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I need some curses

robberhands

I do indeed. I need them for the new story I'm writing. It's a medieval setting again, and my skills in English don't expand that far. It also have to be curses not involving christianity; so no God, devil, hell or heaven. I hope some of you can help with it.

Of course every curse I use will be credited to it's owner in a footnote.

Joe Long

@robberhands

Criminy sakes, what in tarnation are you trying to do?

The hard thing about a setting hundreds of years in the past is being unsure of the language, especially which idioms and curses were common back then. Did they say piss, shit and fuck? (If not religious, you may have to resort to bodily functions)

Perhaps you could refer to some fiction written at the same time as your story, but the custom of the time may have been to prohibit foul language in entertainment.

Replies:   robberhands
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Of course every curse I use will be credited to it's owner in a footnote.

I don't know of anyone here ever crediting another like that. There are frequent questions asking for advice on how to handle specific problems. My view is once an author chooses which advice to use they may legitimately consider it their writing.
One question about your request: do you want curses for noblemen or peasants, or both?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

One question about your request: do you want curses for noblemen or peasants, or both?

Both; curses, insults, anything.

I don't know of anyone here ever crediting another like that.

It's fun, that's why I'd do it. In my first story I credited ElSol for his character Iane of his story 'A Master's Ring', after he allowed me to use her. That was fun too.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@Joe Long

Did they say piss, shit and fuck?

They probably did, but used different terms, I guess. The curses can be religuious, but since in my world christianity doesn't exist, refering to it in curses wouldn't make sense.

Replies:   Joe Long  Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@robberhands

Hell (or an alternate name) or damn might be acceptable if the religion believes in condemnation after death.

Or you could just make words up, like 'frak' or 'feldergarb'

*The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica made frequent and creative use of 'frak', as producer Ron Moore took advantage of being able to use his 'favorite word' on US television. ("Talk to me, mother frakker!"). On the original show, 'feldergarb' meant 'shit', so there was a scene on the new show where a tube of Feldergarb Toothpaste could be seen on the bathroom sink.

mimauk

a quick google -

https://www.bustle.com/articles/61868-9-obscure-old-swear-words-we-should-bring-back-consarn-it

https://matadornetwork.com/life/21-amazing-forgotten-curse-words-need-bring-back/2/

Ernest Bywater

According to what we can find from that era, most curses involved God or Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, one ancient curse I have no knowledge of the origins of, is, 'May the fleas of a thousand camels infest you.' - I've heard many variants on where you get infested.

One scene I read in a book set in the 1100s had a person trying to get an animal out of a bog, and the rope broke, dropping them heavily on their rear. They stood up, rubbed their rump and and are about to speak when a voice says, "Need a hand, my son." And he turns to see a monk standing there. The man says, "I don't thank pulling on the rope did much good." Both smile at what they bot know he was really about to say.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Both; curses, insults, anything.

In short terms, having no clue of the story's context, peasants would be more likely to use ... course language "shit", "fuck", "damnation", etc. The educated preferred showing off their wider vocabularies (check out several of Shakespeare's curses, though I doubt many would be nearly so creative.

However, peasants would be unlikely to use religion based curses, for fear of being crucified or imprisoned by the religious authorities (which is why words like "Crikey" or "Criminy" (both are short for "Christ!") first originated. They have the impact of "Christ almightly!" without using the actual profanity. (It's similar to shouting "Mother Duck!" when you stub your toe. No one gets upset, and little kids giggle with glee over it.)

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

'May the fleas of a thousand camels infest you.'

I like that one! That's exactly what I'm looking for, and I'll definately use it.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

They probably did, but used different terms, I guess. The curses can be religuious, but since in my world christianity doesn't exist, refering to it in curses wouldn't make sense.

Like most invented worlds, that'll require more work, rather than less. You'll need to define an entirely new religious order, figure out what would be allowed and which strictly forbidden, then figure what would be most insulting (given that context), and THEN what would be allowed for people to say.

