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Pardon My Klingon
Tarara: Lalabalele talala! Callabale lalabalica falahle!
Calynx (horrified): Stop—stop, I beg! (All the ladies close their ears.)

The Science Fiction cousin of the Unusual Euphemism. Much like the frelling Foreign Cuss Word, even though everything else aliens say is translated perfectly, krutzing profanity will remain in the speaker's native language.

If this results from the Translation Convention, it's purely a smegging transparent attempt to appear edgy without bringing down the wrath of the zarking censors.

If Translator Microbes are at work, we're left with the sense that there are gorram Media Watchdogs even in the future. Blitznak! Then again, would you want your Belgium translator-microbes to tell the alien precisely what the zentraidon you've just slipped up and called its flurking mother? D'Arvit!

One common literary use of the splitten flitten trope involves common words from Earth languages misheard by aliens as swear words in their own languages — oh, shef'th! — much as the English "foot" resembles a French vulgarity. Or the French word for "seal" is pronounced exactly the same as the F-Word. Siripat sulat!

Curiously, Aliens Speaking English seems to be the least intrusive mechanism for this trope, as we can easily imagine a non-native speaker lapsing back into his native frakking tongue for an expletive. E chu ta! You bosh'tet! Shazbot!

See also: Translation Convention, Translator Microbes, Aliens Speaking English, Informed Obscenity, These Tropes Should Watch Their Language.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: "Yakh! Deculture!" Even when Zentraedi are speaking Japanese like the rest of the cast, this phrase tends to go untranslated. From context, it is almost always used as a profanity, though the word "deculture" eventually becomes human slang meaning "awesome!" in-universe.

    Card Games 

    Comics 
  • For many years, Comic Books and Newspaper Comics would indicate swears with punctuation symbols: #@!$%&* being the most popular choices, in just about any order. It can still occassionaly be seen, and has the advantage of being generic enough for any swearword the reader wants to insert.
  • Marvel Comics: The Kree tend to say "das't" a lot. Guess what it means.
    • In Marvel's 2099 universe (which takes place in the titular year), "shock" is the general all-purpose swear word.
    • Mojoverse natives Longshot and Shatterstar use the word "fekt", which from its usage appears to be the equivalent of "fuck" or "shit".
  • Guardians of the Galaxy has Rocket Raccoon's "krutacking". It seems to be only a non-literal, rarely-conjugated form of "fuck", like when he tells a pair of Earth raccoons to "put on some krutacking pants".
  • 2000 AD is rather fond of this trope:
    • The Mighty Tharg, the magazine's alien editor, regularly drops Betelgeusan terms into his editorials, such as 'grexnix' (idiot) and 'squaxx dek Thargo' (friend of Tharg).
    • ABC Warriors had some slightly bizarre examples in its early days. Two instances that stick in mind are "I started this... and by zrokk I'll finish it!" and "You krogging old ape! Why won't you listen to reason, drang it?"
    • Shakara uses 'frukk' on occasion, in exactly the way it sounds like it should.
    • Kingdom, on the other hand, averts this, with the dogs freely using curses up to shit (though the F-word seems to be off-limits).
    • Judge Dredd has a few. "Drokk" (the f-word), "Grud" (God) and "Stomm" (shit). Note that these are legally sanctioned expletives which suggests the originals are illegal, hence why Judges don't use them and neither do civilians, not wanting to run foul of the harsh laws in Mega City One.
  • Inverted in PS238, with a Restraining Bolt. Zodon curses like a sailor, so the resident engineer implanted a chip that translates curses as innocuous verbs and nouns, with longer tirades replaced by showtunes.
    Herschel: "How do you feel?
    Zodon: Like a Minty bee sank its Croissant into my face. What the Fluoride did I just say? What the Gumball did you do to me, you Windshield?!
  • Nick the Human Helicopter (Area 51 Did It) from Skin Horse is subject to a similar sort of profanity filter.
    Nick: Those motorfingers put some kind of shucking censor software in me. Said they were tired of my language. Buncha pineapples.
  • Jim Shooter introduced this to the Legion of Super-Heroes during the Silver Age.
    • When he came on as writer to the Modern Age version, which didn't use it, he brought it with him; suddenly, everyone was peppering their dialogue with "florg"s and "zork"s and "scrag"s.
      • Lampshaded when a later writer did a Clip Show issue of interviews of the legion's extensive Supporting Cast. One of them observed that those kids had some of the foulest mouths ... !
  • Green Lantern Kilowog of Bolivax Vik uses "Poozer" as an all purpose swear word.
  • And still in the DC Universe, Lobo uses the words and phrases "frag", "Feetal's Gizz" (foetal's gizzard maybe?) and "bastich" - mixture of bastard and (son of a) bitch - as generic swearwords.
    • Word of God says 'Feetal's Gizz" has a soft 'G'.
      • Lobo - The Last Czarnian has a section (10 Things To Know If You Ever Encounter Lobo) that states "Lobo's most used exclamation is FEETAL'S GIZZ, the diminutive of Feetal's Gizzard (or stomach)." Considering that the book was written by Giffen Himself, we could be looking at a Flip Flop of God.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures, Donald's alter ego encounters and assists an alien bounty hunter who keeps repeating the words "Syrza!" and "grabbaga putz!", which Donald takes for battle cries, but when he finally learns (through a whisper) what they really mean, the shock of the reveal is strong enough to make his cap fly off. And break the fourth wall.
    Donald: You can't say that in a Paperinik story!
    Alien (smugly): No? But I've been saying it all the time!

    Fan Works 
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Being a work set in the Star Trek-verse (specifically Star Trek Online), this is naturally used several times. Viewpoint character Eleya is Bajoran and frequently uses "phekk" (equivalent to the F-word, from context) and "sher hahr kosst" (contextually something like using "son of a bitch" as an exclamation rather than a description). Also inverted when she mentions that she learned the word "schmuck" from an Academy classmate.
    • In chapter nine a Benzite C.O. wonders what the shi'tzien they're doing rendezvousing with a task force in the middle of nowhere instead of hunting down the Orion pirates who just shot up the sector block. Later, Agent Grell, a Ferengi, calls the apparent Big Bad a val-eff and a skritz-jeb fanatic. Off Eleya's look he explains a val-eff is someone who won't take bribes (the concept apparently doesn't translate well).
      Eleya: What about "skritz-jeb"?
      Grell: Profanity.
    • From the side story Reality Is Fluid, Eleya gets tremendously pissed off when the referee in a springball match she's watching misses a foul by the guy she's rooting against.
    Eleya: HEY! That's a foul! Y'trel bo tava tu san yc'fel, Dakhur'etil va'yaputal!
    Other spectator: You want to come over here and say that?
    • Another Foreign Language Tirade in Bajoran in "The Universe Doesn't Cheat", plus Eleya getting into a pissing contest with a (digital) Klingon and cussing him out in tlhIngan Hol. She mentions in her internal monologue that one thing she learned on prior tours of duty was that when a Klingon insults you, you insult him right back.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet
    • The fic has a lot of Klingonese profanity being bandied about, such as this exchange between Meromi Riyal and Norigom:
      Norigom: And a very good morning to you, Meromi.
      Meromi: yI' meQ, petaQ.translation 
    • Inverted in chapter two and combined with Narrative Profanity Filter, from the perspective of a Vulcan noncom:
      "Kybok heard [Chief Petty Officer] Blackhawk say a word he had been told humans considered very rude."
    • Norigom later calls a Klingon captain he killed during the Klingon-Gorn War a "jinya", which from context probably means roughly the same thing as "petaQ".
  • The Wrong Reflection has Lieutenant K'lak, a Klingon in the USS Bajor's security department, tell a mirror universe Cardassian soldier that "if you call my parmaqqay ‘scum’ again, I will have your moQDu’ as a trophy for my quarters."
    Eleya: (narrating) Ew.
  • "Aen'rhien Vailiuri": Rihan (Romulan) this time.
    • After the Aen'rhien blindsides the Kazon:
      Sahuel: Imirrhlhhsenen nnea ri’nanovai didn’t even have his shields up!
      Morgan: Language.
    • Upon learning that they're going to have to carry the Kazon prisoners to the Optrican base on the Aen'rhien, Tovan tr'Khev's reaction is "Fvadt."trans. 
    • Morgan's retort to Jaleh's "Kire asbe abi too koonet!" is "Urru Areinnye!"trans. 

