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Foreign Cuss Word
DiDi is normally more subtle than this. This isn't subtle.
"I have sampled every language, French is my favourite — fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé de ta mèretranslation . It's like wiping your ass with silk, I love it."
The Merovingian, The Matrix Reloaded

The use of foreign curses that, in their country of origin, would be considered much more offensive to use on television or outright censored. Sometimes the pronunciation is deliberately mangled to obscure it even more. On American television, Spanish swears (especially cojones) are popular.

Compare Pardon My Klingon, Unusual Euphemism, Did Not Do the Bloody Research, and Foreign Language Tirade. Sometimes an adjunct of Poirot Speak. Often a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
Japanese media in general sometimes uses rather strong English swears in a rough context, and often uses the "giving the finger" gesture as an expression of general displeasure in works for younger audiences where it would be considered unacceptable in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. This is often edited into a clenched fist by the localizers for the latter, and honestly, we really can't blame them.

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Since her voice actress speaks German with some degree of fluency, Asuka's dialogue in the original TV and movie dubs of is periodically peppered with German swearing.
    • In the Manga (Japanese and English), "Scheiße!" is literally the first word out of her mouth. Second if you count a filler exclamation sound as a word.
    • The eight episode's Japanese voice track has the antagonistic UN admiral saying a clearly audible English "shit" to his second-in-command before continuing in Japanese. It's present on the German subtitles as well.
  • Zatch Bell!: Ensemble Dark Horse Victoream regularly uses the phrase "Very shit" on a show generally targeted at a younger age group. Generally translated for American audiences as "Very bad".
    • VERY MELON
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Early in the series, Italy is sent back to Germany in a box with "Fuck" written on it. The ones who sent him in that box were America and England.
    • Romano (South Italy) has thrown out an occasional "Che palle!"
    • The first line of The Movie is Iceland saying "Oh skít"
    • In general, the dub does this more frequently than the original Japanese.
  • Genshiken Had a whole slur in the anime episode where one of the American otaku compliments ogiue on her Yaoi doujinshi, in the manga the words were blurred out, but in the anime, no censorship was given since the American spoke English, leading a lot of viewers to a very sudden 'when Chihiro spooged all over his glasses it was so hot! And then he started to butt fuck him and-" more or less.
  • In the Japanese Sonic X episode 2, Sonic literally says "Shit!" when he is detected by security.
  • As does Mic Sounders the 13th in GaoGaiGar episode 26 while dodging missiles.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt uses this trope quite liberally.
  • Somewhat subverted in Black Lagoon, as Revy, Cluster F-Bomb that she is, drops them regularly (moreso when she's upset - the curses appear as onomatopoeiae!), but, unlike the aforementioned Asuka (who is bilingual) she speaks just English.
  • Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru has Fuyuumi's Secret Diary, read aloud for the audience in her voice, in which she curses with "Shit!" several times. She never actually says it out loud, though.

    Comedy 
  • Played With in one sketch by German comedian Didi Hallervorden. Context: A prisoner gets a visit by his wife (or gf), but all the time they have Didi as a kind of chaperone who will honk a horn and give them minus points whenever they get too lovey-dovey and/or obscene. This gets pretty ridicilous, and the prisoner protests. Then...
    Didi: "What's your name anyway?"
    Prisoner: "Slotchkovsky!"
    Didi (honks twice and gives four minus points)
    Prisoner: "What was that for now?!"
    Didi: "Do you think I don't understand Polish?!"

    Comicbooks 
  • During the early run of New Mutants, Sunspot got away with swearing by doing it in Portuguese.
    • This continued in the original run of X-Force, both for Sunspot (in Portuguese) and his teammate Rictor (in Spanish).
  • Colossus from the X-Men would sometimes swear in Russian in his early appearances. The word would even be written in Cyrillic characters to obscure it further.
    • Although he usually used "chyort vozmee...!", which just means "the devil take ...!" Similarly Nightcrawler would sometimes shout "zum Teufel!" (to the devil), usually with hilarious misspellings.
  • Victor of Runaways once used the Spanish curse word cabrón.
    • And when he was turned to speaking binary, the first thing he said was WTF?
  • Characters in Nikolai Dante frequently exclaim "Diavolo!" when surprised or annoyed.
  • In Maus, at one point, Art and his father Vladek are speaking in Polish with English subtitles. Art's father swears, and the Polish contains the actual word (choleranote ) but the English subtitle simply says "@#%$!"
  • Julie Doucet's best-known comic, Dirty Plotte, has a strong French swear word right in the title.
  • There's one issue of The Simpsons comic where Homer starts swearing while trying to repaint a room and gets wrapped in wallpaper. His kids notice that he's running out of curses, and throw him a Chinese phrase guide, and he starts cursing in Chinese characters.

