Well, there are plenty of modern swear words that were common in the Middle Ages in one form of another, some of which (crap
in particular) were not especially vulgar early on. Bugger
were used less frequently and perhaps not as interjections, but they were definitely out there and quite offensive; similarly, cunt
was still fairly crude, but somewhat more common than it is now in regular speech.
There are plenty of interesting obsolete or archaic swear words that sound halfway familiar: By far my favourite mediaeval cuss, sard
, is similar in meaning to fuck
, but implying adultery, fornication or other misdeed specifically. (The last citation of the word in the OED
is in this example: "Go teach your grandam to sard!") Synonymous with sard
to varying degrees are swive
A good pair of useful but highly non-PC insults are badling
(meaning "an effeminate wuss, a pathetic twit") and ingle
(meaning "catamite, punk"), each of which roughly served the role of the modern faggot
, which was at the time a more general term for someone useless, usually older and female. Great words for singling out an asshat or... well, someone really
catty, shall we say.
A nice insult that still survives to this day is pissant
, which means exactly what you would think it means: A piddling excuse for a human being. The adjective pusill
("small and pathetic") is also nice.
I love old swear words. They are just so much fun.
edited 3rd Apr '13 9:58:05 PM by JHM