The Perils of Foul (Really Fowl!) Language

This blog post has words, language, and images that may be considered profane, vulgar, or offensive by some readers. If you proceed, you’re responsible for your own feelings.

As a young girl, I talked like a foul-mouthed trucker. I even used God’s name in vain whenever anything ruffled my porcupine quills. But I knew The Ten Commandments, and the third one in Exodus 20:7 warned not to take the Lord’s name in vain or face punishment. So, my knees knocked like the worn-out pistons in our latest jalopy.

Every two weeks I’d unload my guilt in the confessional of the Catholic Church. After hearing my juvenile offenses, the priest would offer advice and have me pray the Act of Contrition. When I returned to my pew, I’d pray penance prayers before retrieving my pink blob of deflated bubble gum from where I stuck it under my seat. It smelled like the essence of all that’s good-and that’s how I felt unencumbered by sin.

But I didn’t feel good for long. I swore less but didn’t stop. I got an earful of expletives at home, on the street, and in parks where older kids hung out. F-bombs shot out of my mouth like bottle rockets. I sure didn’t know it meant THAT, and I didn’t even know about THAT at the time.

Then my friends-mostly boys because they played fun games-told me, “We aren’t allowed to play with you anymore because you say bad words all the time.”

I yelled, “No, I don’t!” But I knew I did, and added, “Not all the time!”

The bearer of bad news shoved me while yelling, “Yes, you do!” Then I shoved him into a ditch and had another sin to confess.

Devastated, I wandered into the neighboring projects. Two girls saw me moping around and said, “We’re having a fashion show with our dolls. Do you wanna bring a doll to the show?”

If this were a fairy tale, I would have shyly mumbled “Uh uh,” while shaking my head “no” and twirling the worn out toe of my shoe in the dirt. But still seething, I said, “Hell no! I threw my stupid doll in the trash.” I didn’t intend to swear and be mean, so I had to hold back tears.

I wanted to watch the after-school monster movies at my friend Johnny’s house. I wanted to join in with ball games, play kick the can, challenge someone to a game of marbles or mumbely peg, or play hide-n-seek in the dark-not play with creepy dolls!

During my exile, I created a safe curse mantra. Whenever I got mad, I’d shout D-S-P for Dog Sh*t Poo. “What the DSP! Your mumbley peg knife flipped into my leg!” and “Oh DSP! It’s bleeding like roadkill!” and “Kiss my DSP goodbye!” This childish acronym worked for me and I learned enough self-control to reunite with my friends.

For several years I helped facilitate an after-school anger management program and often shared this story. It helped start conversations about respecting others and avoiding volatile trigger words during disagreements. Initially, some parents addressed their children using off-putting language like, “Sit your a** down,” and “Tell them what the f**k you did.” And the apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

Profanities have lost their sting. Social media, movies, and television shows are infiltrated with obscenities, vulgarisms, and blasphemies for viewers of all ages. It’s not surprising when kids express shock, or anger, or disappointment with low-down-and-dirty language which they may not understand. And if God isn’t included in their lives, there are no checks and balances when parents don’t care or aren’t around.

Now, if swearers knew what the dirty, smutty, and profane words meant, they might have second thoughts about their vocabulary. Proverbs 15:1 points out that mild responses subdue wrath while harsh words stoke it. Clarification of several common swear words and gentler alternatives follow:

Blasphemy is using the name of God, Jesus Christ or any sacred name in vain, and dishonoring or slandering sacred names. It’s scornful and disrespectful to God, Jesus Christ, and everything holy.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is bad-mouthing the Holy Spirit, or maligning the work of the Holy Spirit, or rejecting the Holy Spirit. According to Matthew 12:31, sins and blasphemy will be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Spirit.

Golly, gee, gosh, doggone it, oh my goodness, OMG!, etc., are softer words used to avoid shouting sacred names when having a meltdown, but they’re still substitutes for the same names. God invites us to call upon Him without crying wolf.

H0ly sh*t, holy cr*p, holy hell are vulgarisms which use the word holy as an intensive for the expletive that replaces a sacred name. Sh*t and cr*p are yard bombs and hell is the devil’s domain. They aren’t holy, or saintly, or divine.

Wow! You’re kidding! Oh, my! are good substitutes for holy exclamations.

Everything is sh*t or cr*p: “Turn off that sh*t,” or “This is my cr*p,” or “Give me that sh*t.” Since we know what sh*t or cr*p someone is talking about, real names are disregarded. Referring to a myriad of stuff as animal waste is poop porn.

Thing is a good word to dethrone sh*t or cr*p. If objects aren’t feces, call them things. “I want that thing with two all beef patties,” or “Where’s the mobile thing that turns me into a zombie?” or “Hand me those jingly things that start my thing with four wheels.”

Jackass, a**hole, dumba**, lazya**, etc. are rough words that malign donkeys and compare someone’s shortcomings to their patootie. Someone who, for instance, flips you the bird after cutting you off in traffic, or sprays their pee in bathrooms as if they’re putting out five-alarm fires, or litters parks, beaches, and roadways with filth.

Doofus, dummy, and dope are softer slurs for someone acting like any of the a**es, but these are mean-spirited names, too. The socially challenged need guidance or prayers-not belittlement. And forgiving thoughts, not including “I’m sorry you’re a moron,” help displace anger.

C word and b*tch are used to degrade females who may, or may not be, the paragon of virtue. The first trash-talk word refers to lady parts and the second, a female dog.

