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Hold Your Hippogriffs

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Gabe: This jackass just said that something can go "through a ferrocrete bunker like a neutrino through plasma." I get it, man. It says Star Wars on the cover. I know I'm reading about Star Wars. It's like, do they not have butter in space? Or hot knives to cut it with?
Tycho: Listen, don't get your mynocks in a... sarlacc.

The author uses a popular and/or modern phrase in a work of Speculative Fiction, and adjusts it to the setting by replacing certain concepts with their more-or-less appropriate counterparts. Works as a sort of Shout-Out to make the reader/viewer more at home in the world, while at the same time highlighting the difference; it can also be used to disguise swears. Can backfire if the adjustment comes off as too arbitrary (e.g., if the proverb refers to concepts that should exist in the speculative setting as well).


At times these are specific to an exact scene, too. The replacement concepts can be tailored to characters and current action, rather than being a common phrase of its own. A cop with an antagonistic relationship to his Imperial liaison can sardonically say the liaison's investigation team got past security like X-Wings go through a Death Star. In this way it can overlap with Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?, though it can refer to past moments anywhere on the spectrum of awesome and suck.

Related to Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" and Future Slang in as much as they're all about creating immersion through language use. The difference is that Hold Your Hippogriffs is, for one, not about words but phrases; for another, Hold Your Hippogriffs doesn't always create new words, although it can. It's also related to Flintstone Theming, but with fewer puns.


Supertrope of Oh My Gods!. Not related to Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff". The inverse of this, when a word is replaced due to never having the chance to exist, is Orphaned Etymology.


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    Multiple Media 
  • Transformers:
    • "Do you ever think you could be programmed  for something bigger?"
    • "Stick it in your optic sensor !"
    • "My afterburner ."
    • "That's murder on my audio receptors !"
    • "Processor  over matter."
    • "Megatron?! The cruel and vicious Decepticon leader who eats Autobot protoforms  for breakfast?!"
    • "I've got one servo  in the scrap heap ."
    • "Human! It's the Matrix or your protoform batch initiators !"
    • "You'll have to pry it from my cold, offline servos !"
    • "I'll tear out your optics !"
    • "It's a ." (this one even they find weird to say)
    • "Go to scrap heap !"
    • "Aww, hexagonal nuts."
    • "You can stuff it up your exhaust pipe ."
    • "What, is my gearbox  hanging out or something?"
    • "Don't just stand there with your pistons  in your servos !"
    • "Don't just stand there with your cockpits  open!"
    • "Brilliant my sine function ."
    • "Kiss my skidplate !"
    • "Whoa! What crawled up your tailpipe ?"
    • "Go stuff it up your reactor linkage !"
    • "Brilliant, my boron compressor !"
    • "Blow it out your actuator !"
    • "Tell him to blow it out his exhaust port !"
    • "That restaurant where the waitresses go around without torso plates ?"
    • "Bearings of chrome steel. "
    • From an episode of Transformers Cybertron:
      Override: What are we, roast energon ?
    • "Hold your Rahi,  I'm coming!"
    • "All my friends went to Po-Koro, and all I got was this lousy rock. "
    • "Like Matoran  opening presents on Naming Day. "
    • "It's a load of Rock Steed droppings! "
    • "I have a feeling we're not in Karda Nui  any more!
    • "He clapped his hands over his audio receptors. "
    • "Kill two Gukko  with one stone."
    • "The metal claw's  on the other foot now!" (This one was lampshaded, as another character tells the speaker that what he just said makes no sense.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon:
    • "Hold your Horsea !"
    • "I'm so hungry I could eat a Horsea !"
    • "Maybe if you weren't such a big fat Swinub , we'd get to the boat on time!"
    • "When the Swinub  fly."
    • "That Pachirisu is faster than water off a Wailord's  back."
    • "Hi-paw !"
    • "Cut the Mankey  business."

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Korean series Noonbory and the Super 7, the characters are divided into two groups - the good guys, known as the Borys, and the bad guys, known as the Gurys. These names are used in words like "everybory/gury " and "somebory ".

  • This is especially ridiculous in the Marvel Apes comics; "a human's  uncle" is an idiomatic phrase, except there are no humans in the Marvel Apes universe. Literally none. A few characters are mutated into human-like forms, but humanity is by and large nonexistent.
  • René Goscinny liked using this trope in his comics:
    • In Asterix, typical French curses involving God are transformed into those which involve Roman and Gaulish deities. There's also phrases like "a big girl's tunica ", a sign which tells people to 'wipe their caligae ', "in their good tablets"...
    • Lucky Luke's intellectual horse says, when crossing a river, "And the veterinarian  told me not to bathe immediately after pasturing. "
  • MAD's Golden Age parody "Mickey Rodent" had Darnold Duck turn to Mickey and call him a "dirty rat," with the word "rat" crossed out and "human" inserted.
  • When Judge Giant seemingly sides with Cal's SJS in the Judge Dredd story Judge Caligula, one SJS Judge comments that he knows what side his soyloaf  is synthi-spreaded , since Future Food Is Artificial.
  • In Wally Wood's Sally Forth, the martian Snorky does this from time to time.
    "There's more than one way to gobl a knog!"

