- an interjectory word or expression, frequently profane; an exclamatory oath.
- a syllable, word, or phrase serving to fill out.
- Grammar. a word considered as regularly filling the syntactic position of another, as it in It is his duty to go, or there in There is nothing here.
- Also ex·ple·to·ry [ek-spli-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈɛk splɪˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/. added merely to fill out a sentence or line, give emphasis, etc.: Expletive remarks padded the speech.
Origin of expletive
Examples from the Web for expletive
So be careful what you say and what you do, because the Kinect, for better and worse, really is [expletive] watching you.My Xbox One Won’t Let Me Swear
December 8, 2013
Now, it seems, Hamas is being struck from the list of expletive targets.Hamas's Victory
Anna Lekas Miller
November 26, 2012
In fact, for many conservatives, it seems to be an expletive.The GOP Sounds Un-Christian in Condemning Obama’s Quran-Burning Apology
February 28, 2012
But it is time to move forward while remembering that what we did do is a “Big [Expletive] Deal.”Health-Care Reform's Big One-Year Anniversary
March 19, 2011
The Parson blurted an expletive, inflected like the profane.Dwellers in the Hills
Melville Davisson Post
This expletive was certainly not appreciated by her who used it.Clare Avery
Emily Sarah Holt
When the word devil is used as a general term or as an expletive the capital is not used.Capitals
Frederick W. Hamilton
He drawled the expletive as though it were some Oriental word.The Sleuth of St. James's Square
Melville Davisson Post
I think it was “hang” he said—I was not sure about the expletive.The Yellow House
E. Phillips Oppenheim
- an exclamation or swearword; an oath or a sound expressing an emotional reaction rather than any particular meaning
- any syllable, word, or phrase conveying no independent meaning, esp one inserted in a line of verse for the sake of the metre
- expressing no particular meaning, esp when filling out a line of verse
Word Origin and History for expletive
1610s, originally "a word or phrase serving to fill out a sentence or metrical line," from Middle French explétif (15c.) and directly from Late Latin expletivus "serving to fill out," from explet-, past participle stem of Latin explere "fill out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + plere "to fill" (see pleio-).
Sense of "exclamation," often in the form of a cuss word, first recorded 1815 in Sir Walter Scott, popularized by edited transcripts of Watergate tapes (mid-1970s), in which expletive deleted replaced President Nixon's salty expressions. As an adjective, from 1660s.
mid-15c., from Latin expletivus (see expletive (n.)).
Any exclamation or oath, especially one that is obscene or profane, as in “Dammit, I forgot to buy the milk.”