Religious swearing

Sat Jan 7 18:40:55 PST 2006

Steve Rapaport wrote:

>Just reading the above made me reflect -- I assumed, reading the "Holy Mary"
>stuff, that it came from a more-religious part of the US.  Automatically.
>And when I noticed myself assuming it, I wondered if maybe
>more-religiously-inclined cultures (or in the US, subcultures) will tend to
>swear more religiously.  Or perhaps more recognizably religiously.
>("Zounds", "Bloody" etc being no longer recognizably religious despite their
>origin, and "Jeez" starting to lose it).
Well, really, I'm not all that religious (I was raised a Methodist, but 
consider myself more or less an agnostic). And where I live (Oregon) is 
not particularly religious, overall (We were a blue state in both the 
last elections, after all).

I was really just trying to make a not-to-subtle point in a somewhat 
humorous way. It was not intended to say that anyone was claiming that 
religious swearing didn't exist--more to say that all languages and 
cultures use a mixture of different types of swears, depending on local 

>I lived in Italy for a few years and noticed that their swearing was usually
>either religious, or sacred/profane mixes, (e.g. porcodio -- "pig-god").
>They occasionally threw in "puttana" as somewhere in between (porca puttana
>-- pig-whore) and it was considered really offensive.  They had slang for
>sexual/scatological bits and used them cheerfully as profanities, but they
>had less power than the religious ones.  And yes, they were all devout
Given the nature of swearing, it makes sense that the more taboo a 
particular subject is in a given culture, the more likely it is that it 
would make a good swear. Kinda interesting social comment there, I would