Even though many churches really don't want us to use the Lord's name in vain, many people, especially in fiction, will end up saying "Goddammit" or "Oh My God" for one reason or anothernote
. However, a writer can't invoke a
god in a fantasy environment because monotheism is rare
, so where we say "Oh My God", characters in the fantasy universe will say "Oh My Gods!"
Depending on how developed the world is, it is also quite common to invoke actual gods by name, such as the Gauls in Astérix
saying "By Toutatis!" (well, he was
an actual Gaulish god). Another common variation used by future civilizations
is to invoke science or scientists instead. Occasionally an Alternate History
with a non-monotheistic major religion will use this to demonstrate how different that world is. Sometimes a Physical God
will reference themselves
in this manner, with "By me!" "Jesus H. Me!
" or similar.
Pretty much Truth in Television
: although "Oh My Gods" isn't realistic, just plain "Gods!" does occur in Greek and Roman literature as an exclamation, although admittedly the emphasis is a little different (the speaker will usually address the gods with an appeal for help or an incredulous "Do you see this?"), and phrases like "ye gods
" (and its minced-oath version "egad") or "by the gods" are equally common. (Also common was the singular "God", which might mean either the chief god of the pantheon, or whatever god the speaker happened to be particularly devoted to.) Even more vulgar constructions have been found as well; a popular epithet found carved into walls by Roman hooligans is "By Juno's twat!" It's not uncommon in modern times, either; depending on what circles you travel in, such as pagan, polytheist, atheist, fan, or geek, "Oh my God!" may well be a rare expression.
is Orphaned Etymology
, which writers may consider avoiding. If, in the created world, there is nobody referred to as "God", and if there isn't at least a belief in an afterlife/underworld called Hell, then nobody should use expressions that invoke either — although a charitable audience
could always put this down to Translation Convention
See also: Unusual Euphemism
, Curse of the Ancients
, Hold Your Hippogriffs
, Pardon My Klingon
. For non-human examples and belief systems, see Thank the Maker
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Anime & Manga
- In Sweden, the most common swearwords concern the Devil and Hell. So, in the Swedish newspaper comic strip Himlens Änglar (Angels of Heaven), the Devil shouts "MY SELF AT HOME!" when he hits his thumb with a hammer.
Films — Animation
- In the Rankin and Bass film The Flight of Dragons, Carolinus, the green wizard, utters, "By the beards of antiquity!"
- Cars uses it a few times. "Sweet Chrysler", "Ford Almighty", "thank The Manufacturer", etc. The Ford one might just be a Shout-Out to Brave New World, see below. Or not.
- Lampy from The Brave Little Toaster says "Holy mother of Edison!"
- On Monsters vs. Aliens, Dr. Cockroach says, "By Hawkings' chair!"
- In A Bug's Life, Thorny swears, "Jiminy H. Cricket!" In fact, the name "Jiminy Cricket" was an old euphemism before being used in Disney's Pinocchio.
- "Allah" is inserted into various expressions in Disney's Aladdin. The Genie also calls Aladdin "Doubting Moustaffa", which is likely a reference to "Doubting Thomas".
- When Hercules demonstrated his god-like strength to him, Phil utters "Holy Hera."
- Philoctetes voices the sentiment just after agreeing to train Hercules.
- Pain and Panic recite this line word for word later on in the film.
- The microscopic cast of Osmosis Jones use "Frank" in place of "God", this being the name of the man whose body they inhabit/constitute.
- Characters of How to Train Your Dragon have been known to say "Oh gods" and swear by Thor and Odin.
Films — Live-Action
- Jokingly used in Hot Fuzz: upon discovering a naval mine in a farmer's shed, Danny says "By the Power of Grayskull!!" in this manner. Nick says the same line upon seeing Danny's extensive DVD collection.
- In Anchorman, Ron Burgundy utters a number of mythology-themed oaths, including "By the Beard of Zeus!" and "Great Odin's Raven!", etc. etc. The outtakes reveal that many of these were ad-libbed by Will Ferrel.
- Star Wars: "Thank the Maker!", often said by C-3PO. In his specific case, this was Darth Vader. Not that he remembers.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Jedi use "Force" for the same reason. During Marvel Star Wars, Vader at one point refers to "all the gods of the Sith"! (The original sith people were said to have worshiped the Dark Jedi as gods, so "all the gods of the Sith" may easily refer to the first dark lords.)
- In Galaxy of Fear, someone says "May the stars forgive us."
- There is that time in Epp 1 where Jar Jar invokes the gods (ye gods! what is mesa sayin')
- Galaxy Quest: "By Grabthar's hammer."
- "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged."
- "... what a savings!"
- In Oh, God!, God swears to tell the truth, "So help me me."
- Doc Brown from Back to the Future iconically uses "Great Scott!" repeatedly, and uses "Sir Isaac H. Newton!" at least once.
- The phrase "Oh my User!" manages to sneak into TRON once or twice. In fact, the programs of TRON and TRON: Legacy view users as gods in general, and invoke them as such.
- The apes in the 2001 Planet of the Apes movie do variants of this with Seimos, the gorilla from Leo's space station who originated their culture and became a god figure.
- In Superstar, when Jesus appears to Mary Katherine Gallagher she says, "Oh my God!" and he responds, "Oh my me!"
- Dorothy uses "Jiminy Crickets!" In the movie of The Wizard of Oz.
- Vanity uses "Great Smurf in heaven" to Grouchy when he lets out a fart in the sink while bathing in The Smurfs 2.
- In the movie Spartacus, one character exclaims "Great merciful bloodstained gods!" after receiving some bad news.
- In The Last Starfighter, Centauri tells Alex Rogan, "May the luck of the Seven Pillars of Gulu be with you at all times."
- Mortal Engines gives us Tom Natsworthy's "Oh Quirke!"; Chudleigh Pomeroy's "Great Clio!", Wolf Von Kobold's "By the Thatcher!" and Nimrod Pennyroyal's frankly quite awesome [[spoiler: GREAT POSKITT'S HAIRY ARSE!!"
- The Star Trek Novel Verse has many:
- The Betazoid "Great Fire!" and "By the First/Third/appropriate number House!"
- The Efrosian Xin Ra-Havreii sarcastically replies to comments that the planet he's on is pleasant with "yes, yes, a virtual Endless Sky you've brought us to".
- The Tellarite "By Kera and Phinda!"
- Some Cardassians swear on Oralius.
- Andorian "By Uzaveh!", "by Thori!" or "By the First Kin!"
- The Nausicaan's "Four Winds". Savonigar's tegol, "free at last from the prison of his flesh, soared with the Wind, to the Heart of the Sky, where his ancestors awaited his arrival".
- The inhabitants of Yakaba are good, Kolk'r-fearing people.
- The Selenean "Spines of the Mothers!"
- The Damiani "By Ho'nig"
- Romulan "Elements!"
- Choblik "By the Grace of the Great Builders" (overlaps with Thank The Maker, given that Choblik are cyborgs who were non-sapient until the Builders installed their implants).
- The Koas worship The Architect of Time.
- The Trill "Maker of All Things!"
- The Bolians have the Vein of Mystery.
- The sacred Ferengi prayer "this is my final offer!", given to the Blessed Exchequer.
- In Frank Herbert's Dune series, despite the fact that Maud'Dib and his son Leto II are both worshiped (and both involved in eradicating other religions, especially the latter who was viewed in a more or less monotheistic way), characters frequently exclaim "Gods Below!" throughout the series.
- In Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm series, many characters worship a fire god, and use expressions such as "scorch it," or "that blazing bastard."
- The King Must Die, set in ancient Greece, had the line, "By the Mother, yes!"
- The people say "godsdammit" or "Bigods!" occasionally.
- "By Io!" rather than "By Jove!" and in one book the exclamation "Oh my god!" prompts the reply "Which one?"
- In another book, frequent exclamations of "Oh God, what did I hit?" by cart drivers give rise to a god of small animals run over by carts to whom that question may be properly addressed.
- Inverted in Small Gods where Omnians — members of one of the few monotheistic religions on the Disc — say "Ye god!" rather than "Ye gods!" (which many monotheists on Earth say without even thinking about it).
- In the same novel Om, the Omnian god, says "Oh, Me!" (Note the caps.) Which wouldn't have been odd if he wasn't a small turtle with a single true worshipper.
- In one book it explains that this is an important function of gods: it takes a very dedicated atheist to shout "Random fluctuations in the space-time continuum!" or "Outmoded superstition on a crutch!" after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Dwarf gods especially have no other reason for existing, and the dwarves claim to have no religion.
- Bilious, the "Oh God" of Hangovers, moans "Oh, me..." in moments of extreme suffering.