     Fan Works 
  • The CSI: NY fic "Wrong Place,Wrong Time" has Mac overhearing Stella swearing in Greek after she was slightly injured and the hospital wanted to keep her overnight for observation.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet:
    • Chapter two has Ensign Kate McMillan's fiance, who's from Quebec, drop a "Merde" when his supervisor interrupts their video call to demand he get back to work.
    • When the listening post spots the Bird-of-Prey IKS Hegh’QeDp after it destroys the shuttle, Crewman Sherazi's remark is "Kiopek oghlu", Azerbaijani for "son of a bitch".
  • The Discworld fics by A.A. Pessimal do this. A lot. Characters from Rimlands Howondaland use voetsaak!, among other things, when grievously provoked. Zlobenians use Govno! almost for punctuation. Quirmians resort to Merde alors! when feeling a need. And so it goes... the author appears to take a delightfully scatalogical glee in getting round Fan Fic.net's restriction on profanity by putting most of it in foreign.
  • "Aen'rhien Vailiuri" has Lieutenant Commander Jaleh Khoroushi cuss out her CO, Morgan t'Thavrau, in Farsi after she kills an unarmed Kazon prisoner. According to this, her "Kire asbe abi too koonet!" translates to "hippo's cock in your ass". There's also "lanat bar sheyan", an equivalent of "Oh, my God".

    Film 
  • In an old 1950's war film, The Thousand Bomber Raid, an American actor playing a British pilot called a friend "toss-pot". While correct for the period (1940's), it just means wanker, and was more offensive then, so it's probably an 'under the radar' word for the scriptwriter.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, The Merovingian likes to swear in French, claiming "It's like wiping your ass with silk." His above quote translates to something like Holy damned bullshity fucking motherfucking shitting son of a bitch, or something like that. It is literally "name of God of the whore of the whorehouse of shit of sluttery of an idiot of (someone receiving anal) of your mother". French allows you to just tack on curse word after curse word with no real grammar involved. French Canadians have a sort of swearing dialect called "sacre" where they combine profanities with terms from Catholic liturgy to create whole paragraphs' worth of nothing but cuss words.
  • This bit from Jesus (Not that one.) from The Big Lebowski, used in a This Is for Emphasis, Bitch! sort of way: "Let me tell you something, pendejo."
  • Young Frankenstein. "He would have an enormous schwanzstucker!" Schwanzstueck, though nonexistent, literally means "tail piece" in German. However, Schwanz is also used as a slang term meaning "penis."
  • Similarly, Johann Krauss' "Suck my ectoplasmic schwanzstucker!" at the end of Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  • Some of the background characters in Titanic swear in Swedish. "Jävla helvete, det är vatten på golvet!" ("Bloody hell, there's water on the floor!")
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop has a little lesson about the usage of the word "tabarnak".
  • Peter Stormare delivers a line of curse words in Swedish in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. "Helvete. Helvete Jävlar. Fan!" Translates to something like "Hell. Bloody hell. Damn!"
  • In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Napoleon attempts bowling. When he rolls a gutterball (the force pitching him onto his face), he repeatedly shouts, "Merde! Merde merde merde merde merde merde!" which is helpfully subtitled, "Shit! Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit!"
  • Austin Powers
  • Every french Canadian remembers Justin Timberlake's HORRIBLE attempt to say Tabarnak in The Love Guru
  • In the Get Smart film, the Russian farmer who went to check on who crashed into his barn was swearing pretty profusely. In fact, most of the Russian phrases were ad-libbed by the actors. On the other hand, the farmer couple who sees Max and 99 in a Ferrari do not say "holy shit", as the subtitles suggest but merely blin (literally "pancake"; as a cuss word, close to "darn"), which is pretty mild.
  • The Hispanic agent in Balls of Fury calls a bad guy a pendejo.
  • In JFK, during the scene when Willie O'Keefe recalls the night David Ferrie explained the plan to assassinate Kennedy after a party, one of the exiled Cubans calls Khrushchev hijo de la gran puta (son of the Great Whore). Arguably, the worst insult one can say in Spanish. Yet, some official hearing impaired subtitles tone it down translating it as "bastard".
  • Tuco shouts two similar Spanish curses in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. First, when being carried tied-up into town, he shouts out "¡Hijo de puta te que parió!" ("Son of the bitch who whelped you!", through grammatically incorrect). Then, when Blondie abandons Tuco in the desert, Tuco yells the big one: "¡Hijo de una gran puta!" ("You son of a big whore!").
  • Subverted in the 1948 film I Remember Mama. Little cousin Arne, the son of Aunt Sigrid, is in the hospital after surgery for a fractured kneecap. When Uncle Chris comes in to visit, he teaches Arne what he says is a Norwegian swear word: "dumme gjet." (His explanation is that the swearing helps ease the pain. Off the back of some recent research, that's Truth in Television.) When a shocked nurse upbraids him for teaching a kid to swear, he informs her that "dumme gjet" actually means "stupid old goat."
  • In Bunraku, Yoshi says the Japanese equivalent of 'shit' when he realizes he's surrounded in the bar. Unlike the rest of the Japanese in the movie, it's not subtitled.
  • In the Bedazzled remake, Brendan Fraser's character's first wish is to be powerful and married to his Love Interest. The Devil, being a Literal Genie makes him a Colombian drug lord. Besides suddenly speaking in Spanish, he also finds out that his character speaks Russian when dealing with some Russian dealers. When he figures that out, he curses in Russian.
  • The Bobo - Peter Sellers' wandering musician character, looking for his big break, plays a song to an unenthusiastic theater owner, who critiques him with "As they say in France - merde."
  • The Swedish film Fucking Åmål has (obviously) an English cussword in its title.

