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"Shades of Satan!"

"By Me!"
Jupiter, The 12 Labors of Asterix

Even though many churches really don't want us to use the Lord's name in vain, many people, especially in fiction, will end up saying "Goddammit" or "Oh My God" for one reason or another[1]. However, a writer can't invoke a god in a fantasy environment because monotheism is rare, so where we say "Oh My God", characters in the fantasy universe will say "Oh My Gods!"

Depending on how developed the world is, it is also quite common to invoke actual gods by name, such as the Gauls in Asterix saying "By Toutatis!" (well, he was an actual Gaul god). Another common variation used by future civilizations is to invoke science or scientists instead. Occasionally an Alternate History with a non-monotheistic major religion will use this to demonstrate how different that world is. Sometimes a Physical God will reference themselves in this manner, with "By me!" "Jesus H. Me!" or similar.

Pretty much Truth in Television: although "Oh My Gods" isn't realistic, just plain "Gods!" does occur in Greek and Roman literature as an exclamation, although admittedly the emphasis is a little different (the speaker will usually address the gods with an appeal for help or an incredulous "Do you see this?"), and phrases like "ye gods" (and its minced-oath version "egad") or "by the gods" are equally common. (Also common was the singular "God", which might mean either the chief god of the pantheon, or whatever god the speaker happened to be particularly devoted to.) Even more vulgar constructions have been found as well; a popular epithet found carved into walls by Roman hooligans is "By Juno's twat!" It's not uncommon in modern times, either; depending on what circles you travel in, such as pagan, polytheist, atheist, fan, or geek, "Oh my God!" may well be a rare expression.

The inverse is Orphaned Etymology, which writers may consider avoiding. If, in the created world, there is nobody referred to as "God", and if there isn't at least a belief in an afterlife/underworld called Hell, then nobody should use expressions that invoke either — although a charitable audience could always put this down to Translation Convention.

See also: Unusual Euphemism, Curse of the Ancients, Hold Your Hippogriffs, Pardon My Klingon. For non-human examples and belief systems, see Thank the Maker.

Examples of Oh My Gods include:

Comic Books

  • DC Comics loves doing this, especially in the Silver Age.
  • Wonder Woman's "Great Hera!"
    • Amusingly played with in Young Justice. While at a concert, the girls get in line for the bathroom, and it's a very long line. In exasperation, Wonder Girl yells out "Hera help us!", and the next second, a giant monster bursts from the ground. All the other girls scatter in fear, Wonder Girl decks it with one punch, and the girls skip over the monster's body with a clear shot to the bathroom, sing-songing "thaaaank you, Hera!" as they go. Apparently the Wonders say it because Hera's listening!
    • Wonder Woman's other comics Catch Phrase is "Suffering Sappho!" Not a God (although in the DC Universe, she could be!), but classic nonetheless.
  • Superman's "Great Rao!" (a Kryptonian Sun God).
    • Superman also used to swear by Krypton itself: "Great Krypton!"
    • And "Great Scott!" which was a common exclamation in early-20th century America that either started as an Unusual Euphemism or a military usage, see some other Wiki for info.
    • Perry White's constant uttering of "Great Caesar's Ghost!"
      • An old euphemism for "Jesus Christ"; can be traced at least back to Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi, 1883.
      • And his use of "Great shades of Elvis!" in the Lois and Clark incarnation.
  • Marvel Comics comes closest with Luke Cage saying "Sweet Christmas!" as a dodge for invoking the name of Jesus.There are real Greek and Roman gods wandering around that 'verse, too.
  • A particularly memorable example from Hercules's first fight with the Hulk: "By the zesty zither of Zeus!"
  • Teen Titans: Starfire frequently exclaims "X'hal!" when surprised, and has said something to the effect of "Thank X'hal you're all right!" at least once.
    • This becomes slightly odd when it turns out X'hal is at best very destructive and probably a little bit crazy.
    • Raven uses the name of the goddess Azar similarly.
  • Lilandra of X-Men often exclaims "Sharra and K'ythri!" under the same circumstances as Starfire's "X'hal!" We've since met Sharra and K'ythri. In fact, almost all of the beings who own the names that get used in such exclamations (as well as magic spells) throughout the Marvel Universe have been encountered at least once. (Turns out several of them are not very nice people.)
  • Another X-Men example: Colossus' frequent exclamation of "By the White Wolf!"
    • And Storm's "Goddess!"
  • In Judge Dredd, characters swear by "Grudd", including the variant "Maureen, mother of Grudd!"
    • It appears that the term is meant as a neologism for the christian God — clergymen from the Vatican megacity use the term as well.
  • The Inhumans used to swear by evolution. This was phased out because a) it sounds kind of stupid and b) the culture was based around a very poor definition of evolution anyway.
  • Brazilian comic Holy Avenger is based on the Tabletop RPG Tormenta, hence, different characters worship different gods and have different exclamations for each one. This was hilariously lampshaded at one point.

 Sandro (Human thief): Great Hyninn!

Tork (Dwarf-Troglodyte): Tenebra heave me!

Anne (Deadpan Snarker): Why don't you guys just say things like "Oh, my!" or "Holy crap!"... You know, like normal people?

  • Aside from swearing to Toutatis and Belenos ("Par Toutatis! / Par Belenos!" in the original French), the Gauls from Asterix sometimes use this as the set up to funny puns.

 Gaul 1: Par Toutatis! (By Toutatis!)

Gaul 2: Par Belenos! (By Belenos!)

Gaul 3: Par Belisama! (By Belisama!)

Gaul 4: Par exemple? (For example?)

    • Also parodied once, when every character in the scene cites a different god... ending with "Amora, Goddess of Mustard".
    • The writers being history buffs, people from other culture will always use the name of a god appropriate to them: The Romans say "By Jupiter", the Egyptian will say "By Osiris", etc.
    • The 12 Labors of Asterix movie cuts to the Olympian gods. Jupiter promptly ends a sentence with "By Me!"
  • Slyly subverted in the Tintin comics featuring Borduria. There, the oath is "by the whiskers of Kûrvi-Tasch!", itself a parody of "Lenin's Beard!"
    • Tintin himself used "Great snakes!" a lot and then there's all of Captain Haddock's lusty but tame oaths? "Billions of blistering blue barnacles", indeed!
    • The astronomer in The Shooting Star would often exclaim, "By the rings of Saturn!"
  • Wulf in Strontium Dog exclaims "By der Gotts!" on occasion.
  • Marvel's Thor often swears "By Odin's beard!"
    • Now he also uses it in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the line has become more popular. And funnier. ("Buy Odin's beer!")
    • It's more often "By the bristling beard of Odin!", though the shortened version does show up from time to time. He's also fond of "By the thousand threats of Ragnarok!"
  • Doctor Strange's catchphrases include "By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!"
  • In an issue of Supergirl, one of Darkseid's minions got out "Darkseid's testi--" before being shushed.
  • Billy Batson may have yelled the initials of gods, but his Catch Phrase was "Holy Moly", which back then was a way for Catholics to say "Holy Mary, Mother of God!" (Word of God says Billy's Catholic) without offending the Big Guy Upstairs.
  • In Elf Quest, the elves commonly say "High Ones!" — a name that refers to the elves who first settled on the planet. They're the closest equivalent the elves have to Gods. The Sunfolk tend to stick with "Great sun!", and the Wolfriders occasionally invoke their ancestral chiefs as well: "Tanner's needles!", "Two-Spear's madness!"
  • In a Superman/Silver Surfer Crossover, Silver Surfer shouted "By the Gods of Zenn-La!"
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire: Buck Godot and his friends express relief with "Thank Prime!" — which is also the name of a popular hangover cure because that's what you say when it kicks in. Whether this has anything to do with the character known as the Prime Mover has never been addressed.

Comic Strips

  • In Sweden, the most common swearwords concern the Devil and Hell. So, in the Swedish newspaper comic strip Himlens Änglar (Angels of Heaven), the Devil shouts "MY SELF AT HOME!" when he hits his thumb with a hammer.

