2/25/2014

We've pretty much got curse words covered, but science fiction writers like to make up new profanity to show it's THE FUTURE. It's also a good way to have characters curse on national television. They're also useful to throw into regular conversation when you want to swear in a socially acceptable way or show you're down with the nerd lingo. Here are seven of the most popular and profane fictional curse words in science fiction.

(Note: Because this is a PG blog, we'll be handling this with some self-censorship, but it could still be NSFW.)


7. Gorram (Firefly)

Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion)
Use: For emphasis, to express anger or frustration
Example: "I'm sick of these gorram Reavers!"
Firefly adopted a unique patois of English, Chinese, and Western-style dialogue, and had a lot of made up curse words. One of the most popular among characters and fans alike was "gorram." "Gorram" was probably inspired by the real-life mild profanity, "g__da__."


6. Belgium (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell)
Use: An expression of annoyance, surprise, or anger
Example: "The Improbability Drive isn't working! Belgium!"
When Douglas Adams originally published So Long and Thanks For All The Fish, he included the word "f__k" in the manuscript. American publishers refused to print it, so he replaced it with "Belgium," and wrote a new section about how "Belgium" is the most profane word in the Galaxy. The sequence became so popular that it became a part of Hitchhiker's lore, and even the movie.


5. Frell (Farscape)

Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black)
Use: For emphasis, to express anger or frustration
Example: "Don't bring those frelling Peacekeepers onto this ship!"
Much like Firefly, Farscape wanted to swear on TV and get away with it. That's why they created the word "frell." It was used liberally throughout the series as both a verb and a noun. Fans of the show have embraced the phrase. Claudia Black's character Aeryn Sun is known for using it liberally.


4. Poodoo (Star Wars)

Jabba the Hutt; Source: Lucasfilm
Use: An expression of annoyance,surprise, or anger
Example: "I lost the podrace! Poodoo!"
The word "poodoo" first appeared in Return of the Jedi. Contrary to popular belief, it's not another word for feces. In Huttese, Jabba the Hutt said Han Solo was "bantha poodoo," which was translated as "bantha fodder." A bantha is a large creature on Tattooine, so calling someone "bantha fodder" seemed to be calling them "bantha food." The word returned in the new trilogy in Phantom Menace, when Sebulba seemed to use "poodoo" as a swear word after losing the podrace (an odd choice - who yells out "food" when they're mad). Since then, the word has become popular in the Extended Universe as a curse.


3. Shazbot (Mork and Mindy)

Mork (Robin Williams); Source
Use: An expression of annoyance,surprise, or anger
Example: "My egg spaceship crashed! Shazbot!"
In the hit comedy series Mork and Mindy, the alien Mork had his own language from the planet Ork. One phrase he used a lot was the term "shazbot." "Shazbot" is apparently an Orkan curse, but the popularity of the show made it cross over into pop culture. For a decade, "shazbot" became the hipster's curse.


2. Smeg (Red Dwarf)

David Lister (Craig Charles); Source: BBC
Use: For emphasis, to describe something unpleasant
Example: "Don't be such a smegging smeg!"
In the distant future of Red Dwarf, the word "smeg" is the most popular and versatile curse. It can be used as a verb or a noun, and also combined with other words like "smeghead." Contrary to popular belief, the word wasn't originally based on the medical term "smegma," since the creators have repeatedly insisted they never heard the term before. They just wanted a four-letter word.


1. Frak (Battlestar Galactica)

Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff); Source: Syfy
Use: For emphasis, to express anger or frustration
Example: "We're gonna kill all those frakking Cylons!"
Once again BSG took advantage of the new vocabulary to create a fictional curse on the air. In the original series, it was spelled "frack," but the remake changed the spelling to "frak." The popularity of the term has extended beyond the TV show, appearing in other media such as the TV shows Eureka, The Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, and Chuck. It's too early to tell if "frak" will outlast the show or end up as the new millennium's "shazbot," but geeks have embraced it.

Which is your favorite fictional curse? (No real profanity in the comments, please!)

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8 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Knew Frak had to be number one! Had forgotten about Frell. Been awhile since I watched Farscape.

Pat Dilloway said...

That was a frakking good article, gorram it.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Bonus points for "SMEG"!
How about Batman Beyond's use of of the word "Slag it". It was way Shway!

MedeiaSharif said...

I recall 2 and 3 fondly. I loved those shows.

Tony Laplume said...

Belgium...I didn't remember that at all. I might have to use that...

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Smegging awesome! But you missed your chance to show off your true credentials by reporting the true origin of the word Frak - an expletive that, if this 1984 computer game is believed, dates back to the yo-yo slinging Neanderthal era http://youtu.be/UgiA10MfOu4

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Smegging awesome!

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Frak predates Battlestar though... According to this historically accurate computer game from 1984 it was first used by monster-bashing, yo-yo slinging Neanderthals... http://youtu.be/UgiA10MfOu4

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