This trope is about profanity. Swearing. Cursing. Cussing
. Using bad language. Using bad words. Using foul language. Except, in this case, the creator uses (or introduces) words and phrases that might be profane within the context of the work, but really aren't very profane at all in the real world
Many examples of Fantastic Profanity
are analogues for real-world swear words, but are used as substitutes because the Moral Guardians
wouldn't approve of such language. Using a made-up word or a normally innocuous phrase allows the characters to swear without having to use any actual profanity.
A form of Unusual Euphemism
. Supertrope of Oh My Gods!
and Pardon My Klingon
- In Larry Niven's Ringworld, people use "Tanj!" instead of "Damn!". Tanj is actually an English language acronymn for "There Ain't No Justice".
- Jim Butcher's Codex Alera: "Crows and bloody furies!"
- Jim Butcher again: The Dresden Files has Thomas swearing "empty night," among others. Interestingly, Harry's most fondly-used exclamations, "Hell's Bells" and "Stars and Stones," are real, though rarely used these days.
- October Daye and the fae swear by Ash and Oak, and occasionally stick human profanity in with those as well.
- There's a wizard in a Terry Goodkind book who swears, "Bags!"
- And then there's the swearing the Legion of Super-Heroes uses, which varies by the decade and Depending on the Writer.
- Brandon Sanderson is rather fond of this:
- In Harry Potter, among the Wizarding world, "Merlin" and his various personal effects (such as "Merlin's baggy pants") are used in much the same way that "God" is in real life.
- Dragonriders of Pern: "Shards!" and "By the first egg!" are both swears, reflecting the importance of the dragons (and the eggs from which they hatch) to the survival of the residents of Pern.
- In the 1960's live action Batman, Robin had a habit of making up his own swears at least Once an Episode, most of which are listed here. Holy Smokes, Batman! That's a lot of phrases!
- In the 2004 remake of Battlestar Galactica and 2009 prequel Caprica, 'Frak' is used extensively as a PG-13 workaround.