About the Book

Swearing, cussing, or cursing, out of anger, excitement, or just because, is something most of us do, at least to some degree. Turn on the television or open a magazine, and there it is. Damn! is an insightful and entertaining look at our evolving use of profanity over the last half-century or so, from a time when Gone with the Wind came under fire for using the word damn to an age where the F-bomb is dropped in all walks of life. Writer and artist Rob Chirico follows the course of swearing through literature, the media, and music, as well as through our daily lives. From back rooms and barracks to bookshelves and Broadway; and from precedents to presidents, the journey includes such diverse notables as George Carlin, the Simpsons, D.H. Lawrence, Ice T, Barack Obama, Nietzsche, and, of course, Lenny Bruce. If you have ever stopped and wondered “WTF” has happened to our American tongue, don't get out the bar of soap until you finish Damn!

About the Author

Writer and artist Rob Chirico can attribute his early knowledge of swearing to growing up in New York City. Among other works, he is the author of the popular Field Guide to Cocktails. He lives in western Massachusetts. Keith Allan is an Australian linguist and emeritus professor at Monash University.


ISBN: 978-1939578204 (paperback)

SRP: $14.95

Page count: 183 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: December 1, 2014

Ebook availability: Yes

Audiobook availability: Forthcoming

    Foreword by Keith Allan. Introduction: Frankly, My Dear, I Do Give a Damn! What’s in a Dirty Word? What’s Sex Got to Do with It?You’re in the Fucking Army Now! Swearing, a Game Anyone Can Play. All the News That’s Fit to Print. You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught. You Have the Words, My Dear, but I’m Afraid You’ll Never Master the Tune. Word on the Street. Is Nothing Sacrilegious … Yet? Appendix: Bird is the Word. Acknowledgments. Notes. Index. About the Author.


“Slang, which usually steers clear of praise, manages 354 synonyms for ‘excellent.’ Mr. Chirico’s book deserves the lot. It is witty, erudite, admirably widely researched, and skewers those who forget that in the phrase ‘bad language,’ the ‘bad is merely an opinion and it is the ‘language,’ as valid and fascinating as any other variety of English, that matters. Thus the essence of a study that will appeal both to the general reader and to the expert who will acknowledge it as among the best overviews of its topic: swearing. H. L. Mencken would have enjoyed Damn! So too would Lenny Bruce.”

—Jonathon Green, author of Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Damn! is an informative trip on the topics of profanity, cursing, swearing, obscenity, or whatever else we want to call offensive speech, with connections to media, popular culture, the courts, sports, and social science. Damn! is full of relevant, up-to-date, and comprehensive examples of this vexing aspect of human communication. Chirico s entertaining and often humorous examples bring home the complicated, nuanced, and often misunderstood world of cursing in America past and present.”

—Timothy Jay, Ph.D., author of Cursing in America and Why We Curse


Review of the book

Review of the book