Cursing, cussing, swearing.

From The Company of Ghosts, the narrator’s childhood servant, Filo, on swearing:

Filo taught my mother… to utter oaths as long as your arm and even longer… oaths that Filo defined as follows:  small rockets launched high into the sky without any intention of causing injury or offense but merely with the aim of breaking with the idiocy of ordinary conversation and of opening small cracks in the walls in which laziness normally encloses us.

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