In Good Omens, Aziraphale, an Angel, actually says a very emphatic "Oh, fuck!" just before he dies. Almost. It was the first such instance in 6000 years. Everything about the character is the antithesis of a curse, so a hardened Cluster F Bomber will still burst into shocked giggles. Incidentally, this is easily the most obscene moment in the entire book.
The book has also spent the entire time up until the actual swearing mercilessly Lampshade Hanging the fact that he doesn't swear wherever possible, in lines like, "Oh dear," muttered Aziraphale with the practiced ease of one who has spent six thousand years not swearing ..." This helps to lend the appropriate amount of gravity to the moment when it does occur.
Mostly Harmless, spoken by Arthur to Ford, at the end of the worst day of his [Arthur's] life.
The Narrator gets one in Chapter 25 of So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish in a tangent about the nature of Arthur's sexuality (read: if he actually had one):
"This Arthur Dent," comes the cry from the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and has even now been found inscribed on a deep space probe thought to originate from an alien galaxy at a distance too hideous to contemplate, "what is he, man or mouse? Is he interested in nothing more than tea and the wider issues of life? Has he no spirit? Has he no passion? Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?" Those who wish to know should read on. Others may wish to skip on to the last chapter which is a good bit and has Marvin in it.
This is especially effective because it's the first time the word "fuck" is said in the entire series. And this is in the fourth book, in a series that is remarkably tame (the worst language before that is the word "shit" ... once). But it really carries much more weight when Arthur says it in Mostly Harmless because he is normally impressively tolerant of Ford Prefect's nonsense up to this point. In comparison, when Ford says it later in the same book, it's done casually and no one is supposed to care.
Only in the American edition. Elsewhere, the word "fuck" first appears in the previous book, in reference to the award for "Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Fuck' in a Serious Screenplay".
Zaphod's use of "Belgium!" when they're in the ice cave in the original radio series is an example in-universe — he'd never normally use such strong language unless something was really wrong, and it prompts Ford to take the situation seriously.
Speaking of Belgium, the use of the word "Belgium" as an expletive is, in the books, established when Arthur runs afoul of a movie star who is extremely proud of having won an award for the most gratuitous use of such in a movie. There is a hilarious exchange revolving around Arthur trying to make sense of what's so offensive about the word Belgium..
Only in the American edition. Elsewhere...
"The Award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Fuck' in a Serious Screenplay"note Note that this gag has a long tradition and some research is needed who invented it (Robert Anton Wilson in "Illuminatus"? Kurt Vonnegut?)
Salim: "[...] deign tell me why we're working ourselves to death hiking through this fucking piece of shit country even though you could transport us to our destination in a blink ?"
Ewilan: "Hiking through what ?"
Salim : "Through this arid land of which the inhospitable rocks assault my feet and exhaust my patience, was it not what I said ?"
In Peter David's Star Trek novel Vendetta, a Federation ship (not the Enterprise) sees the Planet Eater doing its thing, and an Ensign swears and then he apologizes to the captain, since that's frowned on; but the captain says that, no, that's quite all right; that's really the best way to describe the situation.
In the Star Trek: Vanguard novel Precipice, a civilian character warned against helping a pre-warp culture fight the Klingons responds "Fuck the Prime Directive". Possibly the first use of the f-word in the entire Trekverse.
Marge's use is a subtler example, as while it makes sense literally, the other sense of the word is clearly implied as well. Marge compares Harry's alleged behavioral problems and his mother's alleged similar traits to dog breeding, stating "If there's something wrong with the bitch, there'll be something wrong with the pup." As Harry realizes from the moment that came out of her mouth that she had aimed a Your Mom joke at him, the next plot points are promptly set in motion.
Up to Deathly Hallows, both Harry and Ron have used profanity at least once, but here, Hermione finally gets her turn to talk like a sailor, with such words and phrases as "damn", "complete ass", and basically the wizarding equivalent of "holy shit" (read: "Merlin's pants!").
In Misery the writer Paul is being held hostage by the insane fan Annie, who dislikes swearing and prefers using Gosh Dang It to Heck! nonsense-words when she is angry. Paul soon learns that despite how frightening and cruel she normally can be, he should be truly terrified of her whenever she actually swears.
In Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Juan Rico's first day of boot camp introduces Sergeant Zim, whose first act is to rant for several consecutive minutes on the various shortcomings (moral, mental, and physical) of the recruits, never once repeating himself or using profanity. Zim reserves profanity for when he's really serious. Rico spends most of the monologue wishing they had had someone with Zim's command of language on his debate team at school.