After that, you can't use ANY of it, instead you shove that research aside, use the word, but then put it into the proper context. Since you can't do that by revealing your extensive research in the matter (that's an 'info dump'), you instead capture in everyone's reactions to how it's use ("Shh", "You can't say that, sweetheart", "Are you crazy? We'll be stoned if anyone heard you!").

On the other hand, generic curses like "The King's Toe!" or "Devil's horn" allow you to curse, as you might, but without signalling anything at all, though they lack the impact of saying what the character really wants to.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

peasants would be more likely to use ... course language "shit", "fuck", "damnation", etc.

It's not just curses. I can't have a young woman complimenting the new linen pantaloons of a friend with something like: 'Hey, cool new pants'.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

You'll need to define an entirely new religious order, figure out what would be allowed and which strictly forbidden, then figure what would be most insulting (given that context), and THEN what would be allowed for people to say.

Since that is a major part of the storyline, I am well aware of it.

On the other hand, generic curses like "Devil's horn" allow you to curse, as you might,...

That's exactly the trap I've to prevent falling into. Without christianity, there is no Devil.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

However, peasants would be unlikely to use religion based curses, for fear of being crucified or imprisoned by the religious authorities (which is why words like "Crikey" or "Criminy" (both are short for "Christ!") first originated. They have the impact of "Christ almightly!" without using the actual profanity. (It's similar to shouting "Mother Duck!" when you stub your toe. No one gets upset, and little kids giggle with glee over it.)

You cannot use things like "Crikey" or "Jeez" because they are corruptions of religious words, but you can invent your own corruptions of words associated with whatever powers-that-be exist in your world. If the chief nobleman is the 'King', peasants might say "klingwrap" as a curse.

Crumbly Writer

How about "Shineola", a modern-day, polite equivalent of "Oh Shit!" Set back several centuries, you could use "Shiny, shiny spoon you'd serve your mother with!" Then, you could break the tension by having all the kids in the vicinity break out laughing at them.

Of course, it helps if you've studied the etymology of English words and curses, so you have some idea of how they came into existence in the first place. While Robberhands may not have that knowledge, you could instead base it on the etymology of curses in his own country.

Replies:   pcbondsman
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

i would guess "bastard" has been around a long time, or "you fatherless piece of crap" (assuming "crap" was used).

Probably comparing people to animals, like an ass or weasel.

Replies:   Joe Long  Ross at Play
Capt. Zapp

@robberhands

It also have to be curses not involving christianity; so no God, devil, hell or heaven.


Just because there is no christianity does not preclude the existence of demons and deities. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_deities

For example: The Norse Hell is called Hel (sometimes Helheim), after the goddess who rules it.

As for a common curse - "A Pox on Thee!"

Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

(assuming "crap" was used).


Dung sounds medieval

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Will Shakespeare could be a rich vein for you to mine. For example, 'A plague on both your houses' could be adapted to 'A plague on you'.

There are almost certainly websites listing his curses.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

"May your pen be left dry of adequate curses!" (particularly apt for shouting at aspiring authors.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

(assuming "crap" was used).

Thomas Crapper invented the flushing toilet, as I recall.
Not quite, according to Wiki. He was the most famous manufacturer and seller of flushing toilets when they came onto the market.
The entire Royal Family in Britain installed Crappers.

REP

@robberhands

'May a pox be upon you' Particularly vindictive considering the diseases of the time.

Your face resembles the southern end of a northern bound (insert animal).

It is a shame your mother's husband had no children.

REP

@robberhands

Without christianity, there is no Devil.


In every religion there are forces of good and evil. In Christianity, God is good, the Devil is evil. Your religion will have a name for its force of good and a name for its force of evil.

All you need to do is take current religion based curses and change the names to those of your religion.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@REP


In every religion there are forces of good and evil. In Christianity, God is good, the Devil is evil. Your religion will have a name for its force of good and a name for its force of evil.


In my religion, Trump is evil and ANY functional Congress is good! (Even if I despise their policies, it seems beyond pointless to argue about laws which will never pass, or executive orders which will never be allowed by the courts!)

In that vein:

"May a Trump befall you!"

"What the frig is a 'Trump'?"

"I don't know, but it certainly sounds terrible. I don't want nothing to do with it, either way!"

