TV's 10 Best Fake Swear Words
Swearing on network television is a tricky business. There are still a lot of “dirty” words you can’t say, and the ones you can are often limited. For instance, on Mad Men only three "sh**s" are allowed per episode.
To get around such restrictions, some shows replace the "bad" words with benign ones—Castle's "Shut the front door" is one example—while others just make up their own, some of which are even better than actual swears. Just don’t tell the FCC.
A Liz Lemon-30 Rock original, blurgh was first said in the 2007 episode "Cleveland," according to GOOD Magazine.
Blurgh was something Tina Fey and the show's writers would say "around the writer’s room," and since being on network television didn't allow them to curse, they’d “run out of non-cursing ways of saying things,” and started to make up their own.
Blurgh shouldn’t be confused with Blërg, Liz’s home office desk from Ikea.
From the British sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry & Laurie, a cloff-prunker is an “illicit practice” in which “one person frangilates another's slimp” and “gratifies the other person by smuctating them avially.” Of course none of this makes sense and just shows the arbitrariness and subjectivity of what's considered obscene.
Other “obscenities” from the skit include pimhole and fusking.
3. FIST BUMP
The One When Ross Gives the Finger—only of course he doesn’t really.
The Friends’ fist bump gesture, code for flipping the bird, made its debut in the 1997 episode, “The One with Joey’s New Girlfriend,” and is used throughout the show. In one instance, Ross responds to Rachel’s fist bump with a fervent flapping of elbows, although this is never explained.
A euphemism for another f word, frak was first used in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series but spelled as frack. For the 2004 reboot, frack was changed to frak, apparently because the producers wanted to make it a true four-letter word.
Fracking, on the other hand, refers to hydraulic fracturing, the use of high pressure water injections to fracture subterranean rock to obtain oil or gas.
“It’s more than flawed," says Ka D'Argo. "It’s frelled.”
Frell is Farscape’s favorite curse word, and could be a combination of f*** and hell, as well as influenced by intensives like freaking and frigging.
Other fake swears from Farscape include dren, a synonym for “sh**,” and hezmana, said in place of “hell.”
Joss Whedon’s Firefly takes place in a future that’s a mix of Western and Chinese cultures. Non-Chinese characters often lapse into (badly spoken) Mandarin Chinese, and gorram might be one of them.
Actually Chinglish is probably more like it. It’s thought that gorram is "goddamn" spoken with a Chinese accent.
However, Firefly wasn't the first to use gorram in place of goddamn. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word gorm as a “vulgar substitute for ‘(God) damn’" was coined or at least popularized by 19th century novelist Charles Dickens.
Another Liz Lemon creation, jagweed is a synonym for douchebag. The word plays off jagoff or jackoff, both corruptions of jerkoff. The phrases jerk off and jack off, to masturbate, both originated in the 1930s or earlier, says the OED.
Jagweed is also used in another Tina Fey show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Of Mork & Mindy fame, shazbot is “Orkan profanity” that also works as a euphemism for "sh**." Robin Williams is said to have made up the word himself—not surprising for an actor who did so much hilarious ad-libbing on the show, the writers left “blank moments” to let him have at it.
The word shazbot might be influenced by Shazam, aka Captain Marvel, and robot.
Smeg, from the British science fiction series Red Dwarf, seems to be used to replace "f***." “Why don’t you smegging well smeg off!" says Rimmer. "You annoying little smeggy smegging smegger!”
As for where smeg comes from, it echoes the (disgusting) word smegma, “a whitish sebaceous secretion that collects between the glans penis and foreskin or in the vulva.”
In addition to being an all-purpose, seemingly random word replacement—“Didn’t you love smurfing with Papa Smurf at the smurf yestersmurf?"—smurf is also a euphemism for God or lord. “Great smurfs!” Papa Smurf cries, and “Name of a smurf!”
In the recent Smurfs movie, the word is used more like a direct expletive replacement: “Where the smurf are we?"
We're at the smurfing end, you smurfing smurf-head.