EVERETT — If you’re going to swear, do it properly.
What’s up with that?
Erika M. Weinert, 42, is the author of “Cursing with Style,” a reference book on so-called “bad” words. Many can’t be printed in this newspaper, hence you’ll see asterisks substituting for letters in some words in this story.
Like abso-f***ing-lutely, the first word dissected in the book.
“Cursing with Style” began as a spreadsheet she made for herself as a guide because of the time spent looking up how to correctly use swear words she came across while editing fiction copy. She figured it would be handy for other wordsmiths. She also edits copy for luxury home magazines with pretty words.
The book is $14.95 on Amazon.
“If a manuscript you’re writing or editing is sprinkled with s***s, damns, b***es and f***s, this book is for you,” it says (sans the ***) in the Introduction.
It defines over 100 words, from A to W.
Each word gets a page synopsis with “Part of Speech,” “Definition” and “Remarks.”
Pronunciation is not listed.
“Everybody knows how to pronounce all these words,” she said.
Weinert learned a few new words, as might you.
S***balls is her favorite word.
“It just spills out of my mouth.”
Her daughter, 13, isn’t allowed to curse.
“Not in front of me,” she said. “My mom never let me cuss. I’ve never heard her cuss.”
So, what does her mom think of the book?
“She f***ing hates it,” Weinert said. “She says she’s proud of me, but she wishes it was something else.”
The book is dedicated to her father: “The late David K. Moberg, who was as foulmouthed as they come.”
There are hundreds of books about cursing, including adult coloring books.
Weinert said her book is geared for editors and their clients.
“That’s what makes it different,” she said.
Associated Press style calls for not using obscenities unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them.
Some might argue this story is not a compelling reason. And that my stories in general are a bunch of crap. In which case this one should be “craptastic” (page 63). Definition: “the crappiest of the crappy, hardly believable it’s so crappy.”
Weinert’s book has six of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV” from 1972. He later added a few more.
“We have more ways to describe dirty words than we have dirty words,” Carlin says in his comedy monologue.
Netflix did a six-part 2021 documentary series, “History of Swear Words,” hosted by Nicholas Cage with a cast of comedians about the joy and etymology of expletives.
In cartoons and comics, a series of typographical symbols, such as @#$%&!, are used to represent swear words. There’s even a word for it: grawlix.
Profanity pays off.
“I wanted a purse that had the F-word all over it, that’s how I got started,” she said.
Boo designs socks, totes, scarves, umbrellas and phone covers emblazoned with the F-word. She traded a career as a social worker to sell merchandise online and at craft markets in Edmonds and at Everett Mall.
The F-word is on page 97 of Weinert’s book, with variations that go on for another 20 pages, including FML. Hint: the ML stands for My Life.
The average swearing person says 80 curse words a day, according to the internet. Turns out, an F-bomb can be good for you.
Swearing can relieve stress and reduce pain. One study found it helped drivers cope with their frustration on the road.
(WTF: People actually get paid to study this stuff?)
Another study found that people who held their hand in icy water while cursing lasted 50% longer than those who used neutral words.
It might not be worth getting your mouth washed out with soap, though.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterbrown.