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Swear Turducken: Make One Tonight!

December 29, 2010

Since the beginning of time, man has used expletives to communicate extreme emotions, and since the mid-20th century, woman has used them as well in the same types of situations. Linguists all over the world have studied humanity’s relationship with expletives, with fascinating results. Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought has a great chapter on swearing, for example. And for a more specialized account of human profanity deployment, one need look no further than John J. McCarthy’s excellent 1982 article “Prosodic Structure and Expletive Infixation,” recently discovered and delivered to my inbox by a benevolent ex-colleague.

As of January 4, I will basically never have a day off again, so I’ve really been trying to make the most of my free time this week. Today I achieved a linguistic feat whose entertainingnicity is second only to its unnecessitude. Using the principles outlined in the McCarthy article referenced above, and riding a wave of inspiration generously provided by a rising star in the world of carnivorous comestibles, I invented a kind of word that is sure to become the hallmark of my vocabulary, if not also other people’s. Gentlemen, I give you the swear turducken.

McCarthy’s article is a study of the linguistic principles unconsciously employed in the use of profanities within multisyllabic words; i.e., “fanfuckingtastic,” “incocksuckingcredible,” and “unbloodybelievable.” Without thinking it out, we always put the swear word in a place that will maintain, among other things, the metrical integrity of the word. Nobody would say “fantasfuckingtic” or “unbelievabloodyble.” It just sounds wrong, and if you want to know why, you can read the article. It’s as online as it is awesome.

But why stop at a single embedded curseword? In the olden times, Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a turkey. That was fine I guess, but these days, the turkey is often stuffed with a smaller bird, usually a duck, to create the modern delicacy known as turducken. And creative cooks are coming to understand that a matryoshka-doll-like situation can be achieved by stuffing the duck with a smaller bird, stuffing that bird with a still smaller bird, and so on. One finds one’s fork digging back through the ages until it reaches a bite of the very thrush that was a staple of high-class Roman meals.

Miser, miser! Modo niger et ustus fortiter!

Actually, looking at that bird, I can imagine shoving a few smaller birds inside of it. And the very same effect can be achieved with expletives. Yes, “ridamndiculous” is a great word, and “rigoddamndiculous” is even better. But the situation has still more potential! How do you like this:


Or try this one on:


There are literally billions of possibilities here. The swear turducken or turfuckin’ducken will soon be as popular as the meat turducken. Bon appetit!

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