As a person who, not so long ago, used to wince at the gentlest swear word in English or Malayalam, I find it quite surprising that today some of these censored terms are ready at my fingertips – or, at my tongue-tip – to be delivered as per the need. I often find myself indulging in words that range from the mildest swear to the threshold of the extreme curse.

As my friend once observed in Facebook (and which I wasted no time in ‘Liking’ to my heart’s content), people who don’t swear much find inexplicable pain relief in letting out a forbidden word or two at the right time.

My knowledge may be limited as compared to those who have been in the business for years, but the commonly used s-words can broadly be classified into four:

Nouns. These are terms you can throw at people you are annoyed with – or, for more poisonous effect, at their loved ones. Not necessarily to their visage, of course. But all alone in your room, feel free to toss these words to their imaginary faces and watch your rage disappear like a puff of smoke. Like this: “You p@##%!!”  (Repeat as many times as you wish, for greater effect.)

Adjectives. These are qualifiers when the nouns alone are not effective. The usage goes like this.
“The t@#$##  woman!!”
They can also be clubbed with the nouns mentioned above as,
“You t@#$## p@##%!!”
(This can be followed by loud silly laughter, for immediate relief.)

Verbs. Some of these are very tricky. They can be used in any form, anywhere in the sentence, they can serve as adjectives, nouns and verbs. For example.
“Why did you $#%@ing come here?!” (verb/adverb)
“Who the $#%@ do you think you are?” (noun)
“I will kill that $#%@ guy!” (adjective)
“$#%@!” (This usage is explained below.)
Or a combination of all: “$#%@!! Who the $#%@ do you think you are to $#%@-ing come here and kill that $#%@ guy?
[Note that the same $#%@-ing word was used in all places.]

None of the above. These are the most powerful and the most efficient words of the lot. If we explore history, we could find that these words once did have meaning and existence in spoken and written language. But they have long lost their essence with time and over-use through centuries, and are now living their lives as curses. These do not fall in any of the categories listed above and do not always need a sentence to hold them in place. They are independent swear words, yet they can sometimes be used to glorify sentences as well.
One of the best examples in Malayalam is ‘Pandaradangan’. (If you don’t know its significance, watch any Malayalam movie. There will be at least one occurrence of this word. It is one of the mildest forms of swearing, but used by one and all, and which does not require the televisionistic bleep! to conceal it from immature audiences.)
If delivered in the right tone, with full power on the first syllable, “Pandaradangan!” proves quite cathartic and relieves the speaker of much of his worries and anger. For example, assume that you hit your toe against the edge of the table. The answer is a howl of “PANdaradangan!” and you will find that the piercing pain has miraculously vanished.

I am sure there are similar words in all languages in the world, for no people can exist without such powerful, meaningless and significant curses.

*Please feel free to fill in the suitable words in the @#$% characters above. Go on, be creative.