    Films 
  • On Lilo & Stitch, Captain Gantu is fond of using the oath "Oh, blitznak!" Stitch himself, when brought before the Galactic Council and asked to prove his intelligence, utters a string of words that is left untranslated from "alien" gibberish, although its profane content is clear from the shocked gasps of the hearers. Stitch's statement is so vulgar, a robot vomits. This trope probably was used to leave what Stitch said deliberately to the imagination, as there isn't much in the way of utterances left that would inspire such reactions from contemporary 21st century viewers.
    • Weirdly enough, Stitch's 'vulgar' phrase "Meega nala kweesta/kreesta" is used later in the TV show and theme park ride and translates as simply "I will destroy". The aliens' strong reaction is odd, since much of the franchise's alien language is relatively easy to translate for those who want to. Stitch later does, however, say something untranslated along the lines of "Hmpua manchiki", to which Jumba replies "You leave my mother out of this!"
      • Then again, words like "balls" or "rod" are not inherently dirty words, but both can be used as euphemisms for male genitalia. It's possible that like the previous examples, "Meega Nala Kweesta" most likely does translate into "I will destroy", but in the phrase's native language, it could also be interpreted as some sort of vulgar euphemism, hence the council's reaction.
  • Played for Laughs in the movie of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, every time someone swears, the film puts a black box over the person's mouth (and at one point someone's hand) and the film inserts nonsense sounds. Naturally, Scott himself Lampshades this directly. After one woman swears, he says:
    How do you move your mouth like that?
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland features Underlandish curse words. At one point the White Rabbit expresses his disgust at the actions of "real" animals who do their "shukum" in public.
  • Reversed in the live-action Transformers movie. Frenzy spends the whole movie scurrying and skulking around muttering to himself in Cybertronian, until, as one of his shots fatally ricochets back towards him, his last words are "Oh shi--".
    • The rest of Transformers plays this pretty straight, though.
      • "Oh Slag..." "That bot's got bearings of chrome steel." And so on....
  • Star Wars, mainly the Expanded Universe, has "stang", "kriff", "burn", and either "Sithspawn", "Sithspit", or just "Sith-", Depending on the Writer.
    • "schutta."
    • And "Emperor's Black Bones!"
    • And "karking" — really offensive to non-humans.
    • It got rather silly in Death Star, in which milking was used as a curse word.
    • This trope actually used in The Empire Strikes Back, in which a droid says "E chu ta!" and C-3PO merely remarks, "How rude!" rather than translating or replying. This has hilarious implications because the same phrase is said in Knights of the Old Republic all the freaking time.
    • Here's the complete list of Galaxy Far Far Away curses. More than a few are from languages other than Basic, the language that is rendered as the reader or viewer's language.
    • Still misses out Fierfek. Which although used by Mandos a lot one of them tells off a jedi when she uses it.
    • Episode 4 features R2-D2 whistle something to C-3PO in one scene, to which he is told "Watch your language!"
    • Jabba the Hutt occasionally uses "poodoo" in conversation, which is translated as "fodder" in the subtitles. Apparently the actual meaning has something to do with feces.
      • Sebulba in Episode I is also fond of using "poodoo" as a curse word.
    • And that's not even going into Mando'a. That language would probably lend itself to a GREAT Cluster F-Bomb attack.
    • And that doesn't count the five minute cuss-out that that Zsinj gives Han at the end of Solo Command. Zsinj could apparent curse fluently in a dozen languages, and Han was glad that call was recorded, as he wanted it translated.
    • The Devaronian Kardue'sai'malloc (the horned, toothy guy from the cantina in A New Hope) is a fugitive who goes by the pseudonym Labria. As explained in his entry in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, "labria" is a very rude word in Devaronian that translates to "cold food", though something of the meaning is Lost in Translation. He thinks humans are weird for using religion, sex, and excrement as curses.
    • In the New Jedi Order, after integrating her Yuuzhan Vong personality, Tahiri will sometimes drop swears in the Vong language. Khapet is the only one written out, and it's left untranslated (though it's used in a situation where "damn" or "shit" might have both been substituted).
  • "What the flagnar!?"
  • Subverted in District 9 - the aliens, due to their insect-like physiology, can't even pronounce human syllables, but when one of them swears at Wikus it is baldly subtitled as "Fuck off!"
  • In the original Angels in the Outfield (shown fairly often on Turner Classic Movies), a foul-mouthed baseball manager lets fly several times in the first few minutes of the film. Actor Paul Douglas was told to yell out anything he wanted (no problem there), then his words were cut, mixed, spliced together and run backwards, so that we don't really know what he's saying. The "swearing" sounds like gibberish even on a backwards play!
  • In the 2008 adaptation of the Strugatsky Brothers' Prisoners of Power the protagonist's Translator Microbes fail to translate the expletive "Massaraksh". In the original novel there were no Translator Microbes, so there was a good reason why it took some time for him to find out what it means, but in the movie he should have known from the very beginning that it literally means "the World inside-out''.
  • In the film version of My Favorite Martian, Martin frequently says "Blotz!" which translates pretty literally to "Shit" (including one instance where he asks, "Does a wild bear blotz in the woods?").
  • In Road to ... Zanzibar, the natives of Darkest Africa have their lines subtitled in English, but one line produces a [CENSORED] stamp instead of a subtitle.
  • Per Word of God, in the Na'vi language, it is quite possible to be rude or insulting, but not profane as such; the Na'vi don't have the concept of words that it's bad to say.
  • In the animated movie Fantastic Mr. Fox all the characters cuss by saying, well, cuss.
  • The Soviet Cult Classic, Kin-Dza-Dza!, features the Universal Swearword Acceptable In Civilized Speech, "Kju" (used to replace any contextually applicable swearword you can think of), as well as the Universal Word "Koo" (yes, there's a reason they sound similar), covering all other things the authors couldn't make up alien words for. It probably helps that all the Human Aliens are partially telepathic (and thus communicate with the protagonists by learning Russian from their minds, and only use the alien words for swearing or naming alien devices.
    "But Fiddler, even you must realize that this is the most elementary kju!"
  • Rio gives us this line courtesy of Linda:
    Linda: "Squawk squawk squawkity squawk squawk! [Beat] I'm sorry, I didn't mean to curse!"
  • Patrick Winslow in The Smurfs, who doesn't know a lick of how to speak in Smurf, ends up letting out a stream of words in Smurf that make the other Smurfs react as if he had a bad case of potty mouth.

    Literature 
  • Watership Down: Silflay hraka, u embleer rah. Literally, 'eat shit, you lord of stench!'

