The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Swearing,
Cuss Words, Cursing, Expletives,
Profanity, Four-Letter Words, etc.

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer. ~Mark Twain

Many a man's profanity has saved him from a nervous breakdown. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "New England's Accents," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Oh, fudge! Only I didn't say "fudge." I said the word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. The F-dash-dash-dash word... Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. ~A Christmas Story, 1983, written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark  [Narrator Ralphie —tg]

I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. My father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium — a master. ~A Christmas Story, 1983, written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark  [Narrator Ralphie —tg]

He give it to him sthraight. A good, honest, American blankety-blank. Rale language like father used to make whin he hit his thumb with th' hammer. ~Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley on Swearing," 1902

He swore at us in German (which I should judge to be a singularly effective language for that purpose)... ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889

When angry count four; when very angry, swear. ~Mark Twain

Cussing the weather is mighty poor farming. ~African-American proverb

The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong. He can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way. ~Mark Twain, 1906

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that. ~Mark Twain

Just in case there might be
Little ears around
I won't say it
I'll just spell it out—
I feel like pound sign, question mark
Star, exclamation point,
Don't give a blank,
And a whole lot of other
Choice words I can't say...
Percentage sign, at symbol
Backslash, squiggle-thing...
~"Pound Sign," by Jim Collins, David Lee Murphy, and Tony Martin, 2010, performed by Kevin Fowler ♫

There is a wealth of comicana waiting for the student with enough drive and depth of understanding. Once he masters the secret of the waftarom, the solrad, and the grawlix, he can mix in any art circle... ~Mort Walker, "The Business of the Comics Is a Funny Business," Backstage at the Strips, 1975

I dunno, Phil… it's PG-13, but it has lots of profanity.
Oh, c'mon, Val — we live in the comics section. At worst, it'll be, "ampersand, asterisk, hashtag, exclamation mark."
~Scott Hilburn, The Argyle Sweater, 2016

What the #@*% Is a ‘Grawlix’?... The grawlix is the character or series of characters that often appear in place of profanity — the graphical version of bleeping out a word, if you will.

— Acorns and angleworms!
— Bee-stings and nettles!
— Nightshade and spiders!
~George M. P. Baird, fairy curse words in "The Theft of Thistledown: A Faery Interlude," 1915  ["Faeries are very much like humans, after all, and sometimes in moments of excitement they use swear words and shocking language such as this." —tg]

At no time is freedom of speech more precious than when a man hits his thumb with a hammer. ~The Salt of the Earth, WATKINS-MONTOUR, New York, c.1943

When little boys have learned a new bad word they are never happy till they have chalked it up on a door. ~Rudyard Kipling

It was very rare that the old Cap'n swore, for he was a sound Churchman, and when he did swear it was with a sort of reverence. ~David Grayson, Hempfield, 1915

I was... blaspheming my luck in a way that made my breath smell of brimstone. ~Mark Twain, 1913

Blasphemy, as it is a contumelious speech, derogating from any man, that good that is in him, or attributing to any man, that ill that is not in him, may be fastened upon any man. For the most part it is understood a sin against God... And yet, a drunkard that cannot name God, will spew out a blasphemy against God: a child that cannot spell God, will stammer out a blasphemy against God: if we smart, we blaspheme God, and we blaspheme him if we be tickled; if I lose at play, I blaspheme, and if my fellow lose, he blasphemes, so that God is always sure to be a loser. An usurer can show me his bags, and an extortioner his houses, the fruits, the revenues of his sin; but where will the blasphemer show me his blasphemy, or what he hath got by it? The licentious man hath had his love in his arms, and the envious man hath had his enemy in the dust, but wherein hath the blasphemer hurt God? ~John Donne

Foul Language is with him as common,
As Scolding to an Oyster-Woman,
And from him Oaths in clusters slip,
Like Flatt'ries from a Courtier's Lip,
Yet seldom swears, but swears awry,
That is, to justify a Lie,
Or, vice versa, stains his Mouth
With Oaths, to falsify the Truth,
As if it was his sole delight,
To make Right Wrong and Falsehood Right;
Nor is there any way to know
The Truth of what he does avow,
But to believe the quite reverse
Of e'ery thing he says or swears...
~Edward Ward, "The Contending Candidates: or, The Broom-Staff Battles, Dirty Skirmishes, and Other Comical Humours of the late Southwark Election," 1722

