On The Usage Of The F-Word
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On The Usage Of The F-Word

Ever wonder about the origin of the f-word? Read to find out.

On The Usage Of The F-Word
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Merriam-Webster defines ‘fuck’ as both a noun and verb; ‘fuck’ is the act of copulation and a form of vulgar behavior, to engage with someone unfairly or harshly. What caused this word to identify itself with this definition? Well, for that we would have to go back in time a couple centuries.

Contrary to popular belief, ‘fuck’ was not originated in English-speaking countries. In Old German, where the word is originally derived from, it means ‘to strike or penetrate' (ficken/fucken). The Dutch used it when talking about cattle breeding (fokken) and the Swedish used to refer to sexual intercourse (fókka). This word was quite acceptable during that time until the English came and fucked that up.

In 1598, John Florio recorded the word in A Worlde of Wordes, a dictionary published in London, England. The word faced a lot of backlash, however, because of its uncouth connotations and sexually explicit ideology. In the 18th century, the vulgar word was banned from the Oxford English Dictionary. At one time, the US and England condemned it so much that they actually declared it illegal to print; from 1795 to 1965 no ‘fucks’ were published on paper, and, if they were, then the publications were reviled and banned as obscene.

That brings us to today. ‘Fuck’ may only have two or three formal definitions, but its social uses are unlimited; ‘Fuck’ is much more than a noun and a verb. Many people use it as an adjective: “fucked up” and “fucking [insert noun here]”. Through this usage, you can complain and describe. ‘Fucked up’ implies an intoxicated mind, and the latter is an intense description of a person, place, or thing. Human expression is the most important when saying the f-word, as it can give the listener some helpful context. Another, slightly less popular, way is to insert it in gerund form in the middle of adjectives: “un-fucking-believable,” “abso-fucking-tutely,” and “fan-fucking-tastic”. This emphasizes the descriptor; I personally would never use this, but hey, you have options.

The question remains: can you give a fuck anytime, anywhere? The answer is a reluctant no. The number of fucks we can give in the 21st century is almost unlimited, we can give a fuck verbally, in print, and in music, but in certain situations, like on the radio and on broadcast television networks, our fucks are not welcome.

Moral of this story? Keep your fucks to yourself at all times, but, if you’re going to give one, do it responsibly.
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