A few days ago Chickadee kept saying GORGONZOLA over and over, until Monkey started doing it, too, and before long they were both in the kitchen, bouncing up and down, chanting “GOR-GON-ZO-LA! GOR-GON-ZO-LA!”

“Why are you doing that?” I asked. (Because I am foolish and expect my children to make sense, even though nearly ten years of experience has never borne out this hypothesis in the slightest.)

“I don’t know,” Chickie replied. “It’s just fun to say. GOR-GON-ZO-LA!”

“GOR-GON-ZO-LA!” Monkey added, for good measure.

“Do you even know what gorgonzola is?” I pressed.

“Yes,” retorted Chickadee, full of indignation.

There was a pause. Monkey may or may not have whispered “gorgonzola” a couple of times while my daughter and I looked at each other.

“No,” she admitted. “What is it?”

“Gorgonzola is how you say ‘I’m a moron’ in Swedish,” offered Otto.

The kids looked at him. They looked at each other. And then they resumed chanting GOR-GON-ZO-LA! with glee.

Ever since then, “gorgonzola” has become the curse word of choice in our house.

Try it—you’ll like it.

Hit your thumb with the hammer? “GORGONZOLA!”
Forget to fill out that permission slip? “Oh, gorgonzola.”
Child eating directly off a plate without benefit of silverware or even hands? “Repeat after me, please: ‘Gorgonzola.'”

Who knew it was so versatile? I sure didn’t.

Then again, gorgonzola.


  1. pam

    Oh excuse me while I wipe this coffee off my keyboard! I’m an idiot in Swedish!!! I need me an Otto..

  2. Jenni

    Over here we say Chinchilla. Except for the 3 year old. He is sticking with the traditional 4 letter bad words.

  3. Liz

    Heh. That made me literally laugh out loud. I love curse substitutes. Gotta come up with some good ones before my kids get old enough to pick this stuff up. “Fudge” is just too lame.

  4. dad

    Please send photos of the kids on Swedish holiday.
    Before clicking the shutter don’t forget to tell them to say “gorganzola” so we can see their pearly whites.

  5. Flea

    When my kids were little they picked up the word crap, but wouldn’t say it around me. I overheard Oliver telling Mae a joke with crap in it and both of them just laughed and laughed. I came around the corner and asked the same thing you did: Do you know what that means? Oliver looked puzzled for a minute, then Mae said, “Junk mail?” Busted.

  6. carrien

    that sounds so much more clever than poopysuperpooperdooperpoop butt, which my three year old thinks is hilarious and treats us to several times a day.

  7. Em

    Thanks to Spongebob, among the under 6 set in my house “tarter sauce” is the curseword of choice. Thanks to The Sneeze (blog), the grownups have taken to “pickles”.

  8. peanut

    When I was little my siblings and I used to elongate the vowels in curse words. Pice, shite, baystard. Imagine our pleasure when we realized that people in the UK were validating our pronunciation!

  9. carolyn

    When my daughter (now 14) was in 2nd grade, she thought she’d impress me with her language skills. She used the word “crap”, in the correct context, but I told her while some people find that an OK word, we did not in our family and she couldn’t use it. So, future lawyer that she is, she decided to spell it, with no luck whatsoever. She spelled it C A R P. So we say “carp” in place of many curse words at my house. We also say “newman” in place of the S word. There are others, but now it looks like we use way too many curse=word substitutes, so I shal stop this carp and click “submit”

  10. BethR

    ‘Gorgonzola’ is an inherently funny word somehow. A guy I know used to introduce a female friend of his as Gorgonzola whenever they went somewhere together. It was interesting to watch people’s faces when he did it, because they were never sure if he was kidding or not; they wanted to laugh but didn’t want to hurt poor Gorgonzola’s feelings if that was actually her name. By the time she moved away there were more people in the area who knew her as Gorgonzola than her real name… which I think was Hillary, I’m not even sure, which just goes to show how well it worked.

  11. kidzmama

    Our seven year old says “friklepicks”. Usually preceded by “Oh”.

    Whatever it takes. Both older kids still think ugly, stupid, and idiot are curse words. That’ll last only a few more years.

