Marie Antoinette Online Forum

swear words
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Author:  Liza [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  swear words

I am trying to find out what sort of swear words people would have used in the 18th century. I have read that the word « God » was not taken in vain, for swear words, and was replaced by « Bleu » as it rhymes with « Dieu » e.g : ventrebleu, parbleu, corbleu, sacrebleu, morbleu. Though I'm really not sure how reliable this information is.
Georgette Heyer uses plenty of 'Mon Dieu' throughout her dialogue.
Any help much appreciated!

Author:  baron de batz [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: swear words

"Foutre" was very common, especially with the Père Duchesne. It basically means fuck. It still is common in modern day France.

Author:  Liza [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: swear words

Thanks for that info, Baron,
So you think they'd have been going around saying: Va te faire foutre? :shock:
Any thoughts on Mon Dieu??

Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: swear words

Well they didn't have that expression, but they called Louis a "mauvais fouteur" for example (which seems true at least for 7 years!)and Hébert punctuated his scandal rag with many a "foutre"!

Author:  jimcheval [ Sat May 01, 2010 2:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: swear words

Many of the words really haven't changed. The words for sex organs for instance (this is easily ascertained since the period is rife with obscene satirical verse). "Bougre" (which became the English "bugger", and was apparently derived from "Bulgarian", because of ideas that heretics there were opposed to heterosexual marriage) was used both to specifically designate sodomites and as a general insult or even exclamation (as it tends to be by some English speakers today). "Jean Foutre" was a deadbeat, a worthless person.

The poet Piron* wrote several cheerfully crude verses, such as this one which includes "le bougre encule tout d'une meme vitesse" (the bugger buggers all at the same speed): ... re&f=false


« Bougre ! — s'écria Guillemette,
Ne va pas, comme un Espagnol,
Prendre saint Pierre pour saint Paul !

— Foutre de la garce ! — dit l'autre,
Prend-tu ton cul pour un-apôtre?

"Bugger! - cries Guillemette
Don't go, like a Spaniard,
Taking Saint Peter for saint Paul!

- Fucking bitch - says the other
Do you take your ass for an apostle? ... re&f=false

(I'll let you imagine what is being mistaken for what in this hasty coupling.)

By one account, when the market women assaulted Versailles, one said, after getting the King's agreement, "Fuck, we forced the bugger to go along!" (foutre, nous avons forcé le bougre à sanctionner) ... re&f=false


Parbleu, ventrebleu, etc. seem to have been used on stage (by Moliere, for instance), but I haven't seen such expressions in daily life (criminal cases, etc.)

*Piron, a fierce rival of Voltaire, was most famous for having written an exuberantly obscene "Ode to Priapus" when younger: ... pe&f=false
This came back to haunt him when he was elected to the Academie Francaise, but refused by certain members because of his youthful excess. As a result, he wrote his own epitaph as follows:

Ci-gît Piron
qui ne fut rien,
Pas même académicien.

Here lies Piron
who was nothing,
Not even an academician.

Author:  Liza [ Mon May 03, 2010 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: swear words

Once again, Jim, thanks so much for all the information!
I really appreciate all your help.

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