Fan Works

  • In general, many fans like to use the name of the producers of the original show as epithets. You know, Word of God and all that.
  • Yami uses "Holy Ra" and "Mother of Osiris" et al. in Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series. You know...because he's (Ancient) Egyptian. Bakura also frequently invokes the name of Zorc.
  • A Very Potter Musical uses this twice, with "Oh my wizard gods!" and later "Oh my Rowling!".
  • Pseudo-Satanist Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way and her friend Willow often use "Oh my Satan" as an exclamation, usually followed by something along the lines of "geddit koz were goffik" put in an author's note.
  • Avatar: The Abridged Series
    • Sokka says, "Oh, for the love of Aang!"
    • And in another video, Aang himself uses "Sweet me!"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • About 90% of fanfics use "Tui and La", "Agni", or, less commonly, Oma and Shu as gods.
    • Due to calling a Firebending duel an "Agni Kai", 90% of Fanfic has Fire Nation citizens substituting "Agni" for "God", despite no canonical evidence that they worship the Hindu god of fire.
    • Quite a bit of Fanfic has the characters saying, "Spirits", in place of "God", though there are no canonical examples of this either.
    • There was one that had a character saying "to Koh with it" instead of "to Hell with it."
    • Embers has most of the above, plus the phrase "to Koh's lair in a handbasket".
  • Final Fantasy VIII fanfic has a tendency to use the name of Hyne (the semi-mythical ancestor of sorceresses in the setting) in this way, though the game's canon averts this trope, at one point having Squall shout "GOD!"
  • This Japanese-speaking troper has seen the use of "Kami" and "Kami-sama" in altogether too many anime- and manga-based fanfics to be anything but annoyed by it now. It even gets variants. Blasphemy is not on the list of cusswords used by the Japanese — possibly on the theory that you oughtn't invoke the kami unless you really mean it. (This is the documented reason for why the fairies have such complementary nicknames in the English traditions — and the more complementary the name, the less you wanted that fairy angry with you.)
  • Swearing by the Valar (angels/minor deities) or by Eru Ilúvatar pops up now and then in The Lord of the Rings fanfiction.
  • Many Zelda fanfics have characters exclaiming the names of the game's goddesses at times, though it's so cut and paste that it just descends into Narm.
  • Pokémon
    • A decent chunk of the fandom is quite fond of using Arceus' name in vain. As in, "Oh, Arceusdammit!" Oaths involving the lesser Legendary Pokémon aren't uncommon in Fanfic, particularly the ones that are also part of Arceus's creation myth.
    • The most common ones outside of Arceus include Palkia, Dialga, Giratina, Kyogre, Groudon, and Rayquaza. Often with Added Alliterative Appeal ("Great Giratina!", "Dear Dialga!" and so on).
    • Mew was also popular for this back before all the other legendaries came out.
  • There are Homeworld fanfics where one or more characters exclaim "Qwaardamnit!" Seeing that Qwaar-Jet is the (canonical) Kushan god of pain and enslavement (they even named a Taiidan heavy cruiser class after him), the phrase means business.
  • Many Glee fanfics have Kurt saying "oh my Gaga". Justified by him being an atheist in canon.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfics love to use "Dear Celestia" or some variation thereof. Although they actually did that in the show.
    • The Pony POV Series uses this, but has an interesting case with Celestia and Luna themselves. Being the deities that everypony else does this with, they use "by our mother and father!" instead.
      • Similarly, the Draconequi (Discord and his siblings) swear by their own parents, usually their mother Entropy, who they also call Mother End-Of-All-Things.
    • In Under The Northern Lights has Twilight swearing by Celestia's socks. Also, Luna admonishes a swearing pony for "taking my name in vain" while she is standing right next to him. The temple-fawn Saga swears "Oh My Goddess" - the goddess in case being Luna.
  • Used mostly by the Fans in With Strings Attached. The various C'hovites only occasionally refer to their gods, and always by way of example, not as an invocation (e.g., when Stal formally greets the four, he speaks of how even the god Dalns couldn't be more welcoming). The Hunter occasionally swears by the Great God Indle, which must give Jeft a hard-on.

Films — Animation

  • In the Rankin and Bass film The Flight of Dragons, Carolinus, the green wizard, utters, "By the beards of antiquity!"
  • Cars uses it a few times. "Sweet Chrysler", "Ford Almighty", "thank The Manufacturer", etc. The Ford one might just be a Shout-Out to Brave New World, see below. Or not.
  • Lampy from The Brave Little Toaster says "Holy mother of Edison!"
  • On Monsters vs. Aliens, Dr. Cockroach says, "By Hawkings' chair!"
  • In A Bugs Life, Thorny swears, "Jiminy H. Cricket!" In fact, the name "Jiminy Cricket" was an old euphemism before being used in Disney's Pinocchio.
  • "Allah" is inserted into various expressions in Disney's Aladdin. The Genie also calls Aladdin "Doubting Moustaffa", which is likely a reference to "Doubting Thomas".
  • Hercules
    • When Hercules demonstrated his god-like strength to him, Phil utters "Holy Hera."
    • Philoctetes voices the sentiment just after agreeing to train Hercules.
    • Pain and Panic recite this line word for word later on in the film.
  • The microscopic cast of Osmosis Jones use "Frank" in place of "God", this being the name of the man whose body they inhabit/constitute.
  • Characters of How to Train Your Dragon have been known to say "Oh gods" and swear by Thor and Odin.

Films — Live-Action

  • Jokingly used in Hot Fuzz: upon discovering a naval mine in a farmer's shed, Danny says "By the power of Greyskull!" in this manner. Nick says the same line upon seeing Danny's extensive DVD collection.
  • In Anchorman, Ron Burgundy utters a number of mythology-themed oaths, including "By the Beard of Zeus!" and "Great Odin's Raven!", etc. etc. The outtakes reveal that many of these were ad-libbed by Will Ferrel.
  • Star Wars: "Thank the Maker!", often said by C-3PO. In his specific case, this was Darth Vader.
    • In the Expanded Universe, the Jedi use "Force" for the same reason. In the Marvels, Vader at one point refers to "all the gods of the Sith"! (The original sith people were said to have worshiped the Dark Jedi as gods, so "all the gods of the Sith" may easily refer to the first dark lords.)
    • There is that time in Epp 1 where Jar Jar invokes the gods (ye gods! what is mesa sayin')
  • Galaxy Quest: "By Grabthar's hammer."
    • "... what a savings!"
  • In Oh, God!, God swears to tell the truth, "So help me me."
  • Doc Brown from Back to The Future iconically uses "Great Scott!" repeatedly, and uses "Sir Isaac H. Newton!" at least once.
  • The phrase "Oh my User!" manages to sneak into Tron once or twice.
  • The apes in the 2001 Planet of the Apes movie do variants of this with Seimos, the gorilla from Leo's space station who originated their culture and became a god figure.


