In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came to be applied to a swearword came up. I posted the entry for "expletive" from The Century Dictionary:
From
www.century-dictionary.com
(quote)
expletive , a. and n. (
< LL. expletivus, serving to fill out (ap-
plied to conjunctions, etc.), < L. expletus, pp. of explere, fill up : see expletion. ) *I.* a. Serving to fill up ; added to fill a vacancy, or for fac- titious emphasis : specifically used of words.
See II., 2.
There is little temptation to load with expletive epithets. Johnson, Addison.
*II.* n. 1. Something used to fill up ; some- thing not necessary but used for embellish-
ment.
The custard-pudding which Mrs. Quick had tossed up, adorned with currant-jelly, a gooseberry tart, with other ornamental expletives of the same kind.
Graves, Spiritual Quixote, ix. 15.
She ever promised to be a mere expletive in the creation. Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, xcii.
2. In rhet. and gram., a word or syllable whichis not necessary to the sense or construction,
or to an adequate description of a thing, but
which is added for rhetorical, rhythmical, or
metrical reasons, or which, being once neces-
sary or significant, has lost notional force. Ex- pletives of the former kind are usually trite adjectives, added, as in feeble prose or verse, for the mere sound or to fill out a line, or else irrelevant words or terms used for factitious emphasis, as in profane swearing. Exple- tives of the latter kind are usually particles like the in- troductory there, used without local reference, and the auxiliary do, used as in the first line of the quotation from Pope.
Expletives their feeble aid do join,
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line.
Pope, Essay on Criticism, 1. 346.
Circuitous phrases and needless expletives distract the attention and diminish the strength of the impression produced. H. Spencer, Style.

What are called expletives in rhetorical treatises are grammatically allied to the interjections, though widely differenced from them by the want of meaning, which the interjection is never without.
G. P. Marsh, Lects. on Eng. Lang., xiii.
*3.* Hence, by euphemism, an oath ; an exclama-
tory imprecation : as, his conversation was gar-
nished with expletives.
He who till then had not known how to speak unless he put an oath before and another behind to make his words have authority, discovered that he could speak better and more pleasantly without such expletives than he had ever done before. Southey, Bunyan, p. 16.

(end quote)

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
1 2
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came tobe applied to a swearword came up. I posted the entry for "expletive" *** Century Dictionary*:

IIRR what entered the general American consciousness was the two-word phrase "expletive deleted," used by transcribers of the secretly-recorded tape recordings of President Nixon's discussions with his political staff, sought by later Congressional inquiries and eventually made public.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came to be applied to a swearword came up. I posted the entry for "expletive" from The Century Dictionary:

My interpretation is that "expletive" in the "bad language" sense is something of a euphemism; one of those euphemisms, of course, which quickly enough lost its character.

Mike.
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In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came ... I posted the entry for "expletive" from The Century Dictionary:

My interpretation is that "expletive" in the "bad language" sense is something of a euphemism; one of those euphemisms, of course, which quickly enough lost its character.

Cordon to my INFORMENTS the original SECRET TRANSCRIPS of the WISE WORDS of that great MISUNDERSTOOD presden RICHARD NIXON may he rest in PEACE WITH HONOR originally said "SOME CUSSIN HERE" but them Woodsteen and Burnwood TRAITORS got BENT BRADLEE to edit his ASS to make the GREAT MAN look like some PINKO EAST COAST LIBERAL!!! There oughta be a LAW!!!

Ross Howard
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came to be applied to a swearword came up. I posted the entry for "expletive" from The Century Dictionary: From www.century-dictionary.com

You have to go a lot earlier: the word "expletivus" was used by some ancient Latin grammarians, as Priscianus of Caesarea and Flavius Sosipater Charisius, with the meaning of modern English expletive.

Javi
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage the subject of how "expletive" came ... the entry for "expletive" from The Century Dictionary: From www.century-dictionary.com

You have to go a lot earlier: the word "expletivus" was used bysome ancient Latin grammarians, as Priscianus of Caesarea and Flavius Sosipater Charisius, with the meaning of modern English expletive.

Interesting: the admittedly outdated Lewis & Short don't mention that.

Mike.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
The mention to Charisius appears in the online edition

http://www.perseus.org/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2317066

Javi
some Interesting: the admittedly outdated Lewis & Short don't mention that.

The mention to Charisius appears in the online edition

http://www.perseus.org/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2317066

Thanks. But all I can get to from there is the same reference I find in my 1955 hard copy later grammarians used the term for certain conjunctions.

Mike.
"expletive" for expletive.

The mention to Charisius appears in the online edition

http://www.perseus.org/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2317066 Thanks. But all I can get to from there is the same reference I find in my 1955 hard copy later grammarians used the term for certain conjunctions.

It also says that "expletivus" means "expletive"
explētīvus , a, um, adj. (expleo) ,
I. serving to fill out, expletive; in the later grammarians, conjunctiones, such as quidem, equidem, autem, quoque, Don. p. 1763 P.; Charis. p. 199 ib. al.

Javi
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