As Fox’s mutant-focused drama The Gifted continues through its first season, it’s consistently exploring what it’s like to be a marginalized minority in the not-too-distant future of America.
Maybe it has a lot to do with the presence of Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker — he was a main character in the vampire prejudicial sex romp that was True Blood — but The Gifted feels like a story steeped in the culture of oppression. As such, regular humans have a habit of sneering the term “mutie” as a way to oppress mutants. Unique vocabulary is common in these kinds of genre stories; fictional swear words pop up about as often as fictional universes do.
Especially when trying to include a younger audience or even just skirt around the censors on a television network, all sorts of movies and shows make up words to use as racial epithets and generalized cuss words. “Mutie” might be the latest to resurface, but there’s so much more foulmouthed greatness out there.
So here are the 14 most insulting fictional curse words, ranked by how well they roll off the tongue and overall quality:
14. “Felgercarb,” Original Battlestar Galactica
Meaning: Equivalent of “bullshit,” “horseshit,” or even just “crap”; supposedly refers to the putrid, crusty black grime that accumulates on machinery
“Will you cut the felgercarb and give me a hand?”
Battlestar Galactica produced a number of fun sci-fi cusswords, most notably being the well-known “frak.” The more obscure “felgercarb” offers a solid cuss, but it’s awkward to say, which is probably why it barely made it into the revived series. Still, a more direct replacement for “crap” has its uses in phrases that “frak” doesn’t quite reach.
13. “Karabast!” Star Wars Rebels
Meaning: Lasat expletive used to express frustration or surprise in dire situations; the equivalent of “damn it!”
“Karabast! I can’t find my blaster holster!”
Most notably used by the Lasat Zeb Orrelios in Star Wars Rebels, “Karabast!” is something you might shout when you stub your toe really hard — or when you suddenly see a rancor heading your way. In Rebels, Ezra Bridger adopted the phrase as well, offering up some comedic relief from time to time.
12. “Frell,” Farscape
Meaning: Combination of “fuck” and “hell”; can be used for all variations of each word
“It’s more than flawed. It’s frelled.”
This versatile cussword serves as a stand-in for just about anything, taking the place of “fuck,” “damn,” or “hell” in every context from “fuck off” to “damn you.” Comparable to “frak,” this sort of swear word allows characters to curse without having to worry about network censorship. In-universe, “frell” is a word created by the Sebaceans, an alien species that look just like humans.
11. “Muties,” The Gifted
Meaning: Contemptuous term for a mutant
“Mutie” is sometimes referred to as “the m-word” mainly because by the 1980s, “mutie” became the equivalent of the n-word in the Marvel universe when directed towards mutants.
Though it popped up in an easily missable line from Donald Pierce in Logan, “muties” has re-emerged prominently in The Gifted as a slur against mutants during a time when anti-mutant sentiment is at an all-time high.
10. “Prawn,” District 9
Meaning: Contemptuous term for a Poleepkwa
“I did not have sexual relations with a fokken prawn!!”
Sure, the aliens in Neill Blomkamp’s best movie do actually look like bipedal prawns, but when the humans in District 9 quickly give them that name, its usage becomes a term of oppression and marginalization.
Both unfunny in its severity and funny in its accuracy, “prawn” as a term in District 9 serves us a reminder that if aliens ever do come to Earth, we might name them based on whatever animal they most resemble. Humans can be ignorant like that.
9. “The Others take you,” A Song of Ice and Fire
Meaning: “Go to hell!” equivalent
“You ate all the blood pie again!? The Others take you, child.”
Fans who just watch the show might be confused by this one, but in the books, they actually called the White Walkers “the Others.” For the most part, these icy beings are considered myth so wishing that would be taken by them is the societal equivalent of “go to hell.” Nobody really thinks it could actually happen — until it actually becomes a definite possibility.
8. “Jagweed,” 30 Rock
Meaning: “Douchebag” equivalent
“Listen up, jagweeds: It’s go time!”
The term is a PG alternative to “jagoff” or “jackoff,” both of which are modernizations of “jerkoff” in its insulting noun form. “Jerkoff,” as you might know, is a euphemism for a popular activity called masturbation.