    Literature 
  • A minor (but suitably irritating) character in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is named Scheisskopf (his wife being the lovely Mrs Scheisskopf).
    • Not really a softening use, though — at several points later in the book, the name is translated directly back to "Shithead" (although a word meaning literal shithead does not exist in German).
  • It used to be common for translators of bawdy works in Latin or other romance languages to leave steamier passages in the original language, so that they could only be read by "gentlemen".
    • Older Than Radio: Stephen Jay Gould reported that the only reason his father mentioned to study Latin was to translate the passages in Kraft-Ebbing's Psychopathia Sexualis (1886).
    • A bit later, the Loeb edition of Suetonius's Twelve Caesars had a page or two of his biography of Tiberius left untranslated. They were the pages about his rumoured debauchery on the island of Capri. Might have been corrected in later printings since newer translations generally include the passage.
    • Liddell and Scott's Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon (first published 1819, still the standard dictionary for Classical Greek) frequently gives sexual meanings in Latin. One of the great joys of taking Latin is to read literary masters call their critics or rivals, "donkey brained shitheads".
  • There's a book about Japanese street slang, insults, etc. with the title "Zakennayo"—while you might hear it on TV sometimes, it's not something you'd display prominently in a bookstore. (Translations range from "Don't screw with me!" to "Fuck off!")
    • The literal translation is just "Don't joke with me", as it's simply a contraction of the phrase "Fuzakeruna yo!". While this grammar usage is indeed really rude ("-na" suffix' dictionary definition 'IS'' "suffix for rude verb negation"), it's not strictly swearing. But in Japanese the more you maim the word in pronunciation, the ruder it gets, so the correct translation of the title would be indeed "Don't fuck with me". Yes, it's that kind of language.
  • Dave Barry's column "Europe on Five Vowels a Day" gives three "idiomatic expressions" commonly used by foreigners, with translations. "Ach du lieber!" and "Caramba!" are both translated as "Darn it!" The French phrase "Zut alors!", however, is translated as, "Look! A lors!"
  • Vivian Vande Velde's Companions of the Night has its leading man muttering "merde" several times under his breath. Several times all in a row.
  • Dale Brown is fond of making characters drop into untranslated, say, Gratuitous Russian oaths.
  • Ernest Hemingway made extensive use of this in For Whom the Bell Tolls. The Spanish-speaking characters have their dialogue written in awkwardly literal English, but expletives appear as "muck" and "befoul" and even "obscenity" ("Go and obscenity thyself"). However, when the Spanish is left untranslated, it's "mierda" (shit - noun), "cagar" (shit - verb, as in "take a shit") and "joder" (fuck - both the verb and the interjection) all the way.
    • A particular favorite is along the lines of "Me cago en la leche de tu puta madre": "I shit in the milk of your whore of a mother". Pretty forceful — although the snowclones leave something to be desired. ("I shit in the milk of their airplanes!")
  • "Sacrebleu" is a double subversion; literally it translates to "sacred blue" (which sounds harmless), but it referred to the Virgin Mary and there's a whole lot of stiff-upper-lip context associated with it, making it a serious curse in France (until about the end of the 18th century, anyway), but everywhere else just sort of a joke—like hearing "puta" or "culo" or, even worse, "maricón."
  • In the penultimate Animorphs book, Jake uses the Chee's non-violence programming to force them to help him end the war, and Erek drops into a language he doesn't understand for several seconds.
    Jake: What?
    Erek: I was offering you my opinion of your morals and your ethics and your sense of decency. I was speaking an ancient Mesopotamian dialect known for its wide variety of curse words
    Jake: Tell you the truth, Erek, that's the least of my problems right now.
    • Also "The Secret", where Ax says that the lumber company's name, Dapsen, has an impolite meaning in Yeerk that he won't say.
    • The Hork-Bajir controllers often slip into cursing in Hork-Bajir, leaving things a mix of English, the universal "Galard" language and Hork-Bajir. There's a common phrasing of something like "ghilfrash Andalite!"
  • Done in-universe by Drizzt Do'Urden, when he taunts some stone giants by saying "Mangura bok woklok" which is "Stupid blockhead" in stone-giant language.