- The Oath of the Anhk-Morpork Watch includes several parenthetical instances where recruits may "(insert deity name of his/her choice)". As the Oath has been obsolete ever since the city's last king was beheaded, nowadays the recruits read the text verbatim, "his/her" and "insert" statements included. Vimes in the Night Watch explicitly mentions having all his men recite the oath exactly as written, and does so also after being sent in the past where such formalities are normally not given much attention.
- Flint Fireforge, one of the heroes of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, was fond of exclaiming, "Reorx's Beard!" Reorx being the patron god of the dwarves, he did have one hell of a beard, after all...
- Characters in David Eddings' Belgariad often swear by saying the individual names of the gods. In real life, "Belar, Mara and Nedra" is oddly satisfying.
- Angaraks swear by various body parts of their patron god, Torak. Most often his teeth or beard (Despite that he hasn't a beard). The more brash and irreverent ones will swear by his burning eye.
- Lampshaded in the Malloreon when a Melcene (one of the peoples who were not chosen by a god) exclaims "Oh, my God!". Belgarath retorts with "You don't even know who your god is."
- Everybody in Loyal Enemies curses by ghyrs, whatever they are, for example "What the ghyr", "Ghyrs take it" or "To ghyrs with it".
- The Night World Series by LJ Smith has many instances where the characters, particularly witches and members of Circle Daylight, will swear to their Goddess. Jez and Hugh tend to say it a lot, leading to Morgead figuring out that Jez is a Daylighter.
- The future civilization from Robert Rankin's Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls has enough reverence for Charles Darwin that a scientist uses the phrase "Charlie's Beard!"
- In A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, the people from Time City (essentially far-future) are very ceremonious atheists. Jonathan asks Vivian to "give your word of honour on the god Mao or Kennedy or Koran, or whatever you worship". Vivian, who comes from 1939 and therefore has no idea who Mao or Kennedy are, responds with "I give you my Bible oath."
- Citizens of Time City sometimes say "Great Time!"
- In the Diana Wynne Jones short story "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight" a character says "Great Tew!" Which is a village in Oxfordshire in real life, albeit probably not in the world where the story is set.
- Tew (or Tiw) is also the Old English pronunciation/spelling of the Norse god Tyr. As in "Tuesday".
- Fun fact: Tew is also the Cantonesse term for copulate. Essentially, you're cursing, "Great Fuck!" Which is kinda cool in its own way...
- Many Warhammer 40,000 novels have phrases such as "Golden Throne!" or "By the Throne," references to the Golden Throne of the God-Emperor of Man. Another interesting phrase (from the Ciaphas Cain books) is "Emperor's bowels!"
- And then there's the very enthusiastic Khornate variation: "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!". Preferably spoken in ALL CAPS.
- Which has led to an entertaining Slaaneshi mutation: "Porn for the Porn God!"
- "Blood for the Blood God!" "Harriers for the Cup!"
- In an interesting variation, the Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (Damocles Gulf Crusade edition) states that it is considered punishable to utter 'By the Golden Throne' or variations thereof when exiting facilities catering to the exit of bodily wastes/toilets. One time they exclaimed "Marneus Calgar's Heavy Converted Land Raider!" About a week before, an article in Games' Workshop's White Dwarf magazine did a painting/modeling article on just that.
- The warp is often substituted for hell. In the setting, the warp is hell.
- The Eldar are not shown enough for these to become commonplace, but they probably do swear by Khaine, or Asuryan, or Isha, or one of their many other deities.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space, spacers have been known to swear by Brennan's left ear. Murphy is also a popular choice, as is Finagle.
- In Ringworld, Louis Wu swears by "Cthulhu and Allah!"
- In another Ringworld book, Louis Wu was trying to get a catatonic Puppeteer to wake up, and in frustration shouted "By Kdapt, Allah and Finagle, I summon thee!"
- Brave New World
- In Ford's name!
- Crosses having their tops removed to instead represent the Model T, and the calendar reset to begin counting the years at the "Year of Our Ford."
- They also believe Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud to have been the same person. The given names are lost in obscurity, and narration mentions that, for reasons unknown, Ford took the name Freud when speaking about human psychology rather than manufacturing.
- In the Dragaera novels, the hero, Vlad, will sometimes swear by his patron goddess, Verra, or use curses like "Verra-be-damned", which makes sense as she is called the "Demon Goddess." He's particularly fond of the exclamation "Verra's tits!" note
- After realizing both that she hears this and that he can't turn it off even when the pair of them is physically present... he seems to step it up.
- Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness takes a brief divergence to discuss a small cult started around an insane Seer called Meshe, which excuses various characters to spout "Meshe's milk!" or "By the tits of Meshe!" whenever surprised or confounded. Both of which remind us that Meshe, although referred to as "he", is really a hermaphrodite like everyone else on the planet (except Genly Ai, who comes from Earth).
- Conan the Barbarian
- Conan swears not only by his own god Crom (and his devils), but by every god he's ever heard of at times. Mitra and Erlik are common — he sometimes invokes "Erlik's brass tool!" when shocked.
- Red Sonja would frequently swear "By Ishtar and Mitra!"
- In the Conan the Adventurer series, Snagg would sometimes swear "By Wodan's beard!"
- Harry Potter does this with Merlin. "Merlin's beard!" or even "Merlin's pants!", and also "Merlin's most baggy Y-fronts". And at one point "Merlin's saggy left--"note . Even muggle-born characters are heard using them. Strangely the character most frequently heard using "Oh my God" or similar phrases is Draco Malfoy, whose exposure to non-wizard culture was minimal.
- Alternatively, the use of "Merlin" instead of "God" may more or less be censorship by the characters, as they seem to at least celebrate Christian holidays. Draco Malfoy, then, may just be using a harsher phrase than the others.
- Lucius (and, I believe, Draco as well) has occasionally used "Good Lord". Usually seems to be in conjunction with insulting the Weasleys.
- ''Mortal Engines gives us Tom Natsworthy's "Oh Quirke", Chudleigh Pomeroy's "Great Clio", Wolf Von Kobold's "By the Thatcher!", and Nimrod Pennyroyal's frankly quite awesome GREAT POSKITT'S HAIRY ARSE!!"
- J.R. Ward's series, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, invokes this trope like nobody's business. The titular brotherhood, along with the rest of their vampiric race, swear by their deity (who is presumably responsible for all of creation, in their beliefs), a female figure known as the Scribe Virgin, and by the afterlife which they refer to as The Fade, by employing variations like, "by the Virgin!" "Sweet Virgin in the Fade..." etc.
- Certain Lynn Flewelling books have myriad variations on this — for example, "Bilairy's balls!" is used quite frequently in Nightrunner, mostly by rather shocked, less than polite males. To catalogue the rest would probably take a wiki of its own.
- In China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels, people from the city-state of New Crobuzon mostly all swear to the same deity, Jabber, using the stock phrases like "By Jabber..." and occasionally mixing in the lowercase "god" for flavor.
- In Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, characters exclaim "Great space!", "Galaxy!", or "He went space knows where." "Oh my space" is sadly absent.
- "By Seldon!" or variants is also used by some.
- In The End of Eternity it's "Time" for the Eternals (used many ways).
- Kushiels Legacy has a lot of the characters swearing by "Elua's Balls!" or "by Camael's Sword!" or something along these lines.
- The title character of Life of Pi, who puzzles the Indian community he grows up in by practicing Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam at the same time, appeals to "Jesus, Mary, Mohammed, and Vishnu!" in one breath.
- In the Magic: The Gathering novel The Brothers War, Rusko, a Yotian clockmaker, yells "Bok and Mabok!" Justified in that he was trying to make a point about Yotia's religion, which borrows deities from other cultures.
- Lightly subverted in Robert Holdstock's book Mythago Wood. Guiwenneth is a mythological Celtic figure, given life in mid-twentieth century England. At one point she swears, "by the god Cernunnos," but the narrator soon realizes that she's merely imitating English curses for fun. When she really wants to swear, she does so in her own language, and doesn't bring gods into it at all.
- Arthur C. Clarke:
- It is then played straight in the third sequel "3001: The Final Odyssey", when Frank Poole (Bowman's crewmate in the first novel) is recovered from space and revived (apparently having been cryogenically frozen by exposure to space), he is shown a recording of Bowman's last moments, with the audio strangled edited to say "By Deus! It's full of stars!". This is explained in the narrative by saying that since all religions are now united in the 31st century, all references to earlier gods have been overwritten with Deus, a single divine entity. (This is quite interesting in the translations of the novel to languages in which "Deus" is simply the word for "God". "By Theos, it is full of stars", is even weirder.)
