The Ur-Example is, of course, The Smurfs, who smurfed it to ridiculous extremes, and fused it with Species Surname, making some smurfs contain the word upwards of thirty smurf. It is also the Smurf Smurfer.
This is a smurfy-common way of dealing with smurf words. Why worry about using a word that could potentially smurf the minds of a young audience when you can just have the smurfs use an entirely innocuous smurf instead? Most writers don't seem to smurf that this makes the word less smurfless, and this aspect of the idea is the most frequently smurfed. Smurfin' A.
Usually, enough of the original sentence will be left to be understood, as in the classic "This gubblick contains many nonsklarkish English flutzpahs, but the overall pluggandisp can be glorked from context"
Related to Unusual Smurfing Euphemism, Planet of Smurfs, Pokesmurf Speak, Smurfbal Tic, El Smurfish-o, Smurf is, Like, A Comma and (sometimes) Insmurfingly Funny Words. And for extreme circumstances, Censored for Comedy. See also Freudian Smurf.
Not to be smurfed for "Smurfing", a practice on ranked online games where an experienced player makes a new account to dominate lowbies, to get back in practice or by using another players account to get around a ban or to play for a team they aren't registered for. Or any other type of "smurfing", for that smurf.
- Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary:
- Nezu frequently replaces words in his speech with mouse references:
- When Taiga mistakenly thinks Nezu was a girl, Nezu squeaks out "You're mousetaken! I mean, mistaken!" Later on, he says Kaen is "Mousing up his ears."
- When Nezu asks the "vampire" why she's only targeting boys, he calls her out on her "Disqueakmination".
- "I've been squeaking all over for you!", "I need to squeak, er, speak, with Mitsumi-san...", "How are you so squeakin' good at that?!"
- Nezu frequently replaces words in his speech with mouse references:
- Squid Girl. In the English dub and the Crunchyroll subs, Squid Girl peppers a lot of her squiddences with the word "squid" and other ocean life puns.
- Often found in translations of a manga or anime featuring a catgirl with the "Nya" Verbal Tic — any syllable sounding like "meow", "mew", or "myaah" gets turned into the appropriate cat noise.
- Utilized amusingly in the original Japanese of Bakemonogatari. The protagonist orders a catgirl to repeat a tongue twister he recites, and her version is hopelessly-but-cutely mangled by about twenty "nya"s. The fansubs offer an interesting solution to this: The tongue twister is given as "Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?", and her reply is "Can mew imeowgine an imeowginary meownagerie meownager imeowgining meownaging an imeowginary meownagerie?"
- The Smurf Namer is The Smurfs, of course. While the reader is, of course, left to smurf the smurf from context, it is smurfed (most directly in the lesser-smurfed Johan and Peewit smurf that The Smurfs were originally smurfed off from) that the Smurfs themselves can smurf the difference between instances of "smurf" with no smurf; it is just outsiders that smurf them as identical. Smurfly, outsiders are insmurfable of pronouncing "smurf" reliably however hard they smurf.
Peewit: (to Johan) I'm going to ask this Smurf to bring us something to eat. Listen up! (to nearby Smurf) Hey! Smurf! Little Smurf, I'd like something to smurf.
Smurf: Oh? Okay! (walks off)
Peewit: You see? It's no more difficult than that.
Smurf: (comes back with an axe) Here!
Peewit: No, come on now! I told you I wanted "to smurf"!
Smurf: (holds out the axe) Well, this here is for smurfing.
Peewit: No! TO SMURF! In my mouth! (makes eating gesture) Like that! You understand? ...Yum yum! TO SMURF!
Smurf: (gives him a puzzled look)
Peewit: TO EAT! THAT'S WHAT!
Smurf: Ahhh! To smurf!
Peewit: Good grief, that's what I told you just now!
Smurf: No, you said "to smurf"!
Peewit: (getting really confused now) Well, yeah! I said: "to smurf"!
Smurf: And you meant to say: "to smurf".
Peewit: (exasperated) But... That's what I said: to smurf.
