Discussion: [VG, expr.] Euphemisms / les Euphémismes -- "Swearing politely" in English and French

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  • Oberlin37

    Member
    English, USA
    Geve, I'm so thrilled to tell you about "stick a fork in me I'm done" because I use it a lot. This phrase is most often used after someone has consumed a lot of food. You have to be really full and finished eating. I'm not positive about the origin, but it has to do with poking meat to test whether it's finished cooking or not. If the meat is tender then the fork goes in easily and it's done cooking. It's not a vulgar expression exactly, but it's certainly NOT refined because it's improper grammar to use the word "done" when referring to a human action. Proper grammar would be "finished". I also use "stick a fork in my I'm done" when I'm exhausted and going to bed and when I'm playing poker and I decide to leave the game before losing all of my money. I hope that's helpful. I'm worried I got over zealous in my explanation.
     

    Oberlin37

    Member
    English, USA
    Geve "bite me" totally exists! This is said to someone else after they've insulted you. For example:

    Kristen: Tanya that skirt makes you look really fat.
    Tanya: Bite me, Kristen!

    This is mostly used among younger people lycée - university. It's seen as an immature retort, and also not appropriate for circles other than your peers.
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    I really don't mind over zealous answers, Oberlin. On the contrary! :)
    So then, I was not that off topic, Your Majesty, in this Easter context... :rolleyes:

    On this "bite me" business, it seems that I must have met some immature AE speakers at some point then!
     
    geve I really don't mind over zealous answers, Oberlin. On the contrary! :)
    So then, I was not that off topic, Your Majesty, in this Easter context... :rolleyes:
    On this "bite me" business, it seems that I must have met some immature AE speakers at some point then!

    Well Geve, I've never heard ''bite me'' used in the UK, except in sexual passion. I don't wait for the invitation, I just bite. Grrrrrr!!

    As for ''stick a fork in me, I'm done'' - no you weren't truly off topic but you must agree it has nothing to do with swearing politely nor with expressions of annoyance or disbelief. ;)


    LRV
     

    jpwalsh

    Member
    USA, English
    To my American ear:
    "gosh, darn, dang, darn it, dang it, shoot, shucks, gosh dang, goll darn, and gosh darn" are all fine to say in front of one’s grandmother.


     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    la reine victoria said:
    As for ''stick a fork in me, I'm done'' - no you weren't truly off topic but you must agree it has nothing to do with swearing politely nor with expressions of annoyance or disbelief. ;)
    I know, I know... I was just trying to justify my off-topic question :rolleyes: :eek:

    It seems that "bite me" doesn't really qualify either as an expression of annoyance or disbelief, if I understand it right.
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    An older, very proper, co-worker used to say "Well, bless my socks and garters!" when she was annoyed. She is no longer with us, but some of us continue to use the phrase in her memory.

    Also, my brother was once sent to the principal's office for saying "Raggafraggit." We got that made-up word from our father. After the principal stopped laughing, my brother was sent back to class.

    I guess my point is that a nonsense word or phrase can be used to express annoyance or disbelief without offending anyone's grandmother... or priest... in any language. :) And it might defuse the frustrating situation when everyone within earshot starts to giggle. :D
     

    Annen_Berg

    Member
    English, USA
    I don't know if anyone has brought this up yet, but one of the most common has to be "Jeez". As in "Ah jeez! You mean I have to do math homework on my birthday?!"

    Another "Jesus" substitute, but it's fairly ubiquitous in the US.
     

    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    MODERATOR NOTE: Multiple threads merged to add to this themed list on Euphemisms

    What would be the "polite" word used instead of "shit!"?

    Like, you tell your children not to use "merde!", which can be replaced by "Punaise!", or "Mercredi!", or even "Mince!"

    How would you say that in English? (question from my 10 year-old son)
     
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    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I've mostly used 'sugar', sometimes 'shoot'. (I have a very clean mouth!) 'Damn' and 'hell' are not really euphemisms and are quite shocking in some circles (more so in the US than in the UK). They have their own euphemistic forms, 'darn' and 'heck'. Instead of the f-word, people say 'frig' or 'flip' (and 'frigging' and 'flipping').
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    Aupick said:
    I've mostly used 'sugar', sometimes 'shoot'. (I have a very clean mouth!) 'Damn' and 'hell' are not really euphemisms and are quite shocking in some circles (more so in the US than in the UK). They have their own euphemistic forms, 'darn' and 'heck'. Instead of the f-word, people say 'frig' or 'flip' (and 'frigging' and 'flipping').
    I agree completely with Aupick. In the US, a 10 year-old really shouldn't (wouldn't, I hope:)) say damn or hell in front of adults. I'm not sure they would say "sugar", maybe "shoot", though. I think adults would be more likely to say "sugar" in front of kids, but the other way around...je ne sais pas.
     

    jellybean

    Member
    American English
    There is "crap" but it's somewhere between "shoot" and "shit". When I was younger I used around my friends, but not in front of adults. It's sort of on the same level as "that sucks" - offensive to the older generation.
     
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    westcoaster

    Member
    English - USA
    Hi, everyone!