HA! An exclamation of surprise used in connection with other dark blue words when you step on a tack. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

I am alive, I have a voice,
And so I sing and sigh and curse—
All life doth sing and sigh and curse.
~Adolf Wolff (1883–1944), "The Proem," Songs, Sighs and Curses, 1913

If I had a phrase-book of a really satisfactory sort I would study it, and not give all my free time to undictionarial readings, but there is no such work on the market. The existing phrase-books are inadequate. They are well enough as far as they go, but when you fall down and skin your leg they don't tell you what to say. ~Mark Twain, "Italian Without a Master"

But it don't do to use pro-fanity th' way ye wud ordin'ry wurruds. No, sir. Ye've got to save it up an' invist it at th' right time or get nawthin' fr'm it. It's betther thin a doctor f'r a stubbed toe but it niver cured a broken leg. It's a kind iv a first aid to th' injured. It seems to deaden th' pain. ~Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley on Swearing," 1902

Put a little profanity by for rainy days, I say. You won't miss it and at the end of the year when you renew your lease you'll be surprised to find out how much you have on hand. But if you hurl it broadcast, if every time you open your mouth a hot one leaps out, the time will come when you'll want to say somethin' scorching and you'll have nothin' to say that you haven't said for fun. ~Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley on Swearing," 1902  [spelling standardized —tg]

But th' best thing about a little judicyous swearin' is that it keeps th' temper. 'Twas intinded as a compromise between runnin' away an' fightin'. ~Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley on Swearing," 1902

And given to fornications, and to taverns and sack
and wine and metheglins, and to drinkings and
swearings and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
~William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, c.1600  [V, 5, Sir Hugh Evans]

If I were in the habit of indulging in Sunday School expressions, I wouldn't hesitate to cuss a bed bug to a standstill right to his face... ~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague

Flies tickle me, but they don't make me swear, it takes a bedbug, at the hollow of night, a mean, loafing bedbug, who steals out of a crack in the wall, as silently as the sweat on a dog's nose, and then creeps as soft as a shadow, onto my tenderest spot, and begins to bore — it takes one of these foul fiends of blood to make me swear, a word of two syllables. ~Josh Billings (1818–1885), "The Fly"  [spelling standardized and text a little altered —tg]

Some men expend all the fury of a twelvemonth in one red-hot paragraph of five minutes. ~Thomas De Witt Talmage

Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing — with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for second and third place. ~Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988)

BASEBALL: Being a Guide for the Grouchy Grandstandee. — Don't forget to use the most blood-curdling and decorative style of language now on the market when you engage in the pleasing duty of hurting a player's feelings. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

I put my arms akimbo, and swore like a trooper. My excellent mother at once gave me such a box on the ear that I remained half stupefied for some little while before I could even burst out crying. ~Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, 1881, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, 1890

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

Profanity is more necessary to me than is immunity from colds. ~Mark Twain, 1877

This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. ~Christopher Moore, Fool, 2009  ["Warning," in front matter —tg]

When a man hits his thumb with a hammer
Or bumps on a chair in the dark,
He sets up a terrible clamor
With many a purple remark.
You'd think he was fearfully mangled,
You'd think he was crippled for fair,
And his language gets turgid and tangled
And his howls of dismay fill the air!...
~Author unknown, "How He Takes It," The Boilermakers' Journal, 1914

Women can't swear. They have th' feelin' but not th' means... Women an' childher cry or faint whin they're hurt. That's because they haven't th' gift iv swearin'. ~Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley on Swearing," 1902  [Maybe it's due to an entire century having gone by, but Sir I can tell you one thing for certain: I've got the gift. —tg]

He called me a quadrilateral astronomical incandescent son of a bitch. ~Mark Twain, 1903

I shall not make use of slang or vulgarity upon any occasion or under any circumstances, and shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes. Indeed, upon second thought, I will not even use it then, for it is unchristian, inelegant, and degrading — though to speak truly I do not see how house rent and taxes are going to be discussed worth a cent without it. ~Mark Twain, 1869

