on. No cursing, but gets the anger out.

If I'm in pain, I just holler incoherently ARRRRGH OH MAN OH MAN ARGH IT HURTS

In this age of Google I would not recommend foreign curse words, eventually they are going to get your kid in trouble.

But, since I took German in high school, when need to I curse I sometimes make up nonsense words like "schimmelheiser!" "schuckenfruedel!" and so on. I imagine you could do the same with other languages.

And, regular nights out with other adults/your partner where you curse like a sailor are also something you should make sure to plan for.
posted by emjaybee at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My dad used to say Crimines as a regular daily use swear and Cri-mi-NUT-les for extra strength.

My son likes "Buttons!", as it sounds like a last minute save against saying the incredibly naughty "Butts!" (Sort of like when you say "Fuck Ryan Out Loud.")

And this is a classic.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2016

I find I need something that replaces THE swear/curse I was going to say.

Sugar is probably my biggie for Shit

Jeezo man for Jesus Christ

Son of a potato picking armadillo (or other random nonsense}

That god fearing Monkey Jumper for - you know.
posted by ReluctantViking at 1:33 PM on February 23, 2016

posted by mochapickle at 1:34 PM on February 23, 2016

"Junkmonkeys!" is my go-to and it's terrifically satisfying with those "nk" sounds. I use it in place of "SHIT!" when I drop something on my toe, and "ASSHOLE!" when someone cuts me off in traffic, and "dammit" when I have to deal with customer service, and similar.

"Son of a nutcracker" is pretty contagious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:35 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

In the show The 100, when they were in space, the death-level punishment was to be floated into space. So, on the show they say "Float You!" instead of "Fuck you" and I love it. It's got the anger, but is still PG enough for TV - and of course your kiddo won't know the background that it means "Well, go die." Float is kinda a fun word to them. Like a balloon.

I also like using "Sinks" and "Heck" as I've done in the past. I've also been know to say "Ahhh Bleep" to self censor. (I'm a total cursing queen but don't say much past "crap" or "sucks" in workplace situations, automatically.)
posted by Crystalinne at 1:35 PM on February 23, 2016

Oh yeah and "What a juice box!"
posted by ReluctantViking at 1:36 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I prefer to avoid words that are obvious stand-ins for very strong expletives. So no 'fudge'. I do use 'shoot', though.

I have trained myself to use 'drat' and 'rats'.
'Drat-blasted' comes in handy on occasion.

Also 'good grief'.
posted by telepanda at 1:42 PM on February 23, 2016

My Dad used to say "Oh, for crying out loud" and "Judas Priest!". My first boss went with "Jeeze Louise!" and "Jimminy Cricket!".
posted by BoscosMom at 1:45 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My ex mostly did not use cuss words (until I corrupted him, sadly). One of his big "swear" words was to call everything he hated a "commie" or a "communist". This is sort of funny when you are swearing at a computer or video game.
posted by Michele in California at 1:48 PM on February 23, 2016

A well-timed, angry "JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL" is pretty satisfying.

My brother-in-law often uses "WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA"
posted by castlebravo at 1:55 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

My daughter used to like the Ramona books, which include a scene in which Ramona is mad at her parents, and threatens to swear at the dinner table. They tell her to go ahead if she must, and she lets loose with the only swear word she knows: GUTS. As cuss words go, it's not entirely unsatisfying.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 1:59 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

From GhostBusters, "Mother Pus Bucket"
posted by BillMcMurdo at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2016

Foreign words are fine if they don't actually mean anything bad. You can pick them just by sound. I recommend 'Schmetterling!' which makes a nice, angry sounding curse word but means 'butterfly'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

In addition to "Guts", there is also "Snap" from some kid's movie. I thought "Oh, snap" was pretty good.
posted by Michele in California at 2:02 PM on February 23, 2016

I successfully brainwashed myself to say "Bother!" and "Good heavens!" which I like to think makes me sound like a character from an Enid Blyton book.

Spongebob Squarepants is the best for not-swears, though, imo: "Barnacles!" "Fishpaste!" "Mother of pearl!"
posted by glitter at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Watch enough Wander over Yonder and you'll start saying "grop" and "flarf". I fully support this.
posted by wanderingmind at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My mother not only uses "Fiddlesticks and little sticklefishes!", she's also fond of "Mercy, Maude, Mathilda, ME!"
posted by ldthomps at 2:38 PM on February 23, 2016

My extended family adopted "pickles" (and variations, e.g. motherpickler) for all such exclamations in front of little ones. Sounded weird when it was proposed but now it works.
posted by trixie119 at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2016

I say "merciful heavens" and "man alive". You can inject some major hissing disgust into "merciful heavens", trust me. And I picked up "man alive" from my friend's INCREDIBLY SURLY FATHER. He used it in place of much of the profanity that he clearly wanted to say, and it was obvious.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sugar instead of shit. Works because you can redirect that initial sound.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:17 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use sci-fi curse words. Farscapes frell (fuck) and dren (shit), Battlestar's Frack, Firefly's ruttin', Hubbard's [bleep] -[it is hard to pronounce the square brackets, but you'll get the hang of it]

Others are also fun, but to skate a little closer to actual obscenities, like Red Dwarf's smeg, short for smegma. But there is something genuinely enjoyable about calling someone a smeg-head.