  • Played with in The Ship Who Sang - one character, angry with another, spends a straight ten minutes yelling angrily at him in Russian. After he's left the room, suitably cowed, she admits that what she's really been doing was just reciting one of her grandmother's recipes... in Russian.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, a character from Far Überwald (Discworld's "Slavonic" countries) shrieks Bodrozvachski zhaltziet! at a time of great stress. Terry invented this as a piece of pseudo-Slokian which means nothing in any known Slavonic language, but which conveys all the sulphurous intensity of real Polish or Russian swearing. In fact, the Czech translator of his books left the cod-Slavonic in place, but went so far as to make the character voicing this oath into an explicit Russian, adding the explanatory footnote that cultured Czech readers would instantly know that only one race on this planet swears like that.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, turns out Belgium is "is the rudest word in the universe, which is "completely banned in all parts of the Galaxy, except in one part, where they could not possibly know what it means."
    • In many versions the word used in the scene is simply "fuck", but when this was censored from other versions, the author decided to make it into a joke by switching it to "Belgium" and adding in an explanation for its rudeness.
  • In The Quantum Thief Mieli swears like a sailor at times, in the author's native tongue, Finnish.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven: "I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabron and chinga tu madre!" The last part of this sentence was deleted from the film version.
  • In I Can Get It For You Wholesale by Jerome Weidman, Harry confides to Meyer that "Teddy Ast is a big schvantz." ("Schvantz" is Yiddish for "cock.")
  • Star Trek: Federation has Jean Luc-Picard remark, "Sacre merde," upon finding out that the chunk of Borg ship they just acquired from the Romulans has an artifact of the Preservers inside it.
  • The Dresden Files: Storm Front has a bit in Bob the Skull's introductory scene where Bob grumbles something in Old French, "though I got lost when he got to the anatomical improbabilities of bullfrogs."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters features a character saying "oh shit" in English on two occasions.
  • Firefly has extensive (and generally mispronounced) swearing in Mandarin. One wonders if the surreal effect this must have on native speakers of Mandarin is responsible for the show being completely unheard of there. Whoever wrote the DVD subtitles didn't even recognize it as Mandarin: anything more than a few words is rendered as [SPEAKS GALACTIC LANGUAGE].
    • The novelization for the film actually translates the swears in footnotes.
  • British curses abound in Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles often uses obscure British slang terms, whose true meanings few Americans would know, but which generally sound like insults in context. Some of these have highly vulgar origins; for instance, Giles uses "berk" as an insult, which comes from the Cockney rhyming slang "Berkshire Hunt". (What rhymes with Hunt?) One episode lampshades this through misinterpretation:
      Buffy: "He called you a toth. It's a British expression, it means, like, moron."
      Giles: "No. Toth is the name of the demon."
    • Spike often used less-than-polite British slang, including the memorable "We band of buggered" (parodying the St. Crispin's Day speech "we band of brothers") as well as frequent "bloody"s and "sod off"s. A shot of him giving the two-fingered British "up yours" gesture in one episode actually ended up as part of the Title Montage in later seasons.
  • Desi Arnaz, on I Love Lucy, using the Spanish equivalent of "pregnant" when the English word was unacceptable for broadcast.
  • Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation has let slip a "merde" at least twice, in "The Last Outpost" and "Elementary, Dear Data" note . He also swore up a storm in Klingon in one episode. Even the visiting Klingon passenger was impressed (swearing being something of a respected art-form among Klingons).
    • Riker once swore in Romulan in response to a Romulan defector trying to get a rise out of Worf with Klingon insults.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Two Live Crew Job" the Israeli muscle for the opposing team throws out a quick "Kus shel ha ima shelha" at the team leader. Generally used as a "Fuck you" equivalent in Israel, the literal translation is "Your mothers cunt".
    • Also, in the pilot, Sophie calls Nate a "wanker" when he shoots her back after she shot him while he was trying to arrest her.
  • In the pilot episode of LOST, Sawyer (a Southern redneck) accuses Sayid (an Iraqi) of having caused the plane to crash. During the ensuing fight and argument, Sayid calls Sawyer "Ibn al-Kalb", which is Arabic for son of a bitch.
  • One episode of Stargate SG-1 features a very surprised Russian soldier saying "Bozhe moi," which is (inaccurately) translated by the DVD closed captioning— not the subtitles— as "Holy shit." SG-1 is notable for being a show that wasn't afraid to take advantage of its cable heritage and let a "shit" hit the fans now and again.
    • For reference, the actual translation is "My God." Same basic exclamation as in English.
    • In Stargate Atlantis, Dr. Radek Zelenka is played by David Nykl, who speaks fluent Czech. Word of God says only about half of Zelenka's Czech lines are scripted, and Czech fans have confirmed that not only is there a lot of uncensored swearing, he sometimes breaks the fourth wall.