Smurf: No, I said "to smurf". But you said, "to smurf". If you want to smurf, you must say "to smurf" and not "to smurf"! "To smurf" is not "smurfing"! Do you smurf?
Peewit: (has a mental breakdown)
- This is even more of a tongue twister in the comic's original language, where Smurfs are known as "Schtroumpfs".
- And considerably less in Spanish, where they are called Pitufos, and they use the (very regular) verb pitufar.
- Incidentally, in Smurf Versus Smurf they had a civil war (which was an allegory for the Belgian language conflicts) over whether "smurf" should be used as a verb or an adjective.
- In the comic, it was nevernote used to cover profanities — that's what Symbol Swearing is for. In countless parodies, it's used almost only for that.
- In the same spirit, in most case, the Smurfs use the word "smurf" just enough to leave the sentence understandable, except for funny or plot purposes. Johan and Peewit agreed to rescue the Smurfs from a "smurf-smurfing smurf" without other clue. So they were unprepared to fight a fire-spitting dragon. In most incarnations, the smurf would rather have said "a fire-smurfing dragon".
- An entire one-page gag in Smurfery is about one Smurf talking to another Smurf mostly in Smurf language about the new invention that he has called a "smurf". The other Smurf by the end of the story seems to be just as confused as the reader is for not understanding a single word that was being said about the invention.
- A somewhat shortish smurfing occurs when the parody series "Marvel What-The" has Ghost Rider in a job interview. He answers all queries with "Vengeance!"...and is promptly hired.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic abridged series Friendship is Witchcraft parodies Rainbow Dash's Awesome Ego by having her constantly do this with "rainbow" and "dash" - culminating in a monologue in the fourth episode where it devolves into complete Pokémon Speak.
- Interestingly, Empath in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf can't fluently speak a word in Smurf without sounding like My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels to other Smurfs. The only times he can do this is when he's extremely angry or very scared. In "Empath's Honeymoon", Empath gains the ability to speak in Smurf fluently after his first night alone with Smurfette, and all without having to be in an extreme emotional state.
- The whole basis of the song "Peewit Wants a Smurf" in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.
- Winnie the Pooh (2011): The scene preceding the Disney Acid Sequence. Pooh starts honeyingnote everyone as honey, and they start to replace random honeysnote with the word honey. (e.g. "I can't wait to see the honey on that Backson's honey when he falls into our honey!") Soon, practically every honeynote is replaced with the honeynote honey, including the honeysnote in the honey!note Honey honey honey honey honey!
- Being John Malkovich: Malkovich. Malkovich malkovich? Malkovich!!!
- Bring It On. Cheerocracy or cheertatorship?
- This is lampshaded in the Live-Action Adaptation The Smurfs. The man with whom the Smurfs are staying is getting annoyed at this trope, culminating in him shouting "Smurf-etty smurf smurf smurf!" One of the Smurfs then says, "There's no reason for that kind of language!"
- Early on in The Dictator, it is stated that General Aladeen has ordered that a great number of words in the Wadiyan language be replaced with "Aladeen"…including contradictory words like "positive/negative" which causes a great deal of confusion (as shown by a doctor informing a patient that he's "HIV-Aladeen" and the latter not knowing how to react). Used as a Running Gag throughout the film (a Wadyian restaurant has an "Open/Closed" sign reading "Come in, we're Aladeen/Sorry, we're Aladeen" and in a credits scene, Aladeen himself accidentally shoots a man in the leg because the safety catch was on "Aladeen" instead of "Aladeen").
- Eric — Eric's parrot, who constantly substitutes the catchall metasyntactic variable "wossname" for random words.
- In the seventh Captain Underpants book, a group of skateboarders are "duded" that Melvin duded their dudeboards. One of them says "I'm gonna dude that dude if it's the last dude I dude!"
- In the Beavis and Butt-Head tie in book "Chicken Soup for the Butt", a section on past lives gives us this gem.
