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Is Kriff a swear word?

Kriff is a fictional expletive used in the Star Wars universe. It first appeared in the 2018 novel Star Wars: Last Shot and has since been used in other Star Wars media like books, TV shows, games, and comics. Kriff sounds similar to a common swear word on Earth, leading some fans to wonder if it’s meant to be a profanity in the Star Wars galaxy. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of kriff, how it’s used in Star Wars, and whether it should be considered a swear word.

What does “kriff” mean?

Kriff is not an actual word with a dictionary definition. It was invented by Star Wars writers as a fictional expletive. The word seems to be used similarly to English swear words – uttered in frustration, anger, or shock. Kriff often appears in phrases like “Oh kriff!” or “Kriffing hell!”

Based on context clues, kriff seems to convey emphasis or add emotional intensity to statements. It doesn’t literally mean anything, but functions similarly to real-life expletives that add punch to speech. Kriff is likely a filler swear word, akin to English terms like “frak” or “frell” used in other science fiction stories.

Where did “kriff” come from?

The first known appearance of kriff was in the 2018 Star Wars novel Last Shot by Daniel José Older. In a tense scene, the droid L3-37 exclaims “Kriffing hell!” Similar expletives like “kark” and “kriffing” have also started appearing in newer Star Wars books and comics.

Many fans believe kriff was invented to replace stronger profanity like “f***” in Star Wars stories aimed at younger audiences. Using a made-up term allows writers to keep the emotional charge of swearing while avoiding offensive real-world language.

How is “kriff” used in the Star Wars universe?

Kriff appears to be used similarly to how we use profanity on Earth. For example:

– Exclaiming “Kriff!” in shock or frustration.
– Describing something negatively as “kriffing awful.”
– Yelling “kriff you!” in anger at someone.
– Using “motherkriffer” as an insult.

The tone and context around kriff indicate it’s meant to convey emphasis and emotion, just like real swearing. However, since kriff isn’t a real word, it allows writers more freedom to use profanity-style utterances in stories for younger audiences.

Is kriff considered a swear word?

Whether kriff is an actual swear word in the Star Wars universe or just a fictional expletive is up for debate. Here are some key points on both sides of the argument:

Arguments for kriff being a swear word:

– Kriff is often used in similar situations and tones as swearing in real life. The emotional intent seems to be profanity.
– Many Star Wars writers have started using kriff and “kriffing” instead of stronger curse words, implying it’s a replacement swear.
– Numerous Star Wars books and shows containing kriff are rated for young adult or mature audiences, suggesting kriff is seen as profanity.
– Some Star Wars characters react negatively to the use of kriff, as one might respond to being sworn at.

Arguments against kriff being a swear word:

– Kriff has no literal meaning besides being an exclamation, so it’s not truly an offensive word.
– The term kriff only exists in fictional Star Wars stories, not as part of any actual language.
– No Star Wars source has definitively identified kriff as a profane or vulgar word so far.
– Kriff allows younger audiences to be exposed to “swearing” without using real expletives.

There’s no definitive answer, as Star Wars creators have not directly addressed whether kriff is considered a swear word in-universe. But its usage in recent stories heavily implies it’s taking on that role.

What words are censored or banned in Star Wars?

The Star Wars franchise has generally tried to keep its language clean and avoid offensive terms. Here are some examples of words that seem to be implicitly banned or censored within Star Wars stories:

Religious profanity

Words and phrases like “goddamn”, “Jesus Christ”, “hell” etc. are never used, as Star Wars has its own in-universe deities and religions.

Racial slurs

No racial slurs from Earth appear in Star Wars, even in worlds with multiple species interacting. Made-up alien species names are sometimes used pejoratively, however.

Sexual and scatological terms

Strong profanity related to sex, anatomy, or bodily functions seems to be avoided in Star Wars stories. Milder terms like “damn” and “bastard” occasionally appear.

Earth profanity

Curse words specific to Earth languages don’t appear in Star Wars, like the f-word, c-word, etc. The franchise uses original expletives like “kriff” instead.

So while there may not be an official “no-fly list” of banned words in Star Wars, creators have developed unspoken rules about language. Making up original terms like kriff gives more creative freedom while still meeting audience expectations.

What real-world swear words have influenced fictional Star Wars curses?

Though Star Wars avoids using actual Earth profanity, some in-universe fictional curses seem clearly inspired by real swear words:


This expletive uttered by characters like Ezra Bridger is likely derived from “goddamn.” The two words sound similar and are used in similar frustrated or angry contexts.


One of the earliest Star Wars swear words, kark appears to be a stand-in for “f***”. It’s even used similarly, as in the phrase “What the kark?”


Dosh seems to take the place of “b***s***” – an expletive for nonsense or something stupid. Like other Star Wars swears, it conveys emphasis more than actual meaning.

“E chu ta”

In Huttese, e chu ta roughly translates to “f*** off”. It has the same dismissive, offensive tone as telling someone to f*** off in English.

While not direct one-to-one translations, these Star Wars curses clearly take inspiration from their real-world counterparts while allowing more family-friendly stories.


The made-up expletive “kriff” is increasingly being used like a real swear word in newer Star Wars media. While not technically a profanity, it allows writers to insert emotionally charged exclamations into stories for young audiences. Context clues and reactions suggest kriff conveys emphasis similarly to English profanity.

Star Wars generally avoids offensive real-world language, instead opting for original curses like kriff that capture the spirit of swearing without the same vulgarity. Some in-universe fictional expletives take inspiration from their English counterparts but give creators more freedom.

So while kriff and other pretend swears aren’t technically foul language, their intent within Star Wars is clearly to provide the same punch and emotion as real-world profanity.