  • LeBeau of Hogan's Heroes occasionally speaks French (it helps that the actor actually is French). What he says then is not particularly offensive; it's mostly colloquial French, with a dose of argot, but there are one or two expressions that would not have been aired on 1960s French TV.
  • Late Night with David Letterman did a bit where a woman shouted out obscenities in Finnish. On stage. Uncensored. In reality, however, none of what she said was actually obscene, but relatively mild insults delivered in a tone that suggested very offensive content. Apparently they would have still had to bleep the bad words out had there been any, so they settled for what they could get away with.
  • In the Japanese series Cutie Honey The Live, the character Duke Watari is noticeably fond of screaming out "SHIT!" whenever he gets upset about something.
    • Similarly in Soul Eater Free sometimes yells "GODDAMN SHIT" after messing up.
    • Swing Girls has a cute high school girl shouting "Shit!" as she misses her stop on the subway. In subtitled anime, the Japanese word for 'shit' (kuso) is often translated as 'damn' for American audiences because of the similar usage.
  • Married... with Children's Peggy comes from Wanker County, Wisconsin (IIRC).
    • It's also her maiden name. In one episode she meets an old classmate or similar, who even goes so far as to greet her as "Peggy Wanker, no need to thank her".
  • In the last episode of the first season of Heroes (and then again in the first episode of the second season), Hiro says something in Japanese that is subtitled only as "&%#* " and that I've certainly never heard in any anime.
  • Subverted in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide - in "Guide to-Bad Habits", Moze tries trash-talking he volleyball opponents in Dutch (but not really) to avoid getting penalized for foul language. The referee turns out to be Dutch (wearing wooden shoes in a school gym!) and penalizes her anyway.
  • Air Crash Investigation: In "Pilot vs. Plane", the pilot audibly shouts "Merde!" right before he crashes his plane into a forest.
  • Botched regularly in Friends, by Joey. He says "Va fa Napoli!" (which roughly means "Go to Naples!", in Italian), when he actually he meant to say "Vai a fare in culo" ("Go do it in the ass", or, less literally "Go get fucked in the ass").
  • Malcolm in the Middle has Lois' ambiguously foreign co-worker shouting "chaluzmerack!" when the store is held up.
  • In the Russian medical show Interny ("Interns"), the American intern Phil Richards speaks Russian very well but will occasionally swear in English. Of course, most Russian know what "shit" means but don't consider it to be as offensive as equivalent Russian swears.
  • Top Gear is fond of letting non-English speakers express themselves. The best example was probably the Top Gear vs. D-Motor challenge, where the Germans were cursing with great passion. English subtitles were provided that made them sound like an English granny in a very mild snit.
  • In the Covert Affairs episode "Begin the Begin", Annie has to protect an Estonian asset, who, upon getting shot at during a car chase, launches into a string of what are presumably profanities in Estonian, given that Annie responds, "You have some mouth on you."
  • In the fifth season premiere of Mad Men, Don's new French Canadian wife drops a rather brilliant "... calisse." Any French Canadian will immediately recognise this as an absolutely perfect Precision F-Strike as well.
  • An August 1973 telecast of Match Game '73 had the question "Jack's ________ fell asleep at the movies." Bert Convy's response was "arse." Richard Dawson took Convy's response card and tore it up.
  • Played for Laughs in the Korean drama Faith (aka The Great Doctor). The titular doctor gets angry at an aristocrat and insults in English.note  Later, he gets sick, and they think she put a curse on him. It gets so prevalent that her saying "Red Cross" is enough to get three fully armed men to back off.
  • There's at least one season one CSI: NY episode where Stella was apparently cursing in Greek, although there's no translation given.
  • Burn Notice:
    • In "Old Friends", Michael says something in Czech to a Czech assassin sent to kill him after punching the guy in the throat. The subtitles translate it as "WELCOME TO MIAMI ASS***".
    • One of the series' minor running gags is the fact that despite being born and raised in Miami, Michael doesn't speak Spanish. Twice in "Enemies Closer" he has to have text messages in Spanish from a dead Latin gangster's phone translated for him, resulting in first Larry, then Fiona telling him, "He called him a pendejo. That's like 'idiot' but ruder."
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl persuades Catalina to visit Joy in the Camden County Jail. The two women quickly get to trash-talking each others' appearances. Catalina remarks on the scar on Joy's belly, thinking it's a C-section scar. Joy tells Catalina it's not a C-section scar, it's where her prom date stabbed her which he was paid to do by Liberty, Joy's half-sister and lifelong rival, and that she birthed both of her children naturally. Catalina replies, "Then I guess your gatito is as saggy as your breasts!"

