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Unusual Euphemism / Live-Action TV

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  • In The 10th Kingdom, the Trolls humorously use the phrase "Suck an Elf!" as an obscenity.
    • And later, "Sniff a sandal!" For some reason, they have quite the fascination with shoes...
    • Wolf commonly used the words "Huff Puff!" as profanity.
  • 30 Rock with "Blurgh" and "By the hammer of Thor!" The writers have tried to develop these terms as Catch Phrases as well.
  • British sitcom 'Allo 'Allo! inverted this quite creatively. The show was set in France and had a convention whereby they simulated French dialogue by having the actors speak English with thick French accents.
    One character was a British spy who couldn't speak French very well at all. They had him speak English, in a thick French accent, but get the English words slightly wrong in order to simulate mangled French (if you can follow that).
    Sometimes the writers chose mispronounced words that - if played straight - were actually outright swearing that would never have made it on to an early evening family show.
    Examples such as "I was pissing by the door when I heard two shats." were common.
    • And my favorite: "I was just pissing by and decided to drip in"
  • "If your Colbert Report lasts more than half an hour, consult your physician." Thank you, Stephen Colbert - I am so using that.
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  • The Armstrong and Miller Show had a sketch dedicated to this, featuring two men who decide on the words for the dictionary of a predictive text message dictionary. A notable inclusion: pigt (the abbreviation of the human gene coding for phosphatidylinositol).
  • Babylon 5 used the word "frag" in the same context, as does DC's Lobo, and Batman Beyond - this is a bit odd, as the term is also an Unusual Euphemism for killing someone on your own side of the conflict, generally with a fragmentation grenade, which is where "frag" originated.
    • "Frak" also appears in some Babylon 5 Expanded Universe material, almost certainly a Shout-Out.
    • Early seasons of Babylon 5 also use "stroke" and "stroking" in place of "fuck" and "fucking" — presumably referring to masturbation.
    • The RPG Shadowrun started out using "frag" as an Unusual Euphemism for killing, but somewhere around third edition switched to this.
  • Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica (the original series) was fond of words like "frack" and "felgercarb". (On the new series, Adama pére has a "Frack" shaving mirror from IKEA in his quarters, a deliberate reference to the goofy fake swear word they inherited. "Frack" is still used regularly in the new series as a substitute for the mother of all swear words, in all its possible contexts. And we mean all, including "clusterfrack" and "motherfracker". And since it still begins with F, they can get away with saying "FUBAR".)
    • Spoofed in a Robot Chicken episode, lampooning clueless FCC censors.
    • Rather hilariously, someone at Kentucky Fried Chicken really didn't get the point, and created a BSG tie-in promotion involving a "Frak Pak" of chicken.
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    • There was an in-universe poke at the simple substitution with Cally saying "motherfrakker", which obviously wasn't a common in-universe usage.
  • Better Off Ted has a meeting about a new bomb; since Ted's nanny is sick, his daughter came to work with him so they need to talk about it euphemistically.
    Phil: Next, we looked at what would happen if we dropped the... bunny from an airplane at 30,000 feet. At that altitude, the bunny would... cuddle everyone within a two-mile radius. Within four miles, people would be... snuggled so badly they would have to be hospitalized with severe burns.
    Linda: And that's why bunnies make bad pets. The end.
    Ted: Thank you, everyone. For those of you not sure what's happening, we'll have this meeting again tomorrow.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, the common replacement is 'frack'.
    • We also occasionally get the word 'shit' replaced with the fairly innoffensive 'crap,' such as 'batcrap crazy' (instead of 'batshit') or 'holy crap on a cracker' (instead of 'shit on a shingle'). Also somtimes lampshaded, as when Sheldon quotes Leonard as saying 'Ask Penny, it was her cockamamie idea.' When Penny asks about this, Sheldon admits he was paraphrasing, as having been brought up in a Christian home he's uncomfortable with the language Leonard used.
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    • Another case (in addition to Getting Crap Past the Radar) had Penny saying (to Sheldon) "You're just 'coitusing' with me now, aren't you?"
  • Blackadder Goes Forth had several moments, most notably when George's euphemisms for "dying" get more and more out of hand, eventually Lampshaded.
    George: Well, uh, Jocko and the Badger bought it at the first Ypres, unfortunately. Quite a shock, that. I remember Bumfluff's housemaster wrote and told me that Sticky'd been out for a duck, and the Gubber had snitched a parcel sausage-end and gone goose-over-stump frogside.
    Blackadder: Meaning?
    George: I don't know, sir, but I read in The Times that they'd both been killed.
    Blackadder: And Bumfluff himself?
    George: Copped a packet at Gallipolli with the Aussies. So did Drippy and Strangely Brown.
  • In the Bones episode "The Double Death of the Dearly Departed", they replace they word 'murder' with 'translate' in order to disguise the meaning of their conversation. This leads to some hilarious quotes.
    "This man was translated!"
    "No evidence of translation."
    • Also, an earlier episode's use of "take to the airport".
