Faux-fanity: Ranking Science Fiction Swearing From Shuck To Shazbot

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Ask any sci-fi fan worth his weight in awesomeness what show they’d give an arm to get back on TV and there’s a good chance they’ll say, “Firefly, duh.” (If they don’t say that, you have my permission to pluck them in the throat.) The world is a different place in Firefly’s universe, and the English language has become intertwined with Mandarin Chinese, which allowed Joss Whedon and his writers to make these characters curse about as often as you’d expect from a crew of space-faring renegades. And the swears are made all the more amazing simply by having Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion saying them.

  • Gorram: A not-quite sound-alike for “goddamn.” Use it as a standalone expletive or as a harsh descriptor. “Fix your gorram face before I fix it for you.”
  • Rutting: I’ll give you two gorram guesses what this one is a stand-in for. “This rutting steering wheel is sticky.”
  • Others: Firefly incorporated some pretty wild Mandarin insults throughout its 14 episodes, including “Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng,” which translates to “frog-humping son of a bitch.” Though they’re not really fake swear words, they’re at least uncommon enough to stay out of daily conversation 99.99999% of the time.

Profanity Effectiveness Rating: For the everyday non-Firefly character, these are definitely a 10 out of 10, but if you just so happen to be one of Serenity’s crew, then it’s an 11 out of 10, and that’s gorram gospel.

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  1. Judge Fargo says:

    Sadly you left out “drokk, grud, and stomm” from Judge Dredd

  2. Crumpy says:

    I recall listening to a radio interview with either Rob Grant or Doug Naylor. In it the stated that Smeg was a shorted version of Smegma, which is a cheesy like substance that collects inside the genitals…. Just thought I’d share..

  3. darqmann says:

    Smeg is smegma abbreviated, and Twonk is a legitimate British insult.

  4. Dustin says:

    The original Battlestar Galactica also had the words “felgercarb” and “Gol-mogging.” Felgercarb was used for sh*t, as in “pile of felgercarb,” and Admiral Cain kept referring to the “Gol-mogging Cylons.”

  5. Randomer2112 . says:

    Admittedly from fantasy and not sci-fi, The Magazine Book of the Fallen is full of creative curses, my personal favourite “Hoods stoney (or hairy)balls on an anvil.” Hood being the God of Death