    This is an excellent example, because by this point in the novel, we have already seen all of these words (in different, innocent contexts). Shit is a pretty important consideration in your life, if you're a rabbit.note 
  • From the Star Trek Novel Verse, we have Vikak (A curse among the Payav), krught (a Tellarite curse), Frinx (the all-purpose Ferengi sexual euphemism), Grozit (the Xenexian all-purpose curseword), kyeshing (among Pacifican Selkies), and many more.
    • One novel even has Riker use an obscene whistle to shock an hysterical visiting Starfleet commander so he'd snap out of his panic. The whistle was a swearword in Bottlenose Dolphin, which was the distressed commander's species.
  • Mark Anthony's The Last Rune / Blood Of Mystery: After several characters come into possession of a translation spell, one character continues swearing obscure and bizarre oaths in his native language until he realizes they're being translated for his companions. As he puts it, "They work better when nobody else knows what you're saying."
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
    • "Belgium" is actually the most obscene word in the universe, except on Earth. This started in the original radio incarnation, where real obscenities were not permitted. (In the books, things are somewhat different... The US edition of Life, the Universe and Everything has a scene featuring the word "Belgium", with a rather long explanation of its significance. In the original British edition, they just say "fuck".)
      • This is referenced in the movie, where Ford, taking cover from the Vogons' attack, exclaims "Belgium!"
      • "Belgium" as a swear word has actually made it out of the Hitchhikers series and into popular culture in other ways as well. Stingray used the word on Neighbours.
      • Given the fact that Earth was a giant computer, the Earthling use of Belgium probably constitutes a vulgar prank on the part of some mouse.
    • Then there was Arthur's offhand comment in the first book, "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle" and a freak wormhole accidentally setting off a interstellar war... Further referenced in the game where the offensive phrase is the first phrase that you mistype - or if you always type perfectly, is pulled from your recent input into the command parser after a given number of turns.
    • Subverted in the novelisation of Starship Titanic. Blerontins, the resident aliens, use "North of Pangolin" (usually shortened to "Pangolin") which is "a particularly nasty suburb of Blerontis's capital". However, the Lemony Narrator is keen to inform us that "the general meaning was 'Shit'".
    • Earth's adoption of a game called cricket was responsible for the entire galaxy thinking we're a planet of completely tasteless philistines. The bit where the ball hits the wicket is especially nasty. (It shows up in every pre-contact culture as a universal genetic memory of the Krikket Wars, but only the British could turn the most terrible wars in Galactic history into a national sport.)
    • The repeated use of "What the photon" and Zaphod yelling "Starpox!" in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
    • In the radio series (and Life, the Universe, and Everything), the same passage explaining "Belgium" also gives us "swut," "turlingdrome," and "joojooflop."
    • "Zark" gets used a lot, as in "What the zarking fardles was that?" This may or may not be an Oh My Gods! reference to the Great Prophet Zarquon.
  • Played straight and subverted in A Clockwork Orange. On one hand, the Nadsat swearwords Alex and his droogs use are incomprehensible to English speakers (though the context makes them obvious). On the other, Nadsat is made up of Russian that Burgess either anglicised or used for his own purposes, as in "khoroso" to "horrorshow". Thus anyone with an even basic knowledge of Russian would be able to work out Nadsat in a second, though they'd probably be irritated by the spelling and somewhat puzzled by the Cockney rhyming slang.
  • In the Spaceforce novels, Jez speaks English but swears like a trooper in her own language. Because her partner Andri keeps his translator unit's profanity filter on, we only get the alien words.
  • The locals of the Sector General book series are so big on the galactic peace and harmony thing that their Translator Microbes do this on purpose. The euphemism of choice is "made a sound that did not translate."
  • In E. E. “Doc” Smith's The Vortex Blasters (a novel loosely associated with the Lensman series), the ultimate unrepeatable expletive on Tominga (where the language metaphors all revolve around plants) is "srizonified". Sentient telepaths, just like the Lens, leave this untranslated, but we are told that it is loosely rendered as "descended from countless generations of dwellers in stinking and unflowering mud."
  • In the Gordon Dickson Hoka story "Undiplomatic Immunity", "Garrasht!" is a swear word in Worbenite. This later enables the hero to unmask a surgically-altered Worbenit spy.
  • The fairies in Artemis Fowl use this:
    • The word "D'Arvit". In one of the margins, it is "explained" that if the word were to be translated, it'd just be censored anyways. Given the fact that there is already swearing present in the books (as well as the context in which 'd'Arvit' is used), it's obviously a fairly strong word. It's rather infamously used in fanfiction as 'd'Arviting', despite the fact that the word doesn't conjugate the same way as in English. It's worth noting that 'd'Arvit' was said as the first curse in the series, so at that point it could have meant, in context, 'damn it' (Which even seemed likely, given the word itself, and the færies pointing out that every human language originated with Gnommish). But that seems fairly mild. Bottom line, it's vulgar.
    • And also, 'cowpog', which is apparently a vulgar version of 'moron', from what a slightly-more-than-a-bit-delusional Artemis manages to explain.
  • Subverted in Discworld; Dwarfish words are occasionally used in such a context in a conversation that the non-Dwarfish-speakers present assume they're swearwords. Example from the novel Feet of Clay, when a group of angry dwarves discusses an attempted robbery on a dwarven bakery by human criminals with Captain Carrot of the City Watch: "They kicked Olaf Stronginthearm in the bad'dhakz!", "Let's hang 'em up by the bura'zak-ka!" Footnotes explain that the words in question meant "yeast bowl" and "town hall." The joke is upped when Captain Carrot, dwarf by adoption, patiently explains, "Now, now, Mr Ironcrust. We don't practice that punishment in Ankh-Morpork." with the footnote adding: Because Ankh-Morpork doesn't have a town hall.
    • Interestingly, the dwarf word for Littlebottom's name seems to be "Sh'rt'azs", which sounds rather like "shortarse".
    • There's also the dwarf insult tossed at Cheery when the dwarfs see her dressed in a way that clearly indicates she's female in The Fifth Elephant, "ha'ak". Later uses of "ha'ak" in Thud! establish that it's not gender-specific, apparently meaning something along the lines of "betrayer/sullier of dwarfishness".
    • Occasionally invoked with Troll words also. Monstrous Regiment introduces the word groophar, which is implied to be trollish for "fuck". Men at Arms has two troll recruits sworn into the Watch using a powerful Trollish oath, namely "or you'll get your ''goohuloog' heads kicked in."
    • This joke is also commonly pulled with archaic words rather than foreign ones, particularly in Guards! Guards!. The penalties for betraying the secret society involve "having your figgin roasted, having your gaskin plucked out", and so on, when these eye-watering words actually mean things like "mince pie" and "waistcoat worn by makers of spectacles". Similarly, there was mention of an esoteric punishment involving being 'hung up by your figgin', students looking up the word out of morbid curiosity and discovering it meant a kind of pastry. Leading to the conclusion that either the language changed over time or there was some secret horror to being suspended next to a teacake.
    • Captain Carrot is known as the only man who can audibly swear in asterisks. "D*mn!" But he has nothing on Rincewind, who can orate an expletive consisting solely of, "!"
    • The "children's" Discworld book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents differs from the typical "grown-up" Discworld novels only in that the swearing and sex references are translated into either Cat or Rat. The fully human Stupid-Looking Kid even swears in Rat, something that is instantly lampshaded.
    • The non-Discworld book Nation has characters using two languages, English and that of the Nation, both of which are rendered in English for the reader's convenience. The only untranslated word occurs when Mau complains that his new trousers "chafe the sresser".