    Fan Works 
  • Pokémon:
    • Many fanfics use "Hold your Ponyta/Rapidash !"
    • The fandom in general loves to swear to Arceus. Also an example of Oh My Gods!.
  • The Legend of Zelda fanfiction and fancomics tend to replace the words "God" or "Jesus" with either "Nayru", "Din" or "Farore", depending on which one is the most "fitting". Especially striking in the fan-flash series Unknown Origin, where Original Character "Biggs" would often shout "For Farore's sake!!" or "Oh my Din!!" whenever something weird happens to Link. As of Skyward Sword, Hylia is also commonly used.
  • A Very Potter Musical has "Oh my Wizard-God! " and "Oh my Rowling! "
  • A Hero, a crossover between Doctor Who and Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Dalek Sec, who gives us "SON-OF-A-THAL !"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is fond of this, so unsurprisingly it is omnipresent in its fanfiction:
    • The Writing on the Wall contains the usual ponyificiations of words, but the end of the story averts this trope intentionally because they realize that they need to warn off anyone who comes by thereafter, regardless of species, just as the ones who had come before them had done, lest they die of radiation sickness from the nuclear waste below.
    • In Turnabout Storm, while being stuck in Equestria, where they do this a whole lot, Phoenix starts to wonder if he should do it himself.
    Phoenix: Eh... I'm sorry, I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. (Should have I said "pony" there I wonder...)
    • In Hoofstuck, Pinkie Pie is confused over whether or not she should say everypony when talking to the reader. She can't come up with the right word (everyone/everybody) though.
    Hi everypony! Or wait a second, not everypony! Everyhuman? No, that sounds dumb. You guess you could say everyman, but why would you greet anypony with an old morality play? That's like the opposite of a party.
    • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse has the usual use of "anypony" (though this is actually a problem when it shows up in official documents, as it technically ignores the fact that not all of Equestria's citizens are ponies), and also has a wide variety of sun-based curses (due to Corona's betrayal, the Sun has a similar connotation to Equestrians as Hell might to a Judeo-Christian).
    • Discussed in MAGIC.MOV, where Spike doesn't see the difference between "anybody" and "anypony".
    Spike: You know, you can say anybody. Instead of anypony. Frankly I don't see what the point of that is. I would have know what you would meant if you would have said anybody. Seems to me like that's the kind of thing everybody's doing just because everybody else is doing.
    • Common in Under The Northern Lights, just like in the canon show, but even more is added since the fic deals with more than one species. Get used to "anydeer" as well as "anypony".
    • The fandom tends to use "flank" or "rump" in place of "ass" or "butt", like "flank-hurt", "dat flank", or "badflank".
    • "Buck" is commonly used instead of the similar sounding four-letter word, though at least one comic has noted the problems with that.
    • The fandom also likes to use "plot" in place of "ass". This resulted from Memetic Mutation relating to people claiming they "watch it for the plot", and people posting pictures of cartoon pony rear ends in response.
    • In Princess Trixie Sparkle, during one of the songs Luna sings "Do you really take me for a foal?". This applies in two different ways: as an equivalent to "fool" but also as an equivalent to "child".
  • Harry Potter fanfics:
    • In HP and the Dragon's Revenge Neville says that after Michael Corner got into Cho Chang's knickers he dropped her "like an exploding cauldron ."
    • In The Lion Tamer Umbridge decides that if she can catch Harry doing something wrong and Dumbledore trying to aid him she can "kill two doxies with one hex ."
    • In Rocking the Boat Dumbledore decides not to "bemoan a spilled cauldron ."
    • In the Harry Potter/X-Men crossover Mutant Storm Snape comments on Dumbledore's extreme reluctance to use deadly force.
    Snape: If you want to make a proper potion , you have to break a few ashwinder eggs.
    • In 3 Slytherin Marauders, Tom Riddle says that a lecture by the new assistant professor of History of Magic "set the kneazle among the jarveys ."
    • In Lunch at Maxine's Ron reminds his mother that he told her that when she "woke up and smelled the wolfsbane " he and Luna would start coming back to the Burrow.
    • In A Marauder's Plan McGonagall says that the "proof is in the casting " and refers to a recent trip to Thailand by Dumbledore as a "wild nargle  chase." Several chapters later, Sirius is mulling over something which happened years ago and decides that it's "all magic through the wand ."
    • In Came Out of the Darkness Draco Malfoy scoffs at something and Narcissa says "Draco remember, never judge a dragon by a single scale ."
    • In Not Normal a relative of Arthur Weasley says "No sense in reinventing the wand ."
    • In Harry Potter: What I See Draco Malfoy decides not to "look a gift centaur  in the mouth."
    • In The French Connection Harry says "Did you never hear the old saying, 'Curiosity killed the Niffler'?" Especially odd considering Harry was raised as a Muggle for the first eleven years of his life. He's perfectly familiar with cats.
    • In Mockingbird Harry says that he should probably "grip the broom by the handle ."
    • In Luna's Hubby Kingsley Shacklebolt decides that an escaped Bellatrix Lestrange isn't casting with a working wand 
    • In Veritas Oracle Ron tells Harry to "'grab the garden gnome by its legs ' and get it over with."
    • The author of Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness (in imitation of Rowling) has an occasional tendency to make up "wizarding" idioms, like "witches' instinct" for "women's intuition".
    • In Perilous Journey Ron says that his mother's problem with Sirius is related to her belief that he deserved to be arrested for some reason, "a 'there wouldn't be smoke if there was no dragon ' kind of thing."
    • In Of Unexpected Deliveries and Doorsteps Draco Malfoy is infatuated with Blaise Zabini and Draco's father says if it doesn't work out "there will be other kelpies in the pond  for you, my son."
    • In Unsung Hero a wizard-raised Harry says "So? What's that got to do with the price of dragon hide in Kinzenpore ?"
    • The Definition of Normal:
    Snape: You do realize, Mr. Potter, that twisting the tail of a dragon  will only get you burned.
    Lucius Potter: Being the head of the Potter family means trying to be Britain's best cat herder, and failing miserably more times than not.
    Harry: Don't you mean kneazle herder?
    Lucius Potter: No, I meant cats. Kneazles will listen to you if they know you can be trusted. Cats simply don't care and won't listen no matter what.
    Amelia: I'd rather kill two snidgets with one bludger  and accomplish both tasks at the same time.
    McGonagall: Might as well be burnt for a dragon as for a niffler  after all.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Captain Kanril walks onto her ship's bridge after a one night stand and her Andorian first officer remarks that she's acting "like a grayth  that just dined on prize alicorn ".
    • When Gaarra gets tongue-tied at the prospect of the Bajor having a Cardassian bartender in Ten Forward, said bartender says to him, "vole  got your tongue, Commander Reshek?" (For reference, a Cardassian vole.)
    • From Reality Is Fluid, a Challenge Fic starring the same characters, Tess, the aforementioned Andorian, says that the Bajor has "a cinder's chance in the Northern Wastes " of taking out an enormous Undine fleet. This makes for something of an Inverted Trope version, as the Northern Wastes of Andoria are nothing but glaciers.
    • In "Frostbite'', Tess tells her Breen captor, "Frak you and the zabathu  you rode in on!"
  • In the Mork & Mindy fanfic Mork and Mindy's Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, at one point, Kathy exclaims, "What on Earth is that?" at Mork's costume. Mr. McConnall corrects her that it's "What on Ork is that?"
  • Legacy of ch'Rihan and other stories:
    • Peace Forged in Fire: A conversation between two Romulan characters gives us this one:
      Deihu Hannam t'Hei: How long will it take to reach Khitomer, Khre’Riov?
      Morgaiah t'Thavrau: Four days, five hours, as the mogai  flies.
    • "Solaere ssiun Hnaifv'daenn" uses "hlai dung" as a stand-in for "bullshit". In the Rihannsu novels a hlai is a Romulan meat bird apparently something like an oversize chicken.
    • "Flaihhsam s'Spahkh" has a "mogai in the room", as opposed to an elephant.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Good Omens fic I Shall Endure to the End!, the proto-Judaic Mrs Japtheth tells Shem "Look, I don't know what zephyroth of the Kabbala  you're on..."
  • The Steven Universe fanfic Learning to Breathe Underwater has "I wasn't freshly mined " and "We're in deep coprolite ." Later, Peridot's reaction to Garnet telling her how Rose and Greg produced Steven is, "Oh my jumping diamond mountain ranges  is that a THING that humans actually DO?"
  • A sizable portion of RWBY fanfics has characters saying a variation of "Oh Monty ", (despite the fact that "Oh my god" was already spoken in the series), along with "Thank Dust " and "What the Grimm ?"
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Alice Margatroid's version of "Oh my God!" is stated to be "Dear sweet mother of Makai!", which refers to its creator Shinki and makes sense given the origin of Alice's younger self.
  • In Chasing the Rainbow, a sleepy Baby Nightglow is told "Ponies who stay soon become prey " when he complains about having to move early in the morning.
  • With Small Steps is an Avatar The Last Airbender fic where Zuko impregnated Katara at the end of the series. The two end up having a fireblast wedding .