  12. Flea

    My kids, when little, would say, “You scared me out of the tar!” So I had to stop and think what You scared the tar out of me meant. Ew. I like their version better.

  13. Tootsie

    I like it! We just lift our “curse” words from Sponegebob Squarepants. Like: “TARTER SAUCE!” and “HOLY FISH PASTE!”

  14. Daisy

    Holy cheesy curse words, Batman, that’s brilliant!

  15. LyndaL

    Personally, I tend to go with “Oh Profanities! Lots of them!!”

  16. All Adither

    That has a nice ring to it. How about, FOR THE LOVE OF GOUDA!

  17. StephLove

    My 20 m/o daughter’s pronunciation of the word “frog” sounds a lot like another 4 letter word that starts with f, so sometimes partner and I use “frog” in place of that other word.

  18. Sandee

    We use “cheese ‘n’ rice” a LOT!!

  19. MaryP

    My youngest is in French immersion. One day, they discovered “sacre bleu!!” Their teacher let them use it for a day, then explained that it really was quite rude, and they shouldn’t be saying it.

    So, brilliant child that she is, Emma says, “Well, how about ‘sac a dos’*?” (Pronounced “sack-a-doe”, it has the same number of syllables and the same cadence as the swear words.) Teacher thought that was hysterical, and now, three years later, there are two dozen 14-year-olds in Ottawa who still say “SAC a dos!!” instead of “sacre bleu”, or even “sh*t!”

    (*It means “backpack”.)

  20. D

    My son’s a SpongeBob fan personally – I hear a lot of “barnacles” and “tartar sauce.” Though luckily it’s for when he’s disappointed about something … we’ve got a college rival who’s name is pronounced “gon-zaga” which I mess up and call “gorgonzola” – to the amusement of my hubby.

    BTW, in Norwegian the phrase is “Jeg er en idiot” [which is close enough to Swedish for my Swedish friends] – the Norwegian friend was online, not the Swedes. :-)

  21. Another Dawn

    My younger daughter’s high school is called Gonzaga. Wish I’d seen the gorgonzola connection while she was still there. She would have loved it!

    One of my friends say, “Oh, crumbs!” when he wants to swear at an inappropriate time. It sounds particularly funny coming out of a 6’4″ man.

    Otto is a gem. But you knew that.

  22. barb

    A few nights about my 5 yr old son, completely out of the blue, turned to me during supper and said “Momma, what’s the F word?” Instead of spluttering and demanding to know where and how he had heard anything about the F-word, I thought for a second and said “Fairy farts, of course!” Which made all three of my “boys” (ages 3, 5, and 35) dissolve into hysterical laughter. Want to guess the curse of choice in my house now?

  23. Deborah P

    I can see my vocabulary expanding even as I read! So far, “for the love of Gouda!” is my favorite. Thanks, All Adither!

  24. Silly Me

    When I was pregnant, my five year old announced to her Karate class. “She’s having a baby, she’s not the F word!” Of course she meant “fat” and she couldn’t imagine what other word “F” might stand for.

  25. Cele

    Burp’s favorite cuss word of choice is “pickles” for a six year old I think that is pretty good.

  26. Bronie

    you just keep teaching us new words. what can we say but thanks? in order to “minify” one’s profanity, simply shout, “gorgonzola!” too fantastic for words! :)

  27. Megan

    Kirk was a Russian linguist and nobody, NObody does cussing like the Russians. That’s why for a long, long time the bad word of choice in our house was “Bolshevik.” Really, try it, it’s fantastically relieving.

  28. Wendy

    Small world, we will be having I’m a moron on steaks this week. I am hungry, already.

  29. Nancy

    Megan, I used “Bolshevik” ALL.THE.TIME in High School. It was the PERFECT bad work.

  30. Headless Mom

    I have a cousin who said to her parents (as a tot) “Don’t say sh*t, say fiddle dee dee!” That still makes the rounds in our family, 20 years later, and the kids love to hear the story. (Over and over…)

  31. LuAnn

    Who knew I would learn classy ways to swear today! *LOL*

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