No es una palabra bonita, pero sí conocida y ampliamente extendida. Su origen etimológico es incierto, ya que se trata de un término que ha estado más bien presente en el lenguaje hablado y no tanto en el escrito. Por ello, existen varias teorías en torno a la procedencia de la palabra ‘fuck’.
Según cuenta la leyenda más esparcida, durante la peste negra que tuvo lugar en la Edad Media, en la antigua Inglaterra se procedió a un estricto control de la población con el fin de minimizar el contagio. Las parejas requerían de un permiso para mantener relaciones sexuales y cuando deseaban tener un hijo debían solicitárselo al Rey, quien les entregaba una placa que debían colgar en la puerda de los hogares mientras se relacionaban. La placa decía ‘Fornication Under Consent of the King’ –F.U.C.K.-; es decir, ‘fornicación bajo el consentimiento del Rey’.
Entre las demás versiones que explican el origen de ‘fuck’ podemos encontrar la que sostiene que la mencionada placa era utilizada en los prostíbulos para demostrar su legalidad, o la que defiende que su significado es ‘Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’, que viene a decir algo así como ‘conocimiento de relación carnal forzada e ilegal’, y que la llevaban los convictos por violación sexual.
William Dunbar‘s 1503 poem “Brash of Wowing” includes the lines: “Yit be his feiris he wald haue fukkit: / Ye brek my hairt, my bony ane” (ll. 13–14).
John Florio‘s 1598 Italian-English dictionary, A Worlde of Wordes, included the term, along with several now-archaic, but then-vulgar synonyms, in this definition:
- Fottere: To jape, to sard, to fucke, to swive, to occupy.
Of these, “occupy” and “jape” still survive as verbs, though with less profane meanings, while “sard” was a descendant of the Anglo-Saxon verb seordan (or seorðan, <ON serða), to copulate; and “swive” had derived from earlier swīfan, to revolve i.e. to swivel (compare modern-day “screw”).
While Shakespeare never used the term explicitly; he hinted at it in comic scenes in a few plays. The Merry Wives of Windsor (IV.i) contains the expression focative case (seevocative case). In Henry V (IV.iv), Pistol threatens to firk (strike) a soldier, a euphemism for fuck.
Rise of modern usage
Though it appeared in John Ash‘s 1775 A New and Complete Dictionary, listed as “low” and “vulgar,” and appearing with several definitions, fuck did not appear in any widely-consulted 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. There is anecdotal evidence of its use during the American Civil War.
Most literally, to fuck is to copulate, but it is also used as a more general expletive or intensifier. Some instances of the word can be taken at face value, such as “Let’s fuck,” “I would fuck her/him,” or “He/she fucks.” Other uses are dysphemistic: The sexual connotation, usually connected to masturbation (in the case of “go fuck yourself” or “go fuck yourself in the ass”), is invoked to incite additional disgust, or express anger or outrage. For example, “Fuck that!”, “Fuck no!”, “Fuck off!”, or “Fuck you!” By itself, fuck is usually used as an exclamation, indicating surprise, pain, fear, disgust, disappointment, anger, or a sense of extreme elation. In this usage, there is no connection to the sexual meaning of the word implied, and is used purely for its “strength” as a vulgarity. Additionally, other uses are similarly vacuous; fuck (or variations such as the fuck or fucking) could be removed and leave a sentence of identical syntactical meaning. For example, rap music often uses the word fucking as an emphatic adjective (“I’m the fucking man”) for the word’s rhythmicproperties.
Insertion of the trochaic word fucking can also be used as an exercise for diagnosing the cadence of an English-language word. This is the use of fuck or more specifically fuckingas an infix, or more properly, a tmesis (see expletive infixation). For example, the word in-fucking-credible sounds acceptable to the English ear, and is in fairly common use, whileincred-fucking-ible would sound very clumsy (though, depending on the context, this might be perceived as a humorous improvisation of the word). Abso-fucking-lutely andmotherfucking are also common uses of fuck as an affix. While neither dysphemistic nor connected to the sexual connotations of the word, even the vacuous usages are considered offensive and gratuitous, and censored in some media; for example, “None of your fucking business!” or “Shut the fuck up!” A common insult is “Get fucked”, which in a non-offensive context would translate as “get stuffed.” The word is one of the few that has legitimate colloquial usage as a verb, adverb, adjective, command, conjunction,exclamatory, noun and pronoun.
In another usage, the word fucker is used as a term of endearment rather than antipathy. This usage is not uncommon; to say “you’re one smart fucker” is often a term of affection. However, because of its ambiguity and vulgarity, the word fucker in reference to another person can easily be misinterpreted. Though fuck can serve as a noun, the fucker form is used in a context that refers to an individual. Normally in these cases, if fuck is used instead of fucker, the sentence refers to the sexual ability of the subject (for example, “He’s a great fuck!”), although confusingly in a minority of occasions the word “fuck” can hold exactly the same meaning as fucker (e.g., when preceded by an adjective: “You’re a pretty clever fuck.”).
A more succinct example of the flexibility of the word is its use as almost every word in a sentence. In his book, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War,Paul Fussell, literary historian and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, recounted
Once, on a misty Scottish airfield, an airman was changing the magneto on the engine of a Wellington bomber. Suddenly his wrench slipped and he flung it on the grass and snarled, “Fuck! The fucking fucker’s fucked.” The bystanders were all quite well aware that he had stripped a bolt and skinned his knuckles.
