Some Days You Just Want To Swear

small__7441708572Some days you just need to swear.

When I first posted on this topic, Baby Girl was just starting to talk. Now? She’s repeating everything, which means I have to spell everything. And sometimes the Hubs will just say the word I’m trying not to say (like chocolate)…and then I want to swear.

Or she’ll take every toy out the bin, so the bin is clean and my dining room is a mess. And then I really want to swear.

I think I’m gonna need some more help from my posse on this one. What new tricks do you have for swearing that isn’t actual swearing? I think I’m going to have to start getting more creative.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that (periodically) I swear. I think about everyone does, at least when things aren’t going smoothly. Well, OK…everyone but my Aunt Sherry who taught kindergarten for 30+ years.

One thing that’s really helping my current Clean Mouth Campaign is that I’m related to SO many creatively clean potty mouths. I’ve got TONS of funny variety to help me stay on the non-swearing side of the street.

For example, I’ve got my “non-cursing” brother who says things like:

  • “Listen, Fartknocker!” when his fellow drivers upset him. (translation: A-hole)
  • Or “Dude, YOU are just a turtleneck with ears!” (translation: “Dickhead!”)
  • Rude salespeople will earn choice phrases like, “That guy shoulda been a belly shot” or “What a waste of a good swimmer.”
  • Then there’s my very favorite way he describes “white trash”: “Sis, this place was supposed to be a ‘resort’ but it was ‘Whiskey Tango’ Central over there.”

Really, my whole family has the knack:

    • My cousin Carrie, when she’s pissed off at her hubby, yells: “Well God BLESS!” in a super funny-scary voice. Or “Two tears in a bucket…” (Cause “bucket” rhymes with “f*c% it!”) She kills me every time she says it.
    • Another cousin’s way to call you an idiot is to say, “You need Jesus.”
    • Computer dude cousins reference their boneheaded end-users as “having an I D 10 T Error” (pronounced “eye-dee-ten-tee,” which is easily translated on paper.
    • My mother’s most frequent warning, when I was getting close to THE LINE was to say, “Jennifer Jo…” (in that spooky voice all parents seem to master). She’d follow it up with, “You’re tap dancing on my last nerve!!!”
    • And when I was about to cross the point of no return into DEEP doo-doo, she’d say “Are we gonna have a donkey barbecue?” (That would be an “ass chewin’.”)

There’s the ever popular “Shut the front door!” (I don’t have to translate that, right?)

Plus, I grew up in a neighborhood where, if you weren’t black, you were Jewish (I am neither) so I’ve got a creative arsenal of Yiddish words to help me out. “Schmuck” is my all time favorite way to call someone “a stupid tiny peckerhead.” (List of English words of Yiddish origin.)

But I’d say my MOST preferred way to cleanly drop the F-Bomb, adopted by one of my Besties and adored by everyone in my circle, is to say:

“FOCUS, people!” or “You need to focus!!”

 The translation for this can be found here, or you can just scroll down.

A few more clicks.

Down a little more…

Just a liiiiiittle further…..

OK, this should be far enough for y’all to have shooed your youngers and elders away:






What’s the most creative swearing being done in your neck of the woods? Do you have any “clean” delights to share? We’re aiming for words and phrases we can say in front of Grandma without making her keel over. (Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!)


photo credit: mabith via photopin cc

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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61 Responses to Some Days You Just Want To Swear

  1. Laura Drake says:

    You’re killing me. I love, “You need Jesus.” Awesomeness, right there.
    I’m partial to Sunny Beach, said with an inflection so you know I mean son-of-a-bitch.

    I gave up drugs. I gave up drinking. I’m NOT giving up swearing. My fave? Dickhead.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, “You need Jesus” really gets the point across, doesn’t it? I’m a huge fan of “asshole” (with great emphasis on the first syllable), but I can’t use it right now. *le sigh*


  2. “Son of a biscuit” comes to mind.

    My Dad used to say, “I’ll swanee”.


  3. kitdunsmore says:

    I’ve said “shoots and ladders” my whole life. “Holy Crow” is my latest addition.