- It is also played straight in Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth, where the inhabitants of Thalassa, having been seeded by machines and then taught science and technology by robotic tutors, never developed the concept of a religion. They are found to lack expletives: the worst one can apparently say is "By Kraken!", the name of the local volcano.
- "By the surly beard of Mrifk" often triggers a pass-it-to-the-next-reader moment in the party-game version of The Eye of Argon.
- Drizzt Do'Urden, after resolving that the Spider Queen Lolth is a demon in god's clothing and not knowing or really caring about any of the other deities, snarls "May a true god damn you all!" before leaving his family. Drizzt's friends, meanwhile, have battle cries of their own. Wulfgar, a child of a northern barbarian tribe, shouts "Tempus!" (a god of battle); Bruenor invokes Moradain (king of the dwarven gods). Another character in the same world, a priest, often murmurs "Oh my dear Deneir" in shock.
- Pixies in Kim Harrison's The Hollows series tend to swear by "Tink", presumably short for Tinker Bell. Common phrases include "Tink's knickers!" and "Tink's a Disney whore!" In the series, pixies and fairies are racial enemies; according to the pixies (we haven't heard the other side), Tinker Bell was a real faerie who assisted Walt Disney in getting massive amounts of Fanservice Past the Radar in exchange for helping her species become The Fair Folk with Good Publicity. As this drastically affects pixies' ability to live in an urban environment, we have the unusual case of profanity which means exactly what it says: pixies attribute most of their immediate problems and suffering to...
- The Trigan Empire has religion and superstition, but the characters seldom discuss it. Usual oaths, "By all the Stars!" and "By all the Demons of Daveli!", since Daveli is a friendly nation to the Empire this second one seems tactless.
- "Gods!" and variations thereof are common in the Heralds of Valdemar series. Characters with mentioned faiths sometimes invoke specific deities; examples include the Windborn, the Star-Eyed Goddess, and Vkandis Sunlord, the latter two having manifested as real characters on various occasions.
- In Brian Clevinger's Nuklear Age, the main character, a Cloud Cuckoolander if there ever was one, usually exclaims with Norse references, like "By Odin's beard!" At first, this seems like a parody of the above mentioned Golden Age superheroes, and a gag on how out of touch Nuklear Man is. The twist comes when the Dead Serious villain Nihel shows up, heavily implying the Norse gods are real (in some fashion), and Nuklear Man came from their society.
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen series utilizes this trope, usually by invoking the name of a particular deity alongside a term that is incongruous with them. As an example, a common curse is "Hood's breath", Hood being the King of High House Death and thus having no breath to speak of. Variations on "Hood's balls" is another common curse, eg. "Hood's balls under a big rock!"
- This is the form of curse used by members of the Malazan empire. Other cultures have differing curses. The Letherii empire in particular favored calling on the Errant in their curses, a god that had long since lost his following.
- In the Chronicles of Prydain, "Great Belin!" is one of sometimes-bard, sometimes-king Fflewder Fflam's favorite exclamations. Although never explained in the books, Belin was the name of an actual Welsh sun god.
- Various celtic gods are also sworn by in the Deverry series, as well as "By all the gods!" The favourite oath, however, is "By the black, hairy ass of the Lord of Hell!"
- In the Doctor Who novel spin-off series The New Adventures (usually called the Benny Books), Bernice Summerfield often swears by the goddess of peace and love, allegedly one of the dominant deities of her period. Strangely, she uses the oath and is even a nominal worshiper despite the fact that she knows for a fact that the deity is false, created as a telepathic projection to be used as a weapon in a war against a violent cult.
- The Edge Chronicles have characters swearing "By sky!" and, later, "By earth and sky."
- The rabbits in Watership Down often swear by their sun god Frith, occasionally using constructions such as "Frith in a pond!" or "Frith in a treetop!"
- Shows up in all of Robin Hobb's books.
- The people of the Six Duchies (and the Red Ship Pirates) have the two deities El and Eda, giving us curses such as "El and Eda in a tangle!"
- The Jamaillans, on the other hand, believe in Sa, a sort of all-encompassing, bi-gendered deity. This allows for fun expressions like "As sure as Sa's got tits and balls".
- In The Soldier Son trilogy, which is set in a different world from the Realm of the Elderlings, Gernians swear "By the Good God" ... which sounds a lot like ordinary, real-world curses, but this is actually the name of the "current" deity (as opposed to the old god of balances and death).
- Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire sometimes exclaim "Seven save us!" (Referring to the seven aspects of the Westerosi God.) Oaths are usually sworn to or by "the old gods and the new" (the new gods being the Seven and the old being the animistic gods of the North) or "in sight of gods and men." Averted by the monotheistic followers of R'hllor, the Lord of Light, who will sometimes correct those who refer to "gods" in the plural.
- Maya Angelou writes of being whipped by her grandmother for using the phrase "By the way" in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her grandmother explains after the whipping that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life", and no one takes the Lord's name in vain under her roof.
- At the beginning of Thomas Costain's The Black Rose, it is a fad among the university students to pick various obscure saints to swear by.
- In The Wheel of Time series, the dominant religious belief is in the Creator and the Light, a never-seen force which is at war with the Dark One, leading to many familiar English idioms substituting "the Light" for God ("the Light bless you", "the Light preserve us", "thank the Light", "the Light willing", etc.).
- Tamora Pierce, between her Tortall and Circle universes, goes to town with this trope. "Mithros, Mynoss and Shakith!" Others are "Goddess!", "Horse Lords!" and "Great Mother!"
- Duke Roger in the Tortall universe has a rather amusing bit of dialogue about how he will swear oaths by 'your' gods, who do kill people who break oaths made in their name, but since they have made it abundantly clear that they don't like him he refuses to worship them.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians does this, since, it's well, y'know... Either that, or "di immortales", which is the same, but Greek.
Dionysus: Zeus knows how many more.
Dionysus: Strike that. Even Zeus doesn't know.
- Guardians of Ga'Hoole
- The owls use the name of their god, Glaux, in typical English idioms ("Glaux willing", "Glaux bless", "Oh my Glaux", etc.) as well as some more hilarious variations like "Glaux-in-a-box!"
- Each species seems to have its own. The wolves use "Lupus", and the bears use "Ursus".
- In a definite Brave New World shout-out in the Mortal Engines series, Londoners and some other traction city dwellers use "By Clio!" they may also use the odd Ford as well.
- In Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson:
- In The Original Trilogy, most characters use "Lord Ruler" as a curse, because he is the only god most of them have ever known. Kelsier always tells them to stop it, because in swearing by the Lord Ruler, you acknowledge him as your god (rather incongrous if you're part of a group rebelling against said god). Sazed, however, often swears by "the Forgotten Gods''. They keep swearing by the Lord Ruler even after he is dead. In the 3rd book some characters start swearing by the Survivor. Even though Kelsier died before the Lord Ruler did.
- By the time of The Alloy of Law, three centuries after the original books, characters swear using various references to Ruin, Preservation, and Harmony, and also still swear by the Survivor.
- Parodied in Warbreaker also by Brandon Sanderson. The people of Hallandren do not swear by their gods, but by the Iridescent Tones (the force they believe empowers their gods). However, Lightsong, one of the main POV characters, who is a god, finds this annoying, mostly because he thinks "Lightsong the Bold!" would make a really awesome curse. After rambling at length on the topic to his (also divine) Love Interest Blushweaver, she finally demands to know "what in the name of You are are you talking about?"
- Sort of used inThe Chronicles of Narnia, but instead of using Aslan's name they'll refer to him as "The Lion". (i.e. "By the Lion's mane!").
- Characters from England say "By Jove" (a mythical deity they did NOT worship), while the Narnians say "By the Lion" (the deity they knew and worshipped). "By Jove" was a popular expression in England at the time even though the Roman pantheon was not actively worshiped. This was not something specific to humans visiting Narnia.
- At one point in their history, there was an attempt among The Draka to revive Norse paganism as actual religious practice. The effort failed, but as a result, Draka commonly swear on the names of Norse Gods. "Freya's tits!"
- In the comic scifi novel Mallworld, people regularly swear by "the Pope's tits", evidently just so the author can toss the incongruity of a female Pope in on top of all the other weirdness.
- In Iron Dawn, residents of ancient Tyre naturally use Caananite deities in their curses ("Baal's bloody balls!"). Most aren't shy about using words like "fucking" in everyday speech, because their pagan culture isn't as prudish about sex as our own Christian-influenced era.
- First Truth and its sequels have "Ashes!" used as a swearword, referring to cremation; characters will also sometimes say things like "By the eight puppies!" or "By the Navigator's Wolves," both of which seem to refer to a constellation very similar to the Big Dipper. Expressions like "Burn me to ashes" and "The Navigator's Wolves should hunt me/him/her" are also common.