    Nowadays, I wouldn't sell some ten-year-olds short when it comes to swearing. Thanks to easy access to media, I've heard them say things that even most adults wouldn't dare to say.

    As to "Punaise!", I believe the average ten-year-olds or the
    below-ten-year-old group would likely say something like,
    "Holy cow/smoke/mackerel!", "Geez!", "Blimey!" (UK use only), etc. In my opinion, they all might sound some sort of cussing to those
    holy-than-thou and sanctimonous people; the degree of vulgarity here should really be considered as a "tolerance level". For crying loud, even the most outstanding role models/icons would throw in a cuss word or two here and there. Where is the harm in that? By the way, we aren't talking about "going overboard" in a very real sense. :)

    Cheers.
     

    tamsin

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Hmm, I heard 'country music' the other day as a euphemism for that most offensive of english words (although they said it all the time in middle english - check out Chaucer in the Miller's Tale: 'and prively he caught her by the queynte').

    For 'bloody hell' people sometimes say 'blimmin 'eck'. Very British though. :)
     

    westcoaster

    Member
    English - USA
    tamsin said:
    Hmm, I heard 'country music' the other day as a euphemism for that most offensive of english words (although they said it all the time in middle english - check out Chaucer in the Miller's Tale: 'and prively he caught her by the queynte').

    For 'bloody hell' people sometimes say 'blimmin 'eck'. Very British though. :)

    Hi, Tamsin,

    I understand you British have lots of classy, not-so-offensive cuss words/expressions, i.e. "Blow it/him, etc." "Blast it/her, etc." "Give me that bleeding book!" "Who is that flaming idiot?", etc. are some of which have crossed my mind so far. There are still plenty more in your own vocabulary, I am sure? :D

    I have to hand this to you guys. With all these oh-so-inoncuous words/phrases, people in the UK can in general swear as much as they want without ever raising any eyebrows at all. Good for you! :)
     

    Malou

    Senior Member
    ENGLAND/ENGLISH
    gordon bennet - failing that -sugar plum fairies!
    dumbing it down en francais- puree, punaise, faim des loups [my favorite]

    a recent one i heard as a total euphemism 'i'm totally focaccia-ed'
     

    texasweed

    Banned
    French-born/US English
    Pieanne : my computer crashed on this one yesterday (not kidding) as I was responding a few seconds after you posted...

    Same as Agnès : oh shoot ! But also :
    Darn
    Dang

    Are the most used in AE, where "damn" is said more than shit.
    Alternative cuss words are strangely shortened to make them more polite, i.e : friggin', freakin' ... whereas in French they're lengthened to produce the same effect.
     
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    Emmski

    Senior Member
    English and Australia
    We antipodeans do indeed say 'crickey', though I didn't know it had spread further North! Brace yourselves for other Australianisms like -

    - streuth! (same as crickey)
    - bonza! (fantastic)
    -don't get your knickers in a knot (dont get too anxious/stressed)
    -chill out (relax/dont get too stressed)
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    I only knew: "to get your knickers in a twist"
    By the way, how would you use: "knickers". Is it still commonly used anyway. And is it polite enough?
     

    Emmski

    Senior Member
    English and Australia
    it is still commonly used and though it is not at all 'rude' (rather, it is a funny way to reproch someone), it is familar and is probably not something you would say to a complete stranger. It really depends on the context though. For example I could say it to my mum or grandmother, but perhaps there are other parents/grandparents who would consider it too familiar. Compared to some other cultures, Australians are generally rather 'laid back', c'est à dire 'détendu', so it is difficult to say what is appropriate in other countries.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    I was just about to say Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs! but Petereid beat me to it. I think that is a North Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire/possibly Lancashire expression?

    I think I have also heard Well I'll go to the top of our stairs! but, again, that's quite regional.

    Have we had "Well, I'll be...! (as opposed to Well I'll be f***ed)?
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi cheshirecat. You surprise me. I did not think bugger was used in AE. It is used A LOT in the Midlands and Northern England. I don't know about southern England - I think it is less used down there.
     
    emma42 said:
    I was just about to say Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs! but Petereid beat me to it. I think that is a North Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire/possibly Lancashire expression?

    I think I have also heard Well I'll go to the top of our stairs! but, again, that's quite regional.

    Have we had "Well, I'll be...! (as opposed to Well I'll be f***ed)?

    Well known and used in London and the south Emma. :)

    Do you mean, "Well, I'll be b*****ed!? We also say, "Well, I'll be blowed." Or, "Blow me" from which comes, I think, "Blimey!" Have we had "Blimey O'Reilley!"?



    LRV
     

    cheshirechat

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Bugger and bloody, both of which I tend to think of as from the other side of the ocean, are very popular in the American South (at least where I am). Unfortunately, I believe it started with a darling bleach blond vampire on a show very popular here.
     

    sophinette

    Member
    french, france
    paulvial said:
    nom de dieu !
    bien que certains puissent être offensés quand on invoque le nom du tout puissant en vain !!!
    Sorry I'm coming in late into this thread, but I'd like to go back to post 6 and 8 mentionning "nom de dieu" and " bon dieu". I don't see myself as particularly old-fashioned or offended by religious-linked terms, but "nom de dieu" as well as "bon dieu" do sound aggressive and rude to me ! Even if they're quite commonly used... I didn't like it when somebody said it a few days ago in front of my 6 year old son, whereas I probably wouldn't have minded "crotte de bique" or even "merde" ! But that's the way I feel...:)
     
    DearPrudence said:
    I only knew: "to get your knickers in a twist"
    By the way, how would you use: "knickers". Is it still commonly used anyway. And is it polite enough?