  • The Star Trek Novel Verse has many:
    • The Betazoid "Great Fire!" and "By the First/Third/appropriate number House!"
    • The Efrosian Xin Ra-Havreii sarcastically replies to comments that the planet he's on is pleasant with "yes, yes, a virtual Endless Sky you've brought us to".
    • The Tellarite "By Kera and Phinda!"
    • Some Cardassians swear on Oralius.
    • Andorian "By Uzaveh!", "by Thori!" or "By the First Kin!"
    • The Nausicaan's "Four Winds". Savonigar's tegol, "free at last from the prison of his flesh, soared with the Wind, to the Heart of the Sky, where his ancestors awaited his arrival".
    • The inhabitants of Yakaba are good, Kolk'r-fearing people.
    • The Selenean "Spines of the Mothers!"
    • The Damiani "By Ho'nig"
    • Romulan "Elements!"
    • Choblik "By the Grace of the Great Builders" (overlaps with Thank The Maker, given that Choblik are cyborgs who were non-sapient until the Builders installed their implants).
    • The Koas worship The Architect of Time.
    • The Trill "Maker of All Things!"
    • The Bolians have the Vein of Mystery.
    • The sacred Ferengi prayer "this is my final offer!", given to the Blessed Exchequer.
  • In Fiona Patton's Branion series, many characters worship a fire god, and use expressions such as "scorch it," or "that blazing bastard."
  • The King Must Die, set in ancient Greece, had the line, "By the Mother, yes!"
  • Discworld
    • The people say "godsdammit" or "Bigods!" occasionally.
    • "By Io!" rather than "By Jove!" and in one book the exclamation "Oh my god!" prompts the reply "Which one?"
    • In another book, frequent exclamations of "Oh God, what did I hit?" by cart drivers give rise to a god of small animals run over by carts to whom that question may be properly addressed.
    • Inverted in Small Gods where a member of the only monotheistic religion on the Disc says "Ye god!" rather than "Ye gods!" (which many monotheists on Earth say without even thinking about it).
    • In one book it explains that this is an important function of gods: it takes a very dedicated atheist to shout "Random fluctuations in the space-time continuum!" or "Outmoded superstition on a crutch!" after hitting his thumb with a hammer. Dwarf gods especially have no other reason for existing, and the dwarves claim to have no religion.
    • Bilious, the "Oh God" of Hangovers, moans "Oh, me..." in moments of extreme suffering.
    • The Oath of the Anhk-Morpork Watch includes several parenthetical instances where recruits may "(insert deity name of his/her choice)". As the Oath has been obsolete ever since the city's last king was beheaded, nowadays the recruits read the text verbatim, "his/her" and "insert" statements included. Vimes in the Night Watch explicitly mentions having all his men recite the oath exactly as written, and does so also after being sent in the past where such formalities are normally not given much attention.
  • Flint Fireforge, one of the heroes of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, was fond of exclaiming, "Reorx's Beard!" Reorx being the patron god of the dwarves, he did have one hell of a beard, after all...
  • Characters in David Eddings' Belgariad often swear by saying the individual names of the gods. In real life, "Belar, Mara and Nedra" is oddly satisfying.
    • Angaraks swear by various body parts of their patron god, Torak. Most often his teeth or beard (Despite that he hasn't a beard). The more brash and irreverent ones will swear by his burning eye.
    • Lampshaded in the Malloreon when a Melcene (one of the peoples who were not chosen by a god) exclaims "Oh, my God!". Belgarath retorts with "You don't even know who your god is."
  • The future civilization from Robert Rankin's Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls has enough reverence for Charles Darwin that a scientist uses the phrase "Charlie's Beard!"
    • In Luther Arkwright, the people from universe 000.000.00 are all atheist, and use such expressions as "by Bell's telephone", or "In the name of Darwin". Stupidly, they decided to name their big computer "WOTAN".
  • In A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, the people from Time City (essentially far-future) are very ceremonious atheists. Jonathan asks Vivian to "give your word of honour on the god Mao or Kennedy or Koran, or whatever you worship". Vivian, who comes from 1939 and therefore has no idea who Mao or Kennedy are, responds with "I give you my Bible oath."
    • Citizens of Time City sometimes say "Great Time!"
  • In the Diana Wynne Jones short story Dragon Reserve, Home Eight a character says "Great Tew!" Which is a village in Oxfordshire in real life, albeit probably not in the world where the story is set.
    • Tew (or Tiw) is also the Old English pronunciation/spelling of the Norse god Tyr. As in "Tuesday".
    • Fun fact: Tew is also the Cantonesse term for copulate. Essentially, you're cursing, "Great Fuck!" Which is kinda cool in its own way...
  • Many Warhammer 40000 novels have phrases such as "Golden Throne!" or "By the Throne," references to the Golden Throne of the God-Emperor of Man. Another interesting phrase (from the Ciaphas Cain books) is "Emperor's bowels!"
    • And then there's the very enthusiastic Khornate variation: "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!". Preferably spoken in ALL CAPS.
      • Which has led to an entertaining Slaaneshi mutation: "Porn for the Porn God!"
      • "Blood for the Blood God!" "Harriers for the Cup!"
      • Milk for the Khorne flakes!
    • In an interesting variation, the Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (Damocles Gulf Crusade edition) states that it is considered punishable to utter 'By the Golden Throne' or variations thereof when exiting facilities catering to the exit of bodily wastes/toilets. One time they exclaimed "Marneus Calgar's Heavy Converted Land Raider!" About a week before, an article in Games' Workshop's White Dwarf magazine did a painting/modeling article on just that.
    • The warp is often substituted for hell. In the setting, the warp is hell.
    • The Eldar are not shown enough for these to become commonplace, but they probably do swear by Khaine, or Asuryan, or Isha, or one of their many other deities.
  • In Larry Niven's Future History, spacers have been known to swear by Brennan's left ear. Murphy is also a popular choice, as is Finagle.
    • In Ring World, Louis Wu swears by "Cthulhu and Allah!"
    • In another Ringworld book, Louis Wu was trying to get a catatonic Puppeteer to wake up, and in frustration shouted "By Kdapt, Allah and Finagle, I summon thee!"
  • Brave New World
    • In Ford's name!
    • Crosses having their tops removed to instead represent the Model T, and the calendar reset to begin counting the years at the "Year of Our Ford."
    • They also believe Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud to have been the same person. The given names are lost in obscurity, and narration mentions that, for reasons unknown, Ford took the name Freud when speaking about human psychology rather than manufacturing.
  • In the Dragaera novels, the hero, Vlad, will sometimes swear by his patron goddess, Verra, or use curses like "Verra-be-damned", which makes sense as she is called the "Demon Goddess." He's particularly fond of the exclamation "Verra's tits!"
    • After realizing both that she hears this and that he can't turn it off even when the pair of them is physically present... he seems to step it up.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness takes a brief divergence to discuss a small cult started around an insane Seer called Meshe, which excuses various characters to spout "Meshe's milk!" or "By the tits of Meshe!" whenever surprised or confounded. Both of which remind us that Meshe, although referred to as "he", is really a hermaphrodite like everyone else on the planet (except Genly Ai, who comes from Earth).
  • Conan the Barbarian
    • Conan swears not only by his own god Crom (and his devils), but by every god he's ever heard of at times. Mitra and Erlik are common — he sometimes invokes "Erlik's brass tool!" when shocked.
    • Red Sonja would frequently swear "By Ishtar and Mitra!"
    • In the Conan the Adventurer series, Snagg would sometimes swear "By Wodan's beard!"
  • Harry Potter does this with Merlin. "Merlin's beard!" or even "Merlin's pants!", and at one point "Merlin's saggy left--"[2]. Even muggle-born characters are heard using them. Strangely the character most frequently heard using "Oh my God" or similar phrases is Draco Malfoy, whose exposure to non-wizard culture was minimal.
    • Alternatively, the use of "Merlin" instead of "God" may more or less be censorship by the characters, as they seem to at least celebrate Christian holidays. Draco Malfoy, then, may just be using a harsher phrase than the others.
  • J.R. Ward's series, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, invokes this trope like nobody's business. The titular brotherhood, along with the rest of their vampiric race, swear by their deity (who is presumably responsible for all of creation, in their beliefs), a female figire known as the Scribe Virgin, and by the afterlife which they refer to as The Fade, by employing variations like, "by the Virgin!" "Sweet Virgin in the Fade..." etc.
  • Certain Lynn Flewelling books have myriad variations on this — for example, "Bilairy's balls!" is used quite frequently in Nightrunner, mostly by rather shocked, less than polite males. To catalogue the rest would probably take a wiki of its own.
  • In China Mieville's Bas-Lag novels, people from the city-state of New Crobuzon mostly all swear to the same deity, Jabber, using the stock phrases like "By Jabber..." and occasionally mixing in the lowercase "god" for flavor.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, characters exclaim "Great space!", "Galaxy!", or "He went space knows where." "Oh my space" is sadly absent.
    • "By Seldon!" or variants is also used by some.
    • In The End of Eternity it's "Time" for the Eternals (used many ways).
  • Kushiels Legacy has a lot of the characters swearing by "Elua's Balls!" or "by Camael's Sword!" or something along these lines.
  • The title character of Life of Pi, who puzzles the Indian community he grows up in by practicing Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam at the same time, appeals to "Jesus, Mary, Mohammed, and Vishnu!" in one breath.
  • In the Magic the Gathering novel The Brothers War, Rusko, a Yotian clockmaker, yells "Bok and Mabok!" Justified in that he was trying to make a point about Yotia's religion, which borrows deities from other cultures.
  • Lightly subverted in Robert Holdstock's book Mythago Wood. Guiwenneth is a mythological Celtic figure, given life in mid-twentieth century England. At one point she swears, "by the god Cernunnos," but the narrator soon realizes that she's merely imitating English curses for fun. When she really wants to swear, she does so in her own language, and doesn't bring gods into it at all.
  • Averted in Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, as the character David Bowman looks into the giant monolith floating above Saturn's moon Iapetus (in the film, floating above Jupiter), and exclaims — "My God! It's full of stars!"
    • It is then played straight in the third sequel "3001: The Final Odyssey", when Frank Poole (Bowman's crewmate in the first novel) is recovered from space and revived (apparently having been cryogenically frozen by exposure to space), he is shown a recording of Bowman's last moments, with the audio strangled edited to say "By Deus! It's full of stars!". This is explained in the narrative by saying that since all religions are now united in the 31st century, all references to earlier gods have been overwritten with Deus, a single divine entity.
      • This is quite interesting in the translations of the novel to languages in which "Deus" is simply the word for "God". "By Theos, it is full of stars", is even weirder.
  • It is also played straight in Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth, where the inhabitants of Thalassa, having been seeded by machines and then taught science and technology by robotic tutors, never developed the concept of a religion. They are found to lack expletives: the worst one can apparently say is "By Kraken!", the name of the local volcano.