    • Snipers, according to Booth, call severing the spinal cord "disconnecting the computer". Which actually makes sense.
  • The Borgias: "Invading France."
  • Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a couple of occasions when someone would swear by saying "Oh penis!"
  • Castle: "Shut the front door".
  • In the modern-age Fairy Tale Sitcom, The Charmings, Eric Charming gets Snow White a car for her birthday, although neither of them really understands how it works. One scene has their children running up to Snow after having watched their father work on the car. One of the children says to Snow that Eric became angry working on the car and yelled out "Fiddlesticks", whereupon Snow covers his mouth and admonishes, "The F-Word!"
  • El Chavo del ocho, El Chapulín Colorado and all Chespirito's works including "Chanfle" (Scurl) as any kind of profanity becoming so famous that this use is spread more, over its original soccer meaning.
  • Cheers has plenty of this. One example:
    Diane: [to Sam] YOU are a sand flea!
    • Lampshaded with misunderstanding in this exchange:
      Frasier: I'm off to use the "little boy's room".
      Lillith: Why does a grown man feel the need to euphemise?
      Woody: Well, he did drink that beer awfully fast.
    • In "Dinner at Eight-ish", Frasier suggests before Sam and Diane come around that he and Lilith use "dip" as a secret code-word for the evening. Then they decide to serve actual dip as a starter, leading Sam to ask if Frasier's tasted Lilith's dip... after a few seconds, Fras and Lilith are kissing one another's brains out while a mystified Sam and Diane watch.
      Sam: What the hell's in this dip?
  • Chuck has the line "Oh, Chuck me."
  • In the Community episode "Mixology Certification" Britta excuses herself at the bar to "go see a woman about the female equivalent of a horse".
  • On Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Paula calls sex "smashing your butterfly". After Rebecca insists that nobody is "smashing her butterfly", the show immediately cuts to her having sex with Greg and yelling, "Do it, Greg, smash my butterfly!" After the sex, Greg then thinks of some more euphemisms, like "Flambé your cockatoo".
  • In the 1980s Degrassi Junior High, the kids use the phrase "broomhead" as if it was an incredibly vile expletive, only dished out when somebody is really, truly angry. There was a reason for the characters to use it as in insult (it's based on something that happens in the first few episodes), but this didn't stop it from sounding silly.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor famously tells someone to "spack off", although it is hotly debated between fans whether this is really a swearword or whether he's just advising someone to back off.
    • In "The Pirate Planet", the Captain utters several odd oaths, including, "Moons of Madness!" and "By the left frontal lobe of the Sky Demon!"
    • Dancing:
      • "The Doctor Dances": Rose spends most of the episode asking whether on not the Doctor ever "dances". At the end of the episode he then dances with both Rose and Jack. When Rose expresses surprise that humans have relationships with aliens she says something along the lines of "So we seek out alien species and–" "Dance." Not to mention every time it's said in that episode, you can hear the air quotes.
      • "The Girl in the Fireplace": The Doctor leaves Rose and Mickey alone while he goes off to dance with Madame de Pompadour. He also uses it when talking to Madame de Pompadour.
    • "Daleks in Manhattan": 1930s chorus girl Tallulah thinks the Doctor is "into musical theatre" when Martha says he hasn't noticed her crush on him.
    • Hotter and Sexier Spin-Off Torchwood is not known for bothering with euphemisms. But when Martha shows up and delightedly questions Ianto about his relationship with Jack, we get this gem:
      Ianto: We... dabble.
      Martha: [grinning delightedly] So what's his... dabbling like?
    • "The Name of the Doctor": When Clara informs the Doctor that the Maitland kids have duped him and gone to the cinema, leaving him alone to play Blind Man's Bluff, he huffs, "The little... Daleks!"
  • In an episode of Dollhouse, you can lean on Topher's unwillingness to utter the word "erection". He prefers "man reaction".
  • One Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza game of "Sentences" (where audience members write down sentences that the performers later pull from their pockets and read at various moments) had a quasi-euphemism result from a sentence being incomplete. Jeff Davis reads the line "I'd like to have sex, but...". He pauses, then says bluntly to fellow actor Ryan Styles "I'd like to have sex-butt." From then on, "sex-butt" is used as if it were a euphemism for something sexual (most likely anal sex, of course).
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. After rescuing Dr. Mike from the gang of dog soldiers who kidnapped her, paramour Sully gently asks her "Did they hurt you?" Just as gently and much to his relief, she tells him "no". Given that "hurt" was frequently used as a euphemism for "rape" back in those days, it's strongly implied that this is really what he was asking her about.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard had Sheriff Rosco and his deputies occasionally use colorful but clean exclamations for a bad situation. Enos used, "Possum on a gum bush!" in his days, Cletus tended to say, "Buzzards on a buzz saw!", even Sheriff Rosco occasionally resorted to saying, "Judas priest on a pony!"
  • On an episode of Ellen, Paige Clark (Joely Fisher) used "go camping" as a euphemism for "have sex", as in "I want to go camping!"