    Films — Animation 
  • Balto:
    • "That's 'cause you're looking at the bowl  half empty."
    • "It's not exactly a one-dog  show, Dixie."
    • "I'm sticking here until I'm sure you can stand on own four  feet.
    • "Balto, I was so scared, I got people  bumps!
  • A lot of Disney's humor is based on this trope:
    • Aladdin:
      • "Don't stand until the rug  has come to a complete stop."
      • "Wake up and smell the hummus. "
      • Quite bizarre, given the significance of coffee in Arabia long before the west.
      • "Mr. Doubting Mustafa. "
      • "Allah  forbid you have any daughters."
      • "That two-faced son of a Jackal! "
      • "Hold onto your turban,  kid!"
      • "It never fails, you get in the bath, and there's a rub  at the lamp. "
      • "In a Gomorrah  minute!"
    • Hercules
      • "Holy Hera! "
      • "Is this an audience or a mosaic? "
      • "Wanna buy a sundial? "
      • "The honest-to-Zeus  truth."
      • Thebes is called the "Big Olive. "
      • "Keep your toga  on, pal!"
      • "Someone call IX-I-I! "
      • "That's it, I'm moving to Sparta! "
      • "He's just another chariot  chaser."
      • "...but I could see through that in a Peloponnesian  minute."
    • The Little Mermaid:
      • "You're not getting cold fins  now, are you?"
      • "You are such a guppy! "
      • "As long as you live under my ocean , you live under my rules!"
      • "You give them an inch, they'll swim  all over you."
      • "The seaweed  is always greener / In somebody else's lake! "
      • "Someone needs to nail that girl's fins  to the floor."
      • "It's time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles! "
    • The Lion King
      • "This child is getting wildly out of wing. "
      • "I'm so hungry I could eat a whole zebra. "
    • Pocahontas
      • "It's enough to make your sap  boil." (said by Grandmother Willow)
    • Mulan
      • "Who spit  in her bean curd? "
    • Dumbo
      • "Girls, girls, listen. Have I got a trunk  full of dirt."
    • Zootopia:
      • (During the Gazelle concert in the closing credits) "Put your paws  up!"
      • "Ladies and gentlemammals !"
  • Osmosis Jones:
    • "You're pulling my membrane! "
    • "You saved my cytoplasm  back there."
    • "I should be out in the veins  fighting disease! "
  • Happy Feet: "Can you speak plain penguin,  please?" and "I'm speaking plain penguin. "
  • Toy Story has "Son of a building block! " and "Save your batteries. "
  • A Bug's Life: "Ladies and gentlebugs!  Larvae  of all stages!  Rub  your legs  together for the world's greatest bug circus!"
  • Cars:
    • "Ladies and gentlecars ..."
    • "His undercarriage  is showing."
    • "Float like a Cadillac , sting like a Beamer ."
    • Tractor  tipping.
    • RustEze Medicated Bumper  Ointment.
    • "The loser will be stripped of all modifications and become... STOCK!!! "
  • Planes adds in a few more:
    • "I'll leak all over you if you don't watch your intake! "
    • "Oh for the love of Peterbilt "
  • Hoodwinked: "Well well, someone hibernated  on the wrong side of the cave ."
  • Finding Nemo: "It'll be a piece of kelp ."
    • A little girl octopus, upon being startled, says, "Oh, you made me ink "
  • How to Train Your Dragon: "Odin  help us."
  • Horton Hears a Who!: "That's why my little Rudy is pouch -schooled.
  • Shrek 2: "Well, it looks like we're up Chocolate  Creek without a popsicle stick ."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Planet of the Apes:
    • "Human  see, human  do."
    • Considering that the whole franchise was a commentary about racism, you can't forget a line like "The only good human  is a DEAD human! "
  • Alexander manages to naturally do this, replacing phrases like "By God!" with "By Zeus!" or "In the name of the Gods!" instead of the singular, and other such things using ancient Greek-era things in place of more modern phrases and outbursts. A few times, it tends to get too clunky and usual, with things like "By Athena's Justice, this girl has spirit" that tend to be less artificial and more sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country had one of the military men threaten that if the Klingons declared war, "we'd clean their chronometers. "
  • At the climax of Oh, God! You Devil, when the Devil (George Burns) loses his nerve in a poker showdown with God (also George Burns), God comments, "I put the fear of me  into you."
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Had Kirk mentioning "Moon over Rigel- 7 " as a potential campfire sing-along. When this movie was later riffed, Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy mocked the use of this trope with such song titles as I Left My Heart On Tau Ceti Five  and I Have Thirteen Eyes For You.
  • The Lord of the Rings "As the Nazgûl flies."
    • Justified, since they are actually talking about Nazgûl flying there.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan had "What beams you into this neck of the woods?"
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, McCoy says Spock is "not exactly working  on all thrusters ".
  • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan says that his hunt for General Grievous on Utapau "May just be a wild bantha  chase."
  • In Masters of the Universe, Gwildor the Thenurian twice uses the same term in different situations:
    • “I’m not a Torktum , you know!”
    • “I don’t believe it! I’ve got a lot of serious work to do! You’re acting like Torktums !”
  • Black Panther:
    Shuri: Did he freeze?
    Oyoke: Like an antelope  in headlights.
  • Racing Stripes
    Horse:Go home, four left hooves !