Beavis: Yeah, yeah, I remember in my past I watched a lot of those Saturday morning cartoons. So like, in my past life I was a smurf. They called me "Beavis Smurf". I was hanging out with all these blue dudes. There was like a hundred of us...and one remote control. I never got to smurf the TV, because the other dudes were always like, "Wait your turn, smurfknocker." One time this one dude, "Butt Smurf," was like, smurfing with the remote control, and I was like, "Hey man, how's about letting another smurf smurf that smurf." But that smurfmunch just kept on smurfing! That was smurfy! Um, I mean, that sucked.
- In one of the Robert Sheckley's short stories, a human tries to learn an alien language. But this language can change extremely fast, and the human's interactions with aliens while learning it keep influencing the language. Eventually, the language turns into Smurfing overnight, and the human gives up.
- "Gargantua and Pantagruel" by Rabelais (mid-1500, possibly the oldest example) has this quabble for the bells of Notre-Dame:
Magister Janotus de Bragmardo note : "Ego sic argumentor: Omnis glocka glockabilis in glockenturmio glockando, glockans glockativo glockare facit glockabiliter glockantes. Parisius habet glockas. Ergo gluck. note
- Pointed out, and played with a little, in an episode of My Boys, the TBS sitcom.
- Scrubs: J.D. gets some Smurftacular advice from Turk on leadership:
Turk: ... Leadership boils down to three things: Smurferation, Smurfiration, Smurf.
J.D.: Preparation, Inspiration, and Fear?
Turk: You know it.
- Henrietta Pussycat, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, replaced words with "meow". An interesting example because most smurfing involves replaces nouns, verbs and occasionally adjectives which can be easily guessed from context, but Henrietta would replace words at random, leading to very odd and often unintelligible speech patterns.
- Senor Chang on Community substituting Chang for other words. It actually catches on so much even Jeff mistakenly uses Chang a few times.
Chang: How about Chang the subject!
Dean Pelton: Jeff, it's Saturday. Call me Craig. Off campus, I'm just a Craigular Joe.
- Ditto for Dean Pelton ("The Hunger Deans", "Don't Dean this", etc.)
- On the How I Met Your Mother episode "How Lily Stole Christmas", the word "grinch" is used constantly in place of another word.
- The word "Frak" in Battlestar Galactica (2003) is usually just an Unusual Euphemism, but occasionally crosses over into this.
- Similar to Henrietta Pussycat, Count Blah of Greg the Bunny drops "blah" in pretty much at random.
- In Polish satirical television program from years 1992-1995, Zulu-Gula, the Zulu-Gula language uses only the word Zulu-Gula.
- The Good Place, Derek, as a Cloud Cuckoolander, does this with his name. "Maximum Derek!"
- Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter's eponymous protagonist oftens uses the sound "he-yump" to substitute words, punctuate sentences, or as an expression of emotion. His meaning is always immediately known through context. His go-to search engine is even he-yump.com.
Neon Joe: "It's the thought that he-yump."
- Parks and Recreation: The Leader of the "Kaboom" playground-building team: "Take a man to Kabooming, and he Kabooms. Teach a man to Kaboom, and KABOOM KABOOM KABOOM!!"
- Young Sheldon: Missy uses it to swear in "A Dog, A Squirrel and A Fish Named Fish".
Missy: I have to do smurfing everything around here.
Missy: I'm just smurfing.
Mary: It's the way you said it.
- Something Awful's "wom" emoticon originated as one of these, when one poster used the nonsense word "wom" and others began using it to wom any wom in the wom. "Four score and seven years wom our fathers brought forth on this wom..."
- Twilight haters often enjoy chagrinning the word "chagrin" into every chagrinning sentence they chagrin.
- Lo, I smurf you the Websmurfer.
- "Murmel Murmel" after a script by Dieter Roth. This (amounting to "mumble mumble") is the only dialogue. The critics and the audience were enthusiastic - finally, a modern theater piece with intelligible text.
- The cats on Fargo's ship in Chrono Cross, once you are transformed into a cat and can understand Cat, speak Japanese or English (depending on your translation), except they end almost every sentence and veil swears with "Meow."
