lalochezia

[ lăl′ō-kēzē-ə ]

n.

Emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language.

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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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What does lalochezia mean?

Lalochezia is the emotional relief that a person may feel after cursing. Sometimes lalochezia is also used to refer to the use of profanity to provide such relief.

Lalochezia is mostly a novelty word that gives a name to this very specific thing. But while use of the word is rare, the thing it describes is probably very common. Scientific studies have shown that cursing somehow reduces discomfort or pain, such as when you yell $#%& after hitting your thumb with a hammer.

Example: I know it makes me feel better when I curse under my breath after stepping on one of my kids’ sharp toys, but scientists think that lalochezia might actually reduce pain in the brain.

Where does lalochezia come from?

Lalochezia is formed from two Greek roots. The first part, lalo-, comes from a Greek word meaning “speech.” The second part comes from a Greek term that means “to defecate” (“to poop”). Yes, the literal translation is a little unpleasant.

It’s likely that you’ve experienced lalochezia without even realizing that there was a word for what you felt. Apparently, many people experience a sense of relief after using vulgar language, and scientists have studied why. In multiple studies, scientists have documented a correlation between swearing and the lessening of pain. They found that cursing can somehow make pain more tolerable. Why? Their guess is that this likely happens because cursing stimulates a certain brain region, leading to decreased activity in pain regions elsewhere. Watch your mouth, though: at least one other study suggested that overuse of curse words may lessen this effect.

Did you know ... ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with lalochezia

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing lalochezia?

 

How is lalochezia used in real life?

People are often surprised that there is a word specifically referring to the relief they feel after cursing. Lalochezia isn’t commonly used, but people love passing it along as a bit of trivia.

 

 

Try using lalochezia!

Is lalochezia used correctly in the following sentence?

I felt lalochezia when I hit my head on the door, but muttering some curse words seemed to take some of the pain away.