The Catcher in the Rye: the graffiti at the school, near the end of the book. Notably, Holden is fine with saying "goddamn" and "sonofabitch" without a care in the world, but seeing a "FUCK YOU", especially at a school, really gets under his skin.
In the Watership Down novel, just as the heroes are about to attack the Warren of the Snares, Fiver, who is timid by nature, screams "Embleer Frith" — which translates roughly to "Stinking God" (and is roughly equivalent to "Goddammit!"), to get them to stop.
Later in the book, Bigwig tells Woundwort to "Silflay hraka, u embleer rah" — this translates to "Eat shit, O Stinking King".
Though this may not qualify, as Bigwig isn't exactly the most timid of characters. In fact, this scene, while also qualifying for a Moment of Awesome, establishes him as the biggest, meanest, most dangerous rabbit in the novel. Which is saying something, considering who Woundwort is.
Tallstar refusing Tigerstar's demands and publicly calling him a "piece of foxdung" ("piece of shit") in The Darkest Hour seems to carry more weight, being said by the stereotypically meek WindClan leader, and only makes it more of a Moment of Awesome for him.
Robin Hobb uses the F-word only a very few times in her books, meaning each has maximum impact. Towards the end of the Realm of the Elderlings novel Ship of Destiny, after Kennith rapes Althea, her nephew Wintrow defends him, causing Althea to scream at him: "Fuck you, Wintrow!"
Luke Skywalker: [calms himself] Nothing. A bad word. Your mother won't be happy I said it in front of you.
Ben tends to throw profanity around fairly freely when in annoying situations (as long as there's no one around; all right, his parents are exceptions, but the point stands), but if it's not the kind of profanity you usually see in a Star Wars book (almost always mentioned in passing and not actually printed), you know something very bad happened. The last sentence of the leading quote for this page, which is best summarized as "Oh crap, the Sith are back" is about as profane as you can get while still staying safe for work.
In War And Remembrance, this word is only used once, by Janice Henry to a Japanese grocer right after the Pearl Harbor attack.
Queen Elizabeth III uses "cluster fuck" to describe her feelings on Solly Admiral Byng's idiocy at New Tuscany in Storm from the Shadows.
In Contact, Ellie Arroway typically sticks to "Holy Toledo!", but after the Very Large Array finally picks up on what looks like a genuine message from extraterrestrials, she takes a moment to retreat to her office, closes the door behind her, and whispers "Holy shit!"
In The Girls Guide To Hunting And Fishing, the main character works for an annoyingly put-together, professional, well-educated type, and mentions that all this makes hearing her Precision F Strikes like seeing a strong man cry.
Inverted in the Shadowrun novel Night's Pawn, where the main character's occasional use of the word "fuck" has such an impact because he's the only person who still uses such an antiquated swear word. A member of the opposition even calls it "quaint".
In Fragment, the President of the United States gets one of these, when the Henders Island natives appear on screen, revealing that a nonhuman race of intelligent beings exists and has befriended the camera crew.
In one of the Garrett, P.I. novels, Garrett is startled when his friend Morley says "Shit!", as Morley doesn't often use non-elven profanity. Circumstances, however, make it appropriate, as a carnivorous dinosaur just stuck its head in the window of the coach they're sitting in.
The only occurrence of a swear word stronger than "hell" or "damn" in The Bartimaeus Trilogy (and those were used pretty sparingly too) was when a minor character called Jane Faraar a bitch, which she takes as a compliment. (Fitting considering she's a werewolf, or at the very least, runs a team of werewolves.)
In the Temeraire novels we have a book and a half of swear words no stronger than damn or hell and then suddenly we get the line "Fire, fire you fucking yellow-arsed millers!"
The Dresden Files is rarely very shy about a few swears here and there, but some characters are less prone to bouts of language than others. In The Warrior a short story from Side Jobs Michael, a devout catholic man who has never in the 12 main books of the series said so much as hell or damn—and has repeatedly reproached Harry for using same—delivers the line: "The son of a bitch hurt my little girl." Coming from him, it's so shocking that even Harry is taken aback.
When Harry really, REALLY needs Molly to shut up, he does this. He also slags trashcans and brings a small ball of plasma up to her face with the stated intention of keeping right on going, but it was probably the swearing thing.
Inverted in Cold Days which probably has more uses of the word in a single chapter than in the entire rest of the series to that point. Possibly another sign of the detrimental effect of the Mantle of the Winter Knight on Harry?
