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Hey, you blankety-blank! How in the world did blankety-blank end up as a euphemism for a whole range of taboo words? It goes back to the nineteenth century, when even words like damned and hell could only appear in upstanding publications when bowdlerized with dashes. Those printed dashes in the place of words or letters were called blanks , so it was a funny way to euphemize your speech by verbally inserting blanks where the naughty words would go. Blank works as a euphemism for a punchy monosyllable.