"Well, it's certainly better than an Obama. Those are particularly vile beasts!"

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

I never thought the WH would end up as a reality show that enthralls people around the world. One person scripting the dramas via twitter that will be played out in the papers and halls of government including those overseas.

Ernest Bywater

Check Project Gutenberg for a few relevant books like:

https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

Moll Flanders

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/370

Canterbury Tales

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2383

and a few other suitable period pieces. read them for what they use.

Crumbly Writer

In a similar vein of "A pox on you", how about:

"No rat dinner for you!"

or

"Not a rat's chance of eatin' tonight!"

Harold Wilson

Scatalogical (and other bodily) references will still work: shit, piss, cunt, fart, snot, blood, sweat, toejam, etc.

Embarassing or sexual references involving animals will work. Horse's ass. Donkey fucker.

Comparison to animals, plants, and the weather will work. "She don't eat meat but she sure likes the bone!" "My frigid wife's quim is dry as a desert." "His cock is stiff as a palm leaf and as big as a pine needle." "Hung like a hamster."

Various ill-wishes tied to death, health, and disease will work: "May your wife give you the pox, and the pox make you blind!" "I hope your new man is a leper, and your shrewish tongue is the first thing to fall off!"

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Harold Wilson

Nice! Thank you, very inspirational.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

I should have asked this earlier, but are you looking for curses in the sense of expletives eg 'Fuck!', 'Bloody Nora!' etc, or in the sense of wishing future ill to befall people eg 'May all your girl children be barren', 'May all your sons have one inch penises'?

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Both, or better let me say anything. It's an entire world with people of different status, different personalities and temperament. Of course that'll reflect the style they'll use to talk and curse.

samuelmichaels

@robberhands

Some of the Irish curses may be of help, maybe with some minor alterations: http://www.gaelicmatters.com/irish-curses.html

AmigaClone

"May your fields have large crops of weeds."
"May your wells run dry."
"May your crops wither and die."
"May your animals be barren."
(in reply to a curse) "May this things return to you tenfold."
"May your true friends be few and your enemies plenty."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Just a thought, but unless the story is set in the Stargate universe, where all the natives speak fluent 21st century English, there's an implied translation from whatever language the inhabitants speak. Using florid curses would add colour to the story but are they strictly necessary? Expressions like 'For God's sake' are part of everyday English whether speakers are religious or not, and I suspect they'd be transparent to most readers.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Expressions like 'For God's sake' are part of everyday English whether speakers are religious or not, and I suspect they'd be transparent to most readers.

I think the whole point of the OP is it makes as much sense in his universe for people to say 'For Dog's sake'.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I think the whole point of the OP is it makes as much sense in his universe for people to say 'For Dog's sake'.


But it doesn't make a lot of sense in our universe, so why not 'translate' it to something which does?

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

It's the author's prerogative, IMHO.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Expressions like 'For God's sake' are part of everyday English whether speakers are religious or not, and I suspect they'd be transparent to most readers.

In this story and in its world, there is no monotheistic diety. That's the reason they will say "by the gods", or maybe "by the love of gods". Just not "dear God", or "for God's sake". They could call out "by Odin's blind eye", but there is no Odin either, so they will call out a different name. That's all.

Replies:   Joe Long
Ernest Bywater

Going off on a related tangent, you'll also need some interesting greeting like the old Irish one of - "Top of the morning to you!" and its reply of "And the rest of the day to yourself!"

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Going off on a related tangent, you'll also need some interesting greeting like the old Irish one of - "Top of the morning to you!" and its reply of "And the rest of the day to yourself!"


Nice ones! And of course you're right. I need greetings; compliments; threats; everyday phrases, simply everything.

pcbondsman

@Crumbly Writer

You're a bit off base here Crumbly. "Shinola" was the name of a no longer produced shoe polish. The phrase was "You don't know shit from Shinola."

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/114000.html

Ernest Bywater

It seems you're missing the most famous one: - Curses, foiled again!

shinerdrinker

Here goes some ideas.

http://www.dictionary.com/slideshows/12-insults-we-should-bring-back#You-Called-Me-What

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

"May your fields have large crops of weeds."
"May your wells run dry."
"May your crops wither and die."
"May your animals be barren."
(in reply to a curse) "May this things return to you tenfold."
"May your true friends be few and your enemies plenty."