    • Early Discworld books replaced the harsher swear words with dashes. A lampshade was hung on this in a later book, where a character has a verbal tic that causes him to punctuate his sentences with dashes and "-ing." This led to an ultimate Face Palm moment when a reader's mother sent an irate letter to Terry Pratchett, complaining about the amount of swearing present in the books. As he said, some people will complain about anything.
      • Lampshaded even earlier in Mort:
    "Well, —— me," he said. "A ——ing wizard. I hate ——ing wizards!"
    "You shouldn't —— them, then," muttered one of his henchmen, effortlessly pronouncing a row of dashes.
    • Also, throughout the series, the phrase "pardon my Klatchian" is used after a character swears. That sounds a bit familiar...
  • Characters in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels say "cruk" a lot, which means... pretty much exactly what you'd imagine, and apparently takes the same conjugation. Played with in Happy Endings (set Next Sunday A.D.) when "totally crukked" apparently comes from a kids TV show and just means "tired". The Doctor warns someone who uses it that this will change by the 25th century.
  • Used once in Redwall with the reportedly foul-mouthed squirrel Grood: "Gorrokah!" As well as "splitten flitten gurgletwip" and the other incoherent swearing he was repeatedly reprimanded for.
  • Inverted with in Barry Longyear's Enemy Mine: human and alien knew enough of cheap insults on each other's tongue (or at least they thought so), but fluid use of the foes' language was beyond either. So when slightly more complex profanity was used, guy had to stop and explain it — after all, what's the point of swearing at someone if the target can't understand? — they switched to this linguistic "problem" until all was clear... and then resumed the brawl.
    • In the original story, the exact phrase used by the Drac was "Irkmann, yaa stupid Mickey Mouse is!"
      • No, that was the obvious one. What required an explanation was "kizlode" = "kiz" + "lode".
  • The favorite four-letter word in Larry Niven's Known Space stories (including the Ringworld novels) is "tanj" — originally an acronym for "There Ain't No Justice."
  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth series, swear words are 'bleeped out' magically if spoken in the presence of a child, although the characters still object to this. An extreme case is in the book Roc and a Hard Place, where a roc (giant bird) is put on trial for using a swear word in the presence of an egg she was caring for. It turns out that although the roc didn't realize it, the chick inside that egg is actually able to hear and understand words spoken in his presence, even before hatching.
    • The curse words are consistently rendered in Symbol Swearing such that #### and $$$$ always refer to specific four-letter words. It's worth noting that these seven words of power carry enough power to literally scorch shrubbery and hair in their vicinity. One of the books involves the protagonists having to use Lethe water to unteach a goblin child who'd learned them too early and was causing trouble.
  • Subverted in Piers Anthony's Prostho Plus, wherein all dialogue is translated by the characters' earpieces. A clam-like alien shouts something that comes through as "Boiling oceans!" and the students surrounding him mutter, "Did he say 'poisoned anthills'?" "Yeah! 'Melted ice cream'!"
  • One of H. Beam Piper's Paratime stories had an offhand reference to a Paratime agent being unable to use a straight rearrangement of his real name to fit in because his first name, "zortan", is a particularly unpleasant swear word. The phrase "son of a zortan" pops up approximately 75 times over the rest of the story.
  • Dragonback has "frunge".
  • In Brave New World, John the Savage swears in Zuñi, the language of the area where he was raised.
  • "...and the prophet spake saying, 'Frak this, for my faith is a shield that is proof against thy blandishments.'"
  • In Daughter of the Drow, Forgotten Realms novel by Elaine Cunningham, happens most likely because a drow just have no reason to learn upper-Common words not related to things like commerce or magic:
    Liriel: I've pulled your tzarreth out of the fire four times, you've saved mine three—that sort of thing.
  • Subverted in one of the short stories that makes up Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang: one of Helva's brawns curses a hapless functionary off the ship by reciting a particularly vituperative string of syllables — her grandmother's recipe for paprikash, which she then proceeds to cook and eat.
  • Mortal Engines In Fever Crumb's far future London the term blog has become a general purpose profanity.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts the Tanith use "feth". The word obviously sounds a lot like fuck and the main protagonist thinks that it does mean that. Supposedly, it refers to the tree spirits back on Tanith. It is actually somewhat ambiguous in the passage where that claim is made as to whether Gaunt is telling the truth and it doesn't mean what people assume, or he's bullshitting an Inquisitor (and he's definitely got the attitude for it), or he's telling the truth and the word DOES still mean exactly what people assume. After all, there are some pretty, well, lascivious tree-spirits in the folklore of our own world.
    • The Verghast members of the unit, who join after Necropolis, have their own curse, "gak". Its noted by one of the commanding officers that the two separate parts of the unit starting to use each others' swear words was a good sign, that the unit was finally starting to gel.
  • William Gibson's "All Tomorrow's Parties" had a bit of twist on this concept in that the reader can hear the profanity, but the characters involved can't. "People are fascinated by the pointlessness of it. That's what they like about it. Yes, it's crazy, but it's fun. You want to send your nephew in Houston a toy, and you're in Paris, you buy it, take it to a Lucky Dragon, and have it re-created, from the molecules up, in a Lucky Dragon in Houston. . . What? What happens to the toy you bought in Paris? You keep it. Give it away. Eviscerate it with your teeth, you tedious, literal-minded bitch. What? No, I didn't. No, I'm sorry Noriko, that must be an artifact of your translation program. How could you imagine I'd say that?"
  • In Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien series, the main characters have a device installed in their brains that translates all alien languages, even aphorisms and gestures. However, it is stumped by Kreeblim's use of the word "Plevit", save that it seems to be rather obscene.
  • Bill the Galactic Hero often uses "bowb" as his expletive of choice.
  • Happens with the Hork-Bajir in Animorphs, though justified since they speak a mixture of their own language, Gilard, and English.
  • The Automatic Detective does this once with a nonverbal communication: in response to Mack's quip, Mack narrates, an alien "executed a maneuver with his tentacles that I could only assume was derogatory in nature."
  • The exclamation Khadasa! appears in Deryni Rising, although the characters otherwise use English, including other swearing in English on occasion (Archbishop Cardiel actually shouts "Goddamnit" once).
  • In the Confederation of Valor series, the races in the Marines learned to get along by learning to swear at one another in their native languages.
  • In Brimstone Angels, heroine Farideh and her twin sister Havilar are the adopted daughters of a dragonborn warrior, and all three of them have a tendency to spout obscenities in Draconic when upset. The author has compiled a short lexicon of these (and Draconic terms that aren't profanities) on her website.
  • Illuminatus! combines this trope elegantly with a thermonuclear Take That: "shit" gets censored with "burger", "penis" with "Rehnquist" and so on. (Wilson evidently lifted the idea here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/GoreVidal)
  • Would you believe that J. R. R. Tolkien did this? The Two Towers has an untranslated line in some Mordor dialect of Orkish, cursing about Saruman. According to Word of God, "I have tried to play fair linguistically, and it is meant to have a meaning and not to be a mere casual group of nasty noises, though an accurate translation would even nowadays [in the 60s] only be printable in the higher and artistically more advanced forms of literature". However, over the course of his life, Tolkien gave three different and contradictory translations for that line, and none really lives up to that statement.note 

