• WordNet 3.6
    • n expletive profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger "expletives were deleted"
    • n expletive a word or phrase conveying no independent meaning but added to fill out a sentence or metrical line
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The expletive, "Holy Toledo," refers to Toledo, Spain, which became an outstanding Christian cultural center in 1085.
    • n Expletive A word, letter, or syllable not necessary to the sense, but inserted to fill a vacancy; an oath. "While explectives their feeble aid to join,
      And ten low words oft creep in one dull line."
    • a Expletive Filling up; hence, added merely for the purpose of filling up; superfluous. "Expletive imagery.""Expletive phrases to plump his speech."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • expletive Serving to fill up; added to fill a vacancy, or for factitious emphasis: specifically used of words. See II., 2.
    • n expletive Something used to fill up; something not necessary but used for embellishment.
    • n expletive In rhetoric and grammar, a word or syllable which is not necessary to the sense or construction, or to an adequate description of a thing, but which is added for rhetorical, rhythmical, or metrical reasons, or which, being once necessary or significant, has lost notional force. Expletives of the former kind are usually trite adjectives, added, as in feeble prose or verse, for the mere sound or to fill out a line, or else irrelevant words or terms used for factitious emphasis, as in profane swearing. Expletives of the latter kind are usually particles like the introductory there, used without local reference, and the auxiliary do, used as in the first line of the quotation from Pope.
    • n expletive Hence, by euphemism, an oath; an exclamatory imprecation: as, his conversation was garnished with expletives.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Expletive eks′ple-tiv filling out: added for ornament or merely to fill up
    • n Expletive a word or syllable inserted for ornament or to fill up a vacancy: an oath
    • ***


  • Alice James
    Alice James
    “It is an immense loss to have all robust and sustaining expletives refined away from one! At. moments of trial refinement is a feeble reed to lean upon.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. expletivus, from expletus, p. p. of explere, to fill up; ex, out+plere, to fill, akin to plenus, full: cf. F. explétif,. See Full


In literature:

Mr. Glentworthy, with a profane expletive, pops his head out at the top of the stairs, and inquires who wants him.
"An Outcast" by F. Colburn Adams
We have omitted the oaths and rough expletives with which Derry interlarded his speech.
"The Boy Patriot" by Edward Sylvester Ellis
He used a good many other stronger expletives, which need not be repeated.
"Dick Cheveley" by W. H. G. Kingston
The usual expletives, a volley of oaths and curses on our lubberly heads, followed the shock.
"Frank Mildmay" by Captain Frederick Marryat
Both men rushed to the fortress and bounded into it, the one spurting out Gaelic expletives, the other rotten egg and bits of shell.
"The Big Otter" by R.M. Ballantyne
But he struggles on with the help of a dictionary of American expletives.
"Much Darker Days" by Andrew Lang (AKA A. Huge Longway)
When the yelling, shouting bunch rushed into Durand's room they stopped short and a few expletives expressed their opinions of the pirates.
"Peggy Stewart at School" by Gabrielle E. Jackson
An expletive exploded inside Tom's head.
"Tutors' Lane" by Wilmarth Lewis
At once he cut short the conversation, probably not without expletives.
"William Pitt and the Great War" by John Holland Rose
Frank strode hurriedly across the hall, flung into the library, and there relieved his feelings by a few crisp expletives.
"The Prodigal Father" by J. Storer Clouston

In poetry:

BILL choked back a warm expletive - for my smile was most engaging -
And, upon my invitation, sat beside me on the bed.
And, omitting decorations - fancy oaths and execrations -
That his woeful story garnished, I shall tell you what he said.
"The Woes of Bill" by C J Dennis

In news:

David Wells twisted his face into a snarl, looked as if he were spiking an imaginary football while slamming his left fist toward the grass, then screamed an expletive.
(AP) — DeAngelo Hall says he "might have been a little overzealous " when he criticized the coaching staff in an expletive-filled rant following the Washington Redskins' loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Heck.-to use Eve Cooper's favorite expletive-there's a new First Daughter at large in Detectivesville.
A webcam video of an 11-year-old girl on an expletive-laden rant is quickly going viral.
Taylor Teagarden 's expletive, seven-second delays and live sports TV.
Taylor Teagarden's expletive, seven-second delays and live sports TV.
The only things missing from the office memo were expletives.
NEW YORK (AP) — A catchy but expletive-laden new song from Cee-Lo has quickly gone viral.
The title includes an expletive but racked up more than 1.8 million views by Tuesday afternoon after being posted last week on Cee-Lo's YouTube page.
A catchy but expletive-laden new song from Cee-Lo has quickly gone viral.
Sixteen-year-old Grant Sims says he's never been one to complain about expletives and vulgar language he hears daily at baseball practice.
High school athletic officials say that expletives and vulgar language are no more appropriate on a practice field than they are in a classroom.
Celeste Flores Narvaez, sister of slain dancer Debora Flores Narvaez, lets loose a tirade of expletives toward Jason Griffith at his court appearance Wednesday in North Las Vegas.
Heather is sort of a nomad poet in the sense that she's been published extensively in literary journals, but she's self-published two of her poetry collections, including her most recent ( Expletive Deleted ).
This undated photo provided by Pam Smith on March 29 2012, shows her son Austin Carroll who tweeted the F-word multiple times while fighting insomnia one night, apparently to show that the expletive would fit almost anywhere in a sentence.