  • "By the surly beard of Mrifk" often triggers a pass-it-to-the-next-reader moment in the party-game version of The Eye of Argon.
  • Drizzt Do'Urden, after resolving that the Spider Queen Lolth is a demon in god's clothing and not knowing or really caring about any of the other deities, snarls "May a true god damn you all!" before leaving his family. Drizzt's friends, meanwhile, have battle cries of their own. Wulfgar, a child of a northern barbarian tribe, shouts "Tempus!" (a god of battle); Bruenor invokes Moradain (king of the dwarven gods). Another character in the same world, a priest, often murmurs "Oh my dear Deneir" in shock.
  • Pixies in Kim Harrison's The Hollows series tend to swear by "Tink", presumably short for Tinker Bell. Common phrases include "Tink's knickers!" and "Tink's a Disney whore!" In the series, pixies and fairies are racial enemies; according to the pixies (we haven't heard the other side), Tinker Bell was a real faerie who assisted Walt Disney in getting massive amounts of Fan Service Past the Radar in exchange for helping her species become The Fair Folk with Good Publicity. As this drastically affects pixies' ability to live in an urban environment, we have the unusual case of profanity which means exactly what it says: pixies attribute most of their immediate problems and suffering to...
  • The Trigan Empire has religion and superstition, but the characters seldom discuss it. Usual oaths, "By all the Stars!" and "By all the Demons of Daveli!", since Daveli is a friendly nation to the Empire this second one seems tactless.
  • "Gods!" and variations thereof are common in the Heralds of Valdemar series. Characters with mentioned faiths sometimes invoke specific deities; examples include the Windborn, the Star-Eyed Goddess, and Vkandis Sunlord, the latter two having manifested as real characters on various occasions.
  • In Brian Clevinger's Nuklear Age, the main character, a Cloudcuckoolander if there ever was one, usually exclaims with Norse references, like "By Odin's beard!" At first, this seems like a parody of the above mentioned Golden Age superheroes, and a gag on how out of touch Nuklear Man is. The twist comes when the Dead Serious villain Nihel shows up, heavily implying the Norse gods are real (in some fashion), and Nuklear Man came from their society.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen series utilizes this trope, usually by invoking the name of a particular deity alongside a term that is incongruous with them. As an example, a common curse is "Hood's breath", Hood being the King of High House Death and thus having no breath to speak of. Variations on "Hood's balls" is another common curse, eg. "Hood's balls under a big rock!"
    • This is the form of curse used by members of the Malazan empire. Other cultures have differing curses. The Letherii empire in particular favored calling on the Errant in their curses, a god that had long since lost his following.
  • In the Chronicles of Prydain, "Great Belin!" is one of sometimes-bard, sometimes-king Fflewder Fflam's favorite exclamations. Although never explained in the books, Belin was the name of an actual Welsh sun god.
  • Various celtic gods are also sworn by in the Deverry series, as well as "By all the gods!" The favourite oath, however, is "By the black, hairy ass of the Lord of Hell!"
  • In the Doctor Who novel spin-off series The New Adventures (usually called the Benny Books), Bernice Summerfield often swears by the goddess of peace and love, allegedly one of the dominant deities of her period. Strangely, she uses the oath and is even a nominal worshiper despite the fact that she knows for a fact that the deity is false, created as a telepathic projection to be used as a weapon in a war against a violent cult.
  • The Edge Chronicles have characters swearing "By sky!" and, later, "By earth and sky."
  • The rabbits in Watership Down often swear by their sun god Frith, occasionally using constructions such as "Frith in a pond!" or "Frith in a treetop!"
  • Shows up in all of Robin Hobb's books.
    • The people of the Six Duchies (and the Red Ship Pirates) have the two deities El and Eda, giving us curses such as "El and Eda in a tangle!"
    • The Jamaillans, on the other hand, believe in Sa, a sort of all-encompassing, bi-gendered deity. This allows for fun expressions like "As sure as Sa's got tits and balls".
    • In The Soldier Son trilogy, which is set in a different world from the Realm of the Elderlings, Gernians swear "By the Good God" ... which sounds a lot like ordinary, real-world curses, but this is actually the name of the "current" deity (as opposed to the old god of balances and death).
  • Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire occasionally exclaim "Gods!" or "By the gods!" There's also the rarer "By the seven faces of God!"
  • Maya Angelou writes of being whipped by her grandmother for using the phrase "By the way" in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her grandmother explains after the whipping that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life", and no one takes the Lord's name in vain under her roof.
  • At the beginning of Thomas Costain's The Black Rose, it is a fad among the university students to pick various obscure saints to swear by.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, the dominant religious belief is in the Creator and the Light, a never-seen force which is at war with the Dark One, leading to many familiar English idioms substituting "the Light" for God ("the Light bless you", "the Light preserve us", "thank the Light", "the Light willing", etc.).
  • Tamora Pierce, between her Tortall and Circle universes, goes to town with this trope. "Mithros, Mynoss and Shakith!" Others are "Goddess!", "Horse Lords!" and "Great Mother!"
    • Duke Roger in the Tortall universe has a rather amusing bit of dialogue about how he will swear oaths by 'your' gods, who do kill people who break oaths made in their name, but since they have made it abundantly clear that they don't like him he refuses to worship them.
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians does this, since, it's well, y'know... Either that, or "di immortales", which is the same, but Greek.
  • The owls in the Guardians of ga Hoole books use the name of their god, Glaux, in typical English idioms ("Glaux willing" "Glaux bless" "Oh my Glaux", etc.) as well as some more hilarious variations like "Glaux-in-a-box!"
    • Each species seems to have its own. The wolves use "Lupus", and the bears use "Ursus".
  • In a definite Brave New World shout-out in the Mortal Engines series, Londoners and some other traction city dwellers use "By Clio!" they may also use the odd Ford as well.
  • In Mistborn, most characters use "Lord Ruler" as a curse, because he is the only god most of them have ever known. Kelsier always tells them to stop it, because in swearing by the Lord Ruler, you acknowledge him as your god (rather incongrous if you're part of a group rebelling against said god). Sazed, however, often swears by "the Forgotten Gods. They keep swearing by the Lord Ruler even after he is dead. In the 3rd book some characters start swearing by the Survivor. Even though Kelsier died before the Lord Ruler did.
  • Sort of used inThe Chronicles of Narnia, but instead of using Aslan's name they'll refer to him as "The Lion". (i.e. "By the Lion's mane!").
    • Characters from England say "By Jove" (a mythical deity they did NOT worship), while the Narnians say "By the Lion" (the deity they knew and worshipped). "By Jove" was a popular expression in England at the time even though the Roman pantheon was not actively worshiped. This was not something specific to humans visiting Narnia.
  • At one point in their history, there was an attempt among The Draka to revive Norse paganism as actual religious practice. The effort failed, but as a result, Draka commonly swear on the names of Norse Gods. "Freya's tits!"
  • In the comic scifi novel Mallworld, people regularly swear by "the Pope's tits", evidently just so the author can toss the incongruity of a female Pope in on top of all the other weirdness.
  • This one gets played with quite a bit in Stationery Voyagers. Outside of Mantith, polytheistic religions were very rare. With the predominant influence of a monotheistic faith inherited by nearly every culture before the Ancient Stationeries were exiled, references to Minshus are quite common. As far as profanity is concerned though, the Stationeries have different names for a lot of the same concepts.
    • Hell is often called the Dark-Alternative Universe, or "Darko;" hence "To Darko with you!" instead of "Damn you!"
    • "Alto help us!"
    • "What the chameleon is this?"
  • In Iron Dawn, residents of ancient Tyre naturally use Caananite deities in their curses ("Baal's bloody balls!"). Most aren't shy about using words like "fucking" in everyday speech, because their pagan culture isn't as prudish about sex as our own Christian-influenced era.
  • First Truth and its sequels have "Ashes!" used as a swearword, referring to cremation; characters will also sometimes say things like "By the eight puppies!" or "By the Navigator's Wolves," both of which seem to refer to a constellation very similar to the Big Dipper. Expressions like "Burn me to ashes" and "The Navigator's Wolves should hunt me/him/her" are also common.
  • The Liavek anthologies love this trope. Curses range from "By the Red Faith!" (the most prominent religion in the setting) to the never-explained "Kosker and Pharn!" There's also "By the Levar's future tits!" (which becomes "By the Levar's future womanhood," if you're trying not to be vulgar) and "Rikiki's nuts!" which, since Rikiki is a chipmunk-god who spends most of his time eating nuts (except when he's turning people into nuts), is probably meant to be taken literally. There's even a god of casual swearing by name of Ghologhosh, but, alas, no one actually swears by him.
  • In Laurie J. Marks' Elemental Logic series, several characters swear by Shaftal (which, for a change, is not a god but the country where the books take place). However, the Sainnites use the more usual "Gods of hell!", and the half-Sainnite seer Medric often exclaims "Gods of my father!"
  • In Lawrence Watt-Evans Ethshar series, theurgy is a legitimate school of magic where you invoke a specific deity out of about 30 to hopefully do something for you. People naturally exclaim 'Gods!', or 'By all the gods in the sky, sea, and earth!' if the former isn't strong enough.
  • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files frequently uses "Hell's bells!" and "Stars and stones!" out of his deep faith in magic in lieu of an organized religion.
  • The White Court use "Empty Night". Word of God states that the last 3 books will be named after these curses, as there is a very good reason why they are used...
  • Thieves' World series got their share of swearing, including mentions of some deity's armpits and whatnot.
  • Elaine Cunningham once wrote "One of my personal goals with the Waterdeep novel is come up with innovative curses that don't sound silly or stilted." in a discussion of language flavors supporting a setting or shattering Suspension of Disbelief.
  • In the Codex Alera, the Alerans often swear by "the Great Furies". While they don't technically worship said Furies, they are immensely powerful Physical GodS (some of the nastier ones are Eldritch Abominations in all but name), the Alerans do have a healthy personal respect for them, even if only the top Citizens know why.
  • They also seem to like using "Crows!" or "Crowsbegotten", given that crows are a symbol of battle.
  • Elric of Melnibone once exclaimed, "Gods!" and then added quickly, "You'll pardon me, my lords," because he was having a conversation with several gods at the time.
  • The mostly atheist Dragonriders of Pern swear by the name of Faranth, and Faranth's egg.
  • In H. Beam Piper's future history, a lot of humans swear by Great Ghu, the Grandfather God of the nonhuman Thorans. (Some other writers have had their characters Shout-Out Piper by invoking Ghu as well.) And in his Alternate History Paratime series, some of the atheists of Home Time Line have adopted the gods of other lines for purposes of venting their emotions.

