Definition of expletive noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ɪkˈspliːtɪv//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈeksplətɪv//
(formal) Anger
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a word, especially a rude word, that you use when you are angry, or in pain synonym swear word He dropped the book on his foot and muttered several expletives under his breath. See related entries: Anger Word Originlate Middle English (as an adjective): from late Latin expletivus, from explere ‘fill out’, from ex- ‘out’ + plere ‘fill’. The noun sense ‘word used merely to fill out a sentence’ (early 17th cent.) was applied specifically to a swear word in the early 19th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: expletive