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE: "Go to Karzahni" is commonly heard.
  • On the LP Monty Python: Live From Drury Lane, the Cocktail Bar sketch has four businessmen. John Cleese is reading the Times:
    Cleese: I say, it was in page 8...Nixon's had an arse hole transplant.
    Michael Palin: Y'see they stopped press there. The arse hole rejected him.

    Music 
  • Richie Kavanagh's song "Aon Focal Eile" - a hybrid English-Irish song about a teacher teaching Irish. She said 'Aon focal, dá focal, trúir focal, eile' - and I not knowin' no focal at all. Translated to English means, She said 'One word, two words, three words, another' - and I not knowin no word at all. The humour is from the fact that "Focal" (an Irish word meaning "word") is pronounced "Fuckal". Sing along, children, here.

    Theatre 
  • One memorable example comes from the musical version of The Producers, in the number "You Never Say Good Luck in Opening Night," which features the phrases "Merde" and "Vaffanculo", which are swear words in French and Italian, respectively.
    • Merde, in French, can actually be used to say "good luck". It's a shortening of the phrase "merde a la puissance treize" which translates literally as "shit to the thirteenth power". Loosely it can translate to "go get them", "give them hell" or "break a leg".
    • The second one, in Italian, means roughly "get bent" only more offensive.
    • It's a popular chant at football matches.
      • According to Sterling Johnson's book "Watch Your F* cking Language," the full phrase is "Vai a fare in culo" which translates to "go do it in your ass."
    • The aforementioned Italian phrase is also used by Rizzo in Grease in the song "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee".

    Videogames 
  • In God Hand, Elvis is inherently fond of swearing in Spanish in a regular basis. Most notable in the battle quotes ("Time to play, pendejo!"note  "¡No hablo inglés, cabrón!").note 
  • In Resident Evil 4, the Spanish-speaking Ganados use some words that, if translated, would probably crank the game's rating up (and it's already Rated M for Money). Hell, the first words said by the first Ganado Leon meets roughly translate to "What the fuck are you doing here? Get out of here, asshole!"
  • Funny variation in the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Parts of Manella's dialogue is internet slang and leetspeak, and he therefore gets away with exclaiming "WTF!".
  • Scarface: The World is Yours has Tony and some of his enemies liberally dish out the Spanish. They have no problems with using English as well, though.
  • In the Wii Punch-Out!!, various boxers who are walking national stereotypes speak foreign languages. Great Tiger tells Little Mac (in Hindi) to do what translates to suggesting he go back to his mommy's milk, while Bald Bull asks (in Turkish) if Louis (Mac's Trainer) is teaching Mac how to get spanked.
  • Gratuitous English-loving Date Masamune of Sengoku Basara shouts words like "shit" and "goddamn" quite often in-game.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Spy has "Oh, merde!" (shit) as one of his angry one-liners. The Medic will also call his teammates "dummkopfs" (which is wrong in German - it should be "Dummköpfe", and is laughably mild).
  • Grunty, the german mercenary from Jagged Alliance, often exclaims "Scheisse" (Shit) when he spots an enemy. Another mercenary, Ivan, also swears in Russian. (Then again, in the first two games, he only speaks Russian.)
  • Final Fantasy XIV of all things seems to love doing this; the Gridanians have been effing and blinding with British expletives. Bollocks, arse, shite... In voice acted scenes, characters are given vaguely to strong British accents as well.
  • Tear, the fairy half of Recettear's main Odd Couple, mumbles "merde" whenever she gets exasperated.
  • In the game Soul Calibur II, Yoshimitsu says a few Japanese curse words... What's so odd is that these words are ALSO IN THE JAPANESE VERSION!
    • In V, when Ezio fails a throw, he sometimes mutters "Cazzo." (Fuck.)
  • In the 2005 game The Warriors (based, of course, on the 1970s cult classic film), while the New York "tough-guy" characters cuss a blue streak anyway (just as in the movie), there is also some untranslated Spanish when the characters take a side trip to Spanish Harlem, and some of the Puerto Rican expressions would be even more offensive than what is normally heard in the game were they to be rendered in English. Two examples are "Me cago in tus madres" ("I shit on your mothers") and "puto" (used repeatedly, and a very offensive name to call any male, since its connotation is somewhere between "bitch" and "faggot.").
    • It literally means male prostitute. That being said, the word's so offensive you'll probably prefer to use synonyms when discussing male prostitution in Spanish (such as 'prostituto' or 'chapero').
  • Used frequently in the Grand Theft Auto games which feature communities foreign to America: they (mostly Hispanic) swear in their home language (it's easier to hear whenever you cause a traffic accident), but other languages are not exempt (Portuguese-speaking players are guaranteed to get a laugh in IV when they hear a driver - very rare thoughnote  - yelling "vai tomar no cu, filho da puta!", which means "kiss my ass, son of a bitch!").
  • Interesting case in Tales of the Abyss: Asch often calls Luke "dreck" as a placeholder title and insult. The word is indeed uncommon, but not completely unheard of in North American English and it was likely brought over from the German language where it carries the meaning of "trash" or "inferior goods", hence Asch's usage of the phrase. However, the original Yiddish version of the word, predating the German use, is much stronger and harsher.
    • The yiddish is probably intentional, considering the game is overflowing with Jewish mysticism.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio curses off the final boss, Pope Rodrigo Borgia, using an Italian phrase translating to "Go fuck yourself."
    • The Assassin's Creed series as a whole is fond of this. Unless outside the Animus, English swear words are rarely heard.