    Hi Dear DP,

    You can happily say, "Oh, knickers!" if something annoys you. It is so mild you could say it in front of a vicar. In fact, a vicar friend of mine once said "Oh, knickers!" to me! :D


    LRV
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I'll go to the foot of our stairs would generally be used, nowadays, in a sort of ironic way. If I want to be funny, I will say "Eeh, I'll go to the foot of our stairs" in a broad Yorkshire accent. But, then, I am a bit strange...
     

    calembourde

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Bugger is quite popular in New Zealand (and probably Australia), either as the cause or the result of a TV advert for Toyota Hilux which used the word a lot... I'm not sure if we're allowed to link to advertising so I'll let you search for it. It was on TV for quite a while and was quite popular (there were even T-shirts saying 'bugger' on them) but going by the internet, it seems it eventually got banned. So maybe bugger is not something you should say to your great grandmother.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't know anyone who would be offended by bugger. I would say it has almost completely lost its original meaning. I would happily say it to my great grandmother, except I haven't got one.

    I always think that NZ and Oz English borrow quite a lot from BE - more so than does AE. Do our Antipodean friends disagree?
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Although 'bugger' is now considered to be mild, I do know of people in the UK (admittedly holier-than-thou creatures) who would find it too offensive for their prudish ears. Err on the side of caution and use it circumspectly if you're not totally familiar with your environment.
     

    aidenfire

    New Member
    English; the United States
    I say "jeez oh petes" a lot, but I don't know how widespread that is.

    "Jeez oh pete, that's terrible!"

    "Jeez oh pete, I can't believe it's 11:00 already!"

    Also, "sucks" is very widespread in the US. Not really grandmother-appropriate, but not majorly offensive.

    "You failed your math test? Man, that really sucks!"

    "Working on Friday night sucks!"

    My history teacher says "Joseph, Murphy, Maude!", but again, I don't think it's very widespread. ("Joseph Murphy Maude, what am I going to DO with you people?)

    Also, "For the love of Pete!" ("For the love of Pete! My TV still doesn't work!")

    I don't know if anyone has mentioned "heck" yet, as a substitute for hell ("What the heck? I know I put my keys here...)



    You'd be safe with gosh, darn, or heck pretty much anywhere in the states. You can also say fricking, but that might be pushing it, in very conservative circles.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, we have For Pete's sake in BE. Also, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph", but I have heard that being said by Irish people in the main. Religious Christians might find the latter offensive. Also, the Pete thing may well refer to St Peter.
     

    paradox17

    New Member
    English, America
    Are these expressions British or Australian? Because I've heard next to none of them in America.
    Please forgive me if I'm sending the wrong information or being a bother, because I'm new. XD

    "Oh, my gosh!" or "Oh, my God!" are both relatively 'polite' expressions of annoyance or disbelieve as well as exclamation, depending on intonation.

    "That sucks." is a common way to say something is bad: 'that is terrible' and such. It can often be used in a sarcastic manner.

    I would NOT suggest using "damn" in polite company, as it is considered a swear word by basically everyone. "Dang" is a more appropriate version, and can be used by itself: "Dang!!" or "Dang it!" or as an adjective: "That dang dog won't shut up."

    "Shut up!" is a bit harsh and rude, but is not considered cussing. It means "stop talking" or "be quiet."

    "What the heck?" I've been told has no French equivalent, but it basically expresses confusion or disbelief. It also works as "what the hell?" or "what the f***?" but neither of the last two are polite at all!

    "Crap!" is a negative exclamation that can be used in most company. Be a bit careful with it though, as older or more conservative people may consider it to be swearing.

    I can't think of anymore at the moment.
     

    Gardefeu

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    "Jesus, Mary and Joseph", but I have heard that being said by Irish people in the main.
    We have exactly the same here in Brittany "Jésus, Marie, Joseph (sometimes they add: et tous les Saints!") It's quite well-known everywhere in France...
     
    Just coming to my mind: have we said 'gosh'? Is it still used? Doesn't it sound a bit too old-fashioned?
    I had a colleague who used to say 'golly gosh' but it is really very old fashioned.

    I wouldn't say bloody in front of my mum - although my grandma used to use it.

    A lot of the swear words now considered mild are actually blasphemous so would upset the priest/vicar I suppose

    Hell, damn, damnation, christ, jesus, jesus christ

    Have we had bother, that's a good one? and blow me and blast and by Jove
    and peuchere (if thats how you spell it)

    Personally I like all those slightly silly and old-fashioned ones, but I dislike the obvious substitutes for a ruder word, like sugar and je m'en fiche, I prefer the 'offensive' version
     
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