Expletive  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The word expletive is currently used in three senses: syntactic expletives, expletive attributives, and "bad language".

The word expletive comes from the Latin verb explere, meaning "to fill", via expletivus, "filling out". It was introduced into English in the seventeenth century to refer to various kinds of padding — the padding out of a book with peripheral material, the addition of syllables to a line of poetry for metrical purposes, and so forth. Use of expletive for such a meaning is now rare. Rather, expletive is a term in linguistics for a meaningless word filling a syntactic vacancy (syntactic expletives). Outside linguistics, the word is much more commonly used to refer to "bad language". Some linguists use it to refer to meaningless, "filler" use of "bad language" ("expletive attributives"), distinguishing this from meaningful use.

See also

  • Syntactic expletive, a word that performs a syntactic role but contributes nothing to meaning
  • Expletive attributive, a word that contributes nothing to meaning but suggests the strength of feeling of the speaker
  • Profanity or swear word, a word or expression that is strongly impolite or offensive




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Expletive" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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