  • Ezel: When seeking to recruit Eren as a protégé in season one, Ali describes himself a "surgeon"... specifically, the kind whose patients have a low survival rate.
  • Farscape used many made-up expletives and insults, such as "frell" (fuck), "dren" (shit), "mivonks" (balls), etc. This was parodied in the Stargate SG-1 episode "200", in which a scene inspired by Farscape featured dialogue consisting of little more than a string of made-up profanity. The two shows share two common actors - Ben Browder and Claudia Black.
    • In addition to the usual cursing, colloquial usages, there was at least one instance where Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) used "frell" literally, to refer to actual sexual intercourse.
    • "Frell" was also used on The Invisible Man, which at the time was airing on the same night and channel.
  • Father Ted:
    • The series got away with tossing the f-bomb all over the place by simply changing the word to "feck". That was enough to make its liberal usage completely okay. Feck is in common usage in Ireland and is considered acceptably mild in comparison to the f-bomb. The ironic thing is that, other than a minced vow for the obvious, it's also Irish slang that simply means "to throw", and coincidentally Esperanto for shit.
    • Another episode featured a public area with a no-cursing rule in place, so a group of people are forced to use substitutions to curse at Ted.
    • People with keen ears can also hear quite a few unedited curses in Father Ted, said by crowds. One notable example that always gets me rolling is about 20mins into Season 3, Episode 2 "Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Sheep" (Right after Father Ted says "Hud Hastings". I'll let you listen to it and tell me whether I'm crazy or not.)
      Frank: Fup off, you grasshole!
    • The f-word is considered pretty grave in the Father Ted universe. As Mrs. Doyle commented with regards to the works of a visiting novelist, "And of course the F-word father, the bad F-word. Worse then Feck. You know the one I mean." Also, wall-to-wall bastards.
    • According to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, 'feck' means 'value', hence the derivative 'feckless', or 'worthless'. Therefore, I can use it as a swearword and say, 'It means value!'
  • Firefly:
    • The characters swear in (poorly pronounced) Mandarin, despite usually speaking English. Though, since more mundane phrases and some signs are also said/written in Mandarin, it's implied that the two share status as the official languages of humanity. The show also employed the real-but-obscure English curse words "gorram" (an out-of-use variation of "goddamn"), "rutting" (another word for "the deed," used adjectivally in the same manner as the most famous word you can't say on TV), and "humped" (ditto).
    • In a network that almost certainly wouldn't let them call someone a pussy, nor drop the c-bomb, a rogue cop managed to happily call a post office employee a quim. Archaic words rule! It's possible that they would have gotten away with it, but the episode in question ("The Message") was only included on the DVD and didn't actually air on TV.
    • "You're not sly, are you? 'Cause I've got my boys..."
  • Flight of the Conchords:
    • It's "Business Time"
    • "Sugarlumps".
    • Not to mention "mutha'uckas" and "mother-flipping".
  • Frasier: Done straight on occasion, usually with Frasier and Niles' expansive vocabulary and literary wit.
    Frasier: Truth be told, it’s been a while since, I, uh... [covers Alice’s ears] romped with abandon through the perfumed gardens of Eros.
    Roz: Next time you say something like that, cover my ears.
    • In one episode, to avoid traumatizing Alice [Roz's daughter], Frasier uses the word "hug" to mean "sex". When Roz asks him whether he got hugs while married to Lilith, he replies that he had to settle for a weekly "handshake".
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will's aunt shows up with a fiancé who is unexpectedly white. The various adults discuss their surprise seizing on the fact that he is "tall" in order to avoid sounding prejudiced to their kids. They are quick to say they have no problem with "tall" people, though. Subverted when Will asks if they noticed he was white.
  • On the ABC sketch comedy show Fridays, during the fake news report (The Friday Edition), a "new swear-word" was reported. The people of the town where it was originated were so disgusted with it, they wouldn't even allow the boy who thought it up to tell the news reporter. When it was finally revealed, the word was "Karkfum", which on the next attempt to say, was bleeped over by the network censors.
  • Friends:
    • In "The One with the Boobies", Chandler accidentally saw Rachel topless, and Ross opines that to make it fair, Rachel should get to see Chandler naked, in a "tit for tat". Chandler responds saying "I'm not showing her my tat".
    • Chandler once came up another example of an unusual euphemism, to describe a character who unknowingly has shorts so short that everyone in the room can see his penis - "The man is showing brain!"
    • Another instance of an unusual euphemism comes from Joey, when Phoebe acts on Days of Our Lives. The director can be kind of rough, so Joey replaced one of the words he used a lot with a nicer one, like, "puppy", as in, "If your puppy friend doesn't get her puppy act together, I'm gonna fire her mother-puppy ass."
    • Somehow subverted for laugh, in episodes where Ross gets his capuchin monkey, Marcel.
      Ross: I just thought we could go out to dinner, and then maybe bring her back to my place and I'd introduce her to my monkey.
      [surprised glance from the girls]
      Chandler: And he's not speaking metaphorically.