  4. I worked with a woman who had small kids, and she used to say, “Sugar!” all the time. I never asked what exactly it was supposed to replace, but I can come up with a few ideas. I don’t know if it was A Thing or unique to her, but I’ve never heard anyone else use it.

    The funniest thing in retrospect is that my dad’s worst swear when we were growing up was “son of a bitch.” This was reserved for slamming a hammer into his thumb or other intense bodily pain. For a very long time, I was quite sheltered and figured he just didn’t know how to swear, but now that we’re older, I’ve heard him say a lot worse things. (He was in the army in Viet Nam, so I don’t know what youngster me was thinking.)

    OK, now I’m on a roll. As children, we were not allowed to say “fart.” Instead, we said, “burp your bottom.” As in, “What’s that smell? Did you just burp your bottom?” I have told people our euphemism now that I’m an adult, and they end up in tears from laughing so hard, but to me, it was just how it was!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      “Burp your bottom” is fantastic. We haven’t decided how we feel about fart yet. There’s really no nice way to say it besides, “Did you make a poofter?”


      • We call it a “toot” around here. My granddaughter giggles every time she (or someone else) toots. Then, if she’s the culprit, she blames one of the dogs.


      • Jenny Hansen says:

        Oh, toot is fairly nice. And yes, I don’t know why farts are universally funny, but they ARE. :-)


        • CherDamas says:

          My now demon possessed 17yo daughter brought down our local IHOP when she did a rather loud ‘one cheek sneak’, then looked at us all wide-eyed innocent miss, and stated (loud enough to be heard in flippin CHINA) “mommy, my bottom just said ‘hello!'” –this was around age two. 😜


  5. Having grown up in the South, I’ve had a lifetime to incorporate inventive non-swearing swearing phrases into my vocabulary. Son of a snake in a hole blends two right there. Also Ding-dang it! And when my daughter’s daughter started taking note of what her parents were saying, my daughter began substituting “fuckin’ ” with “flippin’.” Soon all of us were going around muttering things like “That flippin’ son of a snake in a hole.”


  6. MeanJ9 says:

    When my eldest was 8, he hurt his ankle quite badly but didn’t want to cry or yell. He told me he wanted to use the “E-word” but didn’t want to get in trouble. I gave him a “one-time pass” to use it (because after all, I needed to know what this Cardinal Swear Word was). He told me… “It effin’ HURTS!” So, that’s the word we use when we want to drop the F-bomb now.

    BTW, your brother got “turtleneck with ears” from ME in high school. ;-)


  7. I love FOCUS, I shall steal it :) I say frick and frack- which covers a variety of sins, and a friend says Shitake :)


  8. Sharla Rae says:

    My mother didn’t allow cursing but dad ruined it cuz he was a truck driver. No joke-every other word was dirty. My sister and I once got a paper and pen counted them down while he spoke on the phone to one of his drivers. We couldn’t keep up.

    My fav curse is far from original. Instead of shit, I said Fudge. I was always teased and laughed at so I reverted to the original until my kids told me I couldn’t say it in front of their kids. It became: You are in deep doo doo. My husband curses in Chinese. I know them all and frankly they are much worse than shit and yes, our kids start repeating in Chinese! It was ok unless his mother was visiting. She almost turned white. She’d been after us to teach them Chinese, but . . .

    I seldom resort to the F bomb but when I do, you better run like a M F because you are in very deep doo doo.


  9. tomwisk says:

    Reblogged this on tomwisk and commented:
    I’ve been trying to stop swearing or at least slow it. The lady is offering a service here.


  10. tomwisk says:

    Reblogged, had to. LMAO. Jennifer Jo, interesting.


  11. LOL Timely! I rarely ever cuss out loud, and read a few on the radio the other day — felt strange! Shut up was the s-word in my house growing up, and once I realized that I’d never sworn out loud, I challenged myself not to. I saved them all up for a choice occasion during high school. I may have to share that story soon. Hmm… Swearing has been on my mental blog-about-it list. Thanks for the nudge!