- The Rapos from Drawn to Life use the word "Rapo" for just about everything.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: The Emoglobins in Bowser's globin tend to insert "globin" in place of other globins. IS THAT NOT GLOBIN?
- The Hooskis from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team often put the word "hoo" into their sentences.
- The iOS remake of Skweek uses the word "skweek" in every level-completion quote, often in contexts where common four-letter words could easily be substituted.
- The Cragnons in Super Paper Mario use "crag".
- In Theta vs Pi 7 the theta use "theta" for every word except "pi" and the pi use "pi" for every word except "theta". So a theta saying, "Hey, did you hear about King Pi?" would be "Theta, theta theta theta theta Theta Pi?" Thankfully there are English subtitles.
- Toonstruck: Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun uses "bunny" in place of "body" for words like "somebody" and "everybody." This fits her image as a cutesy and lovable bunny.
- York in Terror Island does this for a while, starting with this strip.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the Bigfoot language consists entirely or almost entirely of the word "Ook!"
- Nodwick has "KRUTZ!" Possibly the only smurfing word to ever have a city named after it. "Krutz" is a general, all-purpose curse word that was heavily promoted by a villain, because every time it was used, he would collect the negative energy released when someone swore.
- The Killotrons in Skin Horse destroy the smurf destroy at random instead of other verbs.
Killotron-1: Happily, we are purged of our old destructive impulses and live only to destroy. And by "destroy" I of course mean "serve obediently without destroying".
Unity: Nice save.
- Feferi from Homestuck sometimes uses "glub" in this way.
"GLUB!!! That's my way of saying go over there and check it out. 'GLUB' can mean basically anything I want it to mean. It's really cool having a bullshit language."
- Also, the salamanders. One in the beginning of Act 4 flash parodies it:
- Sidekick Man in Neko the Kitty only knows one adjective. It's erotic.
- Rage Comics often use words like "herp" and "derp" in a Smurfing like dialogue.
- Lampshaded in this comic.
- Derp and herp can be used as several part of speech. In fact you can make a sentence using only derp (and any derivatives) and a few articles: Derp derpily derped the derpy derp. And that derpy derp said "Derp." Herp can be used in the same fashion.
- In Educomix, Drug Abuse's adoptive mother Domestic can apparently only say the word "Word."
- This article needs far more desu.
- Chicken chicken chicken.
- Fun Translations has Smurf Translator.
- After the universally panned release of Morbius (2022), a joke arose among people ironically praising the film to use "morb" as a verb in place of other verbs. Case in point.
- Ultra Fast Pony briefly uses it, purely to annoy Twilight.
Twilight: Not everything has to have the word "pony" on it!
Pinkie: Whatever you say, Pony Sparkle!
Applejack: Top o' the mornin' to you, Pony Pie! How ya doin'?
Pinkie: Oh yeah, I'm alright. Thanks for asking, Ponyjack!
Applejack: Pony pony?
Pinkie: Pony pony pony!
Twilight: You can stop now.
- At every possible opportunity, LetsPlayer Chris Smoove often replaces "smooth" with "Smoove".
- Shack Tactical member Beaglerush's SPECTRE Team devolved into this over the course of an engagement after calling the enemy "tangos" too much.
Beagle (Tango Actual): I haven't got any tangos, I can't tango.
Tango One: Then tango your tangos.
Tango Actual: I can never tango again!
Tango One: But you never tangoed before.
Tango Two: Did the other tangos get tangoed?
Tango Actual: Those tangos are down.
Tango Two: We'll have to send letters to their tangos.
Tango One: Tango that.
- SCP-1098 of the SCP Foundation is a Brown Note which infects exposed English speakers. Victims begin replacing normal words with the infectious one, until eventually every single word they speak or write is the paranormal word.
- When playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds one day, Northern Lion and his teammates latched onto the word "acquiesce" and proceeded to demonstrate that none of them had a clue what it means, using it to mean everything from "ask" to "offer". It continued to crop up from time to time after that episode.
- Durkin, from The Call of Warr, uses his name as a word, such as "Durkin' me around" and "Damn durkin' mess".