In Gun, With Occasional Music, the First-Person Smartass narrator ends one chapter, when he's just figured out something vital about his case, with "It was time to quit fucking around."
While the Nightside series doesn't exactly shun profanity, one stellar example of this trope appears in The Good, The Bad And The Uncanny, when Walker has the gall to speak approvingly of duty and responsibility to a woman who's lost all three of her sons to duty, one way or another. She tells him to fuck off, and John Taylor nearly bursts into applause when she does so.
In Crysis: Legion, normally mild Dr. Gould decides that the best analogy to describe the Nanosuit's intended purpose against the Ceph is gay rape on hanging flies. It Makes Sense in Context, but everyone in the vicinity, even the moaning-in-pain wounded, is Dumb Struck.
In the 4th Kingdom Keepers novel, Wayne says "Damn" while demanding to check if Maleficent has escaped her cell at the end of the book. This is coming from a novel where no curse has ever before been written and rarely implied and "OMG" is stated out loud in place of the more blasphemous alternative.
In Marilyn French's The Women's Room, Mira - in contrast to other members of the group - swears so little that the group find it hilarious when she tells them to 'go fuck themselves', which she sees as passing a sort of initiation test. Ben realizes just how angry Mira is with him when she screams, "FUCK OFF, BEN!"
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card has a select few swears, particularly a conversation between Miro and Jane.
Miro: I thought you were my friend. Jane: I am. I can read your mind. Miro:You're a meddling old bitch and you can't read anything.
In Septimus Heap, in Syren, when Septimus is trying to get a Sealed door open to rescue people trapped behind it:
Septimus: I'll have to do a reverse ... not so easy without a Darke talisman. Rats
Prince Roger: Captain Armand Pahner's every word is precision strike, so whenever he does swear, it is fucking surgical. And you know the fecal matter has most definitely hit the pneumatic impeller.
In the Stephen King novella The Body (later filmed as Stand by Me) 13-year-old Gordie is neglected by his parents, who are lost in a fog of grief since his brother died. One day his mother is dreamily reminiscing about the brother on a day when Gordie's been through some severe stuff and his response is, "Yeah, that's a real bitch." His mother doesn't notice.
Truth be told, it's a staple in any Stephen King novel. He's particularly fond of using the phrase "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on" in several of his novels.
The Great Gatsby: Owl-eyed man's funeral oration briefly conveys Gatsby's sad life and death.
"The poor son-of-a-bitch," he said.
Roald Dahl had a tendency to insert the occasional mild vulgarity into his stories:
Although this is actually only an accident: "ass" for backside is American English, not British English, and Dahl's usage of "ass" as an insult is the slightly old fashioned British English "ass" meaning donkey, with implications of "stupid and stubborn animal". It thus doesn't really qualify since it would not be regarded as profanity in the author's nation at the time of writing.
Philip Larkin's infamous poem "This Be The Verse" starts off with "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." (there is a second F-strike in "But they were fucked up in their turn...")
The Bible, in the original Hebrew, contains one in 1 Samuel, when King Saul figures out that Jonathan is actually trying to assist David. The Living Bible, for instance, translates Saul's harsh words thus:
Saul: You son of a bitch! Do you think I donít know that you want this son of a nobody to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother? As long as that fellow is alive, youíll never be king. Now go and get him so I can kill him!
In a New Testament example, the Book of Acts includes an instance where someone tries to offer Peter money for a place in a then-new faith now known as Christianity. The Message offers this translation of Peter's quick rebuke:
Peter: To hell with your money! And you along with it.
Saint Paul's letter to the Philippians also supplies one, though it is understandably downplayed in most translations: In Philippians 3:8, while discussing how the things of the flesh are no longer valued by him, he makes this pronouncement: "For [Christ's] sake I have let everything fall away and now consider all garbage, if instead I may gain Christ." The Greek word often translated "rubbish" or "garbage" in that passage is in the original Greek texts actually "σκύβαλον" ("skubalon"), a crude term that according to legitimate Biblical scholars actually carries the meaning of "shit". Needless to say, this is one passage where no completely accurate translation, getting across Saint Paul's actual intensity, could ever be proclaimed from the pulpit.