  • From Life, the Universe and Everything: "Wouldn't stand a whelk's  chance in a supernova ." Much to Arthur Dent's confusion.
  • In The Integral Trees by Larry Niven, several characters use the expression "feed the tree," which means, "The words you are saying are a commonly used form of natural fertilizer."
  • The Trope Namer is Harry Potter; several of these expressions we hear from Mrs. Figg after she's revealed to be a Squib:
    • "Hold your hippogriffs! "
    • "What's got your wand  in a knot? "
    • "No use crying over spilt potion. "
    • "The cat's among the pixies  now."
    • "Wasn't enough room to swing a kneazle. "
    • "Might as well be hanged for a dragon  as an egg. "
    • "Fell off the back of a broom. "
    • "Son of a Bludger! "
    • "A poisonous toadstool  can't change its spots."
    • "God rest ye, merry hippogriffs " being sung by Sirius at Christmas in Order of the Phoenix. (This may very well have been Sirius messing with the words for his own sake, since he was attending on Buckbeak at the time.)
    • "Just yanking your wand. "
    • "Get off his high hippogriff. "
    • "Which came first, the phoenix  or the flame? "
    • "It's like losing a Knut  and finding a Galleon ."
      • Justified in this case, as wizards have their own currency and know nothing of Muggle money.
    • In fact, in the Film, the band in one movie does a song pretty much entirely of this trope.
    • They also tend to refer to Merlin in addition to God. Which makes sense, one supposes.
    • Speaking of swearing by Merlin, "Merlin's pants!" could very well be a stand-in for "Holy shit!", considering the following:
      • "Pants" is British slang for "rubbish";
      • Another term for "rubbish" is "bullshit" or simply "shit"; and
      • When Hermione uses the term, Ron realizes she's got her wand in a much tighter knot than usual, for her to be saying that (also consider that he is himself guilty of swearing loudly numerous times throughout the series).
      • Speaking of Merlin's pants, quoth Ron: "How in the name of Merlin's pants  have you managed to get your hands on those Horcrux books?"
      • Ron is also cut off in the middle of asking why "in the name of Merlin's saggy left-" (cue interruption by his mother) he is required to tidy his bedroom ahead of his brother's wedding.
    • Rita Skeeter also once makes reference to a "bring and fly  sale".
    • Harry once tells Rita Skeeter that he wouldn't touch her "with a ten-foot broomstick ."
    • In Order of the Phoenix McGonagall refers to Harry, George and Draco getting into a fistfight as "muggle dueling".
  • Codex Alera:
    • "Go tothe crows !"
    • "Oh Great Furies ."
    • "He's a slive ."
  • In the Discworld books, most of the examples of this trope are simply their setting-appropriate equivalents. E.G.:
    • "...guaranteed to have fallen off the back of an oxcart. " (Guards! Guards!)
    • "He's going to go totally Librarian poo. " (The Fifth Elephant and The Truth)
    • " the high priest  said to the vestal virgin. " (Witches Abroad)
    • "Crysophrase, he not give a coprolith  about that stuff" (Men at Arms) and "I'm in deep copro,  right?" (Thud!). (Trolls are living rock, and a coprolith is fossilised animal dung.)
    • "Been there, done that, bought the doublet. " (The Fifth Elephant)
    • Men at Arms has "...some Watchman blundering around upsetting things, like a loose ... a loose siege catapult. "; "...up the Ankh  without a paddle"; "Does a dragon explode  in the woods?" (although the original version is also in use); and "Like a fish needs a ... a thing that doesn't work underwater , sir."
    • "Don't come the raw trilobite  with me." (Moving Pictures; from a rock-eating troll)
    • "When the midden  hits the windmill. " (Thief of Time and The Fifth Elephant)
    • "How many trolls does it take to change a lamp wick? " (Sourcery)
    • A weird one that started out as a Nanny Ogg malapropism in Carpe Jugulum, and then somehow became the accepted version of the phrase in later books is: "The leopard does not change his shorts." In Unseen Academicals, this phrase's complete meaninglessness gets lampshaded.
      • Another common mangled saying is "the worm is on the other boot", a mash-up of "the worm has turned" and "the boot is on the other foot".
    • The tendency of Honest Johns in UK media to call everyone "squire" (CMOT Dibbler does this) gets extended to other Discworld cultures, with a camel merchant who calls Teppic "emir" in Pyramids, and Disembowel-Meself-Honorably calling Rincewind "shogun" in Interesting Times.
    • Klatch's role as the "generically foreign" country to Morporkians means we get "Excuse my Klatchian " and "That isn't Klatchian  mist, lad" (both by Ridcully in Soul Music).
    • A few aversions are lampshaded early on, when he notes that the use of the phrase "gypsies" is anomalous, given that there is no such thing as Egypt, but some words of place-name origin need to be kept for coherency's sake, so he's not calling them Djelibabies, as technically appropriate as that would be.
    • "This is a hell of a way to spend Hogswatch! " (Hogfather)
    • "Now we're cooking with charcoal! " (Interesting Times and others)
    • Trolls refer to "legends from the sunset  of time." Either because they're nocturnal (according to The Light Fantastic), or because they think we go through time backwards (according to Thud!, based on a line in Reaper Man).
    • "Evil Emperor. Evil Empire. It did what it said on the iron maiden .(Unseen Academicals)
    • "Couldn't expect to get away Feegle  free" (Snuff)
    • There's more than one way of choking a dangdang  than stuffing it with pling ." (Thief of Time) (dangdangs and pling, if you're wondering, are never mentioned in any other context.)
    • In a discussion on, Terry Pratchett said that building the clacks network was "not dragon wizardry ." (See The Last Hero for why they're the same thing.)
    • In Raising Steam a dwarf says the grags can "stick it where the sun shines too much ".
    • "It's gone wahoonie -shaped." (Various books)
    • "The real Mac Feegle ." (Nanny Ogg's Cookbook)
    • In Feet of Clay, the Ankh-Morpork nobility know which side of their biscuit  is spread with pate .
    • Ancient Ephebians (i.e. Greeks) in Eric say "You play discus  with me, and I'll play discus  with you."
  • The vampire culture in The Saga of Darren Shan: "In this night  and age"
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe and Legends books:
    • "Out of the reactor core  and into the supernova. "
    • Playing Sith's/Dark Side's  Advocate. Started in the X-Wing Series, but other novels picked it up later.
    • Better the Moff  you know than Emperor's new envoy. 
    • He was as green as the foam  on Lomiin-ale.
    • The Star Wars Holiday Special is largely cringed over and ignored, but a few things have worked their way into canon. Boba Fett, Chewbacca's family, and Life Day.
      Wedge: [after a very agreeable breakup, and having said that he hopes she'll still consider him a friend] Meaning you can still call on me. Send me messages. Send me Life Day  presents.
    • "These guys went through the estate's defenses easier than Rebels go through a Death Star ."
    • It's not the work of Venthan Chassu,  but it beats bare walls.
    • Less chance than a flame  on Hoth. 
    • If one person calls you a Hutt,  laugh it off. If two people call you a Hutt,  start to wonder. If three people call you a Hutt,  buy a drool bucket and start hoarding spice.  (Stackpole invents a lot of these.)
    • You look like something the poom  dragged in.
    • How many Corellians does it take to change a glowpanel? 
      • None. If the Light's out you can't see them cheating at Sabacc. 
    • Speaking of which, there's no such thing as a "poker face." Instead, you'd have a "Sabacc face." Likewise, "dejarik" (the game Chewie and R2 play in A New Hope) is substituted for chess.
    • She took to it like a sarlacc  to sand. 
      • That one is strange, since they do have ducks. And water. And because not all sarlaccs live in deserts.
    • If The Force is with us, it's definitely The Dark Side. 
    • This looks like a dew -run.
      • Also used: a "blue milk-run".
      • For those who don't know, a "milk run" is aviation speak for a routine, uneventful journey. Among bomber crews, it means an easy mission with neither flak nor enemy fighters.
    • Stick the vibroblade  in and modulate the oscillation rate. 
    • The airspeeder dropped like a freefalling Hutt. 
      • The same character a few pages later said the same speeder "dropped like a rock", so "freefalling Hutt" was probably just for color.
    • As the smugglers say, we were putting all our spice  in one freighter .
    • Don't plot a course into that black hole .
    • I get the holo . (In general, "holo" or "hologram" are used in any context that calls for "photograph" or "video.")
    • I'll walk away, shedding my crimes like a Trandoshan  sheds its skin.
      • In that case it was deliberate—a criminal offered to hand over some crucial info in exchange for immunity from prosecution, money, and a way off planet, and was amused when an old enemy was sent to pick him up. He knew she needed the info and was too honorable to go against the deal, so he used this phrase to remind her that he had let the Trandoshan who had murdered a friend walk free.
    • This really came out of the asteroid belt. 
      • Alternately, it came out of the black, as in deep space.
    • "Like a neutrino  through plasma. "
      • A similar but less arbitrary example from one of the Young Jedi Knights books: Lando says that a certain diamond drill can cut through durasteel just as easily as a laser can cut through Sullustan jam. It's not explained what property of Sullustan jam requires lasers to cut.
    • A particularly egregious one: What time is it when an Imperial AT-AT Walker  steps on your wrist chronometer?  Time to get a new wrist chronometer. 
    • Wedge Antilles is said to have ice water in his veins and cold-space lubricants for blood.
    • "And then ask yourself if that doesn't make you look a bit like a dewback's cloaca ."
    • "He's a few starships  short of a fleet. ."
    • Tending children is like herding Gammorean slime cats .
    • Set in durasteel . See page quote here.
    • At least one of the Essential Guide books has "A game of felinx  and rodus ". This despite the fact that a quick look on Wookieepedia reveals that both cats and mice exist in-universe.
    • It's dangerous to change dewbacks  in the middle of a sand dune. 
  • The Redwall books love these:
    • Some examples include "the leaf  calling the grass green " and "I'll bet you an apple to an acorn" (the equivalent of "dollars to donuts").
