What the Fug

What The Fug

Fucking Brilliant. Fucked Up. Fuck Off. What the Fuck. For Fucks Sake. Fuck All. Fuck Me. Fuck About. Fancy a Fuck.


What a  fucking  word. As a verb, noun and interjection   it has a million uses. A  vivid history and a sea swept origin.

Banned by obscene publication laws in the US and UK it did not appear in dictionaries until 1965. First used in print by James Joyce in Ulysses in 1922. The book had to  be published by a small  press in Paris. Even literary tigers such as Hemingway and Mailer used “muck” and “fug” to get round the censor. A great literary joke is Tallulah Bankhead to Mailer-“You’re the one who doesn’t know how to spell fuck”.

The word broke out of its underground outlaw  status  during the Great War. Another consequence of the decline of authority after the  donkeys had led the lions  to  the hopeless carnage. It now dominates Anglo Saxon vocabulary as a versatile expression of exaggeration both positive and negative. As Protestants we have turned our backs on the rich imagery of the saint encrusted altar, ”Whore of   God” does not have the brutality of “Fucking Cunt”. Ouch. So we have amazingly flexible F word.

Now for those with more than 4 O levels the interesting bit. From what part of our  language does this remarkably healthy weed spring? There are those who look to the Middle English fyle meaning to fidget,to flirt. More likely the Middle(?) Dutch fokken-to thrust has some connection. Swedish has focka-to copulate and fock-penis.

From which the dear Norwegians( some who got to Dorset) get fukka-to copulate. The Norwegians in their colourful sweaters and their Viking long boats made a lasting impression on both the culture and language of Scotland and NE England.   There are hints of the word in medieval texts.

So there we have it. The Scandies make great furniture, beautiful people, Abba and  the greatest swear word of them all. Compared to which Shakespeare  is fuck all. For fucks sake  get  a life. Fuck did.

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One Response to What the Fug

  1. Does society needs to have prohibited words? Now that standups say “fuck” every ten minutes, they’re banned from saying “poof” and “spastic”.

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