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All because Johnny Rotten said "fuck".note 

"Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?"

Tropes about swear words or related to swearing.

Compare Not Safe for Work.

Contrast Informed Obscenity.


  • Atomic F-Bomb: Someone not only says the F word, but screams it at the top of their lungs.
  • *Bleep*-dammit!: Curse words are censored so ineffectually such that they’re not really obscured at all.
  • Censored for Comedy: Completely innocuous dialogue has random words bleeped out to make it look like the characters are swearing.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: A character says so many offensive words at once that nearly all of their dialogue is bleeped out.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A character says the F word several times in the same sentence.
  • Country Matters: A highly offensive and vulgar term for the female genitals.
  • Curse Cut Short: A character's dialogue is interrupted or cut short when they are about to swear.
  • Curse of The Ancients: Old-fashioned slang is treated as swearing.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: A word that might not be bloody offensive to Americans is considered as such to British audiences.
  • Finger on Lips: A musician puts a finger to their lips in a music video instead of saying a song's swear word.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: A character uses a swear word from another language.
  • Fowl-Mouthed Parrot: A parrot copies someone's potty mouth.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In place of swearing, characters use rather tame exclamations like "darn" or "conflabbit".
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Tourettes' Syndrome is stereotyped as being uncontrollable swearing.
  • Inappropriate Speak-and-Spell: When a kid's language-learning toy is made to say naughty words.
  • Informed Obscenity: A completely nonsensical word is treated as if it were a swear word.
  • Innocent Swearing: A character, most commonly a child, uses swear words without realizing that they are inappropriate.
  • Kinder and Cleaner: A work removes some or all of the cursing in a future installment.
  • Magical Profanity Filter: A magic spell or other in-universe effect that prevents characters from swearing.
  • Mouthing the Profanity: A character mouths a swear word rather than saying it out loud.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: The narrator implies or outright confirms that one of the characters was swearing when the audience don't hear what they said or hear much cleaner dialogue than what the narrator suggests the character said.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: People consciously clean up their language when children are around.
  • N-Word Privileges: When slurs are established as being okay to say by those the slurs are aimed at.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Characters are made to swear just because it's an adult story.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Cursing by invoking the names of several deities.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Alien swear words.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: While the character doesn't swear, the way they say their statement makes it easy to imagine them swearing.
  • Precision F-Strike: Profanity unexpectedly turns up in a work that is otherwise devoid of swearing, or comes from a character who usually doesn't swear, or stronger profanity than usual in a work where most profanity is pretty tame.
  • The Problem with Pen Island: Because of a poor choice of words and website URLS not having spaces, certain website names are easily misread as something inappropriate.
  • Profane Last Words: A character cusses before dying.
  • Profanity Police: Someone says dirty words, and someone else complains about it.
  • Ruder and Cruder: An entry in a franchise contains far more profanity or inappropriate imagery than prior installments.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Internet filters censor words that inadvertently contain inappropriate language.
  • Seven Dirty Words: Seven words you can never say on television: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: A character who is such a fucking potty mouth that it is motherfucking rare for the shithead to utter a frigging sentence that doesn't have even a single goddamn swear in it.
  • Soap Punishment: A person is punished for saying bad words by having their mouth washed out with soap.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: A person who normally speaks in a sophisticated and erudite manner resorts to using slang and foul language to make a point.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: A swear word is censored by having a sound effect from something in the background serve as a censor bleep.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: A poem or song avoids completing a rhyme where the obviously expected word is an obscenity.
  • The Swear Jar: A character attempts to kick their swearing habit by putting money in a jar every time they cuss.
  • Swear Word Plot: An plot focusing on the usage of swear words.
  • Symbol Swearing: When comic books use garish symbols in speech balloons to indicate that characters are swearing.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: A character ends their statement with ", bitch", but not actually calling someone a bitch, instead it's a verbal exclamation point.
  • Tongue Twister: Failure to do some can result in accidentally saying innocuous words as swears.
  • T-Word Euphemism: People avoid having to mention a swear word by referring to it as "the (first letter of swear)-word".
  • Unusual Dysphemism: Swear words are used to refer to something innocuous.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In place of swearing, characters just say bizarre words and phrases.
  • Vulgar Humor: Swearing and other obscenities add humor value because of how inappropriate they are.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": A nasty or contemptible woman is called "witch" when a certain word rhyming with "witch" would be more appropriate.

Alternative Title(s): Swearing Tropes, Profanity Tropes, Quote Swear Unquote