    • "If wishes were fishes, there'd be no room in the river for water. " (Also many creative insults, the best being "If brains were bread you'd have starved to death before you were born!")
    • "There's more than one way of frying a frog. " Weird, you'd think Ferahgo would love to talk about skinning things...
  • From Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross, we have "Never bring a tazer  to an artillery duel ", and the ReMastered philosophy "Upload  them all, the unborn god  will know its  own."
  • The Hollows has several, such as "You look like the vamp who drained the cat. "
  • Lots in the Star Trek Novel Verse:
    • Like a targ  out of gre'thor.  (Klingon)
    • "If life hands you ungaberries,  you've got to make detergent. " (Ferengi)
    • "Played me like a Syn Lara. " (Trill)
    • "The Bloodwing's  share", and "like h'vart  in an alley." (Both Romulan)
    • "The pin  that broke the zipthar’s wing .(Human colonists on Deneva)
    • "The sauce  on the slugsteak  (Ferengi)
    • "Nervous as a tiku in a kava reap" (Bajoran)
    • One that's almost the same: "Plenty of other Suckerfish in the River".
    • "If Ice Bores kill your Ailicorne, make Ailicorne steaks". (Andorian). There are also the Andorian axioms "Absence makes the heart forget" and "What goes around comes around...but with a sharper knife".
    • The Ferengi morality tale of "The Boy Who Cried Audit"
    • "Like Honge on fresh meat" (Cardassian). Also the Cardassian saying "the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, but may prove useful".
    • "Sap and fog", for when Nasats are being dismissive.
    • "Screw with the Mugato, you're getting the horn".
    • "In a Tribble's eye!" (Which didn't need to be said, because McCoy uses the phrase "In a pig's eye!" in the original series).
  • Dragaera:
    • In Issola, Lady Teldra makes a reference to Vlad engaging in "gray humor". This is the equivalent of what we would call "black humor"—the difference is that in the series, black is the color of magic and gray is the color of death.
    • They also have "how many X does it take to sharpen a sword?" instead of Light Bulb Jokes.
  • Warrior Cats does this quite a bit:
    • "When hedgehogs  fly!"
    • "Don't be a scaredy-mouse! "
    • "Don't get your whiskers  in a twist. "
    • "That's a load of fox-dung! "
    • "You're crow-food! "
    • "Cloudtail's mew  is worse than his scratch. "
    • "We shall kill two prey  with one blow,  as it were."
    • "Who made dirt  in his fresh-kill ?"
    • "You look as if you've lost a rabbit  and found a shrew ."
    • "No use wailing  over lost prey ."
    • "Leopardfur can go chase her own tail ." A similar expression, "Bluestar can go eat snails!" is also seen.
    • "Great Star Clan!" 
    • "If I catch you on my territory, you'll wish you'll never been kitted ."
    • "You're two sides of the same leaf ."
  • A clever and appropriate use in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers novel, "...on the bounce." Its meaning ranges from along the lines of 'don't waste time' to 'stay alert', depending on the context it's used in.
  • Rosalie hisses "Over my pile of ashes" in Breaking Dawn.
  • In Insurrection (War of the Spider Queen series) one drow said "putting the cart before the lizard".
  • In Safehold, "kill the wyvern  that fetched  the golden rabbit ."
    • Fridge Logic: But why would you kill the wyvern out of greed? Does it puke up the rabbit after fetching it? And they have chickens on Safehold, so why not geese? Why not just use another bird in place of the goose? Arrgh!
    • Also, "between the doomwhale  and the deep blue sea."
    • They also curse by Shan-Wei and put "Shan-Wei" instead of "Devil", as she's local Satan figure, ("Go to Shan Wei's Hell !") and use Langhorne (greatest of the archangels) instead of God ("Langhorne  bless you" or "For Langhorne's  sake!").
  • The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov: "built like a force-field latrine ." (If you're wondering about the practicality of a force-field latrine, note that that's the point of the original metaphor.)
  • The Automatic Detective loves this trope — among others, Mack, as narrator, once says that "Grey had me by the directives ", and use of "exhaust port" (as per the Transformers example) is a common stand-in for "ass" in all manner of expressions.
  • In Dora Wilk Series non-human characters use it a few times. Most notably, Dora puts "Goddess" instead of "God" in any place ("Oh my Goddess!", "For Goddess' sake!" among others) and Olaf (a werewolf) curses by "difficult change" instead of other light curses, whether they make sense in Doraverse or not.
  • Guardians of Ga'Hoole does this a few times:
    • Most common is the use of "gizzard" in place of things like "know in my heart" or "bad feeling in my gut".
    • "Are you yoinks "?
    • "Racdrops" is a common swear, short for "raccoon droppings".
    • "Glaux" is used in place of "God" i.e. "Great Glaux!".
  • H. Beam Piper: one book replaced "hot knife" and "butter" with "fast neutrons" and "toilet paper".
  • In the Honor Harrington novels, characters from planets other than Earth (most of the cast), typically substitute native fauna into their metaphors, such as "We've got the hexapumanote  by the tail" or "If you had the sense God gave a near-turkey". A few technological metaphors show up - "adding hydrogennote  to the fire".
  • The Ciaphas Cain novels have a few examples:
    • The series is fond of the phrase "going ploin-shaped ."
    • In the first novel, Ciaphas notes that it's credits to carrots  that he and his troops will be mobilized to stop the Tau.
  • The Race in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series do this a lot. Examples:
    • "On the other fork of the tongue ".
    • "Getting under his scales ".
    • "Keep an eye-turret  on him".
    • "You must be egg-addled !".
    • "You are yanking my tail-stump ."
    • They also constantly swear "by the spirits of Emperors past" (cast down eye-turrets).
  • In the Doctor Who – Expanded Universe novel Harvest of Time, the Master says "Skaro  wasn't destroyed  in a day".
  • "A Brush with Life", a short story in Dragon magazine about a boy who's miniature figure of a Barbarian Hero comes to life when he paints it, and demands a female companion. When the boy paints a woman warrior and she likewise comes to life, she informs the barbarian that "Some women have as much use for a man as a sea serpent  has for a chariot ."
  • Star Darlings:
    • "Cool as a calaka "
    • "In the starlight "
    • "First stars "
    • "Marches to the signal  of her own pulsar "
  • In Dragonsong, from a seaside hold, "Every storm brings in a little driftwood 
  • In The Machineries of Empire: "For the sake of fox and hound ".
  • Seeker Bears:
    • "Have you got honey  between your ears?"
    • "They're all hiding in the trees like dumb, scaredy birds ."
    • "Your brain is full of feathers ."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • "The song is sung, the wine is spilled, the wench  is pregnant ."
    • "Who pissed in your soup ?"
  • Bravelands:
    • "He talks a lot of monkey dung ."
    • "Out of my way, monkey  brains!"
  • Neptune's Brood
    • The opening section, which drops the reader right in the middle of the complex interstellar economy that will get explained later, has a travel agent explain tickets to a certain planet are no longer available for love nor favours .
    • The captain of the Space Pirates (who are actually space privateers, and are actually actually very proactive freelance insurance underwriters) explains that they're a necessary part of the economy, so governments turn a damaged photoreceptor  to them.
    • It's noted that if the ruler of a posthuman oceanic colony suppresses civil liberties too much, her subjects will simply vote with their fins .
  • Tailchaser's Song:
    • Cats say "Your Furriness " and "Regal Softness " to the queen.
    • At one point Tailchaser says that he's "made a m'an  of myself". For reference, a "m'an" is a human.
  • In the picture book Rise and Shine Bunny, the mother tries to wake her son with "Now sweetie, the early bunny  gets the sweet clover ".
  • Survivor Dogs:
    • "Paw" gets used as an equivalent of "hand"/"foot" in sayings. For example, "on one paw ".
    • "Hurry up, or we'll be here until the Moon-Dog goes to sleep ".
    • "The foxes could go to the Earth-Dog  as far as he was concerned (...)"
  • This is actually an occasional plot-point in The Cosmere. Worldhoppers can use Connection to speak the native language of whatever world they are on, but it translates idioms literally, often causing them to sound quite ridiculous.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Not uncommonly, Time Lords - a two-hearted race - use allegorical phrases related to the heart, but with 'hearts' instead. 'Heartsbeat', 'broke my hearts', 'I haven't the hearts', etc.
    • "Robot" has the Doctor complain that "it's a free cosmos " as well as refer to his "heartsbeat".
    • In "The Face of Evil", the Doctor's unimpressed by a broken communicator - "Dead as a Dalek ".
    • In "The Unquiet Dead": Charles Dickens: "What the Shakespeare? ". Oddly enough, the phrase "what the dickens" actually appears in Shakespeare's writing and has nothing to do with the author Dickens at all ("the dickens" = "the Devil"), but it would be even odder for Charles Dickens to say "what the dickens". Referenced two seasons later when Shakespeare says "What the Chaucer?"
    • In "The Name of the Doctor", after the Doctor is conned by Clara's young charges, he mutters, "Why those little...Daleks !"
  • Star Trek: Voyager has "I didn't want to be a third nacelle. " (ships in Star Trek almost always have an even number of warp nacelles, usually 2)
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time" has one whose mundane equivalent isn't very common: "He's as tight-lipped as an Aldeberan Shellmouth ."
  • On Star Trek: Enterprise, Phlox referred to Archer's Freudian slips as "Pillarian slips".
    • He also referred to an old saying: "When in Fellebia , do as the Fellebians  do.
  • Babylon 5 manages to combine this with Yiddish as a Second Language when Ivanova says to Sheridan, "What am I, chopped flarn ?" ("Lines of Communication")
  • In The Suite Life on Deck: "Well I guess we're both up the Ganges  without a paddle!
  • M*A*S*H: On at least one occasion Klinger announced, "Piece of baklava !"
  • Game of Thrones:
    • "When I was a child, an uncle asked: what gift I wanted for my name day ."
    • Tyrion claims "If I had a gold dragon for every time..."
  • Bottom:
    • In a scene cut from the episode Gas featured in the Fluff collection: “There are  more than three ways  to kill a monkey .
  • In Krypton, with its Uterine Replicator, Dev-Em warns someone "Tell anyone about this, and you'll wish the Genesis Chamber never spat you out ."

