Swear words
I'm doing a study on the history and origins of English slang words. Anyone know of a good page where I could find out where our "bad words" came from? Thanx!


Lewis Joplin II
I don't know of any Web sites. They probably are sites devoted to cuss words. I just haven't been looking for them.

Just to get you started...there's a chapter titled "Goddam, Darn, and Oh Perdition!" in "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). It says, in part,"...blasphemy has been a part of the American language from its beginning. However, the majority of respectable, religious American businessmen, parents, and old maids of the past have, at least in public, preferred milder euphemisms like 'darn!' and 'cripes!' or even more delicate mincing terms like 'Oh perdition!' and 'Shucks!'..." Among the "minced oaths" listed by Mr. Flexner are: Holy smoke!, 1889; Holy cats! and Holy Mackerel!, both 1803; Holy Moses!, 1906; and Holy cow!, 1942.

There's an entire book devoted to the "F-Word," titled appropriately enough, "The F-Word." I have been tempted to buy the book just to shock people browsing my bookshelves.

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