  12. No swearing? Well where’s the fun in that? I never used to swear, no one in my family swore. It was taboo and we’d get in a lot of trouble if we used “those bad words.” Now, holy crap on a shit pile, I swear all the time. I do have to censure myself though because I work in a professional office and it is heavily frowned upon. In fact, my next blog post is about this exact thing, sort of.

    I use friggin and freakin a lot. I’ve also used one of my dad’s favs, “What the Sam Hill?” I think if you put Holy in front of anything it gets the point across. You can also use Holy Mother of Jesus, but that would be considered taking the Lord’s name in vain as well and I don’t recommend this one if you’re in church.

    My husband says boogers and sugar a lot, because he fancies himself a non-swearer (yeah right). I like to use “for the love of _________” and then you fill in the blank.

    And then my personal favorite – criminy. Or for added emphasis – criminy sakes. And the real don’t mess with me version – criminy sakes allive.

    Hope those help.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  13. Ha, ha, ha, well your family is really creative. You sure your mother wasn’t a writer? As you know, I’m not a big fan of certain swear words. I was raised in a household in which I got in trouble for using the word fart out loud. What? Yeah, I know. It was a bit overboard. Here’s the thing. There’s something about hearing a swear word coming out of your child’s mouth. It just doesn’t quite sound right. But wait until they grow up and you think it’s safe to swear in front of them. Mine jumped all over my case cause ‘you know mom, it’s not right to swear’. Oh, and they loved that one way too much. You cannot win. Our lives change in so many ways after we give birth. And this is one of them. It doesn’t seem to be worth it. Thus, I try not to swear. Try, is the operative word. Although flippin’ seems to be a good substitute. I have tremendous faith you in girlfriend. I know you can do this. And that sweet baby girl is too adorable to have something like a swear word come out of her mouth. lol. :)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Karen, my mama could go stand in line for the restroom for 5 minutes and come back and tell you a 15 minute story. She had the soul of a writer to be sure. :-)

      My daughter has taken to saying “Shoot” which neither one of us say. Now I’m wondering if there’s a “shoot”-swearing teacher at school somewhere.


  14. Diana Beebe says:

    Your brother has some really great ones!

    Be careful with the spelling–you will be surprised how fast Baby Girl will understand what you’re spelling (especially chocolate). LOL. We had to use creative spelling and synonyms when ours were little.

    I learned, “Shoot a monkey,” from a 7th grade teacher. She used it often in class. I’m pretty sure it started out as a way to cover up what she really wanted to say.


  15. You could borrow a classic from Homer’s book: flerkin shnit! It’s what he says when Lisa encrusts his car with crustaceans on their summer vacay.
    Beyond that, I have very little to offer, because I swear, and proudly. Not very creatively, but proudly nonetheless.
    You could try other languages.
    French swears are all about the church, e.g.Tabernac = church. All the French up here swear in English because they’re mostly devout Catholics and to swear in French is blasphemy. Finnish is fun: baska nama = poop face.
    And that’s tapped out my non-English profanity.
    You could always check out the Profanisaurus:


  16. John Holton says:

    Most creative way I’ve ever heard someone call someone else an a-hole was by saying “You are a void surrounded by a sphincter.”


  17. I used to work with a woman who would say, “Oh, bunny balls” when things went wrong. And then there are the old standbys, learned from my supervisor when I worked at a home for developmentally challenged kids (who of course repeated everything you did NOT want then to say, usually during a state inspection). S**T was replaced with “sugar” and F**K with “fudge.” Some days we had a very “sweet” office!


  18. I read this last evening, Jenny Jo!. You and I are going to have a Come to Jesus meeting over posting a topic about which I had no original ideas to contribute.

    You already know I use dagnabbit(!). My grandson once told me I wasn’t supposed to use bad words around him when I said it. Go figure.

    I commented above on toot as an alternative to fart.

    FOCUS has been in my tool kit since you first introduced me to it.