 Tortha Karf began, alphabetically, to blaspheme every god he had ever heard of. He had only gotten as far as a Fourth Level deity named Allah when a red light began flashing....

  • While it's not used in the series proper, many tributes to the Oz books (including Wicked and Emerald City Confidential) have characters swearing by Lurline (a fairy queen whom Fanon has apparently upgraded to goddess status).
  • The Marcus Didius Falco books by Lindsey Davis stick with "Gods", but it's often used by pious characters. More earthy ones say "Balls" or (Marcus's favourite) "Cobnuts". Variations include using specific gods, usually relevant to the situation (i.e. "Juno Moneta!" if you were financially screwed).
  • At least one book set in ancient Rome by Steven Saylor had the exclamation "Numa's balls!" Numa was the second king of Rome, after the legendary Romulus.
  • The Lensman series has folk swearing by alien gods, notably the (apparently metallic) Klono: "Great Klono's tungsten teeth!" "Klono's brazen hooves!" "Holy Klono's iridium intestines!"
  • The book The Last Dragon had characters say "By Jesus's blessed tree!" sometimes. According to the author, this was an actual medieval curse.
  • Warrior Cats does it with StarClan, like in "Dear StarClan!" or "What in the StarClan name is happening here?"
  • For no reason in particular, Fitz in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, who's a fairly normal and only mildly eccentric bloke from '60s London, once said, "Ye gods and little fishes." It's possible he spent an extended period of time on a planet where that's a common figure of speech and picked it up.
  • Characters from the Gentleman Bastard sequence often use "Twelve Gods!", while Locke and other disreputable characters usually include the god of thieves in the pantheon, making it "Thirteen Gods!" (or "Crooked Warden!" if they're referring to him in particular).
  • The Roman Mysteries has "By Castor and Pollux" or simply "Pollux!", the latter of which sounds a lot like a more modern word.
  • The Chalion sword & theology series by Lois McMaster Bujold includes “Five gods!” as a general exclamation that covers all the gods. While any of the 5 gods may be invoked by name (Father, Mother, Son, Daughter and Bastard), the most common curses are related to Bastard, his demons, and parts of His divine anatomy.
  • In The War Gods series by David Weber, many characters use indirect references to the Gods (such as "By The Harp" being a reference to the goddess of music), but the main characters tend to use the name of the god they follow as a battle cry.
  • In the Crispin's first scene in Sailing to Sarantium, he screams at an apprentice in a rather colorful manner involving Heladikos' (the in-universe equivalent of Christ) penis and buttocks. Other characters use 'Jad' as their equivalent of the Abrahamic God in ways such as "by holy Jad".

Live-Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined has "godsdammit" and "Oh my gods!". A lot. Though "Jesus!" has been inadvertantly ad-libbed by the actors. Also in the mini-series as-yet-unrevealed Cylon agents would talk about God in the singular without the other characters thinking it was strange. There's an "Oh my God, they're Cylons!" heard on one occasion too. Monotheism existed in the Colonies so it is normal that some human characters utter it. We just don't know how common it was by the time of the holocaust (in Caprica, its sheer existence is borderline offensive). The cases in the Miniseries were probably more the result of the human belief system not being fully shaped by the writers yet.
  • HBO's Rome has the especially spicy "Juno's cunt", which apparently was a real Roman curse, although it is usually translated as "Juno's loins" by classicists.
  • Likewise, Spartacus: Blood and Sand has graced us with phrases such as "Jupiter's cock!"
  • Alien Nation has the Newcomer Tenctonese swearing by one of the two gods of one of their main religions; the Tenctonese George Francisco usually curses "Celine!", but, notably, the initially bigoted human companion of Francisco, Matt Sykes, is heard more than once exclaiming "Andarko!"
  • Rohan's Catch Phrase on The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog, a.k.a. Power Rangers IN ANCIENT IRELAND, was "By Dagde!"
  • Babylon 5
    • Aliens tend to swear by important figures in their own religion: "by G'Quan", "in Valen's name" and "Great Maker" for G'Kar, Delenn and Londo respectively. G'Quan and Valen later became important in the plot, though the Great Maker has yet to show up.
    • Humans who join the Rangers also use "in Valen's name".
    • Naturally. Minbari Profanity Is Better.
    • Among Babylon 5 fans, "Great Maker" is a nickname for J. Michael Straczynski.
  • In the British TV — and later stageshows — series Bottom, Richie tends to use the devils genitals as swear terms. My favorite is still "What in the name of Satans portion!"
  • Liz Lemon of Thirty Rock likes "By the hammer of Thor!"
    • That might be a reference to The Mighty Thor, given her notorious nerdiness.
  • Farscape. Zhaan says "By the Goddess!"
  • Whenever something goes quite wrong on Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe often takes the producer's name in vain: "Barsky!"
    • When something unexpected happens, he will also exclaim "Shazam!", thus invoking six gods at once.
  • In an early Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap", Sulu thanked Yeoman Rand for serving him lunch with "May the Great Bird of the Galaxy favor your nest." "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" became a Fan Nickname for Gene Roddenbery.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which prominently features the religious Bajorans, frequently had "Walk with the Prophets." ("May God be with you.")
  • An exasperated Captain John Hart swears "Sweet Goddess, that's all I need!" in Torchwood.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In later seasons, Willow will swear by the Goddess, or by Hecate.
    • And Xander let out at least one "Merciful Zeus!" and one "Sweet fancy Moses!".
    • In the comic Season Eight, Buffy has used "Sweet muppety Odin".
  • This sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look has several characters making frequent and creatively diverse invocations of "Vectron", until one of them awkwardly asks what they're talking about, since he took a day off sick the previous week and they were all doing it when he got back...
  • Earl from My Name Is Earl would often shout out, "Holy Moses!" While Joy made her Catch Phrase, "Oh Snap!"
  • A Saturday Night Live sketch about Jim Morrison et al. in "Rock and Roll Heaven": Jesus Christ (Will Ferrell) as their manager talks about discovering them in a bar and blurting "Oh my Dad!"
  • On Will and Grace, Jack did this often. Wonder Woman's "Suffering Sappho!" happened at least once, but he was more often inclined to shout out a three-named celebrity or pop culture phrase with three words. Such as "Jennifer Love Hewitt! What's going on here." Considering how much of a pop-culture junkie Jack was, it could almost be argued that celebrities were gods to him.
  • Happened CONSTANTLY in Stargate SG-1, given that the Gou'ld (and later, the Ori) claim to be gods and their human (and Jaffa for the former) servants believe this to be true.


