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> From: Eugene Oh <[log in to unmask]>
> 
> 2009/6/25 Jim Henry 
> 
> >
> > My early artlang Thaurilarau, spoken by a culture which valued memory
> > very highly, used the word "mega" (forgetful) as an expletive

> Not to question your conculture, but a general ponder on how easy it is for
> a lack of a supposedly valued attribute to become an epithet for insults.

I'd say rather easily.

There are many epithets in English which amount to calling someone stupid, i.e., lacking the valued attribute of intelligence (moron/maroon, idiot, numbskull, ignoramus), as well as things like "that's so gay" (lacking either manliness [see also: pussy, sissy, etc.] or social normalcy, depending on who's using it) or "that's so lame," plus the use of a certain six-letter word for blacks that is sometimes used to refer to anyone of very low social standing regardless of race. 

Cross-linguistically: One of the more common exclamations in Japanese is "Baka!", which also means "stupid."

As to the specific example, "flighty" is a common enough English insult which implies forgetfulness. While I'm not aware of it being used as a more general expletive ("My flighty car caused me to miss my flighty appointment!"), I could see a culture where it might be used that way. Stranger things have happened (such as the lack of being right-handed being used to mean "evil" [sinister] or "awkward" [gauche vs adroit/dextrous], or the lack of having married parents at birth being used as a very common English obscenity).

-- Paul