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Worf occasionally uses Klingon curse words. Also, in Fanon, Picard frequently swears in French (something he actually did on-screen, if only rarely).
    • Combining the two, during a tense on-screen moment on a Klingon planet, the governor of this planet accuses Picard of speaking "the lies of a taHqeq" note , which prompts Picard to get right up in his face and unload a barrage of unintelligible but vile-sounding Klingon back at him... leaving the dignitary (favourably) impressed enough to comment: "You swear well, Picard. You must have Klingon blood in your veins."
      • It's accurate Klingon. Word of God says Klingon insults generally don't translate well, but rest assured, it was very insulting.
      • Some expanded universe sources claim that the problem isn't that Klingon insults don't TRANSLATE, it's that to humans not versed in Klingon culture, the insults don't make SENSE (and vice versa). An example given was the human insults saying that a person is ugly. This translates into Klingon in one of two ways: It may translate as "unattractive for mating" (which Klingons would generally find nonsensical from a non-Klingon) or as "facially experienced" (which Klingons consider to be a compliment).
    • It's funny how those Universal Translators stop working whenever someone feels like unleashing gratuitous Klingon...
      • Considering the Enterprise's diplomatic function, that could be a deliberate omission from the translation-program's vocabulary. No need to provoke anyone unnecessarily.
      • Or perhaps some swearwords don't translate accurately from race to race, so the universal translator just doesn't translate them. This would also explain some other alien language terms (like Pon Farr, etc.) that don't have a direct English equivalent.
      • Some Truth in Television here, some cursing has strong cultural contexts. A rather severe insult in both German and Japanese translates innocuously as "Hey, you" in English. And French Canadian profanity uses words that have strong religious connotations, adding an additional level of unintended insult.
    • Probably the most frequently used Klingon insult is peta'Q, which generally means "someone who is useless or weak" but literally translates along the lines of "you weirdo!" note 
    • The actual worst thing you say to someone in Klingon is "Hab SoSlI' Quch", literally "Your mother has a smooth forehead".
      • Which goes a long way to explaining why the Klingons who got smooth foreheads as a result of the attempt at genetic engineering gone horribly wrong were always in such bad moods.
    • A perfect example is an exchange involving Worf, Riker, and the eponymous Romulan admiral in the episode "The Defector":
      Jarok (posing as "Setal"): How do you allow Klingon pahtk to walk around in a Starfleet uniform?
      Worf: You are lucky this is not a Klingon ship. We know how to deal with spies.
      Jarok: Remove this tohzah from my sight.
      Riker: Your knowledge of Klingon curses is impressive. But, as a Romulan might say, only a veruul would use such language in public.
  • Hoshi cusses T'Pol out in Vulcan on the Enterprise pilot. T'Pol's response is something along the lines of "Very impressive, but I thought we were speaking English on this journey."
    • From the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Terra Prime" (a basic form of UT had just been invented by Hoshi):
      "There are protesters chanting outside the Andorian embassy. And they're using words that aren't in the universal translator!"
  • Farscape: The Translator Microbes only translate profanity sporadically. "Bitch" and "ass" come through loud and clear, but the show had an entire vocabulary to replace FCC-unfriendly words, and occasionally just for humor:
    • Frell. As in, this "frelling" ship, or "I want this miracle of life the frell out of me." While "frelling" was usually used to replace the usual F-word in the more metaphorical sense, there was at least one notable instance where Aeryn Sun used it to refer literally to sexual intercourse, just in case anyone was still slightly fuzzy on which exact curse word it was meant to substitute for.
    • Mivonks: testicles/junk.
    • Trelk: whore/slut.
    • Dren: crap/the S-word.
      Aeryn: "... and this whole end of the galaxy's in some serious frelling dren."
      • Also, in at least one episode, drug dealers offer to sell the crew "some really great dren."
      • And when Rygel gets hold of some sucrose (in the form of candy he stole from Trick-or-Treaters when first visiting Earth in the past) and gets completely wasted, he tells John that he'll pay anything for more of that dren, no matter how illegal it is.
    • During the later parts of the series some alien characters (Aeryn in particular) try to learn English; since everything is perceived in English due to the microbesnote , the only way to notice this is mangled English idioms and Aeryn's strange foreign accent: Once Aeryn walked off after saying something totally incongruous to the conversation she and John just had; John's response was to mutter to himself that "she's trying to speak English again." Presumably, the microbes translate unknown languages in correct English (for English users), but leave even very bad English as is.
    • There's also "Hezmana" for Hell, in both the figurative "What the Hezmana" or directly "the underworld of Hezmana". The best was "like a barkan out of Hezmana" (Bat out of Hell).
    • Farbot: Insane. Rygel is fond of this one.
    • Feckik: Idiot/dumbass. Another of Rygel's favorites.
      • It was also used at least once as a replacement for "ass" or "asshole" (Chiana threatened to shove something up Rygel's feckik if he didn't do what she wanted).
    • The DVDs come with Farscape vocabulary as a special feature, which makes fun times for anyone wanting to confuse the Hezmana out of their friends.
    • Humor ensued when some of the crew would attempt to use human idioms they'd heard Chricton say, but they invariably got them wrong.
      • D'Argo saying that if they were going to die, he'd "rather go down on a swing" comes to mind.
      • In an early episode, Aeryn remarks that an alien woman "gives me a woody." John corrects her: "the willies, Aeryn, she gives you the willies".
    • And at least once Klingon was used by John and it failed to translate.
      • He was deliberately trying to confuse an alien chick who claimed to be good at languages (her species is allergic to Translator Microbes).
    • In one episode, after Rygel ran off to sell the others out to the Peacekeepers D'Argo hails him over the comm and throws a string of unintelligible but very menacing Luxan words after Rygel. According to Chiana he said "Something about [Rygel's] corpse, and a...body function."
      • D'argo tends to do this whenever his Hyper Rage starts to take over. It usually sounds like Angrish, though it apparently isn't.
    • The language Pilots use is extremely complex and nuanced; one word can convey the meaning of an entire conversation. When speaking to others, they have to simplify their language significantly so the Translator Microbes can handle it. When scared, angry, etc. they tend to revert to the untranslatable version.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Christmas Invasion", just after making a big deal out of the translation mechanism, the Doctor lapses into Sycorax when insulting the alien leader. Since the Translator Microbes are linked to the Doctor's mind, it's not quite clear whether he's doing this for effect, or it's a suspiciously timed failure of his still-unstable mind. An Expanded Universe story claimed previously that the Translator Microbes have a "swear filter".
    • The Doctor also speaks Judoon in "The Stolen Earth". The Doctor is talking to Judoon. Looking at Donna's facial expression, there's no indication she doesn't understand. So why wasn't it in English in the episode? Similarly, Martha is able to understand the Hath in "The Doctor's Daughter", but it isn't translated for the viewer.
      • A discarded line in the early drafts of "The Stolen Earth" handwaves it away to the Judoon "being too thick".
      • Word of God explains that the Judoon speak in code words rather than a different language. It was described as a "military verbal shorthand".
    • A line when the Doctor is holding Davros hostage in "Destiny of the Daleks" strongly implies that "spack" is a Gallifreyan obscene verb. It is often claimed that this was an accidental line-garbling by Tom Baker, but the delivery seems too strong and deliberate for that.