  • Gorillaz bassist Murdoc Niccals swears in Satan's name a lot.

Myths & Religion

  • There is an account of an early Christian martyr who was sentenced to death by drowning — before she had been baptized. (At the time, Christians were unsure whether an unbaptized person could go to Heaven, no matter how faithful they were.) The legend goes that when she was thrown in the sea, Jesus appeared over her and said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of Me, and of the Holy Spirit."

New Media

  • In the newsgroup (and perhaps others too) it's common to replace references to God with ${DEITY}, allowing the reader to fill in their own deity of choice. (This syntax is used in most *nix shells for variable substitution.) Makes sense since at least one long-time regular in that group is a Wiccan. (And many of them are geeks.)


  • Expressions like "Zarquon's knees" are used in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. Subverted in one of the radio episodes, where Zaphod exclaims of "Holy Zarquon's singing fish," and Ford asks for an explanation of the phrase:

 Zaphod: There's no ground, Ford! We're miles up in the air!

Ford: Did you say fish?

Zaphod: Singing fish!

Ford: Where?

Zaphod: It's just an expression! Holy Zarquon's singing fish!

Ford: It must be a highly specialized expression then.

Zaphod: What?

Ford: Very specific. Not handy in general usage.

    • "Zark" and "zarking" are used as expletives elsewhere in the books. Adams has confirmed that this is derived from "Zarquon".
    • Also from the same series, "Belgium" is revealed the single strongest swear word in the universe. It's in the UK radio series, but only appears in the US version of the books. The third was the only book to be censored for US release, as the original word was "fuck", but in this case, it's funnier, so it's all good.

Tabletop Games

  • Humans in Warhammer 40000 tend to invoke the Emperor, the Golden Throne, or Terra. Eldar will invoke their gods, sometimes even the dead ones. Tau will sometimes invoke the Ethereals or the Greater Good. And that's all before the myriad followers of Chaos.
  • Similarly, humans in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay use Sigmar in many curses and exclamations.


  • Creon actually says "Be Zeus my witness" at one point in Antigone, making this Older Than Feudalism.
  • Hercules, Castor, and Pollux were such common objects of swearing that in the plays of Plautus and Terence (probably following colloquial usage) invocations of them appear (throughout dialogue) in the semi-degenerated forms "mehercle", "edepol", and "ecastor". "By Jupiter" is a more serious oath, but not at all uncommon.
  • Whether or not you actually have a taboo against swearing by "God," creative curses are good for characterization: in Shakespeare's Othello, Manipulative Bastard Iago swears "by Janus" — the two-faced god.
  • Lampshaded in the ancient Greek Clouds by Aristophanes. A man who has been put into financial difficulty by horseracing suddenly breaks his introspection to ask his son if he loves him. "Yes, by Dionysus!" "Not the god of horses!"


Video Games

  • Tales of Symphonia once cut off someone at "Oh my...". While that world is monotheistic, it actually has a goddess, and wouldn't sound right.
    • Oddly, Knight of Ratatosk has characters simply say "Oh my god!" a couple times.
    • It still would have made a nice in-joke, considering the the game's artwork was done by Kosuke Fujishima.
  • Kratos in God of War is heard whispering "By the gods..." more than once. When he's not just screaming "ARES!", "ATHENA!", or the name of some other specific god, that is.
  • In Guild Wars, the NPCs swear by the specific Gods of Tyria: Dwayna, Balthazar, Grenth, Lyssa and Melandru. Which of the five depends on the situation and the character's profession.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • "By the Nine!"
    • Daggerfall (at least) had a bag of context-appropriate oaths, and a syntax for plugging a random one into dialogue!
    • Morrowind has "B'vek" (mentioned in a few books), a contraction of "By Vehk" (as in Vivec, one of the three gods of the Tribunal).
    • Through she's a Daedra and not a god, characters in Oblivion will frequently say "For the love of Azura!" It's rather strange actually considering Cyrodiil does not look kindly on Daedra worship but nearly every NPC will say it.
    • In Skyrim, after worship of Talos is banned, some NPCs use "By the Eight!"
  • At one point in Mother 3, Fassad exclaims "Oh my pork!"
  • By Tyr's Right Buttock, the Neverwinter Nights series has a lot of these.
    • Even the ruler of Neverwinter, Lord Nasher, gets one in the second game at the start of Act 2:

 Lord Nasher: By every god and his mother, what a fool I was to sign anything bearing Luskan's seal.

    • Aldanon says "Great Tyr!" when you finish telling him your story in the first chapter.
  • The Hammerites and Mechanists from the Thief series have lots of exclamations of this type (e.g. "By cog and by gear!"), but the most common is: "By the Builder!"
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has a few overwhelmed characters swearing "By the stones."
    • Characters in Rekka no Ken sometimes swore to Father Earth and Mother Sky.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as well as Radiant Dawn, characters--mainly ones from Begnion--will swear by Ashera. Becomes somewhat funny when you find out she's the final boss.
  • Human (and some dwarven) characters in the Warcraft universe will often spout things such as "By the Light!" or simply "Light!", mirroring their Crystal Dragon Jesus faith.
    • A favorite phrase of the Dwarves is "By Muradin's beard!" Muradin Bronzebeard is a dwarven hero who was believed to be dead after a particularly heroic mission. In World of Warcraft, Muradin himself even invokes this by exclaiming "By Me own beard!"
    • In Warcraft 3, a Human Knight will say "By the Gods" when clicked on repeatedly, even though religion was barely estabilished at that point.
    • As worshipers of the Naaru/Light, Draenei use similar exclamations to the Humans and the Dwarves, but they use "by the Naaru" just as, if not more frequently.
    • Orcs and trolls have the spirits. More old-fashioned trolls have the Loa, and some of the more spiritual orcs may also invoke their ancestors.
    • The Tauren and the Night elves swear by the Earthmother and Elune, respectively.
    • The Forsaken have elevated Sylvanas to a near god-like position among themselves, saying things like "Dark Lady watch over you", much like humans use "Light be with you".
  • Mass Effect
    • Many asari swear by "the Goddess". Upon reading the codex, it is revealed that said goddess is named Athame. It also reveals that worship of said goddess is not the most popular asari religion, despite the fact that numerous asari make mention of her and none make mention of siari, the apparent dominant religion. (Whether that's because siari, being based on Buddhism, has no gods to speak of or because the codex was probably written after most of the dialogue was is up to you.) It is possible that "the Goddess" simply became part of common asari speech even for asari who did not worship Athame, similar to atheists who say "goddammit".
    • Samara's use of "the Goddess" in other contexts indicates that she likely worships Athame.
    • Mass Effect also has a human saying Thank the Maker, possibly as a Shout-Out to Star Wars. The codex also states that the discovery of alien ruins on Mars had a major impact on human religions, and started a few. The Maker may be the deity of a Prothean-inspired religion.
    • Mass Effect 2 has Thane's son Kolyat speak this phrase verbatim at one point. It's his reaction to Shepard killing his hostage.
    • Quarians will sometimes use the word "keelah" or "keelah se'lai" in this context. In the third game, Tali explains that the closest translation is "By the homeworld I hope to see someday."
  • In Deus Ex Invisible War, the Knights Templar faction utter curses like "Baphomet preserve me!" when injured.
  • In the forums for Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, people will use Armok to swear. For example "By Armok's beard!" Also, "Holy Carp!" is a common expression. The carp aren't actually gods, but they are among the most feared animals in the game.
  • In Dragon Age, most swears are by the Maker or Andraste ("By the Maker!" "Andraste's blood!"), exceptions including the dwarves, who swear by their ancestors, and Dalish elves, who swear by the creators.
    • A favorite:

 Shianni: Andraste's ass, you'd think I'd learn some social graces.

