Swear words have been used by many to “enhance” their vocabulary for centuries and while many people find them fun to use, they’re not appropriate for every situation. Take a college class, business meeting or a situation at church for example. Dropping an F-bomb in those situations will garner more side-eyes than sympathy and respect so it is important to use appropriate alternatives. Here are some phrases you can use when colorful language becomes inappropriate.
1. Shut the Front Door
“Shut the front door” is a funny and creative alternative for shutting something else up and was said to have been coined by Brian Carrol or “Buckethead” when he appeared on WJRR Radio. The phrase was added to the Urban Dictionary a few years later and by 2011, Oreo used the saying in one of their commercials which further increased its popularity. If you want to play a nice prank on authority figures, emphasize the f sound, only to later say front. It will give them a good surprise.
2. Son of a Nutcracker
Some people have a problem with saying and hearing the “son of a female dog” referenced curse as it’s not truly the person you’re insulting, it’s their parent. But if you truly must go there, Buddy the Elf, played by Will Farrell in the movie Elf mentioned a great substitute. Rather than using the loaded B-word, replace it with nutcracker, so you end up with “son of a nutcracker.” Not only is it PG-13 but using it during the holiday season is likely to land you a laugh rather than a slap for offending someone’s family member.
Over the last 50 years or so, television shows have gotten extremely creative at finding alternative ways to help get their point across. Surprisingly one of the shows that has provided quite a few is SpongeBob SquarePants. Rather than using a four-lettered excrement-reference, use barnacles instead. The animated show has also coined the phrases “tartar sauce,” “jumping jellyfish” and “what in the name of Davy Jones’ locker?” In later episodes, they used dolphin noises when saying certain bad words… so maybe you should give it a try.
4. Heavens to Betsy
While the origin of “Heavens to Betsy” has been debated for years, most people can agree that it originated sometime between 1850 and the beginning of World War I. At the time, saying phrases like “oh my God” or “for God’s sake” was deemed offensive as you were calling on the Lord’s name in vain, so Betsy was created as a substitute. It’s not as popular as the other entries in this article and you are more likely to hear older folks use it as the youth have no problem calling on any heavenly beings.
5. Alan Rickman or Kelly Clarkson
The late Alan Rickman, best known for playing the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise was one of the greatest actors of our time. So, it’s fair to wonder how his name became a substitute for a phrase referencing a person’s maternal figure. Rather than using that particular portmanteau, you can shout Alan Rickman’s name instead- but it’s not that we’re calling him; the man was a legend. A few years later, Steve Carrell’s character in the 40-Year-Old-Virgin used Kelly Clarkson’s name during his waxing scene in a similar way.
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