      • While the above explanation is possible, the line is more likely to be a garbled "just back off!"
    • Tom Baker's Doctor uses a Gallifreyan swear word (said in the footnote to be so unspeakably rude that its translation was deleted from the TARDIS's matrix) in the novelisation of Shada, in reference to this. Of course, being a novelisation, we just see some handwritten squiggles (apparently Old High Gallifreyan writing), one of which looks a bit like the joined-up Venus and Mars symbol sometimes used to represent sex.
    • Also spoofed in the book version of Shada with "The V of Rassilon", an ancient and incredibly rude Gallifreyan symbol, which is actually just the British V-sign.
    • A script from one of the many early-90s attempts to bring the show back—either as a motion picture or a new series—contained the memorable phrase, "Sons of Sabiches!"
    • Neil Gaiman's Word of God says that while The Corsair has never been recorded to have fought the Daleks, there was an incident where she may have removed the gunsticks and manipulator arms from a whole squad of them and welded them into 'something incredibly rude in Skarosian'.
  • Mork, from Mork and Mindy, used "Shazbot" most noticeably; despite it being an alien language, it bears enough resemblance to an English expletive that the audience recognizes it. This has been parodied on The Simpsons by Kang and Kodos, who use curse words with even more resemblance to English ("Holy flurking shnit!")
    • "Shazbot" has been lovingly re-used in other situations: Bart says "Oh shazbot!" once, and it's one of the voice chat options in Tribes.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica made extensive use of "frack" and "felgercarb."
  • The BSG relaunch changed the spelling to "frak," and has been particularly fluent in conjugating it in ways that match English constructions: frakking, frakker, frakked...
    • Frak has been slowly making its way into regular English euphemisms, simply because it has aural satisfaction when spoken. Over the past few years, it's also been used with some regularity by Ascended Fanboys in other sci-fi series who might presumably have watched Battlestar Galactica (e.g., Topher in Dollhouse and Fargo in Eureka).
    • While felgercarb has been changed to a brand of toothpaste.
  • Mira Furlan, the actress playing Delenn in Babylon 5 occasionally cursed in Minbari after fumbling a line.
    • There are few curse words in Babylon 5, most of which are human in nature. However, Minbari is probably the language where Translation Convention is averted most often. One case provides an instance of "Pardon My Minbari": Lennier is complaining that Sheridan ruined a ritualistic dinner and grumbles some words in Minbari with a tone of frustration, to which Delenn replies, also in Minbari, in a tone that seems to convey a need to be more understanding and patient.
    • Early seasons had the words 'stroke' or 'stroking' used by humans as swear words (presumably a euphamism for masturbation).
  • A CBBC advert for Ed & Oucho has the pair having a conversation. Oucho speaking in his tongue of "dee baa shor baa dee" says something, to which Ed replies he cannot say on television. Oucho continues and Ed starts shouting louder at him to stop.
  • Stargate SG-1, "Deadman Switch":
    Aris Boch: And you, O'Neill, you're considered — Well, you're a pain in the mikta.
    Jack O'Neill: Neck?
    Teal'c: No.
    • "Gonach, ha'shak!" (screw you, fool/weakling!) and "Mai'tac!" (damn!).
    • Also, until the defeat of the Goa'uld, Teal'c was ubiquitously known as "shol'va" (traitor). The word was always spat out as a curse, although it made Teal'c and O'Neill smile.
    • "Tar" is a vulgar form of "Tau'ri" (human).
      • Not necessarily vulgar. Daniel only said it was a sort of slang.
      • That makes it 'vulgar' in the sense of 'not refined'. Strictly speaking, that's not the appropriate meaning for this trope.
    • The episode "200" had a scene that was a Shout-Out to Farscape above, parodying its tendency toward this trope by consisting almost entirely of the characters swearing in alien languages. The best one had to be Christopher Judge's character's "Hezmana!", or perhaps Ben Browder's "Son of a hazmot!"
  • Variation, not sci-fi; (possibly even justification for all the others) In I Love Lucy, whenever Ricky gets angry (or horny) he switches to Spanish.
  • Red Dwarf has "smeg" (and variants thereof, such as "smegger", "smeghead", etc.). As in:
    • Additional hilarity ensues when Kryten tries to swear. Due to either a malfunction or censorship, when he says "Smeghead" (usually to Rimmer) all that comes out is "That smeeeeeeeee... Smeeeeeeeee..."
    • The show's usage of "Smeg" became so prolific that when Craig Charles visited a PBS station in California for a pledge drive, an astonishing number of people pledged on the contingency that he would either call them a smeghead on air, or tell them what "Smeg" meant. His answer to the latter? "Ask your mother."
      • Your mother would probably tell you that it is an Italian brand of large kitchen (and other home) appliances (cookers, fridges, etc)...
      • That, or it's short for "smegma" (look it up if you really want to know). The show's creators say they'd never heard of smegma, but thought it worked perfectly for the long form of "smeg", both in meaning and in name.
    • "Goit" and "Gimboid" were also used, but with far less frequency.
    • In one episode, Lister calls Rimmer a "gwenlan," which was a Take That against a producer who had turned the series down.
    • A few episodes used "Gordon Bennett" as a exclamation of annoyance.
      • Truth in Television. "Gordon Bennett" is often used in Britain as a substitute for swearing or blasphemy (possibly because the first syllable sounds like the Cockney pronunciation of "God"). The real Gordon Bennett was a newspaper baron famous for, among other things, being both eccentric and extravagant.
  • Porridge, of all things, has "Naff". Fletcher has also referred to Warden Mackay as a "charmless Celtic nerk" at least once.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of NCIS where a suspect insults Gibbs in Klingon, but McGee is able to translate it as "your mother has a smooth forehead", which to a Klingon is a very dirty thing to say indeed. To Gibbs... not so much
  • Firefly had lots of swearing in Mandarin Chinese, though curiously most of the curses when literally translated are actually rather mild or downright funny. Wash's spiel to Zoe in "War Stories" translates as "All the planets in space flushed into my butt". They also use archaic English words that have largely fallen out of use such as "rutting" note , "humped", or "gorram" (which seems more like a linguistic drift from "goddamn").
  • Lampshaded in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: the episode is actually titled "Fracked" (a natural gas drilling term), and when Ray Langston is asked if he knows what fracking is, he says that it sounds like some kind of sci-fi curse word. Notable since Katee Sackhoff guest stars in this episode.
  • In one episode of Dinosaurs one character accidentally shouts "Smoo!" on television after accidentally hurting himself. This titillates the public enough that the network creates "The Smoo Show," which then prompts imitators such as "The Flark Show" and "Kiss my Glip."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "A New Man" Giles is turned into a Fyarl demon by the villainous Ethan Rayne. Translation Convention is used so that Giles is heard speaking English by the viewer most of the time, but, when it switches to the POV of any other character, he's grunting and snarling in a demon language. Fortunately, Spike understands Fyarl. A gag scripted — but unfortunately not used — involved Giles bursting in on Rayne shouting, "I'm going to rip off your arms and shove them up your—(sudden shift to Giles shouting in Fyarl).
  • In one episode of Shake It Up, Tinka flies off the handle when she learns that CeCe will be dancing with her brother Gunther instead of her and rattles off a very colorful string of words in the language of whatever country it is that she comes from. When asked for a translation, Gunther remarks that he doesn't feel comfortable repeating what she said in mixed company.
  • Defiance has 'shtako,' an Irathient word used in the same contexts as "shit", although other races, including humans, adopt it.
  • Largely averted in Earth: Final Conflict, as the Taelons try to appear sensitive and evolved. However, right before being blown up, Zo'or (who was turned into an Atavus) screams "Shabra!", being, presumably, a Taelon curse word.