  • MAD #208, "Cattlecar Galaxica":
    Adammit: That was real brave of you to rescue me, Athinner! I'd like to thank you properly! How about dropping by my sleep bay and—
    Athinner: Not tonight! I have a Cranium Megahurt!
    Adammit: Hmmm! Some things never change—even in SIX millenniums!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Mirage, "Alarum":
    "One timely cry of warning can save nine of surprise." —Sidar Jabari
  • Common in Vampire: The Requiem, e.g. "Tonight,  the world has changed."
  • In Transhuman Space: School Days, Denise considers Ian to be sysadmin  of his own fan community .
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ever since Lorgar the Horus Heresy, people have replaced the word "God" with "Emperor". Said emperor is not amused because it means that everyone people started worshiping him when he explicitly commanded this not to happen. People also swear by the Golden Throne, which the Emperor's living corpse sits on and is sustained by.
  • An article in Dragon magazine has a veteran dungeoneer complain that when novices start out they take "everything but the bucket from the well ".
  • The dogs in Pugmire worship the lost race of Man, and are therefore prone to exclamations such as "Man damn it!" and "I swear to Man."

  • The Little Mermaid:
    • "As long as you live under my reef ..."
    • "She was seaweed  and spice and everything nice..."
    • "That girl's on sandbar  nine!"
    • "Ariel and someone, swimming in the sea . K-I-S-S-I-N-G."
    • "And then the squid  will hit the fan."
    • "How could she just suddenly completely disappear into thin water ?"
  • Wicked: "Wait one clock-tick ."

    Video Games 
  • The Discworld game:
    Sleazy Guy: Care to buy an hourglass? 
    Rincewind: Where'd you get those?
    Sleazy Guy: Fell off the back of a donkey cart,  sir!
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Final Fantasy
    • Wakka instructs Tidus over the course of Final Fantasy X to hold his chocobos. The Chocoboy of Final Fantasy VIII instructed Squall to do the same. There's also Wakka's "son of a Shoopuf!" and another character's " shoopuf!"
    • In Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, at one point Fran is being accosted by a group of sky pirates, including a "foul-mouthed moogle" who lets out an apparently profanity-laden sentence ending with "and your chocobo too!"
    • In Nautilus in Final Fantasy XIII, there's a boy who asks his parent to give him a "chocoback ride."
    • Final Fantasy Type 0 has a random NPC trainee who comments that "Confidence is exactly what I'm lacking. I go in thinking I can do it, but when push comes to shove, I always chocobo out..."
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Io drops one in a cross-fate episode with Ryan.
    "It's not over 'till the Primal Beast sings!"
  • Mass Effect 2 features an advertisement for a movie about "Blasto, the first hanar Spectre", whose trademark phrases are "This one has no time for your solid waste excretions" and "Enkindle THIS!"
    • Mass Effect 3 features many excerpts from the movie, the humor of which often stems from this trope.
    • When you first meet Legion, Tali mentions that a single geth would have no more intelligence than a wild varren. It makes more sense since varren are basically Space Dogs, and 99% of the characters, humans included, probably never saw a real life dog before.
    • Quarians in general use the term "Keelah" in place of "God" note , and "Keelah se'lai" is said at the end of certain discussions, including the hearing in front of the admiralty board. Replace it with "God be with you", and it's a perfect fit.
      • Mass Effect 3 reveals it to effectively mean "The homeworld which I shall one day see.", which is similar, given how mythical their homeworld is to the Quarians by this point.
      • Similar to the above, asari usually say "By the goddess!", while turians use "Spirits!"
    • Inverted early on, at one point Vega brings up a more traditional "shooting fish in a barrel", which is a completely alien concept to Garrus.
    • And most people would describe someone ballsy as having "a quad", as the krogan have four testicles.
    • Mordin Solus, your salarian teammate in 2, thinks his former CO was "a bit of a cloaca". Salarians are amphibians, wherein the cloaca is both anal and reproductive orifice, so he's basically calling him an asshole and a dick.
    • Also averted in the case of figures of speech involving bullets.
      Renegade Shepard VI: I find the best advanced battlefield strategy is to have more bullets than the other guy. [Beat] Technically, it's thermal clips, not bullets, but who says "I filled him with 5 detachable heat sinks"?
  • Dwarven curses in the Dragon Age setting include "Go take a long breath out of a short shaft," which from context and phrasing probably means "Go die in a hole."
    • It might be a modification of "go take a long walk off a short pier", or even "go suck a prick", basically, "shut up" or "go f*ck yourself".
    • The above saying most likely refers to the breathing of lyrium dust in the mines. Lyrium is basically the setting's magical macguffin, but it is very toxic to mortal beings. Breathing lyrium dust can, even in the best of circumstances, reduce you to a gibbering idiot, at worst, don't want to know.
    • They also use "Nug-humping" where a modern person would probably use "Motherfucking."
    • In addition, there's the phrase "by the maker", as well as a few references to Andraste throughout both games.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series has quite a few of these, primarily in the first three games, where the translators were using Woolseyisms:
    • "I was programmed  ready!"
    • "You scared me half to deletion! "
    • "Prepare to meet your programmer! "
  • All over the place in Homeworld: Cataclysm. Some are reasonable, some are quite grating.
    Kuun-Lan Fleet Command(agitated): Join the Kiith !
  • Tales of Monkey Island has got LOADS of them, though a few examples are:
    • "Davey J. Nipperkin doesn't go handing over his secret sources to every Tom, Dick, and Guybrush  that washes ashore!"
    • "Anyone up for a quick game of Five Card Draw-and-Quarter?  Follow the Monkey?  Mêlée  Hold 'Em?"
    • "The Club has a strict 'No Feet,  No Service' clause."
    • "Talk to the hand, sicko, 'cause the pirate  ain't listenin'!"
    • "Accidentally, my dorsal fin! "
    • "Does someone have a cannon  to your head?"
    • "...but that guy is cannon -happy!"
    • "Just my two pieces of eight,  sir."
    • "Blowholes  to Betsy, could it be?"
    • "Hold onto your pantalones! "
    • "Your honor, pirates and wenches  of the gallery... "
    • "...he seemed to think I could make a pretty piece of eight  off of your untimely execution..."
    • "Time is grog,  Captain."
    • "Malevolence  is in the eye of the beholder, Guybrush Threepwood."
    • "Tore through here like a cat  outta hell, off into the jungle."
    • "Mo' money, mo ability to solve puzzles. "
    • "That witch is nothing but trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with V,  and that stands for Voodoo. "
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has repeated uses of "everybirdie ".
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, a Hutt remarks, "You say keelpunah , I say keepunah ."
  • When playing SimAnt, if the "Funny" captions are turned on, ants will often share gems such as "I've worked my mandibles to the chitin ."
  • In Xenoblade, you'll occasionally get phrases like "What on Bionis ?"
  • After the CPU Breaker is defeated in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, Ram exclaims that she's "so hungry she could eat a horsebird."
  • Used by specific characters rather than the world at large, but the third season of Sam & Max: Freelance Police has a few.
    Papierwaite: And why should I give a hellbeast's hangnail  what happens to your partner?
    Papierwaite: I couldn't give three figs !
    • And a Dummied Out line has Skun-K'ape saying "You're swinging on frayed vines , magician".
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: "What in OBLIVION  is that?!"
    • Speaking of said Oblivion, the Adoring Fan: "By Azura! By Azura! By Azura! "
  • In Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2, one voice choice for male player characters has the following "swear" emote: "You two-faced son of a kobold !"
  • Space Quest:
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: In the barracks, one of your soldiers utters "I'm so hungry I could eat a Pegasus ."
    • Another character states "It's time for ol' Gangrel to get a dose of his own vulnerary !"
  • In one of it's many, many moment of pure parody, Liberal Crime Squad has Liberals and Moderates (who are all Atheists of course) say, when confronted with the shocking truth of the evil conservative regime, "Oh my Science ! Is there anything I can do to help?"
  • In Nevertales 3: Smoke and Mirrors the inhabitants of Taleworld, a parallel reality composed entirely of book-worlds, say things like "May the Author keep you."
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Ciri offers Geralt an oren  for his thoughts.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon:
    • Well, I'll be an Aipom's  uncle!
    • I was being such a scaredy-Delcatty ...
  • In Disgaea 5, after Zeroken blows using the Ultimate Demon Technique, Final Skill on Bloodis, Seraphina angrily yells at him "What in the Human World  are you doing?!"
  • In the good ending of Cuphead, after defeating the Devil and incinerating the Soul Contracts, Cuphead and Mugman race each other for home, with Mugman shouting out, "Last one there is a leaky cup !"

