lotus

previous page: 93 "freeway" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)
  
page up: English Usage FAQ
  
next page: 95 "golf" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)

94 "fuck" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)




Description

This article is from the alt.usage.english FAQ, by Mark Israel misrael@scripps.edu with numerous contributions by others.

94 "fuck" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)


"Fuck" does NOT stand for "for unlawful carnal knowledge" or
"fornication under consent of the king". It is not an acronym for
anything at all.

It is a very old word, recorded in English since the 15th
century (few acronyms predate the 20th century), with cognates
in other Germanic languages. The Random House Historical
Dictionary of American Slang (Random House, 1994, ISBN
0-394-54427-7) cites Middle Dutch "fokken" = "to thrust, copulate
with"; Norwegian dialect "fukka" = "to copulate"; and Swedish
dialect "focka" = "to strike, push, copulate" and "fock" = "penis".
Although German "ficken" may enter the picture somehow, it is
problematic in having e-grade, or umlaut, where all the others have
o-grade or zero-grade of the vowel.

AHD1, following Pokorny, derived "feud", "fey", "fickle", "foe",
and "fuck" from an Indo-European root "*peig2" = "hostile"; but
AHD2 and AHD3 have dropped this connection for "fuck" and give no
pre-Germanic etymon for it. Eric Partridge, in the 7th edition of
"Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" (Macmillan, 1970),
said that "fuck" "almost certainly" comes from the Indo-European
root "*peuk-" = "to prick" (which is the source of the English words
"compunction", "expunge", "impugn", "poignant", "point", "pounce",
"pugilist", "punctuate", "puncture", "pungent", and "pygmy").
Robert Claiborne, in "The Roots of English: A Reader's Handbook of
Word Origin" (Times, 1989) agrees that this is "probably" the
etymon. Problems with such theories include a distribution that
suggests a North-Sea Germanic areal form rather than an inherited
one; the murkiness of the phonetic relations; and the fact that no
alleged cognate outside Germanic has sexual connotations.

 

Continue to:













TOP
previous page: 93 "freeway" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)
  
page up: English Usage FAQ
  
next page: 95 "golf" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)