FYI: The symbols used to mask swear words in text are called grawlixes and have been in use since 19-fucking-01. They should always end with an exclamation point or question mark. Importantly, if you’re swearing with a British accent, the $ sign should be replaced with a £ symbol.
Expletive infixations have been popular for quite some time:
- abso-bloomin’-lutely – “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” My Fair Lady, 1956
- emanci-mother-fuckin’-pator – “Abie Baby,” Hair, 1968
- Out-bloody-rageous – Third, Soft Machine, 1970
- fan-fucking-tastic – Terms of Endearment, 1983
- Cinder-fucking-rella – Pretty Woman, 1990
- Viet-fuckin’-nam! – Forrest Gump, 1994
Linguists haven’t shied away from investigating how a person, with no other exposure, can form expletive infixations and be remarkably consistent. Researchers believe that the rules for placement of expletives are not arbitrary but instead derive from fundamental aspects of English phonology. Not all linguists are in agreement as to whether the insertion occurs at a stressed syllable boundary or a morpheme boundary (taking precedence over syllabic stress).
For example, most native English speakers intuitively understand that ab-fucking-solutely is not a quality infixation. Un-fucking-believable and unbe-fucking-lievable illustrate the syllable verses morpheme boundary argument and the flexibility of inserting a preferred blasphemy.
While the examples below use fucking as the curse word, please feel free to experiment with your favorite, e.g., friggin‘, freaking, motherfucking, bleeding, bloody, damned, goddamn, etc.
Now it’s time to test your swearing skill set. Correctly insert a cuss word in the following:
Congratulations! You’re a certified potty-mouth.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also be interested in why American’s prefer the word rooster, mondegreens that will make you LOL, or what the word jaywalker actually means!
See the previous or next Fun Facts About English.
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