    Web Comics 
  • Footloose: "You've got about as much chance as Hinckley had with Foster "
  • Skin Deep has at least one: "What's got your feathers in a turn? " (oddly enough, said to someone who doesn't have feathers.)
  • Vexxarr gives us this version. BellSouth has the Bleen Empire by the Golgi Apparatus.
  • "I'm such a plague-head!" from My Milk Toof.
  • Digger
    • "Hold your moles,  I'm coming."
    • "Never laid eyestalks on one before."
    • "I don't give a gnawed shoot. "
    • "Don't salt  the messenger."
    • " I'll make him regret the day he slid out of his mother's pouch. 
  • Our Little Adventure has a few:
    • "For the love of the gods" replacing "For the love of God"
    • "For Stellina's sake!" replacing "For Christ's sake!"
    • "What in the three hells" replacing "What the hell"
    • "What on Manjulias" replacing "What on Earth" (at least when the creator remembers to change it.)
  • Homestuck plays this for laughs with the trolls, as part of the Expospeak Gag that is their biology and culture:
    • "You can glub to the content of your collapsing and expanding bladder based aquatic vascular system ."
    • Karkat explaining a troll romance novel "THEIR DYNAMIC IS THE GRUBLOAF AND TUBER PASTE  OF THE OVERALL ARC."
    • "I made my recupracoon  and now I have to wriggle around in its slime ."
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • A fiend exclaiming "What the Home Sweet Home  is going on?"
    • A dwarf explaining that past history is all "water over the tunnel ."
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic:
  • The godlike A.I. in Schlock Mercenary has a rather twisted sense of humor (this one seems to spread in the fandom):
    Schlock: ...How did Petey get a gestaltnote  off of a battleplate?
    Kevyn:' I didn't ask, and all he said was "in for a penny, in for plutonium".
  • Girl Genius has a few, based on steam power and clockwork, such as "Get wound !" and "runing around like headless constructs ".
  • Starslip Crisis parodies this hard, sometimes by adding needless adjectives to a phrase and sometimes by just putting "space-" in front of a word. (As in "Oh, space-hell!")
    Cutter: Today I kill two Salaxian birds with one Hethomorian laser-stone.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Chika explains to Amanda what might be the reason Amanda doesn't remember answering a particular Q&A question previously.
    Chika: You were pretty shrunk  at the time, but...
  • In "A Brief Moment of Culture", Jeffrey Channing Wells's Very Long Narbonic fanfic, Artie the superintelligent gerbil reflects "Mell was playing in my dust bath  now".
  • Gaia:
    • "Go jump into the Void !"
    • "What in Bhaal's  name?!"
    • "Dear Gaia !"
  • Housepets!:
    King: "Son of a charming young woman !"
  • Played with in Skin Horse. Sweetheart is a talking female dog. And because she's a bit uptight, she doesn't like to swear. So she calls Violet Bee "that rhymes-with-bitch ".
  • Darths & Droids: In one strip, an Imperial officer says "What am I? Chopped splanch ?" (The splanch being a Running Gag of Bizarre Alien Biology in DMM's work.)
  • Awful Hospital: Happens every so often between all the sapient lifeforms.
    Maggie: Hold yer horseflies, lemme buzz the place...
  • Because there are several gods in Unsounded of relatively equal importance, people usually say "gods" instead of "god," i.e. "oh gods" or "godsdamned." Though earlier comics sometimes use the singular form. Oddly, "hell" is used as an expletive even though no one seems to believe in such a place.
  • Discussed in The Bird Feeder #203, "Bird Talk," as Terry wonders whether they ought to use more bird-like jargon like "Gull!" when frustrated or "Great Auk!" when shocked.

    Web Original 
  • Red Dawn +20: Chebrikov Ate Sugar.
  • This Very Wiki will sometimes alter trope names to fit the work that the page is dedicated to. Especially the Just for Fun page for Daring Do, where all the tropers are supposed to be sentient horses, zebras, griffons, etc.
  • The Bastard Operator from Hell declares himself to be "up a thinwire without a terminator" in one story.
  • In AJCO there is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example during a conversation between Kube (a Plant Alien) and Vinnie (raised by Plant Aliens):
    <Kube> *pushes Vinnie back into bed* Easy there, tigerlily! 
  • RWBY features an example in the episode "Family", where, after an awkward period of silence that follows Yang laughing at an insult from Taiyang about her missing arm, Oobleck quietly speaks up:
    Oobleck: Are we finally talking about the Goliath  in the room...?
  • Diva the demon in Musical Hell uses "What the Here?" among many others. Sometimes, inverting the side ("Speak of the angel..."). It backfires when Diva calls Donna "goody two hooves", as she replies "I don't have hooves!"

