Today at the Nonist proper, I posted a piece on being an atheist in a world of Religious profanity, with special consideration for so-called minced oaths. I was hoping, with your help, to compile a running list of exclamations which eschew the usual “God!” “Christ!” “Holy whatever!” conventions that come so naturally. I’m interested in those oaths actually in-use, those inherited and particular to family or friends, as well as invented non-sequiturs coined for nothing more than comic effect.  What say ye? Leave your contribution in comments, and if you can’t think of any… feel free to smash your thumb with a hammer… and then invent one!

Dated: 06.18  Comments: 36   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

“Christopher Cross!”

Usage: Christopher Cross this iced tea is delicious!

(might be bending the rules a bit as it includes both “Christ” and “Cross” but I have a soft- spot for the random forgotten-celebrity name-drop.)

Posted on 06.18 at 12:43 PM by jmorrison

“Great Glistening Bimbo-Lips!”

Usage: Great Glistening Bimbo-Lips that baby is ugly!

Posted on 06.18 at 12:45 PM by jmorrison


You can draw it out a bit… like “Aye”... maybe give it a German accent.

Posted on 06.18 at 01:37 PM by winjer

I use “gawd” and “dammit’ in written communications. A subtle difference for sure, and doesn’t work verbally. But somehow these feel less threatening to the religiously sensitive.

Posted on 06.18 at 01:41 PM by Lee

I’ve been quite fond, in certain circumstances, of using the names of revered scientific and/or atheist persons as exclamations.  For instance:

“Charles Darwin, that hurt!”
“What in the name of Richard Dawkins are you doing?!”

Of course, these work best in the context of others so secularly inclined, particularly in a joking manner.

There are also several popular terms that have little direct religious significance.

“son of a bitch”
“Fuck”/“what the fuck”

Posted on 06.18 at 02:20 PM by .

I just heard yesterday that BLOODY(!) comes from “by our lady.”

Posted on 06.18 at 02:43 PM by .

My Russian girlfriend taught me (by example) what to say when you stub your toe or experience some otherwise painful and frustrating moment. “yopt viomat” (that’s phonetic) which translates to f**k your mother.

Posted on 06.18 at 05:20 PM by al

We should probably pay homage to the movie industry too, which in order to get a TV friendly rating, began to overdub “fucking” with “freaking”. These are known as “clirties”. They’re not really dirty, and not really clean. But they are clirty.

Shoot, I forgot the other clirty I was thinking about. ;)

Posted on 06.18 at 05:26 PM by al

Good one Morrison.

1. “jesus, mary & joseph” is one that comes to mind. An old family favorite.
2. “jesus f***ing harold christ.” First heard this one in Natural Born Killers movie (I think). Tommy Lee Jones’ character in the jail riot scene if memory serves.
3. “go to hell” sometimes combined with “do not pass go.” Not sure on this one. (“you’re going to hell for that” or “does this mean I’m going to hell?” is a cute variation.)
4. “holy s**t.” A solid classic.
5. “holy f**k.” Maybe the ultimate minced oath.
6. “Oh my heck.” Not sure about the origins of this one. Got it from inlaws.
7. “god damn, god damn.” Heard this one in Pulp Fiction. Think it was Uma Thurman’s character snorting heroin with John Travolta’s .
8. “clutch” A buddy and I made this one up. Fun times.


“See you all in hell.” Ha!


Posted on 06.18 at 07:13 PM by .

On clirties: the best one I’ve ever heard was when one character shouted angrily at another to “Get the fudge out of here!”

What I want to know is, is there a term for the endearing Irish habit of neutering bad words by changing a vowel?  For example, feck or shite.

Posted on 06.18 at 10:18 PM by .


For you film buffs.

Usage: (While jogging you swerve to avoid a pile of dog shit, and in so doing step in a pile of human shit, and exclaim) Rosebud!!

Posted on 06.18 at 10:41 PM by jmorrison

There’s the expression that comes from Spongebob: “Tartar Sauce!”  Little religious connotation there, other than by having originated from St. Squarepants.

Posted on 06.18 at 11:57 PM by Justin

I have always liked Feck! from the TV show Father Ted (Irish show about priests, so religion comes into it again). I also like saying Shint! as usually it takes a moment for people to notice what you have not said, and it has a smoother mouthfeel than plain ol’ shit.
One I borrowed from a family of Lebanese farmers I worked for was Eddy-feek! (my own hooked-on-phonics spelling since I have never seen it written) but I understood from them it’s a rather nasty thing to say, so I try to be careful when using it. You never know who might understand Lebanese and take offense, especially when I am not really so sure what it means.
They also taught me to say EDBTZ (pronounved like Edie Beteezee) which sounds awesome, but supposedly means “I have my hand up my ass”. At least that’s non-threatening.

Posted on 06.19 at 01:12 AM by Jeremy

Sweet harmonious biscuits!

