Replacement swear words

Mar 09, 2021
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Bloody oath! Aussies love swearing, just ask Cate Blanchett. But there are times when swearing isn’t appropriate, like when your granny comes to visit. Don’t fret. If you need to let off some steam, or if your lingo consists mostly of language that would make your granny blush, then the Macquarie Dictionary has got you covered with these replacement swear words. 

Let’s start with holy...  an entire genre of replacement swear words. The list includes classics like holy cow, holy mackerel and holy moly. Other excellent additions to the genre include holy Moses  possibly the only literal entry to the list – holy smokes, and of course holy guacamole. Holy snapping duckshit is a no-no!

Really, you can put just about any word after holy to create a replacement swear word. But not everything is so sacred. Australians also borrow replacement swear words from similar sounding words. Fudge and sugar are common replacements just as smarmy and sweet as the real thing. 

Get stuffed you galah. Interpretation go away you empty-headed fool. Sorry, just testing out some replacement insults, which could probably be an entire blog unto itself. If you’re on the receiving end of a rough tongue, you might exclaim jeepers or blimey! These are both exclamations of surprise that will save you from resorting to stronger language. 

I can hear you all telling me to shut the front door. To that, I say poo emojiSee, emojis can be replacement swears too.


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6 Comments

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Bev - April 6, 2021, 10:13 a.m.

My Dad always said 'floppin' hang' and 'bloomin' heck'. I was an adult before I realised he was substituting for swear words! He also regularly said things like 'Starve the flamin' lizards', 'That bloke's got a head on him like a mongrel meat ant', and 'He's got a face like a half-sucked cough drop.' His language was colourful but never offensive in front of the family.


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Luke - April 6, 2021, 10:50 a.m.

Here's a word that has disappeared from the vernacular, but should not have: Crikey!


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Ian - April 6, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

Re Bev's comment, I remember the full expression as "Starve the lizards and stone the flaming crows!"
But I remember my grandfather (Methodist, born rural Vic 1890) using "bally" (or less often "blanky") where everyone else would use "bloody".


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Ian - April 6, 2021, 11:21 a.m.

I should add that "bally" was pronounced as in "sally"
(not as in "sorely".


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Gregory - April 6, 2021, 11:53 a.m.

How about blessed (as 2 syllables) or frickin'?


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Bob - April 6, 2021, 7:46 p.m.

It's been a while since I've seen this many comments on the blog. What is it about Australians and swearing? Another example is beggar. And my Nan used to say "By Jove", or sometimes just Jove. It sounded liked "Joes" A useful word you can fit almost anywhere is "sod" Sounds inoffensive until you realise it's short for sodomise.


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