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Moded California Slang

Tony says when he was growing up in Orange County, California, he and his friends would use the exclamation Moded! meaning “In your face!” or “Busted!” This expression, and variations of it such as Molded! and Moted!, was...

The Light Oath “Criminently”

Megan in Denver, Colorado, wonders about an exclamation she’s used all her life, which she suspects is spelled criminiddly. It’s another variant of that mild oath criminently, also rendered as criminetly, criminitlies, crimenightie...

Bangorrhea

In her 1958 memoir Beloved Infidel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lover Sheilah Graham recalls the famous author’s distaste for exclamation points, the use of which he compared to “laughing at your own joke.” Some have proposed that...

South African “Shot” Slang

Cory in Newark, Ohio, says that while in South Africa, he heard the exclamation shot! used in an empathetic way to mean “that’s so sweet!” or “bless your heart!” In South Africa, the word can be used to express...

Gauming Around

When Matt was growing up in western North Carolina, he heard the word gaum, also spelled gom, meaning a mess. Someone misbehaving might be described as gauming around, or something was gaumed up, meaning messed up, or a person was dismissed as...

Jeezum Pete and Related Expressions

Ellen in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, wonders about the origin of the exclamation jeezum pete! It’s a minced oath — that is, a way of avoiding saying “Jesus Christ!” most likely derived by combining it with St. Pete. There are dozens...