Posted on 06.19 at 02:41 PM by Sean

A favourite of mine is from back in junior high. I had a freshly immigrated friend (not using the typical “FOB “cuss here. Which is interesting, as I just learned that “wop” actually originated as “without papers”) who always confused swears. The best he ever exclaimed was “What the shit?” giggling demonically in the back of the class while hearing someone with reading troubles read aloud to the class. Oh gosh, that was fun times.

On another note: The homophobic “fag” supposedly comes from the practice of burning homosexuals under witches as kindling. And a “picnic” was a sunday ritual of going to town to “pick a nigger” as a slave for the plantation. Cheers!

Posted on 06.19 at 03:47 PM by .

for the love of pete!

ai-ya! (predominantly Chinese)

for feck’s sake!

oh my land’s!


Posted on 06.19 at 10:46 PM by .

My favorite clirty, stolen from a particularly egregious reworking of Repo Man:

“Flip you, melon farmer!”.

Posted on 06.20 at 12:25 AM by Grant

How could I have forgotten Johnny Dangerously? “Fargin icehole”, “bastage”, “cork-soakers” (great SNL sketch on this one, too)...

Posted on 06.20 at 12:51 AM by Lee

I use “good god” somewhat frequently.  It’s a recent development, and I’m not sure why.

Usage: reaction to something astounding or awful or painful.  Tonight my roommate showed me her broken-off-in-the-ignition car key, my response was “good god!”

Friends are known for saying “holy cow”, “holy moly”

Posted on 06.20 at 02:01 AM by kristen

fuck me running…
Fer christs sake fucker
sum bitch

Posted on 06.20 at 06:34 AM by achilles3

When my grandpops was alive, he took to babbling off these strings of muddied swears in his later years, as he had him a slap of the Alzheimer’s.  All that was left in his brain were these cliches.  And when things started to get really vague, he’d kind of sew them together.

My favorite was one he said when he dropped his plate after dinner.  “Well, Mary Charisma and Carpenter!”  A jab at Jesus and defamation of a virtue.  Albeit not really a Christian virtue, more of a D&D virtue.  I thought that worked out pretty magically for him.

Posted on 06.20 at 10:39 AM by _why

“sweet heavenly hash!” is a recent favorite.

some classics from the other pole:
“hot damn!” and “hot diggity-dog!”, particularly as when belted out by Chis Burke.

Posted on 06.20 at 12:47 PM by güerfante

“Monkey Fucker”

“Slap a baby”
- Usage: She made me so mad I wanted to slap a baby.

“May you truly appreciate the meaninglessness of your existence.”
- For the offended nihilist

Posted on 06.21 at 11:34 AM by .


Posted on 06.22 at 02:17 PM by .

Sweet Victor Hugo !

Posted on 06.22 at 03:21 PM by .

You could always co-opt the stoical Japanese “shimata!”

I believe it translates, loosely, as “I have erred”.

Posted on 06.24 at 08:46 AM by .

Godfrey Daniel

Posted on 06.24 at 09:22 AM by .

I know exactly what you mean, j.m.—many times when I catch myself cursing someone or something to hell, I do a sort of double take and chuckle at the pointlessness of it. I also enjoyed remembering a Robot Chicken sketch spoofing Battle Star Galactica, while reading the article.

When I’m quick enough to find the right exclamation, I often go for things that are godawful (*cough*):
- diseases (cancer, in dutch, is pronounced much like “canker”, which is great to forcefully blurt out)
- things that look, smell, or taste horrible or are just plain gross (or so one would imagine) (“shit-stained-cum-dumping-..” etc)
- and sometimes I just revert to a sort of caveman-esque growling

Posted on 06.25 at 11:14 AM by Tab

Allegedly, the reason W.R. Hearst wanted to burn every copy of Citizen Kane was because of Rosebud. According to this version of events, popularized by Gore Vidal, screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz was in a bar and heard some drunken gossip, which he immediately entered into his notebook. The gossip was that Rosebud was Hearst’s name for his mistress Marion Davies’ clitoris.

(I think I stole that one from my daughter).

Posted on 06.27 at 07:09 PM by .

“Jesus Monkey Christ” - my wife

adapted to “Jesus Monkey Fucking Christ” by me

via Butters of South Park

“Aw, hamburgers!” and “Double hamburgers!”

Posted on 06.29 at 12:54 PM by Jay

I just wanted to mention that “bloody” is “By Our Lord”, in English slang.

Same origin as the place “Ludsgate”, “Lord’s Gate”.

Posted on 06.29 at 02:37 PM by .