Oh golly gee, damn! ~Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961, screenplay by George Axelrod, based on the novella by Truman Capote, spoken by the character Holly Golightly

Balderdash!  Dagnabbit!  Drat!  Schnikes!  Corn Nuts!  Cowabunga!  Blimey!  William Shatner!  Bleep!  Egad!  Awww, noodles!  Mother of pearl!  Crud muffin!  Sufferin’ succotash!  Great Caesar’s ghost!  Phooey!  Cheese and crackers!  Wing nut!  Fudge berries!  Gee willikers!  Bob Saget!  Peanut butter and jelly!  Shitake mushrooms!  Shih Tzu!  Son of a motherless goat!  What the hey?!  Barnacles!  Fahrvergnügen!  Merlin’s beard!  Shucky darn!  Shut the front door!  What the what?!  Horse pucky!  Cheese whiz!  Gadzooks!  ¡Holy guacamole!  Shnookerdookies!  Fiddlesticks!  Jiminy Cricket!  Dillweed!  Son of a biscuit!  Son of a nutcracker!  ~Various and anonymous humans  [a list of alternative swear words and exclamations I've seen and heard over the years —tg]

According to a recent survey the average American will curse for the first time each day shortly before 11 a.m. Actually, 10:54 a.m. if you happen to be a nitpicking &^%$#*... But come on. No cursing until 11 a.m.? That's  &^%$*#@?&%. ~E J Montini, "Cursing survey is a #&@%^$  lie!,", 2018

I'll tell you, I just sit at the typewriter and curse a bit. ~P.G. Wodehouse, interview, Collier's, 1956  [his method for writing —tg]

He couldn't get a ball to stay on the alley. When he had fired about fifteen balls and hadn't yet reached the cluster of pins, his annoyance began to show out through his clothes. He wouldn't let it show in his face; but after another fifteen balls he was not able to control his face; he didn't utter a word, but he exuded mute blasphemy from every pore. ~Mark Twain

Miss Winkle spoke a rude Anglo-Saxon word. ~Charles H. Knickerbocker, Summer Doctor, 1963

Strong language directed against the Bunkers is always permissible. They are responsible for so many horrible lies. ~Gideon Wurdz (Charles Wayland Towne), "Sports," Eediotic Etiquette, 1906

Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
~William Shakespeare, Richard III, c.1592  [I, 2, Lady Anne]

Jason:  Apparently the leaked Windows source code contains some pretty naughty language.
Peter:  Naughty language?
Jason:  Curse words in the comments.
Peter:  So when people are swearing at their PC, it's actually swearing back?
Jason:  Clever Microsoft.
~Bill Amend, FoxTrot, 2004

No swearing. ~William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, c.1609  [II, 4, Posthumus Leonatus]

Everybody swears everywhere... Shakespeare and all the rest, all up and down the years they swore at life. Plain old mother talk ain't nowheres near strong enough to describe such a terrible mixup as life... ~Mark Harris, "Bang the Drum Slowly," 1956

A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog! ~William Shakespeare, Tempest, c.1611  [I, 1, Sebastian]

Sometimes the only word that fits in a conversation is "fuck."  ~Bagel

Someone told me I need to stop dropping F-bombs. What the fuck is an F-bomb? ~Author unknown

That's not a bad word… hate and war are bad words but fuck isn't. ~Judy Blume, Forever…, 1975

There are worse words than cuss words, there are words that hurt. ~Tillie Olsen, "Hey Sailor, What Ship?," 1957

Golf is a four-letter word. ~Richard Armour, 1962

Diet is a four-letter word. ~Siegmund H. May, 1968

Work is a four-letter word. ~Author unknown, 1950s

Love is a four-letter word. ~Author unknown, 1920s

Life is a four-letter word. ~Author unknown, 1950s

He grinned at her. "Can't  is a four-letter word."
"Four letters and an apostrophe."
~Richard Duprey, Duel on the Wind, 1976

Four is a four-letter word. ~Jack Douglas, Never Trust a Naked Bus Driver, 1960

Word is a four-letter word. ~Author unknown, 1970s

Tetragram is a four-letter word. ~The Dictionary

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published 2021 Feb 23
last saved 2024 Apr 20