Monday, October 11, 2004

Say what? - Fuck

Fuck is one of the strongest and most controversial vulgarisms in the English language, invariably considered offensive and unacceptable in polite situations. It is, however, rather common in daily use, as well as in popular, or vulgar, late 20th and early 21st century culture.

The earliest reference appears to be the name "John Le Fucker", which John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins dates to 1278. What John did to earn this name is unknown. Fuck did not appear in any dictionary of the English language from 1795 to 1965. Its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary (along with the word cunt) was in 1972.

In 1900, the Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales said, "Fuck it, I've taken a bullet" when he was shot by an anarchist while standing on a Brussels railway station. The liberal usage of the word (and other vulgarisms) by certain artists (such as James Joyce, Henry Miller, and Lenny Bruce) has led to the banning of their works and criminal charges of obscenity.

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