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There’s a Word for That?

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By The Bridge Staff Writers

Do you have a swear jar at home? For most of us, charging ourselves a penalty for swearing is an excellent way to collect a surprising amount of money. That’s because most of us find it nearly impossible to refrain from blurting out swear words when confronted with an expectedly negative or painful situation. From dropping our phone in the bathtub to stubbing our toe, or spilling wine all over our new white blouse, calling out words like “shucks!” or “drat!” just doesn’t hit the spot like certain other words (that we won’t print here) do.

Which is why it’s surprising that the word for this type of impulsive swearing is in danger of going extinct.

Lalochezia (Noun)

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Pronounced: lahl-oh-KEEZ-ee-ah

The emotional relief gained by using vulgar or indecent language.

Lalochezia takes the edge off the pain we feel in a variety of unfortunate situations. Like an ice pack on a bee sting, it offers immediate, if short-lived, relief from a sudden, intense surge of discomfort. Some think it’s not the words themselves that offer the release, but the gusto with which we’re inclined to say them. Lalochezia fell out of use in the late 20th century, but we can’t figure out why, as it still seems as relevant—and necessary— as ever.