  • Full House:
    • On early episodes, D.J. calls Stephanie "nerdbomber", "geekburger", and "double geekburger with cheese".
    • On one episode, Joey told Michelle that newlyweds Jesse and Becky haven't been able to play with her lately because they're "doing their taxes".
      Michelle: Are they going to be doing their taxes EVERY NIGHT?
      Joey: For the first few months, yes.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show features Tyrion giving a flurry of metaphors for masturbation in quick succession. "I made the bald man cry!"
    • And then there's Olenna Tyrell shruggingly admitting Loras' sexuality by telling Tywin that he is indeed a 'sword-swallower' through and through.
    • According to Davos, Jon spends a lot of time looking at Daenerys' "good heart".
    • Although most curses are in modern English, from time to time characters will reference the Fantasy Pantheon with curses like "Seven Hells!"
    • One of the girls is asked whether she knew her currently bethrothed is gay. She remarks about how usually he'd find an excuse not to go to bed with her, but one time he did want to try something with her that "seemed very painful and unlikely to produce children."
  • In a scene from Gavin & Stacey, Smithy asks Nessa "do you want that corn on the cob?", and it's immediately obvious what he's talking about. There follows extended negotiation, with both parties clinging rigidly to the metaphor.
  • In Get a Life, Chris starts hanging out with construction workers fixing the family home. They all shout typical rude suggestions at a passing young woman - Chris chimes in "Yeah! Eat that cheese, lady!", she turns around, walks up to him, and knees him hard in the groin.
  • This is Enforced in The Good Place, where attempts to curse are turned into similar sounding yet completely inoffensive words.
    Eleanor: Someone seriously Forked up! Why can't I say Forked?"
    Chidi: If you're trying to curse, you can't here.
    Eleanor: Well, that's bull-shirt!
  • Gossip Girl has come up with a few quite creative ones, like "fustercluck," "Bass-hole, "Motherchucker" and "Oh my effing god."
  • In Grey's Anatomy, Media Watchdogs have forced the writers to try to avoid using the word "vagina" in a non-medical context; because of this, it has been referred to as "Va-jay-jay" and "my good girl". In a hospital, of all places. "Vajayjay" would later become a common real-life euphemism.
  • Hannah Montana:
    • In the first season, Lilly sometimes insulted Oliver by calling him "donut," which was probably a euphemism for "asshole."
    • The main character's catchphrase, "Sweet Niblets!", is one.
  • In the episode "Sabado Free-Gante" of Happy Endings, Penny yells two actors' names as replacements for swear words when startled by Jane. First, "C.C.H. Pounder!" and later, "F. Murray Abraham!"
  • An innocent variation with Mark in an early episode of Home Improvement. He hears his parents going at it and Bard and Randy tell him they're having a "Somersault Competition", Tim and Jill go with it answering that "Jill won, didn't you hun?" "Twice..." when he asks who won.
  • Since Horrible Histories is a family show, despite what one might think, Charles II's love of mistresses is referred to as "breaking the wedding rules".
    • There's also Henry VIII's song about his wives, in which he says of Anne Boleyn "I said she flirted with some other man," a euphemism for accusing her of adultery with quite a few other men, including her own brother. Calling it flirting actually has the effect of making her death seem even more disproportionate.
  • House:
    • There's an episode where a young girl discovers masturbation, and her mother thinks she's having seizures and brings her in. House uses several movie titles as euphemisms, apparently just to annoy the mother:
      House: You know, ya-ya-ing the sisterhood? Finding Nemo?
    • In another episode, the patient is obviously in the mob, and House needs to find out what drugs he was dealing. However, since his associate will only claim they work in "textiles", House has to ask in code: Hosiery, with an "H"? Culottes with a "C", answers the mobster, and for the rest of the conversation they discuss culottes.
      House: Does your friend cut the fabric? He must cut a culotte here and there.
      Eddie: No one touches the culottes.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The show justified the use of the word "grinch" as an euphemism for cunt because The Narrator is simply retelling the story to his kids.
    • Throughout the series we even see a Visual Euphemism: all references to marijuana are replaced with sandwiches, so we see the characters getting high off of large subs.
    • Another Unusual Euphemism is replacing "going to the bathroom to poop" with "reading a magazine". Lampshaded later in the episode when Barney uses the euphemism, taking a guess at what it means:
      Barney: For the record, "reading a magazine" means masturbating, right?
    • Ted's annoyingly loud neighbours "play the bagpipes" rather too often. (And we do hear bagpipes.)
      Ted: Shut the bagpipes up!
    • And thumbs-up takes the place of the middle finger.
    • And "kiss" as a euphemism for fuck.
    • In one episode Ted is bowdlerising a story in order to persuade Marshall to stop interfering with the stories he wants to tell in his best man speech. In the flashback we see Robin "catch" Lily and Marshall sitting in a bathroom stall "holding hands".
      Marshall: I'm gonna hold your hand so hard you won't be able to shake hands for a week.
    • Subverted when Ted decides to "take the horn back to the bistro".