- The Liavek anthologies love this trope. Curses range from "By the Red Faith!" (the most prominent religion in the setting) to the never-explained "Kosker and Pharn!" There's also "By the Levar's future tits!"note (which becomes "By the Levar's future womanhood," if you're trying not to be vulgar) and "Rikiki's nuts!" which, since Rikiki is a chipmunk-god who spends most of his time eating nuts (except when he's turning people into nuts), is probably meant to be taken literally. There's even a god of casual swearing by name of Ghologhosh, but, alas, no one actually swears by him.
- In Laurie J. Marks' Elemental Logic series, several characters swear by Shaftal (which, for a change, is not a god but the country where the books take place). However, the Sainnites use the more usual "Gods of hell!", and the half-Sainnite seer Medric often exclaims "Gods of my father!"
- In Lawrence Watt-Evans The Legends of Ethshar series, theurgy is a legitimate school of magic where you invoke a specific deity out of about 30 to hopefully do something for you. People naturally exclaim 'Gods!', or 'By all the gods in the sky, sea, and earth!' if the former isn't strong enough.
- The Dresden Files:
- Harry Dresden frequently uses "Hell's bells!" and "Stars and stones!" out of his deep faith in magic in lieu of an organized religion.
- The White Court use "Empty Night". Word of God states that the last 3 books will be named after these curses, as there is a very good reason why they are used...
- Thieves' World series got their share of swearing, including mentions of some deity's armpits and whatnot.
- Elaine Cunningham once wrote "One of my personal goals with the Waterdeep novel is come up with innovative curses that don't sound silly or stilted." in a discussion of language flavors supporting a setting or shattering Suspension of Disbelief.
- In the Codex Alera, the Alerans often swear by "the Great Furies". While they don't technically worship said Furies, they are immensely powerful Physical Gods (some of the nastier ones are Eldritch Abominations in all but name), and the Alerans do have a healthy personal respect for them, even if only the top Citizens know why.
- They also seem to like using "Crows!" or "Crowsbegotten", given that crows are a symbol of battle.
- Elric of Melniboné once exclaimed, "Gods!" and then added quickly, "You'll pardon me, my lords," because he was having a conversation with several gods at the time.
- The mostly atheist Dragonriders of Pern swear by the name of Faranth, and Faranth's egg. More often, their swearing is a product of their environment: "Shells and shards!" or expressions such as "... and the hindmost falls Between."
- In H. Beam Piper's future history, a lot of humans swear by Great Ghu, the Grandfather God of the nonhuman Thorans. (Some other writers have had their characters Shout-Out Piper by invoking Ghu as well.) And in his Alternate History Paratime series, some of the atheists of Home Time Line have adopted the gods of other lines for purposes of venting their emotions.
Tortha Karf began, alphabetically, to blaspheme every god he had ever heard of. He had only gotten as far as a Fourth Level deity named Allah when a red light began flashing....
- While it's not used in the series proper, many tributes to the Oz books (including Wicked and Emerald City Confidential) have characters swearing by Lurline (a fairy queen whom fanon has apparently upgraded to goddess status).
- The Marcus Didius Falco books by Lindsey Davis stick with "Gods", but it's often used by pious characters. More earthy ones say "Balls" or (Marcus's favourite) "Cobnuts". Variations include using specific gods, usually relevant to the situation (i.e. "Juno Moneta!" if you were financially screwed).
- At least one book set in ancient Rome by Steven Saylor had the exclamation "Numa's balls!" Numa was the second king of Rome, after the legendary Romulus.
- The Lensman series has folk swearing by alien gods, notably the (apparently metallic) Klono: "Great Klono's tungsten teeth!" "Klono's brazen hooves!" "Holy Klono's iridium intestines!"
- The book The Last Dragon had characters say "By Jesus's blessed tree!" sometimes. According to the author, this was an actual medieval curse.
- Warrior Cats does it with StarClan, like in "Dear StarClan!" or "What in the StarClan name is happening here?"
- Characters from the Gentleman Bastard sequence often use "Twelve Gods!", while Locke and other disreputable characters usually include the god of thieves in the pantheon, making it "Thirteen Gods!" (or "Crooked Warden!" if they're referring to him in particular).
- The Roman Mysteries has "By Castor and Pollux" or simply "Pollux!", the latter of which sounds a lot like a more modern word.
- And let's not forget "Great Neptune's beard!" or "Great Jupiter's eyebrows!".
- The Chalion sword & theology series by Lois McMaster Bujold includes “Five gods!” as a general exclamation that covers all the gods. While any of the 5 gods may be invoked by name (Father, Mother, Son, Daughter and Bastard), the most common curses are related to Bastard, his demons, and parts of His divine anatomy.
- In The War Gods series by David Weber, many characters use indirect references to the Gods (such as "By The Harp" being a reference to the goddess of music), but the main characters tend to use the name of the god they follow as a battle cry.
- Many characters in the series also refer to the evil gods when cursing: "Phrobus!" or "what in Fiendark’s name..." for example. This is more the equivalent of using "the Devil!" as a curse, since most of the characters who do this aren't followers of the Dark Gods.
- In Weber's Hell's Gate series, all currently mentioned religions have multiple deities, and one character actually exclaims "Oh My Gods!".
- In the Crispin's first scene in Guy Gavriel Kay's Sailing to Sarantium, he screams at an apprentice in a rather colorful manner involving Heladikos' (the in-universe equivalent of Christ) penis and buttocks. Other characters use 'Jad' as their equivalent of the Abrahamic God in ways such as "by holy Jad".
- In Catherine Called Birdy, Catherine learns that the royal family, rather than saying "God's Wounds!" like everyone else, has their own special swears. Following that, she swears to a different part of God's body every day until her family grows concerned at the level of profanity she's apparently using. After that, she chooses "God's Thumbs!" and sticks with it.
- Characters do this periodically in The Queen's Thief, occasionally quite humorously, as certain characters take it quite seriously (with good reason):
Costis: Oh, my god.
Gen: O my god. You want to call on the god appropriate to the occasion. After all, your god would probably be Miras, light and arrows and all that sort of thing, whereas my god is a god of balance and, of course, preservation of Thieves...
- In Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses novels, characters actually don’t swear by their gods (ironically, since much of the population doesn’t seem to care what the gods think of them) but by various levels of hell. Curses range from “red hell!” all the way up to “Black and red and silver and opal hells!”, in the case of one very frustrated character.
- In The Planeteers, the characters do use "My God", but Penton also swears by multiple gods. Including, on one occasion, "By the Nine Gods of the Nine Worlds, and the multiple deities of space!"
- This comes up a lot in the web-novel Domina. Everyone seems to have their own unique curses.
- Vampires reference darkness and blood ("blood and shadow," "deep night").
- Canians (pyro-vampires) put their own spin on the vampire curses, swearing "burning darkness" and "boiling blood."
- Angels reference dawn and Heaven ("day and dawn," "Saints above").
- Giants have been heard swearing "Titan's testes."
- Derek and Laura swear "silver and gold," which matches their parents' "silver moon and golden sun" but otherwise (explicitly) has no meaning.
- Akane swears "Musashi's __"
- Ling uses "Tezuka" in place of "God."
- The Flying Sorcerers by Larry Niven and David Gerrold is a satire in which most of the names are Shoutouts to Creators in the science fiction world. The two suns are Ouells and Virn (Welles and Verne), there's Caff the goddess of dragons, Rot'n'bair the God of Sheep and his arch-enemy Nilsn, Hitch the god of birds, and Elcin, the "great and tiny god of thunder, lightning and loud noises."
- Though the religion in question is actually a sect of Christianity, the Church of Humanity Unchained, from Honor Harrington's adopted planet Grayson, evolved a doctrine that was in many ways a reaction to their Death World. As a result, epithets for God on Grayson include the Tester, the Comforter, and the Intercessor. The phrase "Sweet Tester" is quite common.
- Specifically, it's a different way of envisioning the Holy Trinity - "Tester, Intercessor, and Comforter" = "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit."
- Twice in The Pentagon War, Lt. Colonel Doe says "Plague's poison!". She is a fervent believer in what Human-Centauri stands for, after all.
- Characters in the October Daye series by Seanan Mc Guire frequently swear by "Oberon's balls", "Maeve's tits", and something to do with Titania, these being the three deities the Fair Folk are all descended from. Leads to funny, as the Luidaeg, who is actually the offspring of Oberon and Maeve, will swear by "Dad's balls" and "Mom's tits".