- Again, The Smurfs (1981), although the animation was toned down compared to the comics. Primarily they used the word Smurf as a positive adjective.
- The Snorks, who were basically The Smurfs Only Underwater.
- An episode of Robot Chicken included a war between the Smurfs and Snorks, caused by the Smurfs dumping raw sewage into the Snorks' water, who retaliate by stopping up the sewer. Papa Smurf's toilet overflows, prompting him to yell out "Oh, smurf me up the smurf!"
- Actually parodied quite a bit; in a sketch that parodies Smurfs filtered through Avatar, Gargamel as a Smurf is learning their language and apparently failing proper grammar and inflection. In vignette of women characters discussing sex, Smurfette gets a sext about how someone wants to "smurf her smurf" and she responds how that could literally mean anything.
- Unforgotten Realms. Episode 10:
Carl: (a kobold) You ever tried to swing a hammer man? That shit's koboldin' heavy!
- Spoofed in Family Guy:
"Hey, you have a good time last night?"
"Yeah, I saw you leave with Smurfette."
"Oh man. As soon as we got out of the bar, she started smurfin' me."
"Shut the smurf up!"
"Right in the smurfin' parking lot?"
"Ah, that is freakin' smurf."
"You smurfed it."
"That is freakin' smurf."
- Then there's the South Park episode "Starvin Marvin in Space", where they meet the Marklars, who replace every Marklar, with Marklar.
Kyle: Wait. Wait. I think I can explain this whole thing. Marklar, these marklars want to change your marklar. They don't want Marklar or any of these marklars to live here because it's bad for their marklar. They use Marklar to try and force marklars to believe they're marklar. If you let them stay here, they will build marklars and marklars. They will take all your marklars and replace them with Marklar. These marklar have no good marklar to live on Marklar, so they must come here to Marklar. Please, let these marklars stay where they can grow and prosper without any marklars, marklars, eh or marklars.
- The Yummies of Maryoku Yummy stick "yum" into words on occasion (i.e. "yumzillion", "yumtastic", "Yumtober the 10th", "Yum's the word").
- The "Mission to Mars" episode of The Backyardigans, in which everything is boinga.
- The Tick: In "The Tick vs. The Big Nothing", Arthur and The Tick encounter two alien races, the Heys and the Whats, who of course only say "Hey" and "What", respectively. At one point, Arthur is mistaken for a Hey and interrogated by a What who can speak Hey. He manages, in spite of having no first-hand knowledge of the language:
- The Simpsons
Marge: Bart, are you going to Moe the lawn today?
- The watch-dog who barks entire advertisements. "And now, a message from the Latter-day Saints..."
- "We're on the Road to D'ohwhere" could be claimed for this trope. It has Homer hallucinating Bart everywhere, including a sign "Burt Bacharach" which turns into "Bart Bartabart".
- In one scene in "Flaming Moe's", Homer goes crazy thinking about how Moe screwed him over, and his "Moe on the brain" spell extends to him imagining his family doing this at the breakfast table:
Bart: Okay, but you promised me Moe money.
Marge: I Moe, I Moe...
Lisa: When Bart's done, can we Moe to the Moe-vies? There's a Moe-tinee!
Marge: Of course! All work and Moe play makes Moe a Moe Moe!
- Ugly Americans features the Bird Men, who learned to speak from a foul-mouthed tourist who brought the first pair to the States. Most of their vocabulary consists of various intonations of the phrase "Suck my balls".
- Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time always uses the word "lump" in place of curse words. Finn and Jake use the word "math" in a similar fashion.
- The Archer episode "Once Bitten" has a running gag involving the leader of Turkmenistan replacing a number of words with the name of his dog, Gerpgork. This leads to a scene where Ray and Cyril have to explain that Archer's been bitten by a "gerpgork" to some tribesmen, and get offered everything from a piece of bread to a calendar.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic usually avoids this, but it doesn't stop Rarity from using "Congratu-pony-lations!" in "Rarity Takes Manehattan."