      Robin: I'm too tired.
      Ted: That wasn't a euphemism.
    • Absolutely heartbreakingly deconstructed with "pole-vaulter" in place of "mother".
    • And of course, defecating is "taking a wicked New Jersey."
    • Holy confetti!
  • iCarly: Aside from character expressions, the random phrases printed on the Penny Tees can be either this or this.
    • Carly's "Holy flab!"
    • Sam's "Whoa, daddy!", "No chiz!", and "Holy cheese!"
    • Freddie's "Oh, butter!" and "Good gravy!"
    • Spencer's "Gas bubble!" and "Holy similar!"
    • Gibby's "Oh, mustard!" and "Sha-Boom!"
    • Dan Schneider does this so often in general that the trope could easily be renamed "Schneiderism" in his honor. In addition to iCarly, Victorious has given us such gems as Jade being a "gank" to Beck, Sikowitz exclaiming "What the hairballs?" in one episode, etc.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: After Dennis being denied a chance to be the male model on the billboard:
    Mac: 2003!Dennis, now he was prime beefcake. No one's disputing that he was a stallion. 2008!Dennis is in decline. Now look at Rex here. That is a body that just won't quit and I bet if you pop those pants off, you'll find a bird that just won't quit either and I think that will come handy in this situation. I think the problem here is that your body quit, your bird quit, and unfortunately, it's no longer legit.
    Dennis: [baffled] What the hell are you talking about? My bird?
  • Doug Heffernan on The King of Queens occasionally says things like "Son of a mother!" and "Mother of ass!"
  • Combined with the constant Eureka Moment on Kratts' Creatures: Ttark's exclamations of "Colliding Camels!", "Grazing Gazelles!", "Hopping Hadrosaurus!", etc.
  • A Running Gag on The League of Gentlemen is Harvey's ever-horrifying collection of euphemisms for masturbation.
    ...shaking frothy white coconuts from the veiny love-tree.
  • In an episode of Life, Reese goes to interview a dentist/cover band rocker who has tallied off every single woman he's slept with (a lot) on his office wall. He asks her if he should "uncap the Sharpie." Her response: "No. You may not uncap the Sharpie." She continues to be horrified every time she sees or has to mention a Sharpie for the rest of the episode.
  • Kamen Rider Build combines this with a Visual Pun. Kazumi implies a relationship between Sento and Ryuga by taking a carrot and biting the top off as he is talking to him. Ryuga gets it pretty quickly considering how heavy the story leans into Sento's rabbit theme.
  • A one-shot sketch on MADtv featured an office worker talking to his coworker about a third employee, using bizarre euphemisms such as "He's a midnight golfer" and "He has a bowl of magic markers in his garage". The second man joins in, attempting to form his own nonsense euphemisms, which the third man overhears; he approaches the two and responds angrily to what was, according to the first and third workers, an insinuation that he was gay. It soon becomes apparent that the first man's euphamisms were intended — and understood by the third man — to be general compliments. The second man is utterly confounded by his coworkers' mutual understanding.
  • The Magicians: In the first episode of season 3, Eliot and Margo use wall to wall pop-culture references as a code so that the fairies won't understand them. Words cannot do justice to this scene. Subtitles are provided for the audience.
    Margot: Cause I am about ready to go full 07 Britney.
    Subtitles: I am prepared to beat her to death, with an umbrella, if necessary.
  • Colonel Potter of M*A*S*H fame is known for having a wide range of these.
    • Among the long, LONG list: "What in the name of Sam Hill?", "Horse Hockey!" ("Hockey" being an archaic American southern colloquialism for manure) , "Great Caesar's Ghost" (which is probably a nod to Superman's Perry White)
    • His predecessor, Henry Blake, would occasionally come up with some goodies, too. (Entering a tent on a cold, windy night: "Hoo, boy! Better keep the brass monkeys in tonight!")
      • This is in fact a reference to the somewhat well known (at the time) idiom, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey." This, however is an unusual euphemism.
    • Klinger once mixed this with Who's on First? and Comically Missing the Point during an attempt to get discharged from the Army, not for being a transvestite, but for being a security risk, believing that Blake just used one on him:
    Klinger: Sir, I have to confess... I'm a Communist. An atheistic, Marxist, card-carrying...
    Henry: Bolshevik.
    Klinger: No, honest!
  • In the premiere of the third season of The Mentalist, "Red Sky at Night", Teresa Lisbon comes up with "Oh, sheepdip!" after Patrick Jane tries to make her play guessing games about his latest wacky plan. Then, she stalks off in a huff.
    Jane: So I take it you don't wanna hear my plan. [to himself, as Lisbon] "No, I don't wanna hear your plan. Sheepdip your plan."
  • Shaun Micallef has taken the use of the word "freak" (and every conceivable variation upon) to something of an art form. When combined with the deliberately bad acting of his David McGhan sketches, this results in lines like this:
    "You call that justice? I call it freakin' of someone, entirely!"