- Battlestar Galactica has "godsdammit" and "Oh my gods!". A lot. Though "Jesus!" has been inadvertantly ad-libbed by the actors. Also in the mini-series as-yet-unrevealed Cylon agents would talk about God in the singular without the other characters thinking it was strange. There's an "Oh my God, they're Cylons!" heard on one occasion too. Monotheism existed in the Colonies so it is normal that some human characters utter it. We just don't know how common it was by the time of the holocaust (in Caprica, its sheer existence is borderline offensive). The cases in the Miniseries were probably more the result of the human belief system not being fully shaped by the writers yet.
- HBO's Rome has the especially spicy "Juno's cunt", which apparently was a real Roman curse, although it is usually translated as "Juno's loins" by classicists.
- Likewise, Spartacus: Blood and Sand has graced us with phrases such as "Jupiter's cock!"
- Alien Nation has the Newcomer Tenctonese swearing by one of the two gods of one of their main religions; the Tenctonese George Francisco usually curses "Celine!", but, notably, the initially bigoted human companion of Francisco, Matt Sykes, is heard more than once exclaiming "Andarko!"
- Rohan's Catch Phrase on The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg, a.k.a. Power Rangers IN ANCIENT IRELAND, was "By Dagde!"
- Hannah Montana: When Robbie Ray is asked to predict the winner of a DDR contest between his mother and the Queen of England, he clasps his hands, looks skyward, and says "please, Lord, let it be the Queen!"
- Various characters in The Legend Of William Tell swear by various parts of Jormanda(r). "By Jormanda's scared knuckle!" Some of them also use 'the powers.' Will himself occasionally speaks about Kalem this way. "Kalem is watching over us; there's a mist coming down."
- Babylon 5
- Aliens tend to swear by important figures in their own religion: "by G'Quan", "in Valen's name" and "Great Maker" for G'Kar, Delenn and Londo respectively. G'Quan and Valen later became important in the plot, though the Great Maker has yet to show up.
- Humans who join the Rangers also use "in Valen's name".
- Naturally. Minbari Profanity Is Better.
- Among Babylon 5 fans, "Great Maker" is a nickname for J. Michael Straczynski.
- In the British TV — and later stageshows — series Bottom, Richie tends to use the devil's genitals as swear terms. "What in the name of Satans portion!"
- Liz Lemon of 30 Rock likes "By the hammer of Thor!"
- That might be a reference to The Mighty Thor, given her notorious nerdiness.
- Also, in a conversation with a Hindu engineer, Jack Donaghy exclaims, "My God!" The engineer enquires, "Which one?"
- Farscape. Zhaan says "By the Goddess!"
- Whenever something goes quite wrong on Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe often takes the producer's name in vain: "Barsky!"
- When something unexpected happens, he will also exclaim "Shazam!", thus invoking six gods at once.
- In an early Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap", Sulu thanked Yeoman Rand for serving him lunch with "May the Great Bird of the Galaxy favor your nest." "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" became a Fan Nickname for Gene Roddenbery.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which prominently features the religious Bajorans, frequently had "Walk with the Prophets." ("May God be with you.")
- An exasperated Captain John Hart swears "Sweet Goddess, that's all I need!" in Torchwood.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- In later seasons, Willow will swear by the Goddess, or by Hecate.
- And Xander let out at least one "Merciful Zeus!" and one "Sweet fancy Moses!".
- In the comic Season Eight, Buffy has used "Sweet muppety Odin".
- This sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look has several characters making frequent and creatively diverse invocations of "Vectron", until one of them awkwardly asks what they're talking about, since he took a day off sick the previous week and they were all doing it when he got back...
- Earl from My Name Is Earl would often shout out, "Holy Moses!" While Joy made her catchphrase, "Oh Snap!"
- A Saturday Night Live sketch about Jim Morrison et al. in "Rock and Roll Heaven": Jesus Christ (Will Ferrell) as their manager talks about discovering them in a bar and blurting "Oh my Dad!"
- On Will and Grace, Jack did this often. Wonder Woman's "Suffering Sappho!" happened at least once, but he was more often inclined to shout out a three-named celebrity or pop culture phrase with three words. Such as "Jennifer Love Hewitt! What's going on here." Considering how much of a pop-culture junkie Jack was, it could almost be argued that celebrities were gods to him.
- Happened constantly in Stargate SG-1, given that the Goa'uld (and later, the Ori) claim to be gods and their human (and Jaffa for the former) servants believe this to be true.
- In Glee, Puck gets trapped in a porta-potty and shouts "Buddha, Allah, Satan, help me!" while struggling to get out.
- In the Jeff Dunham Comedy Central special Spark of Insanity, his puppet Achmed the Dead Terrorist utters this line:
"Goddamn it." (audience laughs a little) "Uh, I mean, 'Allah damn it." (audience laughs a lot)
- Similarly to the books, Game of Thrones will occasionally use this trope. For example, in one episode Jon Snow says "Seven Hells!".
- In The Almighty Johnsons, this is averted, but the aversion is lampshaded.
Agnetha: I've always found it funny when gods say "Oh my God." They should really be saying "Oh Me."
- Gorillaz bassist Murdoc Niccals swears in Satan's name a lot.
Myths & Religion
- There is an account of an early Christian martyr who was sentenced to death by drowning — before she had been baptized. (At the time, Christians were unsure whether an unbaptized person could go to Heaven, no matter how faithful they were.) The legend goes that when she was thrown in the sea, Jesus appeared over her and said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of Me, and of the Holy Spirit."
- Jeremiah 22:5 "But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, said the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation."
- Creon actually says "Be Zeus my witness" at one point in Antigone, making this Older Than Feudalism.
- Hercules, Castor, and Pollux were such common objects of swearing that in the plays of Plautus and Terence (probably following colloquial usage) invocations of them appear (throughout dialogue) in the semi-degenerated forms "mehercle", "edepol", and "ecastor". "By Jupiter" is a more serious oath, but not at all uncommon.
- Whether or not you actually have a taboo against swearing by "God," creative curses are good for characterization: in William Shakespeare's Othello, Manipulative Bastard Iago swears "by Janus" — the two-faced god.
- Lampshaded in the ancient Greek Clouds by Aristophanes. A man who has been put into financial difficulty by horseracing suddenly breaks his introspection to ask his son if he loves him. "Yes, by Poseidon!" "Not the god of horses!"
- Wicked replaces the word "God" with "Oz" For example, "Thank Oz you're alive" as opposed to "Thank God."
- Tales of Symphonia once cut off someone at "Oh my...". While that world is monotheistic, it actually has a goddess, and wouldn't sound right.
- Oddly, Knight of Ratatosk has characters simply say "Oh my god!" a couple times.
- It still would have made a nice in-joke, considering the the game's artwork was done by Kosuke Fujishima.
- Kratos in God of War is heard whispering "By the gods..." more than once. When he's not just screaming "ARES!", "ATHENA!", or the name of some other specific god, that is.
- In Guild Wars, the NPCs swear by the specific Gods of Tyria: Dwayna, Balthazar, Grenth, Lyssa, and Melandru. Which of the five depends on the situation and the character's profession.
- The Elder Scrolls
- "By the Nine!"
- Daggerfall (at least) had a bag of context-appropriate oaths, and a syntax for plugging a random one into dialogue!
- Morrowind has "B'vek" (mentioned in a few books), a contraction of "By Vehk" (as in Vivec, one of the three gods of the Tribunal).
- Characters in Oblivion will frequently say "For the love of Azura!" It's rather strange actually considering Cyrodiil does not look kindly on Daedra worship but nearly every NPC will say it.
- By Azura, by Azura, by Azura, it's the Grand Champion! I can't believe it's you! Standing here, next to me!
- It may have something to do with that while Daedric worship is not looked all that kindly upon, Azura is fairly commonly seen as one of the less malevolent Daedra.
- In Skyrim, after worship of Talos is banned, some NPCs use "By the Eight!"
- A few scattered similar comments could be found beforehand — most prominently, references to the Eight-and-One (Talos coming in after the Eight Divines, so 8+1 Divines).
- Similarly, Nords will also use "By Ysgramor!" or "Ysmir's beard!" as an exclamative, a reference to the first King of Mankind.
- Ysmir is actually the Nordic aspect of Talos. As in, the name they know him by.
- Neloth in the Dragonborn DLC swears by "Malacath's toenails!"
- At one point in Mother 3, Fassad exclaims "Oh my pork!"
- The Neverwinter Nights series has a lot of these.
- The Hammerites and Mechanists from the Thief series have lots of exclamations of this type (e.g. "By cog and by gear!"), but the most common is: "By the Builder!"
- Lyn and other Sacaeans (a nomadic people) in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword sometimes swore to Father Earth and Mother Sky.
- Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario 64 have phrases like "Oh, my stars!" and "Thank the stars!" Later Mario RPGs use Gosh Dang It to Heck! instead.
- Human (and some dwarven) characters in the Warcraft universe will often spout things such as "By the Light!" or simply "Light!", mirroring their Crystal Dragon Jesus faith.
- A favorite phrase of the Dwarves is "By Muradin's beard!" Muradin Bronzebeard is a dwarven hero who was believed to be dead after a particularly heroic mission. In World of Warcraft, Muradin himself even invokes this by exclaiming "By Me own beard!"
- In Warcraft 3, a Human Knight will say "By the Gods" when clicked on repeatedly, even though religion was barely estabilished at that point.
- As worshipers of the Naaru/Light, Draenei use similar exclamations to the Humans and the Dwarves, but they use "by the Naaru" just as, if not more frequently.
- Orcs and trolls have the spirits. More old-fashioned trolls have the Loa, and some of the more spiritual orcs may also invoke their ancestors.
- The Tauren and the Night elves swear by the Earthmother and Elune, respectively.
- The Forsaken have elevated Sylvanas to a near god-like position among themselves, saying things like "Dark Lady watch over you", much like humans use "Light be with you".
- The Pandaren in Mists of Pandaria invoke three of the four Great Beasts. "Jade Serpent guide your path." "May the Red Crane live forever." "White Tiger watch over you." For some reason, the Black Ox is rarely, if ever mentioned.
- Mass Effect
- Many asari swear by "the Goddess". Upon reading the codex, it is revealed that said goddess is named Athame. It also reveals that worship of said goddess is not the most popular asari religion, despite the fact that numerous asari make mention of her and none make mention of siari, the apparent dominant religion. (Whether that's because siari, being based on Buddhism, has no gods to speak of or because the codex was probably written after most of the dialogue was is up to you.) It is possible that "the Goddess" simply became part of common asari speech even for asari who did not worship Athame, similar to atheists who say "goddammit".
- Samara's use of "the Goddess" in other contexts indicates that she likely worships Athame.
- Mass Effect also has a human saying Thank the Maker, possibly as a Shout-Out to Star Wars. The codex also states that the discovery of alien ruins on Mars had a major impact on human religions, and started a few. The Maker may be the deity of a Prothean-inspired religion.
- Mass Effect 2 has Thane's son Kolyat speak this phrase verbatim at one point. It's his reaction to Shepard killing his hostage.
- Quarians will sometimes use the word "keelah" or "keelah se'lai" in this context. In the third game, Tali explains that the closest translation is "By the homeworld I hope to see someday."
- Turians believe in that groups or areas have spirits which go beyond the individual. Garrus will occasionally mutter, "Spirits!" as an oath.
- In Deus Ex: Invisible War, the Knights Templar faction utter curses like "Baphomet preserve me!" when injured.
- In the forums for Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, people will use Armok to swear. For example "By Armok's beard!" Also, "Holy Carp!" is a common expression. The carp aren't actually gods, but they are among the most feared animals in the game.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, most swears are by the Maker or Andraste ("By the Maker!" "Andraste's blood!"), exceptions including the dwarves, who swear by their ancestors, and Dalish elves, who swear by the creators.
Shianni: Andraste's ass, you'd think I'd learn some social graces.
- Andraste's Knickers also make an appearance. Isabela adds "Andraste's granny-panties!" to the list in "Mark of the Assassin".
- Varric's reaction to finding out that Meredith had the mind-warping lyrium idol forged into a sword? "Andraste's dimpled buttcheeks!"
- One of Alistair's curses overlaps with Unusual Euphemism: "Andraste's knicker-weasel!"
- Final Fantasy XIV uses "The Twelve" as a general epithet.
- Freedom Force's Mentor often utters "Suns of Shakar" and "Rings of Reznor".
- Forgotten RPG Shadow Madness has "Great Keerg!"
- Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria has the usual "By the gods," from assorted NPCs, but additionally has Rufus asking, "What the Hel just happened?" after a particularly climactic confrontation toward the middle of the game.
- Soviet troops in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 occasionally say things like "This Lenin-forsaken place".
- The New Hiigarans/Kharakians of Homeworld have developed an extensive repertoire themed around their 4000-year desert world of exile. This is mostly seen in the dialogue of Kiith Somtaaw units in Cataclysm:
Acolyte Pilot: (When destroyed by a non-Beast enemy) Curse you back to Kharak!
KUUN-LAN Command: Regret?! We regret the loss of the whole sand-cursed galaxy!
- The Monkey Island series has characters substitute "Blackbeard" and "Neptune" (and sometimes "Poseidon") for "God" ("Neptune's navel, that was a close one", "Now why in the name of Neptune's hangnails would I let you borrow this priceless artifact of a long-dead civilization?", "Neptune's beard!", "I said quit yer whimpering and grow some barnacles, for Blackbeard's sake!", "Nothing yet, thank Poseidon!"). The only exception, however, is Edward Van Helgen in The Curse of Monkey Island:
Van Helgen: You must take an oath now, before man and God, that you will never ever again sing in public.
- The Sims Medieval is the first Sims game to deal with religion; the deity is called The Watcher. This leads to Sims saying things like "By the Watcher!" "By the Watcher's Eye!" and, yes, at least once, "Oh my Watcher!"
- Characters in Jak and Daxter often exclaim "By the Precursors!" The mythical warrior Mar's name is also sometimes used as an oath: "Thank Mar you're here!"
- Numerous Minecraft custom maps and Machinima that feature Churches or other real world-esque locales with NPCs or dialogue would replace "God" with Notch, the screenname of former lead designer Markus Persson. A good example would be The Shadow of Israphel series.
Knight_Peculier: In Notch's name!
Xephos/Lewis: No, no Simon, I worship at the Church of Notch, like everyone else.
- A few characters in Borderlands 2 use this trope with Handsome Jack, the CEO of Hyperion, with such terms as "By Jack" or "As Jack is my witness". While he isn't an actual god, he is the head of the biggest Mega Corp. in the game and is enough of an egomaniac to have a god complex.
- In Borderlands several characters will swear by "the Angel", referencing the Guardian Angel who guided the original Vault Hunters to the Vault.
- Glitch took place in a world that had been created by eleven giants. Because of this, the term was "Oh My Giant(s)!" (which, handily, is still OMG).
- Roland thinks "ye gods!" after tasting some of Rina's cooking in Luminous Arc 2 and finding it terrible.
- The fantasy world of the Thief series features several religious factions, chief among them the Pagans, Hammerites and Mechanists. Each of these has their own variations of the trope. For example, when surprised or shocked, Hammerites tend to invoke "By the Builder !" or "By the Builder's name !" and the Pagans tend to exclaim "Woodsie !" (one of the terms for their deity, the Trickster).
- In Halo, the Covenant, being the religious zealots that they are, invoke the name of their gods the Forerunners, their Prophets, or the titular Rings. "By the rings!" is one of the more common ones.
- The Dishonored universe lacks a legitimate god figure, but it does have a seemingly omniscient/omnipotent otherworldly observer named the Outsider. Though worship of the Outsider is considered heretical and a punishable offense according to the local secular church, his presence does prompt some interesting examples of this trope.
NPC: Outsider's Eyes!
- In Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time, Yuri Gagarin uses, "by Lenin's whiskers".
- Skies of Arcadia places a significant amount of importance on the six moons surrounding the planet. Each of the main characters shouts "Moons, give me strength!" when casting spells, and many characters use the word "moons" in place of "gods."
- In the roguelike Liberal Crime Squad, recruiting Liberals in your Crime Squad sometimes has them exclaim "Oh my Science! Is there anything I can do to help?", a pure case of Hollywood Atheist being parodied.
- In the Flash short Bad Guys 4: Go to Hell, one of the Bad Guys leaves Hell to go to Heaven (which is apparently right next door to Hell) only to find that the Blue Shirted guy killed God last week and took over Heaven and now has everybody doing hard labor (To quote the Blue Shirt guy: "Life ain't fair kid. And neither is death.") When the Bad Guys figure that the treatment in Hell (getting hot pokers up your ass) is better and leave Heaven to go back to Hell, the Blue Shirt guy utters "Me Dammit!".
- Ultra Fast Pony:
- Rainbow Dash combines this trope with Valley Girl-speak: her default exclamation is "O.M.C.!" (standing for Oh My Celestia).
- In "Mob Wars", Applejack exclaims, "I swear to god... Do we even have gods in Equestria? But I swear..."
- Yugioh The Abridged Series gives us the episode where Kaiba and Yugi duel in the semifinals. First, when Yami summons Slifer the Executive Producer...
