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a-word (plural a-words)

  1. (euphemistic) The word ass or arse, asshole or arsehole.
  2. (euphemistic, Christianity) The word alleluia, typically in the context of Lent since the Lenten liturgies of various Christian churches omit the alleluia.
    • 2008, Mary Poplin, Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service, →ISBN, page 71:
      It was Lent; “alleluia” is not sung in the Catholic church during Lent. I told her Babloo liked songs with the “A-word.”
    • 2009, Melinda A. Quivik, Serving the Word, →ISBN, page 43:
      My congregation is frustrated because we can’t sing carols during Advent, and now we can’t say the A-word [Alleluia] during Lent.
    • 2022 April 1, Keith Dorwick, “Deeper and deeper into Lenten quiet”, in Peninsula Daily News[1]:
      What we give up — the A-word. [] I added what we call the A-word in Lent, since we stop saying “a-l-l-e-l-u-i-a” for this season (Shhhh!).
  3. Any word beginning with a that is not normally taboo but is considered (often humorously) to be so in the given context.
    • 2010, Ken Siri, “Diagnosis and Evaluation—Formation”, in 1,001 Tips for the Parents of Autistic Boys, page 17:
      Specialists sometimes choose PDD-NOS instead of an autism diagnosis because they are afraid that the “a-word” frightens patients.

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