That being said, the closest cousin to “jagweed” is definitely “douchebag” in its usage. Tina Fey herself has confirmed that the two terms are synonymous. Her character in 30 Rock, Liz Lemon, can only be described as hilariously weird and quirky, and her usage of “jagweed” has invaded other comedies since its inception, namely The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and even Parks & Recreation.
7. “Toaster,” Battlestar Galactica
Meaning: Derogatory term for a robotic Cylon, aka “chromejob”
“Your child’s gonna be half-toaster. How does that make you feel?”
Cylon Number Six calls “toaster” a “racial epithet” in the newer Battlestar Galactica series, which makes this one an ethnic slur used by humans to subjugate the Cylons. This one’s actually kind of funny, because most robotic Cylon models really do look like they have toasters for heads, and every time someone says it on the show, they somehow do it with an uber-serious straight face.
6. “Gorram,” Firefly
Meaning: Easy substitute for “goddamn”
“Just once, I’d like things to go according to the gorram plan!”
The easy way to consider this one is that in the far-out 26th century of Firefly, “goddamn” has been slurred into “gorram.” Perhaps it has something to do with the show being a fusion of Western and Chinese influences, language included. Either way, “gorram” offers a perfect substitute for “goddamn” in any context.
5. “Mudblood,” Harry Potter
Meaning: Highly derogatory term for a Muggle-born wizard or witch
“No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood!”
The context for Voldemort’s war — and Grindelvald’s before him — is one of racial purity. Threats of incest aside, a portion of Wizarding culture in the Harry Potter world focuses on maintaining the purity of magical blood. Hermione, an immensely talented witch in her own right, stands as a shining example of why this kind of bigotry is idiotic: She’s a powerful witch born to two Muggle parents.
4. “Grounder-Pounder,” The 100
Meaning: A non-grounder who copulates with a grounder; one who pounds grounders
“I had no idea you were such a grounder-pounder.”
The first time you hear a random side-character spit out the term “grounder-pounder” in The 100’s first season, it’s hard not to laugh out loud. Calling the humans that survived generations on the irradiated Earth “grounders” is weird enough; the humans that arrive back on Earth after living on a space station for a century are the real outsiders.
The easy rhyme of “grounder-pounder” makes this insult roll off the tongue almost too easily, and every time someone says it on the show, it comes off as slightly ridiculous and totally hilarious.
How can they get away with using “pound” as a euphemism for sex on The CW?
3. “Fangbanger,” True Blood
Meaning: Slur against humans that have sex with vampires; one who bangs fangs
“You horny fangbangers are literally asking for it.”
True Blood offers an extensive vernacular for its somewhat dystopian world where vampires emerge from hiding and join mainstream society. In some cases, vampires are called “fangs” (used in a similar way as an ugly, real-life homophobic slur) as a brutish oversimplification of their identity.
The most cutting of the many insults presented towards vampiric culture is one that shames any human that has sex with vampires: “fangbanger.” What’s with all the slut-shaming in genre fiction?
2. “Skinjob,” Blade Runner & Battlestar Galactica
Meaning: Racial epithet commonly used against manufactured humanoids
*Christ, Deckard, you look almost as bad as that skinjob you left on the sidewalk!”
Popularized more by the original Blade Runner than Battlestar Galactica, the term “skinjob” applies to any humans created synthetically. It could even apply to synthetic humanoids like the Hosts in Westworld. In most cases, these beings are created by humans to be used for slavelike purposes, which explains why these societies creates a language of oppression surrounding their existence. What’s truly remarkable is that for all intents and purposes, most of these humanoids are almost identical to “regular” humans.
Blade Runner 2049 offers a moment where a lab technician mutters “skinjob” under his breath before he remembers that there’s a Replicant in the room. Bit of a red flag, don’t you think?
1. “Frak,” Battlestar Galactica
Meaning: “Fuck!” or virtually any other swear, including the verb form of “fuck”
“Who the frak would frak a frakkin’ toaster!?”
Could anything else possible take the top spot? Spelled “frack” in the original series, the term was shifted to “frak” in the reboot series so it would be the same number of characters as “fuck.” In contemporary nerd culture, “frak” has become the touchstone of fictional curse words, pervading into many media franchises over the past decade. It’s popped up in series like The Flash, The Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, Chuck, 30 Rock, and many more.
According to a new study, the more you curse, the more honest you are. Check out this video to find out more.