Cupcake and Balloon are words that aren’t angry and may not ignite someone’s short fuse. “You’re such a cupcake when you key my car,” and “When you win, you’re an overinflated balloon!” Save trash talk for garbage collection day.

F-bomb and F-bombing are obscenities often voiced to vent sudden rage. These formidable words spit out of mouths like shivs. F-bombers have no inhibitions shouting every grammatical form of these crude comments which demean intimacy.

Freakin’, frickin’, and flippin’ are politer euphemisms that morphed from F-bombing. Somebody foaming at the mouth, should distance themselves from anyone they want to annihilate. Then they ought to count until their lips dry up.

C word and b*stard are derogatory names used for males who aren’t necessarily roosters and aren’t necessarily born out of wedlock. These are popular slurs for hotheads who want to pulverize body parts.

Don’t name call because the idiom “I am rubber, you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” is true. It corrupts character. Do a few thousand pushups instead.

Swearing is a blowhole for anger, frustration, and thorny encounters. The more forbidden the profanity, the more powerful it is. Cursing is a plague that purges our vocabulary of polite ways to explain, forgive, or debate. Jeepers creepers won’t do it for a loose canon who’s angry with a poor sap who can’t find a window to jump out.

Religious restrictions, like the Third Commandment which forbids using the Lord’s name in vain, have less impact now than in past years when God’s grace gave me the discipline to stop using foul language. But the Lord still owns everyone and everything (Psalm 24:1), so I choose my words wisely and my knees no longer knock.

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:13, NAB

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29, NAB

I tell you, on the day of judgement people will render an account for every careless word they speak.

Matthew 13:36 NAB

Published by Nancy Homlitas

I'm a grandmother, mother, and wife well-seasoned with decades of humdrum yuck smothered with pure joy. The narratives and photographs I plan to share are meant to brighten moods and spawn smiles. There's nothing more hilarious than a true experience, especially in hindsight! And there's nothing more uplifting than a pleasing picture, particularly if it enhances a story. As a feel good bonus, blog posts will have a relevant bible verse included.

21 thoughts on “The Perils of Foul (Really Fowl!) Language

  1. Younger kids (the ones I worked with) repeat these words because they’ve heard them so often at home, on television/movies, or from their friends. Many times they have no idea what they’re saying. They just know the word has a negative connotation.

    One of my classic elementary stories regarding language happened when one of the kids in the class reported that another child (one with a spotless behavior record) had uttered the “s” word. Given her reputation, I was a bit surprised, but the reporter was adamant. The accused was equally vociferous in her denials. Neither child was prone to lying. At some point, I realized that perhaps they had a different interpretation of the “s” word. I called the first child out of the room and asked her to tell me precisely what the other child said. She shook her head, seemingly frightened to utter the swear word aloud. I asked her if she’d be more comfortable writing it down on paper for me, and she nodded. She wrote something down, folded the paper, and handed it to me sheepishly. It read, “shut up.” I decided not to educate her on what most people translate the “s” word to be.🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I was working as a counselor, I usually got to hear an earful when clients – even children – were upset. Often they were just repeating what had been said to them too many times. I had a general rule, though. No profanity directed AT another person. That was off-limits, no matter how upset the client was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that respect should be shown to others when conversing, debating, haggling, commenting, or in professional situations as you experienced as a counselor. Kindness and thoughtfulness fade away when someone uses profanity. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment!


  3. This is great, Nancy! Our culture’s use of profanity has certainly deteriorated over the years. It’s shocking sometimes. I appreciate how you also pointed out common euphemisms we don’t often think about. We were so strict with our children when they were growing up concerning their speech. One day our son told me that one of his friends said a BAD word. Then he quietly told me that his friend said the word “stupid.” I hid my smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing the story about the not-so-bad word your son heard from his friend. If we could all be that innocent, profanity would shrink and kindness would blossom. You (and your son) certainly gave me something to chuckle about, Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment, Patty.


  4. What a great post, Nancy! I truly love reading your blog. I appreciate all the humor you bring to topics we can relate to. Thank you for sharing your writing with the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Ann. As someone who I highly respect as a writer with a superior knowledge of the English language, I value your opinion. I’m glad to know we both enjoy laughing at similar craziness! Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  5. This brings back memories of games I would play with my high school students. One of them was called “Say WHAT?!” The class was divided into teams to brainstorm alternatives for the words I had come to know and hate – words that had been placed in the”jargon jail.” The team that came up with the longest list was the winner. For example, alternatives to “b*t*h” (the jargon jail bars covered half the letters. 😉) included “shrew” and “foul-mouthed termigant.” The kids loved it, and – in my class at least – their speech was a lot less boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Say WHAT?!” along with the “jargon jail” are such clever ideas! This activity would certainly slow down the use of demeaning and off-color vocabulary while softening resisting attitudes. Thank you for sharing your ideas!


    1. Thank you, Tyler, for your kind words. I value your opinion as it gives me insight into what others find humorous. Sharing relevant scripture for each topic is also rewarding. Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment!


  6. My mouth is hanging open! I can’t believe this was you! Seriously! I was very sheltered growing up and never heard any bad language. I never even heard the F-word until I went to college! Thanks for sharing this amazing story. I wish you lived next door. It would be fun to be your friend! We could share a lot of stories. God bless you today, Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a difficult time writing this blog, but I felt the need to address the current proliferation of profanity in our society. Cindy, I think we’d have a good ol’ time together if we were neighbors! I’m continually refreshed and inspired by your blog. Thank you for taking the time to comment. God bless you!


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