My mother is the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. “Curse” words in our house were:

{re Ish: at one time I thought this curse word, used also as an expression of disgust, was peculiar to my family. I’ve since run into many Norwegian-Americans who use Ish in exactly the same way.}

Poop—or, Poopity (in moments of elegant ire) ergo, ‘Poopity, poopity, all is poopity.’

nei nei nei!—no no no! in Norsk

dotdarnit - only my grandfather said this, and only ONLY ONCE that anyway can recall, because it was clearly a version of “God damn it,” and we just didn’t say that.

( young mother, grandmother, and uncles were amazed and shocked to hear this from my grandfather, a good Lutheran man, a Sons of Norway stalwart. The occasion? = In order to make housework easier for my grandmother he decided to use the clothes wringer to shell peas, sticking the pods in and cranking away. Peas and slime everywhere. Dotdarnit.)

p.s. life without _the nonist_ (et annex) would be a sorry thing. Thank You for doing what you do. And, it is all so beautiful…

Posted on 07.02 at 02:38 AM by .

Here is intresting people… Lets talk!

Posted on 07.03 at 03:27 AM by Makarios

“Jesus Mary and Joseph!”
or, alternatively:
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on a Stick!”
or sometimes even:
“Jesus CHRIST on a stick”
are blasphemies that are often used in my family as expletives. The relative length of these blasphemies allows them to be used for comical effect, as well as those moments when you just need to string as much violents into a sentence as possible

Posted on 07.23 at 09:50 AM by Ashley

And by violents, I clearly mean violence. I’ve been in the netherlands for a month and I’ve already forgotten to spell in English!

Posted on 07.23 at 10:02 AM by Ashley

I’ve wrestled with this for a while,till I realised that I was living in a christian society, and have been influenced all my life, by family peers and art. so stop holding back on the “Blasphemy” because, ultimately, it isn’t.

with that in mind.. I’ve found it useful to personalise things that go wrong, so “FUCK BASTARD” is what I might call a screw that WILL NOT stay put long enough to get the screwdriver to turn it.

and “you hateful cunt of a rebellious bastard” was something that popped out yesterday will little thought.

I did devise some years ago, quite by accident, the replacement for “oh for fuck sake” in the form of
“4, 5, 6” which in itself is derived from the need to “count to ten” sometimes, good around kids I find! :)

personalisation works for the atheistic swearer in that it removes the existence of “god” and all the lies it stands for, by making the oaths more about the reality of the world, it is also more inventive, once you adjust your mind to think for itself (which is part of the atheists approach to life already) and free yourself from any notion that religious oaths need to be called upon.
Exclaiming, for example “Baggy balls of broken bastards” or “fake flying fur fuckers” is at least inventive if not down right funny, and isn’t that what a good swear or more correctly OATH is all about? correcting the misfortune that has befallen one, by calling a protector, or making a proclamation that revenge will be returned. If the oath,once spoken, can make you smile at the misfortune, then it will have served a purpose, which is to put you in a better mood :)

“If I lay eyes on the slip shod bumble fucker who..{fill in the blanks}.. I’ll cut his throat with a thousand blunt bloody spades”

in the above example, I like to use the surreal approach, ie “I’ll drown you in a sea of shit” or “if the computer crashes again I’ll make it dance to the tune of a bleeding fist”

Then there is my favourite, along with personalising, the simple inclusion of “FACE” (or indeed “HEAD”) to any oath or outburst can have dramatic results. ie.

“he had a face like a raped sheep” {a personal fave!}

“what do you want fuck/bastard face?”
“you long faced overbearing cunt!”
and the simple
“you cabbage headed grocer”

once you mix all these, it gets to be fun.

I also find just the addition of a simple swear word to a grammatically accurate phrase is all thats needed “you pedantic fucker” or “you fat bastatard” or “you slippery shit” will suffice.

a few to add to the list.

“slippy tit”
“minger” “manking” and “ming” usually associated with something or someone rotten.

So we get to mixing these, I like, on occasion to give out an extended swearing paragraph, such as from the examples given “you slippy tited, all consuming wafer thin, hatchet headed, monkey fucking son of a raped pineapple eating fuck dog. take your drip dried, virus addled, email requests and stick them with the full force of a rapists fart, up the dark and dreary passage to fucking paradise, you so readily occupy.”

there is, IMO, no need to mince words :D

The thing that irritates me about “american” language is stuff like substituting ANYTHING remotely offensive, until its accepted as “normal” I will be forever irritated by reading “TIDBIT” when the correct spelling is in fact “TIT-BIT” but some over regulating self appointed language monkey, with neither a trust of the people they were trying to “protect” nor a respect for the origin of the word, decided it had to be changed for fear it cause offence to the few self horrified, dim witted, non thinking morons, who chose to read into words all manner of sexual lusts and pornography, that isn NOT there, unless you are sick enough, or sexually repressed enough to constantly be looking out for the remotest possibility of sexual gratification.

Orwell was so sadly right.

I’ll give this some thought, and may return :)

Posted on 08.31 at 11:57 AM by .

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