    At work, we used FIF when an executive made an insane ill-advised decree and declared it a priority. His FIFdom, his rules. Think “plants in all offices will be inspected daily for proper hydration” at a time when we had a new system rolling out. Scene set? Good. That’s when we’d let the FIF kick in. The ever-popular F**k-it Factor. We watered those plants.

    With cold coffee.

    I once worked with a chick from Tennessee who cussed with the best of them, but when she excused herself to use the restroom she’d say “I have to shake the dew off my lily.”. Yeah, right. With the copious amounts of beer she drank, I’m certain she needed to piss like a racehorse.

    FWIW, I loved “You need Jesus.”


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Cold coffee in the plants is fabulous, Gloria!! Who the hell worries about the proper hydration of the plants? Oy.

      And I’m really wondering whether that chick from Tennessee was perhaps transgender. Because it’s very difficult to do the shake of the girlie parts while peeing without making an unholy amount of mess. I think we should get Natalie, the peeing expert, to advise us on that one.


  19. Because food is always on my mind I usually replace swears with food items. I’ve been saying “Shitake” a lot lately. Or I just swear in Spanish so nobody understands what I’m saying! :) Great list!


  20. I like ‘cheese and rice!’


  21. FOCUS=acronym genius.

    My husband and I have a public “F-Off” hand signal. It’s for when the other is telling a story that’s too personal or teasing the other too much. Every couple who wants to stay married should have this.


  22. Julie Glover says:

    Yeah, I believe in making up your own creative venting words. My usual is “good gravy” — which clearly has no punch at all, but it works for me. I’ve also adopted the Southern “Bless her heart…” way of saying someone is, well, less than appealing in their behavior.

    Of course, you could always curse like Shakespeare: “Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee!” It’s classy, yet effective. :)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I do love “good gravy.” You’ve got lots of wiggle room for cool pronunciation with that one. :-)

      So, when you’re blessing someone’s heart in the South, you’re really saying they suck?


      • Julie Glover says:

        “Bless her heart,” she’s as dumb as a post.
        “Bless her heart,” she’s had more boyfriends than a hot summer has mosquitoes.
        “Bless his heart,” he threw away his family’s money on that stupid business idea.
        It’s not always used that way, but “bless __ heart” can be a courteous way of insulting someone. It’s rather useful, as it makes you look completely sweet and sympathetic, while lambasting the person as needed.

        (Oh great, now I’m going to go pray for my soul, because that sounds so bad. Bless my heart! I need Jesus.)


  23. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    Totally awesome! Your family has come up with some great ones. Since we don’t have kids both of us let fly with the curse words like truck drivers at times.

    This reminds me of the movie Johnny Dangerously. So many great fake curse words in it.

    You farging, corksocking, somanumbatchin’ ice-hole!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I have to watch Johnny Dangerously! Obviously I’ve been missing a real ear-treat. :-)

      I must admit, I love to curse…and it gets worse when I’m irritated. That being said, I really don’t like to curse in front of the very old or the very young.


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  25. OMG, I can totally hear your brother saying all of those. Here’s the deal. You just need to stop cursing until she’s 12. That’s what I did. Believe it or not.


  26. Oh, my. I think I peed a little laughing. Where do I begin….

    My go-to word is sh!t. I use it far too often. When my little dude started picking up my vernacular, I switched to “Shinola.” As in “you don’t know sh!t from Shinola.” It’s funny when he says it at home. But I’ll be hanging my head in shame when I get the call from school.


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  28. I’ve totally used “Two tears in a bucket.” I’ve also said “crap on a cracker” and ID10T was not uncommon among my work crew (until a customer caught on to a Tech saying it and called him out). Usually, unless I’m at work and customer facing, I prefer my sailor self.


  29. Renee Benson says:

    I really like FOCUS, but it makes you wonder when teachers say it, what do they really mean?? haha,
    Currently, I am living in a small, southern town so we get much of the “bless your heart” and “you need Jesus” colloquialisms. Others that I have found hilarious, but are still probably not suitable words to use in front of the children, are “turtle-twat” and “pecker-weasel”


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