Kaiba: Oh. My. Money.
Yami: Don't you mean "god?"
Kaiba: You worship your thing, I'll worship mine.
- And then when Kaiba summons Obelisk the Tormentor...
Yami: Oh my various gods.
- Ye Gods! is the title of a Furry Web Comic that seems very intent on running Rule of Funny and a little Rule of Cool
- In Megan Rose Gedris's I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, the lesbian pirates often are heard invoking Sappho in this way, such as "Sweet Sappho's underpants!" and "Sappho's tits, no!" — unlike Wonder Woman above there is nothing subtle about this being a lesbian reference.
- The Order of the Stick
- Often done with Azurites, whose civilization is based on East Asia, saying, "Twelve Gods damn you!"
- Durkon the Dwarven cleric also invokes Thor's various body parts as exclamations. "Thor's Beard!" "Thor's Teeth!" "Thor's Duodenum!"
- At one point, the undead Card-Carrying Villain Xykon says, "Unholy crap!"
- Most of the other characters just say "Oh my gods." (Or "great elven gods".) Though for some reason, they usually use the singular when followed by "damn it!"
- Interestingly, Julio Scoundrèl once says "How in the name of Gygax..."
- Girl Genius
- Characters in tend to swear with variations "Sweet Lightning!" ("Red Fire!" has also been heard).
- Zeetha has been known to name-drop goddesses of her own civilization ("Ashtara above," etc.) when swearing.
- Religion is in general skirted around, but Christianity certainly exists (probably also Judaism), so possibly it co-exists with pre-Christian beliefs. Religion is going to be severely dampened in a setting where society is dominated by mad scientists performing technological miracles and exuding improbable amounts of charisma despite their excesses. Still, there ARE seven popes apparently...
- At least once a character (Baron Wulfenbach) uses "Gotterdammerung" in a manner similar to "God damn it". In German "Götterdämmerung" refers to the "Twilight of the Gods", i.e. Ragnarok from Norse myth (usually via Wagner), and isn't usually used as a swear word at all. Appropriating it as an expletive could pretty definitely be considered blasphemous to people believing in whatever gods are being referred to, though given who uses it that wouldn't be altogether a surprise.
- At one point Oggie uses the expression "by de Name— be qviet!". Whih may have been a reference to the Tetragrammaton, but in retrospect may be the name of the creators and masters of Jägerkin — the Heterodynes.
- The (ironically named) Moloch von Zinzer, an ex-soldier, also exclaims "Daughter of thunder" in the first chapter, when he picks up the device that killed his brother.
- An airship sailor once used "what in the freefalling hell..."
- Madre de Diodes
- Exterminatus Now
- Similar to Durkon from The Order of the Stick, Vinny Doombats from Erfworld has invoked his world's creator deities' (The Titans of Arc) anatomies: "Titans' testes!"
- And more recently, a frustrated Wanda has said "Titan's Teats".
- Eben of Two Lumps loves these. "Great Bast!" is his default (appropriate for a cat), but he gets creative on occasion ("Great Wattles of Herod!").
- Transformers fancomic Lil' Formers had Arcee grumble "Primus!" the way a disgruntled employee would use "Christ!"
- Insecticomics has characters swear by various show and comic writers.
- Liska of Tails from the Mynarski Forest has uttered "Oh embleer Frith!", a reference to Watership Down as mentioned above. "Embleer", by the way, means "stinky" in the Lapine language; the writer explained that since the idea of "stinky" varies from species to species, for a fox the phrase would be the equivalent of something like "Sweet Jesus!"
- The Vulpine in Terinu tend to swear "By the Holy Den Mother!" when excited, while a Ferin in a flashback refers to the Varn Gene Mage as "Great Father (accurate, given he really did create the Ferin race.) Interestingly, humans seem to avoid swearing by God, and for some reason Christmas is now refered more generically as "Yuletide".
- Mr. Mighty in Everyday Heroes has used the exclamation "Great Siegel's Ghost!", a Shout-Out to the "Great Caesar's Ghost" utterance of Perry White in the Adventures of Superman... Superman being a creation of Jerry Siegel. Well, in the world of superhero comics, he would qualify as a demigod, at the very least.
- The webcomic Oh My Gods is named after this Trope.
- Weregeek began to bless us with prayers to the geeks' pantheon:
grant me patience!
- The cast of User Friendly say "Ye gods!" with some regularity.
- Epiphany features a world where the main religion is duality, which as the name suggests, follows two gods. This trope pops up word-for-word quite frequently.
- GastroPhobia being set in Ancient Greece (well, The Theme Park Version), this is naturally used. Like other webcomics example, Phobia often swears by the anatomy of said gods, with several examples on this very same strip.
- Bob and George: "What in the name of all that is shadowy is going on here?"
- In one fancomic, the Obviously Evil main characters always use the term "OMS" instead of "OMG".
- Freefall has "Isaac Asimov on a bycicle!"
- Kaspall uses "Circle!" and "God's shape!", as explained here.
- "By the gods" in Impure Blood.
- "Monstrous" folk in Eerie Cuties seem to have their own traditions. Layla (vampire) once said "What in the name of the Impaler is going on here?" and Chloe (succubus) "Oh, sweet Lilith!". Layla later swore more graphically.
- Tedd from El Goonish Shive once exclaimed "what the morph?!"
- In Turn Signals on a Land Raider, a Warhammer 40,000 webcomic, Kren and Frep take this to a ridiculous extent, with phrases like "Emperor's Life Insurance!" and "Emperor's Pointy Keyboard!"
- In Rusty and Co., literally used by Prestige Perkins after Mimic and Cube save her.
- Walkyverse has "Cheezus" and "the Cheese" used quite often, alongside more conventional exclamations, likely as a a reference to the godlike Wanderer, whose head looks like a lump of cartoon cheese.
- Off-White Jera's exclaims "Dear merciful Fenrir!" after Iki gets food stuck in his ear.
- Various characters in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures are heard to say "gods!" or "oh gods!" - there's some suggestion that the nature of these gods, when revealed, will be plot-important. (Dan at one early point talks about "the face of God," but this is usually written off as Canon Discontinuity.)
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Nemesites (a race of man-sized butterflies) sometimes exclaim, "Sweet Mothra!"
- Jean's catchphrase is "Egad!"
- A few in n Drowtales, where "Sharess", the patron of the traditional drow religion, or "Goddess" are used in the same context a human would use "God" such as exclamations. Also contains a cultural example, rather than a religious one, in that to drow, loyalty to family and clan is generally considered very important. Hence, the drow equivalent for "motherfucker" is "motherkiller".
- In Sluggy Freelance, Kron, a demi-god of the Mohkadunese pantheon, says "By us!"
- Archangel Michael from Satan And Me says "Oh my Dad!"
- Justice League
Wonder Woman: Hera help us!
Green Lantern: She'd better. No-one else can, now.
- Also in the animated Justice League:
- Though the Transformers' "god", Primus (the one that doesn't involve Les Claypool), rarely appears in the animated media, in the '86 animated movie Kup exclaims, "Engage the boosters for Cybertron's sake!", and in Beast Wars, Rattrap once swore "by my great aunt Arcee".
- Well, "For Cybertron's sake" and "for Primus' sake" would eventually turn out to actually be synonymous in later series. It's also pretty common in some series for Transformers to say "By the Allspark!" Depending on the series, the Allspark is either the lifeforce of Primus, the place where all sparks originate from and return to after death, the mysterious artifact that gave life to all of Cybertron, or some combination thereof. Either way, it's Serious Business. Once, just once, we even get a "By the Allspark of Primus!"
- Likewise, "By the Matrix!" is used similarly. Unicron is also used as the negative counterpart of Primus, in place of The Devil.
- Optimus Primal uses Primus' name in a truly epic fashion at the end of the season 2 finale, screaming "BY PRIMUS, NO!!!!!!"
- Professor Farnsworth often says "Sweet Zombie Jesus!" The "Jesus" part is Edited for Syndication. (Though, apparently, The Second Coming of Jesus has come and gone (in the year 2443), destroying the vast majority of surviving video tapes in the process. This is, quite unsettlingly, seemingly what "Zombie Jesus" refers to.) In Bender's Big Score, Farnsworth goes one step further and begins a sentence with, "How in Satan's glorious name...?" He is crazy and senile.
- In "The Farnsworth Parabox", the Professor can be heard yelling, over the sounds of an experiment gone haywire, "Buddha! Zeus! God! One of you guys do something! Satan! You owe me!"