  • The Middleman uses "Code 86" for sex, named for the protocol a Middleman has to invoke to get even a moment of privacy from their round-the-clock surveillance. The Middleman himself uses a wide variety of creative replacement words and expressions for swearing (while other characters swear quite frequently, with the audio removed and a black rectangle covering their mouths).
    • In one episode, the Middleman exclaims "Ghosts of the living!" Considering that the case of the episode involved the presence of the departed spirits of people who seemed to still be alive and walking about, Wendy questions whether he's using a colorful phrase or describing the situation.
    • In one episode, a previous Middleman questions the current Middleman's unusual euphemisms, to which Wendy explains that "it's just a friendly way of saying (her word is bleeped and blocked with a black rectangle)".
  • Moonlighting: Maddie Hayes, to put it simply, never agrees with David Addison on anything, and she doesn't give a "flying fig" what he thinks. In the episode where the phrase appears, David says he doesn't know what it means, with Maddie pointing out that "we" (as in the viewers) do.
  • Monk uses "BM" (short for "bowel movement") for "shit" and "haul bottom" for "haul ass".
  • The "Chemist Shop" sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus included a list of slang words, mostly anatomical, that the censors who interrupt the sketch request not to be repeated. The last word on the list is "Semprini". What's a Semprini? If it isn't this dude, nobody knows just what, except that the (fictional) censors don't want to hear about it.
    • It is that dude. Semprini had a radio program of "light music" whose last years overlapped with Monty Python's run, and also wrote a lot of it. By the time of Monty Python, "light music" was a Dead Horse Genre. It would be like using "Lawrence Welk" as a swearword - or, for more modern swearwords, "Yanni" or "Kenny G".
    • Several euphemisms are also used in the Monty Python skit "Nudge Nudge".
    • "You're not suggesting we should tax... thingy?"
  • Mork & Mindy with "Shazbot".
  • On one episode of Murphy Brown, Corky had to read her diary in court. On one entry she uses the word "bleeping", and the judge advises her to read the entry as written. Corky then points out that she indeed wrote "bleeping" in the diary.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Joel would often use "telling secrets" as a stand-in for sexual activity.
    • And in the insult category, we got "dickweed", an insult so common that a fan list of nicknames characters gave each other refused to list it on the basis that "they are very numerous".
  • An NCIS episode has Gibbs bringing Abby (who Must Have Caffeine) an extra-small Caf-Pow because that's all that was available. Her response: "What the bio-hazardous material is this?"
    • Also, when a probie has his fly down, Gibbs informs him "The Buick's out of the garage."
  • A character from Neighbours used "Belgium" as an expletive, an obvious Shout-Out to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (see below). The same character had a library of unusual euphemisms.
  • The Newlywed Game famously used "making whoopie" as a term for intercourse, though contestants sometimes slipped words out, so they also made use of a distinct "cuckoo" Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • Only Fools and Horses:
    • "Plonker" apparently derives from a slang term for penis, which isn't used any more.
    • Slightly less often, "dipstick", which is a tool for measuring the oil levels in a car. The metaphorical meaning should be obvious.
  • On Peachdale, the young characters frequently use terms like "eff", "dee", and "waugh" to stand in for common expletives.
  • One of the earliest examples is 1970s British sit-com Porridge. Being set in a prison, the writers invented the word "Naff" so thet the prisoners could swear on a family show. They also invented the word "Nerk" to be used as a personal slur - as in "Naff off, you nerk !"
    Since Royalty tend not to swear in real life, Princess Anne once famously had to resort to using "Naff Off!" herself. This made headlines at the time.
    • "Naff off" may have originated with Porridge, but "naff" did not—it was well established in the theatrical and gay argot Polari long before, meaning "un-stylish" or "pathetic".
    • The Two Ronnies, from which Porridge's lead actor was best known, was famed for its unusual euphemisms. Not least because in spite of not having heard them before you can tell what they're meant to refer to.
  • QI:
    "Lord Cholmondely has given two guineas to Lord Derby, to receive 500 guineas whenever his lordship 'plays hospitals' with a woman in a balloon 1,000 yards from the Earth." For "plays hospitals with" I think you can insert your ownword."
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "Dr. Ruth", Al has trouble saying the word "breasts" and runs through a list of euphemisms; casabas, melons, ho-has, honkers, hooters, headlights, ta-tas, teeters, tweeters, tom-toms, tee-tees, meatballs, mangoes, cream pies, cupcakes, bangers, bouncers, bolumbas & bazongas.
    • Throughout the entire series, Al uses "nozzle" as a general-use insult.
  • Red Dwarf was an unusual case, in that the writers found out later that their made-up word ("smeg") did, in fact, have a borderline-naughty meaning. Actually entered semi-common usage in the United Kingdom for a while.
    • The trade name "Smeg", completely independently, is also an Italian line of cooking ranges. The writers of Red Dwarf, hearing about this, expressed regret that they had not thought to trademark the word.