     Radio 
  • In The Space Gypsy Adventures Gemma launches a tirade of Mogavis insults at Constable Bones after he shoots Fluff down. Bones is part space gypsy and understands what she's saying but no one else in the area does, especially not the audience (it is a kid's show after all).

    Roleplay 
  • Made into a running joke in Dino Attack RPG. Given that it was based on a LEGO line on a family friendly board, actual curses were out of the question. At fist players just got around it by using mundane variants (i.e. "darn") but later made a running joke out of creating curse words that would seem "foul" to LEGO people, many of which were inside jokes. For instance:
    • MegaBloks: Since a large portion of LEGO fans view MegaBloks as a Shoddy Knockoff Product of LEGO. As a sort of Take That, "megablok" became one of the most often-used curse words in the RPG, used in many different contexts such as "son of a megablok", "megabloking", "what the megablok", and "oh, megabloks".
    • 4+ figure (or simply "4+" in some cases): Used as a derogatory term, derived from a line aimed at young children which became particularly infamous for its oversized and uncustomizable minifigures. A number of variations also exist, such as "4+ Pirates" and "Jack Stone", which refer to specific themes from the line.
    • "Znap": Often used when the other two are not fitting. Based on a short-lived line of sets made to compete with K'nex.

    Theater 
  • Older than Television: In Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia, Limited (1893), Tarara, the Public Exploder of the Kingdom of Utopia, enters raving in his native language ("Lalabalele talala! Callabale lalabalica falahle!"); the Utopian maidens all cover their ears when they hear this shocking language, all the more shocking since a royal decree has abolished the Utopian language in favor of English. Tarara nevertheless insists he has no choice but to the Utopian language for venting certain feelings of his, having learned from British education that the English language has no such strong expressions.

    Toys 
  • Being Merchandise-Driven, BIONICLE has the challenge of bringing in new villains every year and having to establish their bad guy cred. One time they did this in part by having the team name be a dirty word in-universe: "Piraka" means thief, murderer, sadist, and so on; Even Evil Has Standards but Piraka don't (and the villains in question wear this label with pride). And being Merchandise-Driven, the "offensive" word got plastered all over posters, websites, toy packaging, you name it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Doubly subverted in Warhammer 40,000, with the term Eldars use to talk about the humans: "mon'keigh", a racial slur for species deemed inferior. It's literal translation is those who must be killed.
    • Orks, on the other hand, famously have their all-purpose curse "zog," which seems to have no specific meaning other than as profanity.
  • One of the sourcebooks for the FASA Star Trek game had an aside about terms different species use for things that don't work and what their literal translation into English is. The Tellarite word translates to "inedible" or "tastes bad". The Andorian word literally means "pink". The Orion word translates as "trade goods". It also mentions that there's no equivalent word in Vulcan. "Apparently, on Vulcan everything always works."

    Video Games 
  • In the computer RPG Neverwinter Nights, the elven cleric Linu La'neral will exclaim "Takasi! Oh, excuse my Elven" when she fails to break or unlock a chest that your character can't unlock.
  • A Tale Of Two Kingdoms has "gronk" as a generic Goblin swearword, cuss and interjection, plus assorted bits of "slang". They also use 'Pinkskins' and 'Pinkies' as a slang for humans.
  • Even the Sims seem to have their Simlish swear word equivalents. In the first game, angry or frustrated Sims would sometimes yell something that sounds like "Googlesnot!"
  • In StarCraft, Zeratul and the other Dark Templars will say "Cas Nerada" or something like that when annoyed. The inflection clearly marks it as some Protoss cuss word.
    • Presumably it's Khas, which would make sense as a Dark Templar curse (being something along the lines of Khas be damned) since the whole Dark Templar society is based around the rejection of the Khala, which was Khas's invention. They love that Adun though...
      • Why wouldn't they? The mainstream Protoss love him because the Conclave lied to the public about what happened and turned him into their hero. The Dark Ones know the truth - he sacrificed himself to save them, so they revere him even more.
  • Drone and Grenadier class Locust in the Gears of War series sometimes scream "Suck my blithe!" in the campaigns and Horde mode. Of course, they don't pardon their Locust, as those few seconds could be better spent shooting you in the face.
  • Mass Effect: "Bosh'tet", meaning "faulty tech", is a Quarian swear word that Tali will say whenever frustrated. She also calls Shepard this (albeit affectionately) if Shepard chooses to tease Tali about how flustered she gets confessing how much she's come to trust and appreciate Shepard.
    • She also exclaims "Keelah" from time to time. Keelah Se'lai means "By the homeworld I hope to one day see," so it might have connotations along the lines of a more secular "For Heaven's sake."
    • Mordin once refers to one of his fellow Salarians as "bit of a cloaca, though"explanation 
      • The Shadow Broker has a transcript of one genophage adjustment mission, during which Mordin suggests that Captain Kirrahe, the salarian in question, has an obstruction in his cloaca. Later Mordin suggests that the obstruction is Kirrahe's head.explanation 
    • Krogans also have the refer to a "quad", which correlates pretty directly to a "pair" of balls or cojones.explanation  "You've got a quad" is used in the same context as "You've got a pair" would be.
      • If you decide to kick Conrad Vernor in ME2, the Asari bartender will yell, "Kick him in the quad!" then apologizes, "Sorry. My father was a Krogan.''
      • If you kill the thresher maw in Grunt's loyalty mission, Wrex remarks, "Next you'll tell me he's a quint and craps dark matter." "Quint" presumably meaning having five testicles.
  • In Infinite Space, the word "Grus" is a context-sensitive swear. It can mean anything from "Shit" to "hell".
  • The Thief series has the word "Taffer". Its also used as "What the taff?"
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind you're often called N'wah, fetcher or s'wit.
  • "Vashaden," as said by Sten in the party selection screen if you take him out of the party.
    • Saemus in Dragon Age II will also use this phrase towards one of his "rescuers." It translates, more or less, as "refuse" or "rubbish". Since Qunari seem to abhor waste, this may be worse than it sounds.
    • Fenris tends to lapse into Tevene (his native language) if he's upset. Which can be often.
  • Half-Life 2, during the chapter "Sand Traps" had a vortigaunt camp after you got the bugbait, you'll come across two vorts who'll pardon themselves for there "flux shifting" speech and tell you they will speak English unless they want to say "unflattering things about you."
    • After which, they immediately go back to their flux shifting speech.
  • In The Reconstruction, Yacatec does this twice. Early in chapter 4, he calls Tehgonan a "Zin d'an"note , at which point Dehl snaps, "Yacatec, please do not call him that." Later, after the camp is threatened to be washed away by magical rain, he snaps at Ques, flinging what is presumably a heinous insult at him in his native language.
  • In Guild Wars, the only Asuran word heard so far has been "bookah," which is stated to mean a non-Asura. Given its general usage (and its derivation from a clumsy, stupid creature in Asuran folklore), however, it's really something of a racial slur.
  • Wings of Dawn: During a Q&A session with the fans, Crystal (a Cyrvan) responded to a certain request with "Ariyu ze yyura." No one's sure what this means, but everyone's sure it isn't... polite.
    • In the game itself, a Cyrvan named Sylphia launches into a brief Foreign Language Tirade when she and the heroes jump into a massive blockade unexpectedly. Silver responds that she's glad she doesn't know what it meant.
  • In the original Unreal I, a Kraal minion leaves behind journal pages about a human prisoner the player is tracking. In the first entry you find, he says the prisoner "kicked me in the hrangos!" Soon after, just to make sure there's no doubt what those are, another entry says the prisoner escaped, and when the Kraal's superior officer finds out, "I'll be de-hrangoed for sure!"