In Dave Barry in Cyberspace, a series of commands in English are typed into a DOS prompt in a vain attempt to get the computer to do something except print "BAD COMMAND OR FILENAME". Until:
A:> F**K YOU BAD COMMAND OR FILENAME, A**HOLE
The title character of the E. E. Cummings poem "i sing of Olaf glad and big":
Up to Professor Coleís lecture, Murderess comes across as a fairly tame and rather typical teen drama novel with some fantastic elements. As soon as Lu tells him her last name, however, things take a turn for the darker, and he openly calls her a bitch.
In The Last Ship, Thomas, a very prim gentleman, delivers one of these when several other characters begin arguing with each other.
"And if everyone did, is anyone suggesting we start some sort of fucking treasure hunt to find as many of those pockets as we can before our fuel runs out and we end up wallowing in some sea somewhere?"
In Sweet Valley Confidential, a disastrous dinner party chapter ends with mother Alice hollering, "Ned! Bring out the fucking cake!" Nope, this is not your little sister's Sweet Valley.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe invented (or rather popularized) the MOTHER of all F bombs in "Götz von Berlichingen". (He's a German, so it's rather an A bomb: "Leck mich im Arsch.")
Hilariously played with in a dramatic 2014 TV version: "IM Arsch? Shoudn't be that AM?"note Grammatically, the heckler has a point. It should indeed be "am", but "im" is historically correct. "Hey, I just made a slip of tongue! It wouldn't write history anyway!"
Played with in the SF novel "Amped" by Daniel H. Wilson. "Sheep fucker!" It's not meant as insult, but only as a distraction for a reaction test (the protagonists mech gear passes the test easily).
In The Witling, Yoninne drops a Precision G-D Strike early on, when she and Ajão finally realize why they never had a chance against the Azhiri: "Teleports. They're goddamned teleports."
In Heart of Steel, Alistair Mechanus thinks the f-word only twice in his side of the narration, once in frustration and once in extreme rage.
In Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner, Argilla has an emotional outburst after being told about the nature of Atma causing her to say that The Church can go fuck itself. This serves as an indicator not just to how much she has changed, but how everyone has changed and awoken to something called emotions.
In A Civil Campaign, Ekaterin manages to do this with the word "twit". She is such a Proper Lady that this is the equivalent of a much stronger curse word from anybody else. Also, the fact that she says this in front of the Council of Counts that is in full session adds to the effect.
Deliberately used in-universe in the Horus Heresy novels. Three people, including an elderly and refined scholar, are getting the hell off Prospero in A Thousand Sons; when two of them start bickering, the elderly scholar advises them to "shut the shitting hell up", then admits he was using the language to get their attention.
In Wolf Hall, Cromwell is trying to get into a room that has Henry VIII and the Holy Roman Ambassador in it at a particularly sensitive moment, when Henry's privy gentlemen accost him in their costumes for the Christmas revelry. Cromwell remains polite and pleasant, but his inner monologue betrays how pissed he is:
Prime Christmas game: let's fuck about with Cromwell.
Horatio Hornblower relies mainly on the Narrative Profanity Filter to describe how its cast of sailors express themselves, and the title character himself rarely even gets that because he is loath to show open emotion (both to keep his men from realizing he's worried and thus losing morale and because he's self-conscious) and prefers not to curse in general. Usually the swearing doesn't get worse than mild blasphemies like damn and hell. So the clearest proof of Hornblower's aggravation with losing the wind in The Happy Return is when the narration notes that "the Lydia, so graceful and willing under sail, was a perfect bitch under tow."
Journey to Chaos: When a sweet and polite girl like Annala calls someone "a piece of shit", people take notice. Eric had never heard her swear before then.
Reaper's Gale, book seven of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Right after having several people turn up univited in his dreams, Udinaas — already plagued by sleeplessness and general misery — demands the group move on, revealing he knows that the day and night cycle within the realm they're traversing is being controlled by Silchas Ruin's will. Clip can't help himself and inserts a quip about Udinaas being too smart for his own good and gets settled with a Precision F-Strike for his trouble by Udinaas, who usually never curses.
Clip: 'You understand too much. Did you hear me, Udinaas?' Udinaas: 'Go fuck yourself.'
The Laundry Files: Angelton indulges in this, exactly once. Normally Angelton is in perfect control of himself and has everything planned out three steps further than anyone else. When Angelton says "Oh, dear." it is an indication that an operation has gone off the rails badly, and that the Nuclear Option is probably not enough, but the only thing we have that can make a dent. When Angelton starts reciting parts of the "shit-piss-fuck-cunt-bugger"-litany, the literal End of the World as We Know It is in all likelihood imminent.