An unusual book of euphemisms
Very Nice Ways to Say Very Bad Things g
An Unusual Book of Euphemisms Linda Berdoll
Copyright © 2003, 2007 by Linda Berdoll Cover © 2007 by Sourcebooks, Inc. Internal design © 2003 Carol Sue Hagood Internal graphics © 2003 Carol Sue Hagood and Johnny Alvarez Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc. Published by Sourcebooks Hysteria, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410 (630) 961-3900 Fax: (630) 961-2168 www.sourcebooks.com Originally published in 2003. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Berdoll, Linda Very Nice Ways to Say Very Bad Things / Linda Berdoll p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-0885-0 ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-2983-1 ISBN-10: 1-4022-0885-5 ISBN-10: 1-4022-2983-6 1. English language—Euphemism. 2. English language—Jargon. 3. English language—Terms and phrases. I. Title. PE1449.B4435 2007 427 —dc22 2006100787 Printed and bound in the United States of America. WC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
spersions, brickbats, carping, cavil, censure, denunciation, disparagement, reproach, opprobrium, reproof, stricture, vitriol, epithets, and vituperation 1
Censuring the Inherent Fool: The Lost Art 3
Shakespeare, Addressing Individual Mounds of Foul, Undigested Lumps of Donkey Entrails 19
Sacre Bleu: Profanities and Expletives 21 Oaths and General Vituperation 27 Silent Disparagement (The Bird and His Friends) 30
Worshipping at the Shrine of Bacchus 49
its, disease, ill health, inﬁrmity, breakdowns, afﬂiction, ailment, attacks, bugs, collapse, complaint, conﬁnement, convalescence, disability, disorder, disturbance, dose, failing health, ﬂu, indisposition, malady, malaise, prostration, seizure, syndrome, a bit of unwell, and what’s been going around 53
Going to Europe with Ralph and Earl in a Buick 56
In the Privy 65 Afﬂicted by Time’s Wing’d Chariot 69
ender speciﬁc activity, femininity, manhood, manliness, masculinity, sexuality, womanhood, womanliness, intercourse between animate beings, coition, coitus, copulation, fornication, generation, intimacy, lovemaking, magnetism, procreation, relations, reproduction, sensuality, sexuality 73
Bewitched, Bothered and Betwattled 75 The Long Carbine 80 Dallying, Firkytoodling and Finkdiddling 83 Sex “Sain et Sauf ” 102 Men Behaving Badly 107
A Pea in the Pod 109 Misbegotten 110 Unknown to Man 112 Trafﬁcking with Oneself 114
aft, mentally strange, barmy, unzipped, batty, berserk, insane, bonkers, cracked, loony, crazed, cuckoo, demented, deranged, peculiar, erratic, ﬂaky, fruity, idiotic, insane, lunatic, mad, maniacal, nuts, potty, psycho, touched, unbalanced, unglued, unhinged, wacky
The Gazelles are in the Garden 137 ’N What? 142 Acknowledgements 144
spersions, brickbats, carping, cavil, censure, denunciation, disparagement, reproach, opprobrium, reproof, stricture, vitriol, epithets, and vituperation
You clod of puke-stocking, roastmeat for worms!
Zounds, I have been bethumped by words.
Censuring the Inherent Fool: The Lost Art
ew would argue that some behavior is so abhorrent, it demands redressing. Regardless of justiﬁcation—idiot drivers, impudent clerks, adolescents who have been spawn by the devil—we as a society simply cannot condone smacking the offender upside the head. (Admittedly, we institute this decision partly in deference to decorum, but also in the distinct...