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'Frell,' 'Frak' and beyond — the dirty words of other worlds

Posted by on March 20, 2009 – 12:01 am

Katee Sackhoff as Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace in Battlestar Galactica

Frak! Battlestar Galactica’s much-hyped final episode airs tonight. To mark this bittersweet occasion, I give you a list of 10 fake swear words that have each, to some extent, bled into the fan vernacular from science fiction. Feel free to employ any or all as the show’s grand finale can’t possibly live up to your expectations.

Warning! Fake profanity and the use of people’s imagination follow! Read on at your own risk.

And they are:

  1. Frak (Battlestar Galactica) — Probably the most famous (and most thinly veiled) substitute profanity on television, it originated in the original 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica, when it was spelled “frack.”
  2. Felgercarb (Battlestar Galactica) — This was used on the old Galactica as a swear word coinciding with the one we use to describe excrement. Its only use in the rebooted series came just weeks ago, showing up as the name of a brand of Colonial toothpaste. Ew.
  3. Gorram (Firefly) – Much of the naughty language in Joss Whedon’s short-lived sci-fi series is out there for all to hear — if you understand Mandarin Chinese. But Gorram, a conjunction of “God” and “damn,” is easy to understand while probably not too offensive: “Those gorram feds are after us.” (Urban Dictionary)
  4. Frell (Farscape) — Meaning the same thing as “frak,” it was an alien swear word encountered by Earth astronaut John Crichton shortly after he traveled through a wormhole and fell in with a group of fugitives from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
  5. Dren (Farscape) — Means the same as “felgercarb”: feces.
  6. Yotz (Farscape) — From Urban Dictionary: Its meaning is unspecified, but it is generally invoked in phrases such as “what in the yotz are you doing?”. The word-structure is presumably meant to be alien, but closely resembles words originating from eastern European Jewish languages/dialects (e.g. putz).
  7. Kriff (Star Wars Expanded Universe) — A vulgar expletive, according to Wookieepedia, that means the same thing as “frak” or “frell.”
  8. Stang (Star Wars Expanded Universe) — A swear word originating from Alderaan (Princess Leia’s homeworld). This means the same thing as “dren” or “felgercarb.” (Wookieepedia)
  9. Sithspawn (Star Wars Expanded Universe) — A curse originating from Corellia (Han Solo’s homeworld). “Sithspawn” refers, of course, to the order of Sith Lords who embrace the dark side of the Force and stand in opposition to the Jedi Knights. As such, it could be used in the same way as “gorram” or “damnation!” (Wookieepedia)
  10. Shazbot (Mork & Mindy) — Apparently invented by Mork himself, comedian Robin Williams, for the sci-fi sitcom: Oh, Shazbot, I just locked my keys in my car! (Urban Dictionary)

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  • Jared

    Really? You couldn’t include “smeg” from Red Dwarf? That’s a classic!

  • http://nerdvana.freedomblogging.com Jayson Peters

    I always kinda thought smeg was a real word, so I didn’t want to include it. But I suppose I was remiss to simply neglect it.

  • Scott

    Smeg’s use as an expletive definitely predates Red Dwarf, in England at least. You really don’t want to know what it means.