Wednesday, July 21, 2010

18th century expletives are the best sort of expletives


- somewhere in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones


Tony said...

Do you think that might be where the Wombles "Odds bodkins" comes from?

Or maybe Hal F. was reminded of bodkins by Hal V:

TimT said...

The Wombles say that?

Maybe it's the other way around - it comes from Odds Bodkins and is just a way of blaspheming without actually saying 'God'. I think one Google search told me 'Odds' was a shortening for 'God'.

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

The bun-sellers or cake-makers were in nothing inclinable to their request; but, which was worse, did injure them most outrageously, called them prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite-a-bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubberly louts, cozening foxes, ruffian rogues, paltry customers, sycophant-varlets, drawlatch hoydens, flouting milksops, jeering companions, staring clowns, forlorn snakes, ninny lobcocks, scurvy sneaksbies, fondling fops, base loons, saucy coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing braggarts, noddy meacocks, blockish grutnols, doddipol-joltheads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish loggerheads, flutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninny-hammer flycatchers, noddypeak simpletons, turdy gut, shitten shepherds, and other suchlike defamatory epithets; saying further, that it was not for them to eat of these dainty cakes, but might very well content themselves with the coarse unranged bread, or to eat of the great brown household loaf.

from Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, dated 1653. (quoted at

I say that 17th century expletives and invective are the best.

TimT said...

Hard to argue with that.

Tony said...

No one is getting out of the Rabelais paragraph alive.

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