    Webcomics 
  • The Dreadful: Erin's final words are "Leck mich."note 
  • The Drow of Drowtales use every normal English swear word, from the F's all the way to the B's and C's, but they most frequently use the insulting 'Mother-killer'; their culture places heavy importance on matriarchy, so someone who kills their own mother is seen as the worst kind of person.
  • Girls Next Door:
    • "ESPECE DE PETIT SALOPERIE DE BORDEL D'EMPAFFE DE POULET PSYCOPATHE!!!" Translated? LITTLE FUCKING PSYCHOPATHIC PIECE OF CHICKEN SHIT!!!
    • This is only one example, as Christine uses these more or less regularly, as does Javert and occasionally Erik. Less flowery things like "Merde" are trademark of the French characters in mother series Roommates too.
  • The mostly sweet-natured French-Canadian DiDi of Ménage à 3 rarely resorts to vulgarity in either of the languages she mixes quite freely, but at one point she loses it completely at the frustrating Yuki, and specifies exactly why she wants to borrow Yuki's boyfriend Gary, in French.
  • Scandinavia and the World: Finland says "Perkele" a lot. (In fact, it's almost the only thing he ever says.)
  • TwoKinds: What Flora says when she breaks her foot is apparently "untranslatable".

    Web Original 
  • Quebecois Let's Player raocow does his LP's in English, but when frustrated will sometimes start swearing in Canadian French. One several occasions he's even gone into a full-blown Foreign Language Tirade.

    Western Animation 
  • "Wanker" and "shite", which are considered quite rude in British English, are apparently exotic enough that they can be used on The Simpsons without anyone batting an eye.
    • Also a source of amusement when Mork and Mindy was first screened in the UK - generally on a Sunday afternoon just before the mandatory God-Slot - when Mindy's landlord, Mr Wanker, was introduced.
    • Same with "Ay caramba".
    • The German version of the enraged cook's cry against Homer in Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner includes Italian swearing. And not just a random swearing, but one that will get you instantly banned from any show on Italian TV, as actors and local Big Brother contestants found out at their own expenses. Despite it being one of the most common utterances in Real Life Italy.note 
    • It should be noted that - until 1999 - 'pronouncing the name of God in vain', while common, was technically a crime in Italy. Which is not really surprising, all considered.
  • A single episode of Daria has the English characternote  saying "wankers", "tossers", and a few lesser swears. When aired in Britain, the character's scenes were so heavily edited that they made little or no sense.
  • Futurama has Amy occasionally cursing in Cantonese.
  • Oglethorpe, the Austrian-sounding Plutonian alien from Aqua Teen Hunger Force once called someone scheißkopf, a German word that literally translates to "shithead".
  • In American Dad! Klaus uses some German words that sound extremely dirty, and knowing that the show, like Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, was created by Seth MacFarlane, they probably are.
    • Not really. They are mostly English terms literally translated to German, usually making them complete nonsense.
  • Mas y Menos in the Teen Titans animated series got away with at least one and possibly more questionable phrases (including "Este viejo nos está jodiendo" - "This old man is fucking us over!") part from the Spanish and part from their rapid-fire speech.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, designer Gaston le Mode said "mon dieu" when he was surprised. That's not a particularly strong swear, but seeing as it's a kids' show, saying "my god" in English would probably not even be allowed.
    • In another episode, Dr. Doofenshmirtz tells Perry the Platypus "You scared the schieße out of me!"
      • If he said schieße then it's not a problem, that just means shoot. Scheiße means shit