    • Andraste's Knickers also make an appearance. Isabela adds "Andraste's granny-panties!" to the list in "Mark of the Assassin".
    • Varric's reaction to finding out that Meredith had the mind-warping lyrium idol forged into a sword? "Andraste's dimpled buttcheeks!"
  • Final Fantasy XIV uses "The Twelve" as a general epithet.
  • Freedom Force's Mentor often utters "Suns of Shakar" and "Rings of Reznor".
  • Forgotten RPG Shadow Madness has "Great Keerg!"
  • Valkyrie Profile Silmeria has the usual "By the gods," from assorted NPCs, but additionally has Rufus asking, "What the Hel just happened?" after a particularly climactic confrontation toward the middle of the game.
  • Soviet troops in Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 occasionally say things like "This Lenin-forsaken place".
  • The New Hiigarans/Kharakians of Homeworld have developed an extensive repertoire themed around their 4000-year desert world of exile. This is mostly seen in the dialogue of Kiith Somtaaw units in Cataclysm:

 Acolyte Pilot: (When destroyed by a non-Beast enemy) Curse you back to Kharak!

KUUN-LAN Command: Regret?! We regret the loss of the whole sand-cursed galaxy!

  • The Monkey Island series has characters substitute "Blackbeard" and "Neptune" (and sometimes "Poseidon") for "God" ("Neptune's navel, that was a close one", "Now why in the name of Neptune's hangnails would I let you borrow this priceless artifact of a long-dead civilization?", "Neptune's beard!", "I said quit yer whimpering and grow some barnacles, for Blackbeard's sake!", "Nothing yet, thank Poseidon!"). The only exception, however, is Edward Van Helgen in The Curse of Monkey Island:

 Van Helgen: You must take an oath now, before man and God, that you will never ever again sing in public.

  • The Sims Medieval is the first Sims game to deal with religion; the deity is called The Watcher. This leads to Sims saying things like "By the Watcher!" "By the Watcher's Eye!" and, yes, at least once, "Oh my Watcher!"
  • Characters in Jak and Daxter often exclaim "By the Precursors!"
  • Numerous Minecraft custom maps and Machinima that feature Churches or other real world-esque locales with NPCs or dialogue would replace God with Notch. A good example would be The Shadow of Israphel series.

 Knight_Peculier: In Notch's name!

Xephos/Lewis: No, no Simon, I worship at the Church of Notch, like everyone else.


Web Animation

  • In the Flash short Bad Guys 4: Go to Hell, one of the Bad Guys leaves Hell to go to Heaven (which is apparently right next door to Hell) only to find that the Blue Shirted guy killed God last week and took over Heaven and now has everybody doing hard labor (To quote the Blue Shirt guy: "Life ain't fair kid. And neither is death.") When the Bad Guys figure that the treatment in Hell (getting hot pokers up your ass) is better and leave Heaven to go back to Hell, the Blue Shirt guy utters "Me Dammit!".

Web Comics

  • Ye Gods! is the title of a Furry Webcomic that seems very intent on running Rule of Funny and a little Rule of Cool
  • In Megan Rose Gedris's I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, the lesbian pirates often are heard invoking Sappho in this way, such as "Sweet Sappho's underpants!" and "Sappho's tits, no!" — unlike Wonder Woman above there is nothing subtle about this being a lesbian reference.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Often done with Azurites, whose civilization is based on East Asia, saying, "Twelve Gods damn you!"
    • Durkon the Dwarven cleric also invokes Thor's various body parts as exclamations. "Thor's Beard!" "Thor's Teeth!" "Thor's Duodenum!"
    • At one point, Xykon says, "Unholy crap!"
    • Most of the other characters just say "Oh my gods." (Though for some reason, they usually use the singular when followed by "damn it!")
  • Girl Genius
    • Characters in tend to swear with variations "Sweet Lightning!" ("Red Fire!" has also been heard).
    • Zeetha has been known to name-drop goddesses of her own civilization ("Ashtara above," etc.) when swearing.
    • Religion is in general skirted around, but Christianity certainly exists (probably also Judaism), so possibly it co-exists with pre-Christian beliefs. Religion is going to be severely dampened in a setting where society is dominated by mad scientists performing technological miracles and exuding improbable amounts of charisma despite their excesses. Still, there ARE seven popes apparently...
    • At least once a character (Baron Wulfenbach) uses "Gotterdammerung" in a manner similar to "God damn it". In German "Götterdämmerung" refers to the "Twilight of the Gods", i.e. Ragnarok from Norse myth (usually via Wagner), and isn't usually used as a swear word at all. Appropriating it as an expletive could pretty definitely be considered blasphemous to people believing in whatever gods are being referred to, though given who uses it that wouldn't be altogether a surprise.
    • At one point Oggie uses the expression "by de Name-- be qviet!". Whih may have been a reference to the Tetragrammaton, but in retrospect may be the name of the creators and masters of Jägerkin — the Heterodynes.
    • The (ironically named) Moloch von Zinzer, an ex-soldier, also exclaims "Daughter of thunder" in the first chapter, when he picks up the device that killed his brother.
    • An airship sailor once used "what in the freefalling hell..."
    • Madre de Diodes
  • Exterminatus Now
    • The characters will utter "by the gods".
    • And on one occasion, "Holy mother of Tyrus."
    • If memory serves correctly, "Gruss' left foot!" popped up once or twice.
  • Similar to Durkon from The Order of the Stick, Vinny Doombats from Erfworld has invoked his world's creator deities' (The Titans of Arc) anatomies: "Titans' testes!"
    • And more recently, a frustrated Wanda has said "Titan's Teats".
  • Eben of Two Lumps loves these. "Great Bast!" is his default (appropriate for a cat), but he gets creative on occasion ("Great Wattles of Herod!").
  • Transformers fancomic Lil Formers had Arcee grumble "Primus!" the way a disgruntled employee would use "Christ!"
  • Insecticomics has characters swear by various show and comic writers.
  • Liska of Tails from the Mynarski Forest has uttered "Oh embleer Frith!", a reference to Watership Down as mentioned above. "Embleer", by the way, means "stinky" in the Lapine language; the writer explained that since the idea of "stinky" varies from species to species, for a fox the phrase would be the equivalent of something like "Sweet Jesus!"
  • The Vulpine in Terinu tend to swear "By the Holy Den Mother!" when excited, while a Ferin in a flashback refers to the Varn Gene Mage as "Great Father (accurate, given he really did create the Ferin race.) Interestingly, humans seem to avoid swearing by God, and for some reason Christmas is now refered more generically as "Yuletide".
  • Mr. Mighty in Everyday Heroes has used the exclamation "Great Siegel's Ghost!", a Shout-Out to the "Great Caesar's Ghost" utterance of Perry White in the Adventures of Superman... Superman being a creation of Jerry Siegel. Well, in the world of superhero comics, he would qualify as a demigod, at the very least.
  • The webcomic Oh My Gods is named after this Trope.
  • Weregeek began to bless us with prayers to the geeks' pantheon:

 Sarah: Whedon grant me patience!


Web Original

  • "Dios!" was a common invocation for Avelians in pre-v5 Open Blue. It doesn't really help that 'Dios' is simply Spanish for "God", but El Dios himself is actually not that normal of a deity... As of v5, it's been replaced by "By Zod!"
  • Tasakeru: This is used frequently by the characters, as their whole society formed after the appearance of three Gods. Each species has their own unique mythology and names for the Gods, as well.
  • On Neopia, the world of Neopets, the Queen of the Faeries is named Fyora. In some text portions of the site, especially in the newspaper The Neopian Times, "...for Fyora's sake!" is a commonly-used interjection. Amusingly, when Fyora herself did the weekly editorial, she used "for Neopia's sake!" instead.
  • Mr. Deity has used OMS, presumably standing for "Oh my self".

