Zounds! What the fork are minced oaths? And why are we still fecking using them today?
July 19, 2020
Eds: This story was supplied by The Conversation for AP customers. The Associated Press does not guarantee the content.
Kirk Hazen, West Virginia University
(THE CONVERSATION) What in tarnation is "tarnation?" Why do people in old books exclaim "zounds!" in moments of surprise? And what could a professor of linguistics possibly have against "duck-loving crickets?"
I'll get to the crickets later. But what unites all these expressions is a desire to find acceptable versions of profane or blasphemous words. "God" becomes "gosh," "hell" becomes "heck," and "damnation" becomes "tarnation." In a...