A Glossary of Pennsylvania Dutch Profanity

Believe it or not, there are times when even the Amish and Swiss Mennonites get frustrated. The wind might wreak havoc on your barn-raising plans, or Elder Hershberger might interfere with your courtship of Maria Bontrager from over by Intercourse. Needless to say, there are plenty of times when a young Amish man or woman might need to curse a little. The Daily Bonnet previously compiled a list of Russian Mennonite profanity. If you want to swear like Swiss and Amish, however, look no further as The Daily Bonnet brings you the very best in Pennsylvania Dutch curse words.

  • Beheef dich! – “Behave yourself!” – Amish mothers don’t have to say this often as their children are always perfect little angels…unlike those unruly Mennonite children.
  • Dunner uns Gewidder!  – “Confound it!” – If your horse has stepped on your foot yet again, you might utter this phrase. Be careful that you don’t say it too loud as it’s bound to get you in trouble with the elders. You don’t want an extra hour of plowing duty, especially when the youth are going to be getting together to sing hymns tonight.
  • Du sottscht dich in dei aarsch neischemme! – “You ought to be heartily ashamed of yourself!” – I assume this one is stated after a young man is spotted wearing a belt or speaking English…or speaking to an English.
  • Guck emol do! – “Would you look at that!” – Usually this is said when an Englisher with a lip-ring shows up at the quilt auction. It can also be uttered when Anne Lapp is seen talking with Jakob Stoltzfus by the horses after church.
  • Gu gucksht gut – “You look good!” – This sounds like a compliment, but, remember that the Amish, like the Mennonites, prefer to look plain. There’s nothing worse than shopping at a fancy store like Old Navy and wearing makeup.
  • Hoscht du dei Daag des Lewes! – “Did you ever!” – Well, you’ve really done it now there, Levi! If you hear “Hoscht du dei Daag des Lewes!” you know a shunning is in the works. That’s okay, though, as you can always join the German Baptists.
  • Kedreck – “Cow dung!” – This is more of a warning than it is profanity. “Watch out! Kedreck!” You don’t want to mess up your good Sunday shoes, especially when your cousin Mary Schwartzendruber is expected to be returning from her rumspringa this week. Got to make an impression and cow dung just won’t do it, certainly not after Mary’s seen the bright lights of New York City.
  • Schlechdi! – “Bad girl!” – I couldn’t tell if this was meant to be a scolding or something uttered during intimate moments. Either way, it’s something akin to profanity.
  • Zum Mordsackerment! – “Hell and damnation!” – This one should only be uttered in extreme circumstances, such as when the sermon goes on too long. The great thing about yelling “zum mordsackerment” in church is that everyone will think you’re just really into the service or something. No one will suspect that you really want to get home and check on the chickens.
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