    Western Animation 
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Top Duck", Scrooge calls Launchpad, "a chip off the old propeller "
  • The Little Mermaid:
    • Disobedient children get beached .
    • Also:
    Triton: What under the sea  is going on?!
  • The Jetsons:
    • "That's the way the satellite spins. "
    • "Jumping Jupiter! "
  • The Flintstones:
    • "That's the way the boulder bounces. "
    • "Just a rock  pickin' minute.
  • Pac-Man, the Animated Series: "Over my chomped  body!''
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: "That's the way the meatball bounces. "
  • Futurama has "You sound like a broken MP3. " and Is the Space Pope Reptillian ?
  • Transformers does this a lot, replacing certain lines in stock phrases with robotic related terms, especially when talking about body-parts. It also uses this technique for Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Get your muzzle  out of those books."
    • "You little foal! "
    • "What the hay? " This one's a borderline example because it's also a commonly used substitute in Real Life.
    • "Every/Any/Some/Nopony " is quite possibly the most commonly used substitution in the show. Griffons and hippogriffs tend to use "anygriff" and "evergriff" instead.
    • "Old pony's/mare's  tale."
    • "Goody four -shoes."
    • "Well, well, well, it seems we have some neeeigh-sayers  in the audience!"
    • "It's time to pony  up and confront Zecora!"
      • Somewhat hilariously, "pony up" is genuine slang for "pay up," which changes the line's meaning a bit.
    • "Fillies and gentlecolts ."
    • "Nopony else gives a flying feather !"
    • "Who in the hoof  is that?"
    • The UK trailers have "lend a helping hoof ".
    • "You... get down here... this instant... young... colt! "
    • "Well, wallop my withers."
    • "Wings , don't fail me now!"
    • "What in Equestria  is going on in here?"
    • "Gabby Gums is my bread and butter, and I'm not gonna let you goody-two-horseshoes  take that away from me!"
    • "You're bucking  a dead... tree ".
    • "Hold on to your hooves !"
    • Several reference Princess Celestia, Equestria's Immortal Ruler, such as "as Celestia  is my witness..." and "sweet Celestia !" These get lampshaded in "Celestial Advice" when Twilight, panicking over all of the trouble Starlight could get into after graduating, exclaims "I can't just send her off to Celestia-knows-where!" and then blushes as Celestia remarks that she didn't know she was an expression.
    • In "Flutter Blutter", Fluttershy expresses frustration at how her parents let her brother Zephyr "trot" all over them.
    • In My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever, when Pinkie arrives at the cottage where the Gift Givers — a trio of oracular reindeer — live, the elderly doe who greets her crankily exclaims "By Blitzen's beard! It took you long enough!"
  • Maryoku Yummy: "Yum's  the word."
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Upon having to fight their way out of a Earth-government facility, running from the Space Navy, and learning they're headed for Tortuna. "Out of the blast furnace,  and into the converter! "
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "The Algae's  Always Greener": "A rolling stone gathers no Algae! "
    • "What was first? The oyster  or the pearl ?"
    • "That trilobite  didn't know an oboe from an elbow!"
  • A number of phrases on Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (which focuses on the adventures of sentient insects and other bugs), but most particularly "hold your horseflies!"
  • The main character in Widget the World Watcher likes to replace words of common sayings by something space-based.
  • The Buzz on Maggie: "Oh, bug ".
  • Adventure Time:
    • "Oh, my Grod/Glob/Gob !"
    • "What the math ?"
  • South Park has these in the "Go God Go" episodes, in the atheistic future, things like "Oh my science !" and "What in science's  name?".
  • ReBoot used computer jargon to get crap past the radar:
    • "Me and good old Frisket just kicked Megabyte's bitmap !"
    • "If you ask me, they're just covering their ASCIIs ."
  • Monsuno uses "Aw, crag ." several times. At one point Chase refers to someone as "A pain in my Core ."
  • Pound Puppies (2010) uses this a few times.
    • "Rebound" gives us Squirt's line "You scratch my belly , I scratch yours."
    • In "McLeish Unleashed", Lucky's reaction to the changes Milton Feltwattle makes to Shelter 17 is "Oh my Dog , he is serious!"
  • Both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have multiple references to the Mix-and-Match Critters that inhabit their world that match this trope perfectly.
    • "He's not a one-trick poodle-pony."
    • "That weasel-snake!"
    • Aang is such a pacifist, he even helps "the spider-fly stuck in its own web."
    • At one point in Korra, Mako advises his brother Bolin to handle a breakup quickly, "like pulling off a leech ." While this was a bit of Self-Deprecation about how Mako didn't do just that in his own breakup last season, it wound up being a poor choice of words on the creators' part as they had to reassure viewers that Mako was not in fact calling his ex-girlfriend a leech.
    • Prince Wu answers an obvious question with "Does a platypus-bear  poop in the woods?", though he cuts himself off before he finishes it.
    • The finale combined this trope with Varrick's Catch-Phrase during Varrick and Zhu Le's wedding: "You may now do the thing ."
  • 3-2-1 Penguins!:
    • "For the love of herring ! Would someone please turn that off that infernal noise!"
    • "Jumping Jupiter !
  • Dragons: Race to the Edge:
    • The episode "Family on the Edge" has Heather say "a dragon  doesn't change its markings " (Fishlegs feels compelled to point out that some dragons do). Later Astrid takes about "the Rumblehorn  in the room".
    • In an earlier episode, "Have Dragon, Will Travel", we have this exchange, using the same simile for two separate expressions:
      Fishlegs: Can I help it if I'm an optimist? I'm a yak-bladder  half-full kind of guy!
      Astrid: Hate to burst your yak-bladder ...
    • The yak-bladder reference returns in "The Wings of War part 2" when Hiccup shows that he has nearly completed building an advanced version of the Dragon Eye.
      Hiccup: Friends, my yak-bladder  runneth over.
  • In Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars, a Rebel technician says "Never look a gift tauntaun  in the oral cavity ."
  • According to Darkwing Duck in "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything," Negaduck isn't "duck  enough" to confront him himself.
  • On PB&J Otter, according to Peanut in the song "The Ballad of Johnny Pompalope," folks on Lake Hoohaw say "You're the pompalope  of my eye" and "A pompalope a day keeps the doctor away."
  • Mysticons: "The rubies are  always brighter  on the other side of the mine ."
  • On Vampirina, ghouls and goblins tell each other hold your zombie horses . They also wish each other nasty dreams .
  • Aladdin: The Series
    • Episode The Prophet Motive: “Hey, what am I? Chopped camel meat ?”
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In "Dooku Captured", Weequay pirates offer Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker drinks, and Obi-Wan tells them: "Nothing too strong. He’s (Anakin) flying ."
    • In "Mystery of a Thousand Moons", Obi-Wan tells Anakin: "There’s more than one way to skin a womp rat ."
  • The narrator from Jellabies has a tendency to insert the word "jelly" into certain words and phrases, resulting in stuff like "jelly good" ("very good") and "jellytastic" ("fantastic").
  • Rubbadubbers
    Tubb: Easy peasy shampoo  squeezy!

    Real Life 
  • There was a story in Readers Digest about a student of medieval history who explained she was far too busy to do something by saying "I've just got too much on my trencher ."
  • Some foreign proverbs translated into your language (which have an equivalent) can look like this. For instance, the English proverb "The grass is always greener on the other side" becomes "The cherries in your neighbor's garden are always sweeter" in German. (Die Kirschen in Nachbars Garten schmecken immer süßer.)

  • People will jokingly ask "What do atheists say during sex?" or what phrases they use to replace "Oh my God." and "Jesus Christ" and the answer is, in the joke at least, something like "Oh my science." or something to that effect.
  • A joke saying among Tabletop Gamers is "If I had one XP each time I heard that, I'd be level 20".
    • Another one is, when posting opinions on some D&D forum, is to finish it with "My two coppersNote ".