- An episode of Mike, Lu & Og had Mike going crazy from lack of hot-dogs and she starts seeing everyone and everything as hot-dogs. This trope is naturally applied ("We can do just hot-dog without hot-dog").
- One episode of Wander over Yonder has Wander and Sylvia tasked with delivering a box, without looking inside. Wander's curiosity about the contents of the box drives him to near insanity, and despite Sylvia's attempts to get him to leave the box alone he eventually runs up a tree with the box and yells "You can't box me, Box-ia! I'm gonna box this box and there's not a box BOX BOX BOX!"
- Discussed in Rick and Morty with Squanchy:
Beth: Your language has the word "squanch" in it a lot. Doesn't that become tedious and worn out, like the Smurf thing?Rick: Beth, Squanchy culture is more contextual than literal. You just say what's in your squanch, and people understand.Beth: Oh, OK. I squanch my family. [Rick and Squanchy both look horrified] What? I do, I squanch my family!Squanchy: Stop saying it! Gross!
- Downplayed in The Crumpets for the titular family's name in which its applications include but not limited to nicknames between Ma and Pa (like "Crumpeto", "Crumpeta" and "Crumpetita") and the bedroom of one of their children containing parodies of real rock bands such as a poster reading "Rage Crumpet The Machine".
- Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberry Shortcake and her friends tend to do this to form puns on the word "berry". The title of Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures replaces the word "very" with "berry" as well.
- Non-native speakers of a language often cannot tell the difference between words that native speakers swear are pronounced totally differently. Apparently, if you never had to distinguish between two phonemes during the first few years of your life, it takes lots of practice ever to learn to notice the difference. Well known examples include Japanese Ranguage, Arab Beoble Talk, and Vampire Vords. This can also happen between more closely related languages. For example, Danes commonly have trouble telling the English words "dock", "duck", "dug", and "dog" apart. Or, for that matter, Dutch people and "bat", "bad", "bed" and "bet". Or Swedish people and "chip", "ship", "cheap" or "sheep".
- "Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo."
- Depending on the speaker's accent, those can be tricky distinctions for native English speakers. Some other examples of accent-induced confusion include "cot" and "caught", "pin" and "pen", and "Mary/merry/marry".
- This is especially true of visual languages like American Sign Language. Shape, position, and especially context are important to the meaning, so it can get confusing quickly if you don't know all the rules of the language.
- This can also happen for people who lip-read. Two words can look identical in terms of lip movement but sound very different, so if you don't have audio to go on, context is essential to figuring out what was said.
- There are even the equivalent of Smurfs (meaning the people) for lip-readers: certain people have a natural habit in which all of their vowels and most of the consonants are produced using identical lip positions and mouth movements. (This can be also deliberately done; it's a similar technique to ventriloquism and quite a bit easier.)
- This is the believed origin of the word "barbarian". The ancient Greeks thought all non-Greeks' language just sounded like "bar-bar", and therefore gave them a name to reflect that.
- A few dialects actually have words that work like this, especially pidgins.note For instance, Hawaiian Pidgin features 'da kine,' which can stand in for pretty much any action or object the speaker can't remember da kine for.
- Programming Languages: Due to the reduced vocabulary, they have a higher smurf-to-noise-ratio anyway. Some egregious examples would be LISP with its parentheses and Java, where constructions like "Canvas canvas = Canvas.giveCanvas(); canvas.remove(this);" are totally normal.
- The beauty that is the Cluster F-Bomb can be an example of Smurfing, in which the F-word can be used as literally any part of speech in the English language.
- After President Donald Trump sent a seemingly incomplete tweet ending with the nonsense word "covfefe," "covfefe" almost immediately became this. It was used comically to replace words that resemble covfefe, but has also been used to replace unrelated words in well-known phrases (such as a tweet by Hillary Clinton that "People in covfefe houses shouldn't throw covfefe.") It has also been used as an interjection.
- David Hasselhoff does this with his nickname, "Hoff." He says things like "Hoffy Birthday," "Hofftastic," "cup of Hoffee," "take the day Hoff," "Party your Hassel Hoff," etc.
Now go Smurf off!