Lore Appropriate Swearing in Novels?

What do you think about this? I feel it can be a cures or a blessing depending on hot it’s done. I have two examples, which I will give once I’ve heard some opinions.


There are a couple of curses used as a swearing in The Endurlon, and many peoples use it. It is set in ancient history in origins, for it was the making of evil in those times…

  1. “For the love of Mara!” Used lightly as say, when you break a cup or trip over something that was asked to be moved a dozen times.

Example:- “For the love of Mara, when are you going to move this thing?”

  1. “By the children of Mara!” Used more in a harsh reference to something much worse, or to curse someone.

Example:- “By the children of Mara, you will regret this day!”

I have yet to stumble upon any other such cursed words or swearing, and I may not wish to at this point.


it depends how well the author handles it. This happens to be a weird thing that i’m hyperaware and critical of because once like a thousand years ago someone (or multiple someones maybe) on the internet said they hated this type of sub-in for “real swearing”. It came off as very childish to them and distracted them from the story.

I disagree with their sentiment. I think lore-base swearing is fine, it’s a detail to add for worldbuilding and if you’re writing for a younger audience then it doubles as a way to add expletives without actually swearing up a storm. tbh you can use it for that in adult novels too. Now that i’m older it honestly comes off as way more immature to accuse something of being childish for not dropping f-bombs than it does to skirt cuss words.

That being said, I’ve read a lot of examples where swear-subbing (lore-appropriate or otherwise) did not work. Personally, any character over the age of twelve saying ‘fudge’ instead of literally anything else makes me want to put my head through a wall. But also just in general a lot of swear-subbing comes off hollow because the author doesn’t bother to properly integrate it, or add any other lingual quirks, or do anything to make it sound like a natural part of the characters speech.

I like a little bit of it. If they have a goddess belief instead of a god belief, and they say “oh goddess!” it makes sense.

None of my characters on Elgana use Earth swear words because it’s not Earth :stuck_out_tongue: So, they have equivalents that evolved from some swear words the natives used.

Something directly tied to lore would be “starlights”. Stars are connected to the dead (many Elganians believe in this), souls are beautiful, beautiful things are wonderful to Sorcerers. So, many Sorcerers say “oh starlights!” or “starlights!” when they want to express some sense of “wow”. Can also be used in place of “shite” which is also used to express a variation of “wow” or other exclamation.

If fudge is used for a swear, I usually see fudge pactory.

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Look, these are French swears:

In them is:

Name of God!, Name of God’s mum!, Host (to mean F or ho), tabernacle, sacrament (used to seeing SACRE myself), girl, cat, but their equivalant is WAY worse than these meanings.

And every language does it. What’s so cursing about poop? What’s such a big deal about female dogs, especially since most animals go into heat? Bite my butt isn’t clean by any means, and yet it’s not a curse.

Because of such things, in REAL languages, I laugh when people get bothered by fictional cultures and languages using stuff that isn’t really all that insulting to become the most taboo things.

It’s just good worldbuilding to have curses that suit your character’s culture.

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And German is like threatening someone’s soul just to tell them you love them.

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So Rammstein and E Nomine were close to the mark.

A good German insult that I discovered eons ago is: Backpfeifengesicht - A face in desperate need of a fist.

Now I’m thinking, how do the Germans play Scrabble?

And I’m also thinking I need to research some popular German, Russian, Yiddish / Hebrew* curse words (and terms of endearment) for my story. So far I’ve used Achi Sheli (brother of mine, Hebrew) and Dummkopf (chief of the idiots, German).

*Alas, there are no Jews in Israel. There are only Israelis ~ from a unknown film. A tourist discovers none of the local Israelis know Yiddish, they only speak Hebrew.

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German often comes out close to English and not…at the same time:

Meine Liebe (my love)

ich liebe dich (I love you) ih(garbled hiss) leebuh dih(garbled hiss)

…and I just found this…

Just found this video…

German has some nice phrases.

A long time ago, a German friend and exchange student gave me a illustrated book* for German nouns. I noticed many German words are spelt they way they are pronounced (phonics-based).

* found some scanned images from the book

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I do regular swearing and then change others slightly to fit the story:
e.g., “what in the worlds?” “for the love of the Gods” “for Naiu’s sake”

But sometimes the right word is “fuck” so you use that :joy:

Relevant video.

Oh, if you want to learn some lore-accurate Australian swearing, watch a few Dashcam Owners Australia (or similar) videos. They are quite informative in regards to the Australia dialect.


even worse! thanks! :upside_down_face: lol

As with everything it’s how it’s done, even the worst idea can be good if it’s done well…

I’m not a fan of using words used to smooth over curses like Fudge, but in Battlestar Galactica for example they used a non real world equivilant Frak and they used it in a way that made it seem like they really meant Fuck and in that way it worked well :thinking:

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The use of gods/godesses or their names are a pretty common one I think. I use an equivilant of “For heaven sake” but it’s not heaven so it’s called something else…

But I don’t like when it’s overused, one such example is the wheel of time books, where the amount of repetiton of some curses was one of the things that made me give up on the series :grin:

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I do like cursing when it’s as you say done as part of the worldbuilding, one examle is Firefly where they oftehn cursed in Chinese while the spoke English. It made for an interesting take on how Earth and itäs langauges had developed from our time to thiers without actually mentioning what had happened :grin:

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If you have a setting where you have diffrent langauges, that could an example of interesting world building :grin:

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Yeah, you just change up some of the words because then it’s still recongizable as a curse but using words from your world also adds to the worldbuilding…

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Is this the part where I mention I am Australian? :sweat_smile:

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