- Hermes is a goldmine of these. He utters "Sweet Haile Selassie!" as he is a Rastafarian. He also once said, "Ras H. Tafari!" Though not strictly gods, he is fond of unusual exclamations like "Sweet lion of Zion!" or "Sweet pony of Sierra Leone!" or once "Sweet... something... of someplace!"
- Bender once said "Oh your God!"
- Leela's ex-boss once used the expression, "Oh my various Gods!" Though the boss in question IS supposedly Indian, and quite possibly Hindu.
- All-Powerful Atheismo.
- The future civilization version is parodied in South Park: the atheists mock Cartman for saying, "Jesus Christ!" ("Hahahaha, you believe in a supernatural being.") but say, "Science damn you" and "Oh my Science!" Richard Dawkins, among others, complained after the episode aired that this was reducing science to a religion (a common creationist attack). Apparently Dawkins and company didn't realize that offending everyone and everything is pretty much South Park's stock in trade.
"Science H. Logic! What an asshole!"
- This becomes even FUNNIER when one remembers that Jesus ACTUALLY EXISTS as a character in the show. God has shown up a few times Himself. And believe it or not He's a Buddhist. A Buddhist that only accepts Mormons, even!
- Done in Disney's Hercules syndicated series, like in the movie. A lot.
- In the stop-motion television series The Wind in the Willows, Toad frequently used "By Jove!" Once, when he was on a time-travel kick, he was conked asleep and dreamt he went back to the days of Julius Caesar, in the well-known play version, with his friends (and recurring enemies) in the important roles. When he says "By Jove!" here, the character his mind has caused Rat to portray says "Yes, and by all the gods of Rome!" I think it happens three times before Toad cuts him off.
- The Simpsons
- Hindu shopkeeper Apu has been known to exclaim, "Shiva H. Vishnu!" Don't think about this one too hard, or you will find yourself pondering over the stupidity of it since Shiva and Vishnu are two completely different dieties.
- Principal Skinner gives us "G.M. Chrysler!" on one occasion. This may or may not be a Brave New World reference, see above.
- And then there's Sideshow Bob's "By Lucifer's beard!"
- Korgoth from Korgoth of Barbaria, when doubling over in pain from stomach parasites, yells, "Hairy balls of the gods!"
- People from Planet Ice in Shadow Raiders regularly exclaim "By the great glacier!" and "Thank the frost!". The people of Fire have "By the inferno!"
- Thundarr the Barbarian says either "Demon Dogs!" or "Lords of Light!" at least once per episode.
- Super Friends seems to have come up with standard ones for each of the DC heroes:
Superman: Great Krypton!
Batman: Great Gotham!
Wonder Woman: Great Hera!
Aquaman: Great Neptune!
Green Lantern: Great galaxies!
Black Vulcan: Great lightning!
Hawkman: Great birds of prey!
The Flash: By the wings of Mercury!
Green Arrow: (in one 1st season episode) By Robin Hood's bow!
- The characters from Wakfu also use quite often the name of their titular gods (from the same world as the MMORPG Dofus) within common expressions. "For the love of Crâ." "Sadida help us!" "Thunder of Ogrest!"...
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has multiple instances of ponies invoking the name of Princess Celestia. It's not altogether clear whether they actually consider her divine or are simply swearing by the next best thing they have, though.
- At one point, a magically shrunken and stranded Applejack exclaims "Thank Celestia!" upon being rescued (inadvertently) by Rainbow Dash.
- In a later episode, a Shout-Out to Gone with the Wind is made with Rarity saying "As Celestia is my witness, I shall never be sisterless again!".
- In "Putting Your Hoof Down", a Shout-Out is made with Fluttershy saying "As Celestia is my witness, I'm never gonna be a pushover again!"
- In The Last Roundup:
Rainbow Dash: Nothing! For the love of Celestia, just sit there and do nothing!
- In Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2:
Rarity: Sweet Celestia! Are you all seeing what I'm seeing?
- An episode of Robot Chicken has Jesus say "Daddamnit!".
- On Family Guy, after accidentally lightning-bolting a woman he was hitting on to bits and setting the bar on fire, God himself yelled "Jesus Christ!"... who opened the door behind him. "What?" "Get the Escalade, we're out of here!"
- On Adventure Time characters use words like "Glob," "Gob" or "Grod" for this...and then we meet Grob Gob Glob Grod, the four-headed Martian deity they are apparently alluding to.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob swears a Hindu god's name in vain to Mr. Krabs,
SpongeBob: Regga Fleeba Brecka Brecka Smullen-ullen Mr. Krabs!! Yegga Hegga Mergin Wallet!!!!! Dimmy Middy Spend! Rivy Flivy Diva Shiva Mr. Krabs Wallet!!
- Neptune is often mentioned by characters: "Oh Neptune", "Sweet Neptune", etc.
- The original ThunderCats has: "Great Jaga!" (wise, but not a god), "Mountains of Thundera!", and "What in the name of Thundera!?" (A planet in the original. Mother Earth religion relic?)
- In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter says "Einstein's Ghost!"
- Also from Dexter, we have Major Glory declaring "By Washington's Wig!"
- Rugrats has a recurring use of "Bob as my witless", which is a series of mondegreens in this case-the babies mishear the adults' use of the phrase.
- In The Year Without a Santa Claus, Santa uses "By the great Borealis! By my maps and charts" near the end.
- In the second season of Young Justice, Lagoon Boy had "Neptune's beard!"
- In The Smurfs, Papa Smurf would say "Great Smurfness" or "Great Smurfs Of Fire", while Gargamel at one time invoked the name of Beelzebub.
- Quite common in India, although almost never heard in english; people have a tendency to revert to their mother tongues when frustrated-slash-excited-ly invoking Gods' names.
- "By Jove!", a real English expression (albeit one that has completely fallen into disuse). "Jove" is another name for Jupiter/Zeus, though the phrase was also used (by William Shakespeare, for instance) to refer to the Judeo-Christian God.
- In Slovak, there exists the curse "doparoma / do paroma", Parom (Perun) being an old Slavic god of thunders (following the spread of Christianity his name became more or less equated with the devil).
- The exact same thing happened with the Finnish Perkele, whose name is now the most common curse word in the Finnish language.
- "Zounds", for its part, is a corruption of "Christ's Wounds"
- There is also "Gadzooks", which means "God's hooks" (the nails on Jesus' cross), and "Egad" meaning "Ye God".
- Cockney favourite "Gor Blimey" (God blind me) and Crikey, a corruption of Gor Cripeme, or God cripple me.
- "Tabernac" is used as a curse word in Quebec. It means approximately, "By the Tabernacle!"
- Quebec swearing goes nuts with this as all of their curse words are intentionally butchered religious terms. Amusingly, saying all of them in a row results in a Cluster F-Bomb when translated.
- A Quebecois joke: A French stage director was asked by his Quebecois assistant what props were needed for the next play (which had a scene in a church). In a hurry, he replied, "tabernacle, cierge, ciboire, calice, hostie." The assistant replied, "That's cool, now what did you want again?"
- Exclamations of this sort do appear in Roman literature. Cicero uses it in "di immortales" ("by the immortal gods") to indicate incredulity at one point.
- Many modern Pagans will say "God" and "Goddess" in their exclamations, or use more specific gods' names instead.
- In Denmark it used to be pretty common to say, 'May the gods be with them' (Må guderne være med dem) or 'The gods may know' (det må guderne vide) (Although this phrase is more common than the other) in everyday language, newspapers and television. People don't really notice they're being plural.
- In Sweden there is an old expression "gudars skymning" which is an equalent to darn it. Most people don't realise they are actually saying twilight of the gods.
- From the Philippines: "Susmariosep", (Jesus, Maria, Joseph) a classic favourite since the Spanish Colonial Era. Its more recent (and trendy) incarnation is the much shorter "Ay, sus." (Oh, Jesus...)
- That's a Catholic thing in general. The English-language version would be "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" — which is just as often used to express displeasure at a person than surprise.
- In Ireland, a common expression is still used: "Oh holy God almighty". This comes in a variety of ways, including "Oh holy Lord above us", "By the Lord almighty" and things to this effect.
- In Hebrew (of all languages) the expression "אלוהים אדירים/elohim adirim" ("great gods") is sometimes used (though it's not very common, it's not unknown either). It's clearly plural because of the plural adjective. ("Elohim" by itself has the form of a plural but is used for both the singular and the plural, as is the case for a few other words in the language.) The plural here is likely the majestic plural.
- In an especially strange example, the expression "great Scott!" could refer to General Winfield Scott, Union commander during the American Civil War. Some of his officers liked to invoke him in this way, apparently.
- In Spanish, "ojalá" is used to mean "hopefully" or "I hope that"; it's derived from the Arabic for "and may Allah will it".