    Real Life 
  • In an international-level fencing championship, one fencer made a mistake and swore in Swahili. An elderly member of the audience stood up and informed the referee that he'd done so, and the offender was penalized.
  • Some anatomical references sound not only more polite but sexier when spoken in French. Take, for instance, "derrière" or (to quote Christopher Buckley):
    There was another phrase much in Suzy's repertoire then: "belle poitrine." As in, "Mrs. Buckley, of the belle poitrine." For years, I laughed along with it; then, one day in French class, we got to body parts, and I discovered it meant "great tits."
  • A football game for Euro 2000 where a young David Beckham tripped a striker from the opposing side (Greece). The striker's response as he was sitting on the grass? "Ante gamisou, re malaka" (ie. Fuck you, you wanker.) The referee did not catch it, but Greek viewers laughed their asses off. (Eventually, they lost, however)
    • When the Scottish note  curling team was tipped for gold medal at the winter Olympics and naturally attracted great Press interest, American TV was dismayed to point microphones at them during play only to capture lots of inventive Caledonian invective. The American TV people asked the team to tone it down a little so as not to offend American viewers. The Scots, who always talked like that and had freely done so since the days when TV crews only pointed cameras at them, saw no reason to stop now and suggested if American TV wanted to avoid offence, it should turn the fucking microphones off, do you fucking get that, Jimmy?
  • This actually happens a lot in the Netherlands, where people love to over-use English swear words. They aren't considered as bad as they would be in English. For example, part of "Uncle Fucka" from the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was once shown, uncensored, on the evening news during an item about bleeping out swear words on United States television.
  • Foreign exchange students in South Africa can't believe Afrikaans uses words like 'vak' (subject) and 'kant' (side). 'Kies' means 'choose', so the joke goes, Choose your side and subject...note 
    • The German word kunst also makes non-Germans blink, especially when they realise it means "art".
    • The Afrikaans word kind means "child" and looks inoffensive, until you realize that the "i" is actually an "uh" sound...
  • Fairly frequent in Quebec, with fuck and shit being seen as overall quite mild (and perfectly acceptable on prime-time television), compared to Quebec's vast array of liturgy-based swearwords.
  • In Canada in general—or at least on the CBC—swearing isn't as heavily censored as in certain other places one might name. The 6 o'clock news, for example, won't bleep anything but an F-bomb. Individual networks vary on other matters.
    • In the 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (a native French speaker) told a group of striking truck drivers to "mange[r] de la merde".note 
  • A coffee shop chain in southeastern Massachusetts named Marylou's (known to some as "Hooters of the morning") has a featured drink called the "Funky Fanabla". Demangled into standard Italian, it comes out to "va fa Napoli", which means, more or less, "go to hell", and literally something along the lines of "go do it like they do in Naples". The drink itself is some kind of iced coffee something or other.
  • Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov took French lessons, and her instructor told once told her to underline any words she didn't know and ask him. Reading Les Misérables, at one point, she saw the word "merde (shit)", and since the tutor wasn't around she went to find her father and ask him. Cue awkwardness when the Tsar asked the tutor why she was learning that word.
  • Might be a very group-specific thing, but on some chats and forums that blot out all the common English swear words, people will use the most horrific profanities from their native language. For example, using the Finnish profanity "perkele" (basically a harsher version of "fuck") in a sentence "pretty perkeleen big" ("pretty fucking big"). This can lead to some comedy when people who don't speak the language try to use the same words, especially if the language requires inflection (because most people will use the words in the context-sensitive right form anyway.)
  • On CNN, when discussing President Obama's "looking for 'whose ass to kick'" statement in regards to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Ed Henry, not wishing to say the actual word himself, substituted it with 'arse'. (This was after he'd been teased for earlier replacing it with 'butt'.)
  • Most swear words in modern Hebrew are actually loanwords from Arabic or Russian that were a lot stronger in the original. Hence, you'll have people throwing around things like kibinimat (Russian, from k yebeni materi, which means "[go] to [your] fucked mother") and kuss ummak (Arabic, meaning "your mother's cunt", implying either that the insultee should return there or that the insulter had done something with it) a bit more freely than in the source languages.
    • "Yob tvoyu mat'" (Russian, meaning "fuck your mother") gets thrown around a lot too.
  • In Ethiopia most people learn about American culture through movies and music videos. This results in small kids trying to impress foreigners by shouting out "fuck you". The "Fuck You" capital lies around Shashamane and Awassa where kids say it the most, and is incredibly funny when they instead shout out "fuck me", and then wonder why the Americans are laughing at them.
  • In Germany most people don't consider the English curse words to be big deal. Especially "shit" has about the same level as "Mist", which translates as crap. But Germans are generally lax about the use of swear words.
  • In Norway, some people love to use the word shit liberally, although as it is completely homophonous with the harmless Norwegian word "skitt" (dirt), it's hard to tell which they are using. Dirt, meanwhile, derives from the Norwegian word "drit", which today is considered vulgar. They've also got the dialectal "skit", which does mean "shit" but still isn't too vulgar for normal informal conversation.
    • Norwegian swear words are very context sensitive. Politicians and celebrities can sit on talk shows all day talking about how fucking well they got their shit together without anyone batting an eyelid, but the moment they call someone a fucking idiot, they can expect bunch of nasty headlines in tomorrow's papers. The issue isn't with the words themselves, but their potential as insults.
  • Anglophone ex-pats in Korea sometimes say "Eighteen" to express mild irritation (or to warn mildly-irritating friends that they're on the verge of becoming more-than-mildly irritating). The Korean word for 18 (십팔 sip-pal) is nearly homophonous with the language's preferred obscenity (씨발 ssibal).
    • Children are often endlessly amused when their foreign teachers mispronounce the former as the latter.
  • European French-speaking people have a very nasty habit of using Québécois curses. Actually, every single Quebec French word suddenly becomes exotic, but "tabarnak" is especially popular. Can lead to hilarious situations.
  • The Washington, DC DMV issued a Vanity License Plate reading "MERDE" without realizing what it meant.
  • 419 Scam baiters use these a lot. One scammer was left standing at Amsterdam airport holding a sign reading "Kontneuker" (Dutch for "ass-fucker"), under the mistaken assumption that it was the surname of his contact.
  • Amusingly, the quote for this page, when exposed to an internet translator actually came up with "Damn fucking fucking fucking shit asshole motherfucker of." Brilliant.
  • Swedish people typically know a few Finnish curse words and sometimes use them when their own ones aren't enough - and vice versa.


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