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Ever bumped your shin against a coffee table in the dark or stubbed a toe while you were wearing a pair of flip-flops? What was the first thing out of your mouth? If not “ouch,” or some variation thereof, it was probably a word not fit for print on a forum as prestigious as Simply CSOFT. But for this week’s Wacky Word Wednesday, we’ll be exploring the reason so many of us find ourselves swearing when we’re in pain.

quo topLalochezia

[lāl’ō-kē’zē-ə]

-noun

Emotional relief gained from using indecent or vulgar language.

quo botLalochezia

Even if we ourselves have never done it, we’ve at least seen (or heard) others succumbing to lalochezia. It’s an almost instinctual reaction to pain that starts at a very early age—as soon as we know words considered taboo, really. In fact, swearing is such a common response to pain that psychologists studied it in research published in a 2009 edition of the journal NeuroReport. The research revealed that those who swore while undergoing painful experiences were able to tolerate pain for longer and generally reported less pain overall. The actual physical mechanisms behind lalochezia aren’t yet understood, but some earlier studies seem to suggest that swearing occurs in a much deeper part of the brain –and thus much further in our evolutionary past –than normal language. This may mean that swear words actually exude strange and ancient power…but that power doesn’t last. The more we swear, the less emotionally powerful curse words become.

As usual, here are a few example sentences of our Wacky Word in action:

  • “*$£%!” Sylvia yelled out as she dropped the rock on her foot, and she felt an immediate rush of lalochezia.
  • Lalochezia in churches is frowned upon.

Lalochezia only seems to come from words that are taboo, so save your curses for when you need them. That’s it for now, but join us next week for another exciting edition of Wacky Word Wednesday!

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