Holy Shit

Holy Shit

A Brief History of Swearing

Book - 2013
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Swearing is a fascinating thing. Almost everyone does it, or worries about not doing it, from the two year old who has just discovered the power of the potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. But more than its cultural ubiquity, swearing is alsointeresting for what it tells us about language and society, today and in the past. It is a record of what people care about on the deepest levels of a culture - what's divine, what's terrifying, and what's taboo.Holy Sh*t tells the story of two kinds of swearing - obscenities and oaths - from ancient Rome and the Bible to today. With humor and insight, Melissa Mohr takes readers on a journey to discover how "swearing" has come to include both testifying to the truth with your hand on the Bible and callingsomeone a *#$and!* when they cut you off on the highway. Mohr explores obscenities in ancient Rome - remarkably similar to some of the things you might hear on the street today - and unearths the history of religious oaths in the Middle Ages, when swearing was a matter of life and death. Holy Sh*talso explains the advancement of civility and corresponding censorship of language in the 18th century; considers the rise of racial slurs after World War II; and answers a question that preoccupies the FCC, the U.S. Senate, and anyone who has overheard little kids at a playground recently - are weswearing more now than people did in the past?A gem of lexicography and cultural history, Holy Sh*t is a serious exploration of obscenity - and might just expand your repertoire of words to choose from the next time you shut your finger in the car door.
Published: Oxford [England] ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2013.
ISBN: 9780199742677
Branch Call Number: 417.2 MOH
Characteristics: x, 316 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.


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Feb 16, 2020

An amusing book about the origins and changes in "swearing" in the English language (actually starting with Romans). The "Holy" aspect deals with religion-based swearing and the "Shit" aspect deals with body function-based swearing. The author provides a categorization scheme for various types of swearing (sexual, excrements, oaths, etc.) that is interesting; however, the author gets bogged down in dissecting Biblical swearing, ensuring that we understand that original texts may have been translated to English in a more genteel manner that steps over the "Shit" aspects found in the Bible. Overall it is an unusual piece of research that may interest some people. Others will find it too fascinated, and very explicit, about swearing.

Jul 05, 2014

this was the most engrossing and delightful history book I've read in a long time, informed, erudite, and hilarious

Jul 26, 2013

I think this book is full of swearing. I
thought that there is f**k in this book. But I think I find that word.


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Mar 06, 2015

"Take away swearwords, and we are left with fists and guns."


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