    • Although there were weren't other made-up swear words, there were quite a few made-up insults which were favoured by Rimmer, and oddly enough all began with g: goit, gimp, gimboid and gwenlan. (The latter was in honour of a TV executive with the surname Gwenlan who'd insisted the show wouldn't work as a sitcom because "there were no french windows".)
    • The phrase "Gazpacho soup" was worse than any smeg based insult for Rimmer.
  • Ripper Street, in the episode "The King Came Calling", two dead men may have "played backgammon" together.
  • A 7th season episode of Roseanne was about youngest child D.J. being embarrassed about getting random erections in class. The Stinger showed Roseanne - the actress - having this discussion with a network censor.
    Roseanne: Oh, come on, Neil, give us a break. It's just a normal, everyday biological function, We have to call it something.
    Censor: I'm sorry, Roseanne. None of these expressions are acceptable on network television
    Roseanne: Okay, well, what about "pitching a trouser tent?"
    Censor: No.
    Roseanne: "Booting up the hard drive?"
    Censor: No.
    Roseanne: "Charming the anaconda?"
    Censor: No.
    Roseanne: Uh, "raising the drawbridge?"
    Censor: No.
    Roseanne: "Popping a wheelie?"
    Censor: No!
    Roseanne: "Standing up for democracy?"
    Censor: No!
    Roseanne: "Waving to your chin?"
    Censor: No! There's absolutely, positively no way any of these are gonna get on the air.
    Roseanne: Too late. (pointing to camera)
    Censor: Is that on? Aw, [bleep].
  • On Sanford and Son, with Redd Foxx's usual colorful language replaced by phrases such as "mother-father".
    • Actually, Redd Foxx's exclaimations of "Oh, mother-father" came from his 1990s CBS sitcom, The Royal Family.
  • Scrubs:
    • Elliot refers to female genitalia as "bajingo", and related secretions as "icky-sticky". And then tries to become a gynecologist. This is why Elliot didn't want to be a gynecologist. Her father wanted her to do it because she had the highest earning potential in that field, but as she told Carla...
      Elliot: I can't even look at my own bajingo!
      Carla: Is that because it looks so much like a vagina?
      Elliot: [spit take] Carla, there's people!
    • Elliot is also fond of the word "frick", which she uses with great creativity. ("Frick on a stick with a brick!"; "Just put the motherfricking ring on the motherfricking finger! Frick, frick, frick!")
  • Seinfeld:
    • The episode "The Contest", where the characters have a contest to see who can go the longest without masturbating, while never referring to the act by name or even any of its slang terms for the entire episode. Instead, the term "master of your domain" was coined to mean someone who could successfully resist the urge to masturbate. This was because NBC censors wouldn't allow the show to say the actual word, and thus a pop culture reference is born.
    • At the Hamptons, Jerry and Kramer are stunned at George's date matter-of-factly going topless. "Yo Yo Ma!"..."Boutros-Boutros Ghali!"
    • "I've Yadda Yadda'ed sex."
  • In an episode of Selfie, Saperstein is working with Eliza and Charmonique to find Henry a girl, and so Saperstein, showing his usual tendencies, decides to ask Henry about sexually transmitted diseases in the bathroom while they're at adjacent urinals
    Saperstein: You ever catch a case of the Shebola virus? You ever wake up with a Rotten Richard? You ever accidentally download a bad copy of Burn Notice?
  • Shake it Up: In the episode "I Do It Up", Rocky and Logan meet at Crusty's to talk about their kiss from the previous episode and Rocky suggests substituting the word "kiss" for "puppy":
    Logan: You gave me a puppy first.
    Rocky: But you gave me a puppy right back.
    Logan: Are you going to deny that you liked the puppy?
  • In Sherlock, Irene's occupation is referred to as "Recreational Scolding".
  • On Skins, Series 2, episode 5, Chris uses a rather fabulous string of normal words in place of swear words when talking to his career counselor. When he's done, she comments that he may have let a swear slip in. He apologizes and immediately comes up with a different word.
  • During the 1990s, SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann would use the name "Gianluca Pagliuca" over video of an athlete or coach swearing. The basis was from ESPN's 1994 World Cup coverage where colleague Gary Miller kept tripping up over the Italian goalkeeper's name and blurted an expletive in disgust. "We'll spare you WHICH expletive."
    • "I can read his lips and he is not praying."
  • The Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 consider Jack O'Neill a "pain in the mikta":
    O'Neill: Neck?
    Teal'c: No.
  • A sketch on The State parodied this, in which a vulgar play was modified for broadcast tv, causing the dramatic tension to be lost in phrases like "Let's get milk faced and hum like rabbits!" This COULD be a reference to Alien Nation, as the Newcomers get intoxicated by drinking spoiled milk.
    "Darn me to H-E-Double hockey sticks!"
  • In Student Bodies the guys begin talking about all the girls they've "Been to Wonderland" with.
  • The Suite Life on Deck with Bailey's "What the feathers?"
  • Most characters in Supernatural don't bother with this and just say 'bitch' or 'son of a bitch', but Bobby called the protagonists 'idjits' on a few occasions. Also, Crowley had this fun moment:
    Crowley: My new boss is gonna kill me for even talking to you lot.