Rejected options:

"May your crop circles be asymmetrical."
"May your water pump be creaky."
"May your crops have a strange, unidentified but not unpleasant aftertaste."
"May your animals be barren, but still have very satisfying homosexual relationships."
"May your enemies enemies bring you complementary baskets of fruit."

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Using florid curses would add colour to the story but are they strictly necessary? Expressions like 'For God's sake' are part of everyday English whether speakers are religious or not, and I suspect they'd be transparent to most readers.

They're the "said" equivalent of curses (largely accepted yet unlikely to make readers question them).

Also, if they're 'translated' from the native language, it would be a universal sacrilegious curse. i.e. "ZiLokii condemns thee Zalabasters" = "God Damn!"

Crumbly Writer

@shinerdrinker

Here goes some ideas.

12-insults-we-should-bring-back#You-Called-Me-What

These are great. They're relatively generic, but just strange enough they'd sound 'normal' in a completely foreign world.

dathompson63

@robberhands

Hi:

I'm going to make an assumption, even if it's incorrect the point may prove valid, that you are American (US not Canadian, Mexican, Central or South American*) have you tied asking for assistance from Non-American English speakers? In the US the term 'Bloody . . .' would hardly raise an eye but in Great Britain and much of the Commonwealth it is a pejorative. In Australia calling someone a "Bloody Limey Bastard" may have a high probability of leading to fisticuffs. I am certain that there are many words or word combinations that can be seen as curse words in one culture but not another which could be used to advantage in telling a story.

Another place to look might be the Christian Bible, many things we say today where proscribed in 1611 when James VI and I was on his throne.

ex: Matthew 5:22 - But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Just a thought:

Doug

* Being politically sensitive is such hard work.

Joe Long

@robberhands

In this story and in its world, there is no monotheistic diety. That's the reason they will say "by the gods", or maybe "by the love of gods". Just not "dear God", or "for God's sake". They could call out "by Odin's blind eye", but there is no Odin either, so they will call out a different name. That's all.


In the more recent Battlestar Galactica TV series the protagonist colonists where polytheists who I don't recall having names for any of the deities, simply referring to "The gods" or "the lords of Kobol". It was the antagonist Cylons who were monotheistic and simply called their god, "God."

qqqq

seems as if we're the bunch of boys sitting around the courtyard shooting camel hocky as bull shit has yet to be invented....

sejintenej

may the vikings take your daughter in front of you

may your cock wither and die

may you watch your wife die in the ducking stool

may the (lord of the manor) impregnate your daughter (in front of you)

may your cock curl up and fall off

sejintenej

I can't remember where these came from but somebody might be able to create variations of these replies to cold call phone scammers which I use:

City morgue: you stab 'em, we slab 'em

(name of town) home for dissolute women: dropping off or collecting?

(Murphy)'s bar and cat house: booze in the front, poker in the back

awnlee jawking

May the worst of your past be better than the best of your future.

May you live long and suffer.

May your children resemble the postman.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

While waving a magic wand, "May you be cursed with the biggest and ugliest nose in creation."

samuelmichaels

@sejintenej

(Murphy)'s bar and cat house: booze in the front, poker in the back

The version I heard was "bar, casino, and cat house: liquor in the front, poker in the rear".

Ross at Play

http://www.dictionary.com/slideshows/neglected-swears?param=quote-email&click=n8zyxr&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Quote%208/31/2017&utm_term=Quote%20Emails#bedlamite

http://www.dictionary.com/slideshows/12-insults-we-should-bring-back#You-Called-Me-What

http://www.dictionary.com/slideshows/enemy-words#bully

Jim S

If someone hasn't already mentioned it, google or bing Shakespearean curses and/or insults. He had a ton of them.

AmigaClone

@sejintenej


City morgue: you stab 'em, we slab 'em


Billy Bob's Roadkill Bar and Grill: You smack them with yours, we slap them on ours.

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