Alternatively, use the correct term (Again, I like Firefly's ruttin' for this very reason). That guy isn't a dick, he's a penis. it doesn't reek of shit, is stinks of feces, the computer isn't an asshole, it's an anus.

And I don't know why, but for some reason, people who are used to hearing the word "dick" will weirdly get more offended if "penis" is the pejorative.
posted by quin at 3:53 PM on February 23, 2016

I tend to blast and dang and crud a lot - they have the right kind of plosive sound, although I use them for slightly different things - 'blast' for toe-stubby kind of pain and also irritation, 'dang' mostly for surprise and 'crud' for annoyance. Also 'good lord', 'good grief' and 'holy crud'.

I don't have any particular objection to throwing f-bombs around, I just like words as words and so if I'm going to have to tell someone to fuck off and die then I want them to *feel* it.
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 4:43 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Combination of hell and dammit.
posted by hot_monster at 5:02 PM on February 23, 2016

Son of a BEAR!
posted by shiny blue object at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

For full on ranting, random syllables using the "a" sound as in "tack" combined with "-le", "ing", and "er" is satisfyingly suggestive and has a fairly low chance of resulting in accidental actual cursing. eg: GRAF SNACKLE TABERNACKING LACKER RACKLE BANTERNACKLE SACKING MACKERACKER TANKER LACKING HAVERANKLE.

FWIW, I remember being scandalised to hear my mother say a flower was "blooming", because obviously I knew from context that that was a naughty word, so this may be somewhat futile.
posted by lucidium at 5:23 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:30 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mrs. Kabanos and I find it highly satisfying to yell something that starts with "F" and ends with "UCK":

posted by Kabanos at 7:55 PM on February 23, 2016

Oh, I have also been know to mutter "Expletive!" under my breath.
posted by Kabanos at 7:58 PM on February 23, 2016

Okay last comment. To help train yourself off the bad words, the ol' swear jar is still a good idea. Our penalty was only 10 cents, but it still worked. For us it was more about the other parent calling you on it, than actual financial pain.

A side effect of this process is that "TEN CENTS!" has actually become another satisfying swear substitute in our household.
posted by Kabanos at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by erebora at 8:43 PM on February 23, 2016

Seconding "mother pus bucket", which I use myself when at my day job.

I also tried to train myself into using "monkey butt" around my niece and nephew - except they thought that was funny because I said "butt" so it kind of backfired.

When I was little my father would say "Mecka-secka-wrecka", because it kind of sounded like someone muttering curses under their breath.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 PM on February 23, 2016

Shut the FRONT DOOR!
posted by vickyverky at 10:09 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was a seriously, SERIOUSLY profane person before I had a kid and was so sure I was going to fuck up immediately and her first words were going to be swears.

The other day I dropped a full bowl of peas on the floor. I'm 7 months pregnant and immediately what flashed before my eyes was what a pain it was going to be to clean them up. And the word that escaped my mouth was..."GOSH." It's amazing what spending time with a kid has done to my vocabulary.

I also use "Holy cow" and "Holy mackerel" a lot. The other day my daughter threw down a "holy COW, mommy, how did that play-doh get stuck on the car" while I was buckling her into her seat.
posted by town of cats at 10:15 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I use a bunch of silly swears borrowed from SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Mother of Pearl
- Barnacles!
- Tartar Sauce
also "Oh my blob!" though I'm not sure where I picked that one up.
posted by clerestory at 10:34 PM on February 23, 2016

2000AD, the UK SF comic, had a whole range of future curse words to get around the fact it was aimed at children. Judge Dredd uses "Drokk" and "Grud". My favourite is "Snut" which came from another story, and apparently generated quite a lot of complaints from parents that it sounded worse than the words it was meant to replace.
posted by crocomancer at 2:52 AM on February 24, 2016

Response by poster: You folks are a fountain of vulgarian knowledge.

Ah, "criminy", a favorite that I'd forgotten. I also really like the idea of inserting "cuss" into the vulgar portions of long-form expletives.

Also, Adventure Time totally slipped my mind. It is full of kid-safe, but still mentally-satisfying curses. Good call!

Thanks everyone. This is why the internet was born.
posted by JimBJ9 at 5:38 AM on February 24, 2016

Balki from Perfect Strangers used to say "SONOFAMOTHERLESS GOAT!"

I still use that one.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jeep and Chrysler!
Son of a biscuit!
posted by guy72277 at 11:56 PM on February 24, 2016

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