    Web Comics 
  • Tim in Bobbins used to say "tupping", particularly in his supposed hard-man catchphrase "Tuppin' liberty!". (He has used it sometimes in Scary Go Round, too.) In this case, the replacement is just an archaic word meaning... exactly the same thing. Shakespeare used it in Othello.
  • The orcs in Dominic Deegan say "Ilka tuk tak" whenever they feel like they need to let out some foul language, and it is infrequently commented as being very inappropriate.
  • Save Hiatus: When Ven finds out his favorite show, Hiatus has been cancelled, he's not very happy. The creators even had a contest to name all the sources of his epithets.
  • The utterance of real swear-words in Erfworld is impossible, due to instantaneous forced self-censorship by the Powers That Be ("Oh, boop!"). In a variant of this trope, Erfworlders have come up with some pretty graphic uses of words they can say (e.g. clinical terms like "testes" are permitted) to sidestep this limitation.
    • And Parsons does manage to overcome the censorship quite spectacularly in the last strip of the first book, whether due to extreme frustration or him having recently "broken the game" through his exploits.
  • Robot swearing is discussed at one point in Questionable Content.
    Pintsize: Human cusswords focus on mating, excretion, and genitalia. Robot cusswords focus on mashing on homerow. ASDF is a four-letter word.
    Hannelore: Hee hee! So what is "qwerty" slang for then? *Pintsize and Winslow assume squicked-out expressions* What? What did I say?
  • Darths & Droids:
    • Artoo lets out a lengthy string of untranslated bleeping in this strip. (With the inevitable link back here.) In the annotations, it is stated that making up your own curse words is "as fun as praff."
      Annie: Wow. I almost regret leaving the translator off for that.
    • In strip #1019, Pete (R2-D2) rolls a die with the numbers written in Quenya. (He has a lot of custom dice.)
      Dungeon Master: Okay, I can't read Quenya. What does it say?
      Pete: (sigh) It says "your periscope is (Quenya)."
  • Schlock Mercenary has some good ones from robots as well: "Divide me by zero!" "Mother of chrome!"
  • Cthulhu in Chainsawsuit had a good reason for Precision Fhtagn Strike.
  • Liska in Tails From The Mynarski Forest once shouted "O EMBLEER FRITH!" — a reference to Watership Down.
  • Some of the trolls' names for genitals in Homestuck are obviously supposed to be obscene, although troll words are really just strange compounded English words, and they use excessive amounts of ordinary profanity, too. Some constructions like this are things like 'bone bulge', 'nook', 'bulgereek nookstain', 'shame globe', 'phlegm lobe', 'seed flaps', and so on. For instance, Vriska at one point talks idiomatically of someone having their head stuck up their nook, much as we'd talk about someone with their head stuck up their ass.

    Web Original 
  • Happens in the Whateley Universe too. Fey, who is merged with an ancient Faerie queen, sometimes curses in languages that haven't been spoken in millennia. Carmilla, who is the descendant of Cosmic Horror creatures, has been heard to swear to.. well, you don't want to know what she was swearing to.
  • Homestar Runner features The Cheat, who only speaks in his self-titled language (which sounds like cute grunts), and Pom Pom, whose "voice" is a bubbling sound; both have had instances where they were told to watch their language.
  • The Neverending Quest:
    "What the heck?" Astra exclaimed most unroyally. "Pardon my French." Actually she didn't say heck, and it wasn't exactly French either.
  • Spoony plays this one for laughs in his review of the Demolition Man video game. He has a sponsorship deal with Taco Bell and thus has to keep the show all-ages, but when the game gets particularly frustrating he starts resorting to such classics as frell, frack, and smeg in order to get around the restriction on swearing.

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans: Starfire is prone to using Tamaranian profanity and/or insults when agitated. For a character portrayed as sweet and innocent, she has a foul mouth. She knows many of the Curses of the Tamaranian Ancients.
    • This actually becomes a plot device in the episode Troq. The word in question is an ethnic slur against Tamaraneans, unbeknownst to the rest of the titans. The word literally means "nothing", which causes a misunderstanding at first when Cyborg asks Starfire what the word means. So Cyborg casually calls Starfire a Troq later, which makes her furious...because it's not that Troq doesn't mean anything, it's that it literally means "nothing—i.e., "zero or worthless".
    • Starfire did it again in a DC Nation Short.
  • Justice League Hawkgirl occasionally says "Yom Shigureth" when she's frustrated.
  • Pirates of Dark Water did this to let their fantasy pirates swear, which for cartoons was a bold move.
    • Common examples are chonga and chongo-longo, but special mention goes to noy jitat! (implied to mean "damn!" or "God damn!") which actually got conjugated - and fairly often - into jitatin ("damned" as in "that jitatin monkey-bird") and jitata ("damned one," "damn kid," or occasionally "dumbass").
  • Lloyd in Space used the interjection "durf" a lot, although given that he's a kid, its meaning is probably more along the lines of "darn".
  • Justified in Beast Wars. The transformers — Rhinox in particular — use "slag" as an epithet, which makes some kind of sense for robots.
    • Transformers Animated, of course, also uses "slag" as a swear word, this time with Bumblebee as the worst offender. Note that the Dinobot Slag was renamed "Snarl" in Animated (with a bit of Lampshade Hanging from Scrapper).
  • Cathy from Monster Buster Club does this. A lot.
  • Happens in an episode of Team Galaxy in which Josh and Bret are suppsoed to be translating a text from an alien language into English. Josh, who has been goofing off playing a video game on his computer connects his up to Bret's and steals his copy. Josh ends up taking all the credit. Bret annoyed, tells Josh he has a word for him and speaks some strange word. The whole class suudenly gains an expression of shock on their faces.
  • On The Fairly Oddparents, both Norm and HP have used the term "smoof" in place of any expletive. Oddly, smoof was established in its first use as a magical substance rather than anything that could be dirty.
    • It makes sense, since it seems to be more an anti magic material. To them, it could be a literal way to refer to some version of hell.
  • Batman Beyond did this to make the future seem more real, by having slang terms being slightly different. Terry would often utter 'slag it' when he was agitated.
    • So he's the offspring of Warren McGinnis, Mary McGinnis, Bruce Wayne, Amanda Waller, and Rhinox?
    • "Slag" is by-product of steel smelting. Limestone mixed with iron ore impurities. It's also usually the stuff train rails are laid on.
    • "Slag" is also a British slang word for ... a lady who sleeps around, caring nothing for the feelings of the people she's using.
    • It's been confirmed that Terry saying "slag" is a deliberate nod to Beast Wars, which many of the writers were fans of.
    • There's also "twip" which was used often by Terry as an insult for his younger brother.
  • Megas XLR: I'll have your jhorbloks for not putting Warmaster Gorrath on here!
  • The Simpsons: Holy flurking schnidt!
  • The Trap Door had some wanderfully evocative examples - 'Globbits' and 'Great Grumfuttucks Tusks'.
  • In It Ain't Easy Being Breezies, Seabreeze explodes at his fellow Breezies with a rant that leaves Fluttershy in horrified, open-mouthed shock. When her friends ask her to translate, she declines, blushing.
  • The word k'vark is quite an obvious four-letter-word replacement in Ewoks.


Oh My Gods!These Tropes Should Watch Their LanguageParenthetical Swearing
Language Of TruthLanguage TropesStarfish Language
Never Say 'Die"Censorship TropesPrecision F-Strike
One-Letter NameOlder than TelevisionPhony Newscast
Pantheon SitcomSpeculative Fiction TropesPassion Is Evil
Overused Running GagSelf-Demonstrating ArticleParanoia

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