*&$#$%: Curious where those profanities on Xbox Live come from? A short history.

Obscenties generally fall under three categories: sexual, animal/scatological, and religious. You might hear cursings from all three categories in a given Call of Duty session, but when was the last time you heard the religious curse “Golly!”? Words that are now laughable were once obscene:

Golly, zounds, and gadzooks were, in order, god’s body, god’s wounds, and god’s hocks. While thinking about the Almighty’s ham hock region might offend a few people, each of these words are the kind of things now deemed perfectly innocent. This shows a huge shift in social mores since the time of the Shakespeare.

While some swears have transformed into non-offensive expressions, “fuck” has always been abrasive and censored, and has referred to aggressive sexual intercourse. One early use of the Latin equivalent had to be written in code. Offensiveness notwithstanding, the F-word and its substitutions have given English one of its only infixes: fan-freaking-tastic!

[via io9] [img]