Not only a new word for me, but a new concept. Bunyip is, according to the OED, “The Aboriginal name of a fabulous monster inhabiting the rushy swamps and lagoons in the interior of Australia”; Cassell calls it [apparently wrongly—see comments] “the fabulous rainbow serpent that lives in pools,” while this website says:
This is a fierce creature from Australia. Amphibious by nature, it has the appearance of a giant seal or even a hippopotamus, It is greatly feared, for it enjoys the taste of human flesh, particularly the more tender flesh of women and children.
So the details are fuzzy, but the general idea is clear, and the word is very satisfying to say. Bunyip!
Even though my ability to swear is relatively unfettered, there are some words I just can’t say, and I rarely use foul language in writing – something to do with seeming permanence perhaps, plus the sense that, on paper, you irremediably imperious bunyip will be more effective than you fucking knob.
And she in turn links to a delightful History of Swearing (in the UK), which begins with 1900:
Shot by an anarchist while standing on a Brussels railway station, The Prince of Wales utters the immortal words, “Fuck it, I’ve taken a bullet.”
I hope I can exhibit similar sangfroid should the unfortunate occasion arise. (You know the translation of Voici l’anglais avec son sangfroid habituel? “Here comes the Englishman with his usual bloody cold.”)