Western Animation


 Wonder Woman: Hera help us!

Green Lantern: She'd better. No-one else can, now.

    • Also in the animated Justice League:

 The Flash: Great Jumping Hera!

  • Though the Transformers' "god", Primus (the one that doesn't involve Les Claypool), rarely appears in the animated media, in the '86 animated movie Kup exclaims, "Engage the boosters for Cybertron's sake!", and in Beast Wars, Rattrap once swore "by my great aunt Arcee".
    • Well, "For Cybertron's sake" and "for Primus' sake" would eventually turn out to actually be synonymous in later series. It's also pretty common in some series for Transformers to say "By the Allspark!" Depending on the series, the Allspark is either the lifeforce of Primus, the place where all sparks originate from and return to after death, the mysterious artifact that gave life to all of Cybertron, or some combination thereof. Either way, it's Serious Business. Once, just once, we even get a "By the Allspark of Primus!"
    • Likewise, "By the Matrix!" is used similarly. Unicron is also used as the negative counterpart of Primus, in place of The Devil.
      • Optimus Primal uses Primus' name in a truly epic fashion at the end of the season 2 finale, screaming "BY PRIMUS, NO!!!!!!"
  • Futurama
    • Professor Farnsworth often says "Sweet Zombie Jesus!" The "Jesus" part is Edited for Syndication. In Bender's Big Score, Farnsworth goes one step further and begins a sentence with, "How in Satan's glorious name...?" He is crazy and senile.
    • Though, apparently, The Second Coming of Jesus has come and gone (in the year 2443), destroying the vast majority of surviving video tapes in the process. This is, quite unsettlingly, seemingly what "Zombie Jesus" refers to.
    • Hermes also utters "Sweet Haile Selassie!" as he is a Rastafarian. He also once said, "Ras H. Tafari!" Hermes is a goldmine of these. Though not strictly gods, he is fond of unusual exclamations like "Sweet lion of Zion!" or "Sweet pony of Sierra Leone!" or once "Sweet something of somewhere!"
    • And Bender once said "Oh your God!"
    • Leela's ex-boss once used the expression, "Oh my various Gods!"
    • All-Powerful Atheismo.
    • Also the Professor: "Buddha! Zeus! God! One of you guys! Help! Satan! You owe me!"
  • The future civilization version is parodied in South Park: the atheists mock Cartman for saying, "Jesus Christ!" ("Hahahaha, you believe in a supernatural being.") but say, "Science damn you" and "Oh my Science!" Richard Dawkins, among others, complained after the episode aired that this was reducing science to a religion (a common creationist attack).

 "Science H. Logic! What an asshole!"

    • This becomes even FUNNIER when one remembers that Jesus ACTUALLY EXISTS as a character in the show. God has shown up a few times Himself. And believe it or not He's a Buddhist.
  • Done in Disney's Hercules syndicated series, like in the movie. A lot.
  • In the stop-motion television series The Wind in the Willows, Toad frequently used "By Jove!" Once, when he was on a time-travel kick, he was conked asleep and dreamt he went back to the days of Julius Caesar, in the well-known play version, with his friends (and recurring enemies) in the important roles. When he says "By Jove!" here, the character his mind has caused Rat to portray says "Yes, and by all the gods of Rome!" I think it happens three times before Toad cuts him off.
  • The Simpsons
    • Hindu shopkeeper Apu has been known to exclaim, "Shiva H. Vishnu!" Don't think about this one too hard, or you will find yourself pondering over the stupidity of it since Shiva and Vishnu are two completely different dieties.
    • Principal Skinner gives us "G.M. Chrysler!" on one occasion.
    • And then there's Sideshow Bob's "By Lucifer's beard!"
  • Korgoth from Korgoth of Barbaria, when doubling over in pain from stomach parasites, yells, "Hairy balls of the gods!"
  • People from Planet Ice in Shadow Raiders regularly exclaim "By the great glacier!" and "Thank the frost!". The people of Fire have "By the inferno!"
  • Thundarr the Barbarian says either "Demon Dogs!" or "Lords of Light!" at least once per episode.
  • Superfriends seems to have come up with standard ones for each of the DC heroes:

 Superman: Great Krypton!

Batman: Great Gotham!

Wonder Woman: Great Hera!

Aquaman: Great Neptune!

Green Lantern: Great galaxies!

Black Vulcan: Great lightning!

The Flash: By the wings of Mercury!

Green Arrow: (in one 1st season episode) By Robin Hood's bow!

  • The characters from Wakfu also use quite often the name of their titular gods (from the same world as the MMORPG Dofus) within common expressions. "For the love of Crâ." "Sadida help us!" "Thunder of Ogrest!"...
  • Subtly done by Professor Utonium, The Powerpuff Girls' resident daddy scientist in "Daylight Savings", because it's about a Biblical prophet, not some god.

 Prof. Utonium: Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! (pointing at a school report card) What the heck is that?!

  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has multiple instances of ponies invoking the name of Princess Celestia. It's not altogether clear whether they actually consider her divine or are simply swearing by the next best thing they have, though.
    • At one point, a magically shrunken and stranded Applejack exclaims "Thank Celestia!" upon being rescued (inadvertently) by Rainbow Dash.
    • In a later episode, a Shout-Out to Gone with the Wind is made with Rarity saying "As Celestia is my witness, I shall never be sisterless again!".
      • In Putting Your Hoof Down, a similar Shout-Out is made with Fluttershy saying "As Celestia is my witness, I'm never gonna be a pushover again!"
    • In The Last Roundup:

 Rainbow Dash: Nothing! In the name of Celestia, just sit there and do nothing!


Real Life

  • Quite common in India, although almost never heard in english; people have a tendency to revert to their mother tongues when frustrated-slash-excited-ly invoking Gods' names.
  • "By Jove!", a real English expression (albeit one that has completely fallen into disuse). "Jove" is another name for Jupiter/Zeus, though the phrase was also used (by Shakespeare, for instance) to refer to the Judeo-Christian God.
    • In Slovak, there exists the curse "doparoma / do paroma", Parom (Perun) being an old Slavic god of thunders (following the spread of Christianity his name became more or less equated with the devil).
      • The exact same thing happened with the Finnish Perkele, whose name is now the most common curse word in the Finnish language. The second most common curse word is "saatana", meaning simply Satan.
    • "Zounds", for its part, is a corruption of "Christ's Wounds"
    • There is also "Gadzooks", which means "God's hooks" (the nails on Jesus' cross), and "Egad" meaning "Ye God".
      • Cockney favourite "Gor Blimey" (God blind me) and Crikey, a corruption of Gor Cripeme, or God cripple me.
  • "Tabernac" is used as a curse word in Quebec. It means approximately, "By the Tabernacle!"
    • Quebec swearing goes nuts with this as all of their curse words are intentionally butchered religious terms. Amusingly, saying all of them in a row results in a Cluster F-Bomb when translated.
      • A Quebecois joke: A French stage director was asked by his Quebecois assistant what props were needed for the next play (which had a scene in a church). In a hurry, he replied, "tabernacle, cierge, ciboire, calice, hostie." The assistant replied, "That's cool, now what did you want again?"
  • Exclamations of this sort do appear in Roman literature. Cicero uses it in "di immortales" ("by the immortal gods") to indicate incredulity at one point.
  • Many modern Pagans will replace "God" with "Goddess" in their exclamations, or use more specific gods' names instead.
  • In Denmark it's pretty common to say, 'May the gods be with them' (Må guderne være med dem) or 'The gods may know' (det må guderne vide) in everyday language, newspapers and television. People don't really notice they're being plural.
  • From the Philippines: "Susmariosep", (Jesus, Maria, Joseph) a classic favourite since the Spanish Colonial Era. Its more recent (and trendy) incarnation is the much shorter "Ay, sus." (Oh, Jesus...)
  • In Ireland, a common expression is still used: "Oh holy God almighty". This comes in a variety of ways, including "Oh holy Lord above us", "By the Lord almighty" and things to this effect.
  1. (though technically, "God" isn't His name; even the words it's translated from ("El", "Eloah", and "Elohim") are more like describing what He is rather than a name)
  2. earlobe?