    Sam: Wait, what new boss?
    Crowley: Castiel, you giraffe.
    • Or Cas' unusual insult from 'Swan Song'.
      Castiel: Hey! Assbutt!
    • In an early episode of season five, Dean asks an embarrassed Castiel if he's never done a little "cloud-seeding".
  • From Survivor Cook Islands, the castaway Nate says that his alliance is going to successfully remove one of the opposition, by using the euphemism: "Chop'em up like poop".
  • Latka Gravas from Taxi. "yachtabe", ibida", "nik-nik"...
  • In an episode of That '70s Show, Eric and Hyde use creative metaphors to refer Kelso's impotence: "the rabbit wouldn't come out of his hat", "the weasel wouldn't pop out" and "there's a lot of Amish people, but they never raised a barn".
    • Also on That '70s Show, The cast regularly refer to each other as "Dillhole", obviously referring to the less euphemistic "hole" we all know they're really referring to.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look parodied the science fiction variant with its "Vectron" sketch, where the whole thing turns out to be the result of in-universe Memetic Mutation.
  • Top Gear:
    • Various harm has come to the presenters' "wedding vegetables". The "plums" and "gentleman's area" have likewise been endangered, and buying a flashy car is advertisement that one has a small "vegetable"
    • James May commented that it was difficult to help the buxom Madison Welch with her racing harness without touching "the work of the good Potter"
    • "I think I might be having a crisis!" is also used when Jeremy Clarkson sees a particularly sexy car for the first time.note 
    • And you may not want to get Alfa Romeo tattooed on your "Gentleman's Sausage".
    • And now from the same presenters who brought you Top Gear, The Grand Tour has added "the magic triangle" when referring to a lady's, um... parts.
  • Van Kooten En De Bie: The duo's comedy was very verbal and they enjoyed playing characters who used very complicated words and expressions. As presenters they also used formal language.
  • The Vicar of Dibley:
    • In what is possibly a parody, Hugo switches a letter when he describes to Geraldine his father's reaction to Hugo saying he's in love with Alice:
      Hugo: He asked me what the duck I was playing at. He said he didn't give a flying duck if I ducking loved Alice ducking Tinker, and if I ducking kissed her again, he'd make sure that I was well and truly ducked.
      Geraldine: Well, duck me.
    • In a later episode, Alice describes having sex with Hugo as "playing the odd round of Hide the Purple Parsnip".
  • On What About Brian, Dave and Deena are discussing their newly open marriage, but they realize their young daughters can hear — so they start talking about the "open ... milk". There follows an extended conversation that ends up on the subject of the guy Deena didn't sleep with, a tantric yoga instructor:
    Deena: I heard he can drink milk for five hours without finishing the carton.
    Dave: Wow. That sounds ... painful.
  • When I'm Sixty-Four: "`oofter" for "gay", which derives from Cockney rhyming slang for "poof".
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? featured a game called "If You Know What I Mean" where the players spoke entirely in unusual euphemisms, usually meant to be sexual. Usually nonsensical.
    • Lampshaded in that Ryan once responded with "No, I don't know what you mean."
    • Another has Colin ending the game with a deadpan "I'm going to go to the bathroom."
  • Several different ones were used throughout Xena: Warrior Princess, such as Xena calling Joxer a "son of a Bacchae".
  • The X-Files:
    • The episode "Blood" has a hilarious example: A bus driver recounts the behavior of a passenger (a character being driven mad by chemicals and secret messages delivered by electronic devices):
      Bus Driver: Yeah, I picked him up. Drove four feet, then he went apewire.
    • In the episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space":
      Dana Scully: Well, of course he didn't actually say 'bleep', he said -
      Jose Chung: I'm familiar with Detective Manners' colourful... phraseology.
      Detective Manners: Oh, you bet your blankety-blank bleep I am!
      as well as the mother of all quotes from that ep:
      Dana Scully: He says he's found your bleeping UFO.
  • Vyvyan of The Young Ones may have invented one of these, in the course of being snarky:
    Neil's Father: Felicity Kendal is a wonderful woman, and I want to protect her.
    Vyvyan: Well, it's the first time I've ever heard it called that.
  • You're the Worst has a conversation between Jimmy and Gretchen at the communal table of a restaurant about her period:
    Gretchen: Shouldn't have told you about the Detroit Red Wings. How they're in town for a five-game series.
    Jimmy: I don't know anything about sports. You mean, do you mean your period? Wait, did I do something wrong?
    Gretchen: Yes! You were so weird about it. "See you in five days"?
    Jimmy: How is that weird? When your... when the series is over and the Red Wings leave town to go and play more hockey elsewhere, the ice will be cleared to play on.
    Gretchen: That's not the point. That's a dick move.
    Jimmy: That's exactly the point. Look, if my favorite pinball game is out of order, I'm going to wait to come back to the arcade when it's working again.
    Gretchen: There are other games!
    Jimmy: Do you mean your butt?


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