The phrase “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!” is a memorable quote from the movie Blue Velvet from 1986, and is still used today as heard in Strapping Young Lad’s “You Suck” from their 2006 album The New Black. Another example is “Fuck the fucking fuckers!” Because of its vulgar status, the word fuck is usually restricted in mass media and barred from titles in the United States. In 2002, when the controversial French film Baise-moi (2000) was released in the US, its title was changed to Rape Me, rather than the literal Fuck Me, though this may have been for effect. Similarly, the Swedish film Fucking Åmål was retitled Show Me Love.
Online forums and public blogs may censor the word by use of automatic filters. For example, Fark.com replaces the word fuck with fark. Others replace the word with asterisks(****) to censor it (and other profanities) entirely. To avert these filters, many online posters will use the word fvck. This particular alteration is in common usage at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology, where students use it in reference to the inscriptions on MIT’s neoclassical buildings, in which the letter U is replaced by V. A typical coinage in this idiom would be “I’m fvcked by the Institvte.” (Other less common spellings to cheat a censor are “fück” and “phuck”.) Another way to bypass a word filter is to useleet: fuck becomes F(_) c|< or |=(_)Ck, for example.
The word fuck is a component of many acronyms, some of which—like SNAFU and FUBAR—date as far back as World War II. Many more recent coinages, such as the shorthand “WTF?” for “what the fuck?,” “STFU” for “shut the fuck up,” or “FML” for “fuck my life,” have been widely extant on the Internet, and may count as examples of memes. Many acronyms will also have an “F” or “MF” added to increase emphasis; for example, “OMG” (“oh my God“) becomes “OMFG” (“oh my fucking God”). Abbreviated versions of the word tend not to be considered as offensive. Despite the proclaimed vulgarity of the word, several comedians rely on fuck for comedic routines. George Carlin created several literary works based upon the word. Other comedians who use or used the word consistently in their routines include Billy Connolly, Denis Leary, Lewis Black, Andrew Dice Clay, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Sam Kinison.
Examples of more recent usage
The liberal usage of the word (and other vulgarisms) by certain artists (such as James Joyce, Henry Miller, Lenny Bruce, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, in their Derek and Clivepersonas) has led to the banning of their works and criminal charges of obscenity.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger featured the use of fuck you in print. First published in the United States in 1951, the novel remains controversial to this day due to its use of the word, standing at number 13 for the most banned books from 1990–2000 according to the American Library Association.
The first documented use of the word fuck on live British television (and probably on any television system) has been attributed to theatre critic Kenneth Tynan in 1965. Controversy also ensued in 1976 when Today host Bill Grundy interviewed the Sex Pistols, after guitarist Steve Jones called Grundy a “dirty fucker” and a “fucking rotter” (see EMI and the Grundy incident).
Use in politics
Fuck is not widely used in politics, and any use by notable politicians tends to produce controversy. Some events of this nature include:
- In 1965, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson said to the Greek ambassador Alexandros Matsas when he objected to American plans in Cyprus, “Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching the elephant they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good.”
- During the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Chicago mayor Richard Daley became so enraged by a speech from Abraham A. Ribicoff that he shouted “Fuck you!”Daley would later claim that he was shouting “you fink, you” and calling Ribicoff a “faker”. On the first night of this same convention, which was President Johnson’s birthday, a huge crowd of thousands of yippies, hippies and anti Vietnam war protesters was famously filmed while simultaneously roaring “Fuck you, Lyndon Johnson!”
- During debate in February 1971 in the Canadian House of Commons, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau mouthed the words “fuck off” under his breath (perhaps almost silently) at Conservative MP John Lundrigan, while Lundrigan made some comments about unemployment. Afterward, when asked by a television reporter what he had been thinking, Trudeau famously replied “What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you say ‘fuddle duddle‘ or something like that?”. “Fuddle duddle” consequently became a catchphrase in Canadian media associated with Trudeau.
- The first accepted modern use in the British House of Commons came in 1982 when Reg Race, Labour MP for Wood Green, referred to adverts placed in local newsagents byprostitutes which read “Phone them and fuck them.” Hansard, the full record of debates, printed “F*** them”, but even this euphemism was deprecated by the Speaker, George Thomas.
- Shortly after Tony Blair was elected Leader of the Labour Party, the then left-wing Labour MP George Galloway told a public meeting “I don’t give a fuck what Tony Blair thinks” when questioned about the party’s move to the right.
- In late 2003, US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry used the word fuck in an interview with Rolling Stone. Referring to his vote in favor of the resolution authorizingPresident George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq, Senator John Kerry stated, “I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, ‘I’m against everything’? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did.”
- In June 2004, during a heated exchange on the U.S. Senate floor about Halliburton‘s role in the reconstruction of Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney told Democratic senatorPatrick Leahy, “Go fuck yourself.” Coincidentally, Cheney’s outburst occurred on the same day that the Defense of Decency Act was passed in the Senate.
- In February 2006 (Australia), New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma, while awaiting the start of a Council of Australian Governments media conference in Canberra, was chatting to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks. Not realizing cameras were operating he was recorded as saying “Today? This fuckwit who’s the new CEO of the Cross City Tunnelhas … been saying what controversy? There is no controversy.” The exchange referred to the newly appointed CEO of a recently-opened toll road within Sydney.
- On January 31, 2007, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer angrily retorted to Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, “Listen, I’m a fucking steamroller, and I’ll roll over you and anybody else.” According to The New York Post, Spitzer confirmed the exchange the following day.
- In 2007, U.S. Senator John Cornyn objected to John McCain‘s perceived intrusion upon a Senate meeting on immigration, saying, “Wait a second here. I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.” McCain, known for his short temper, replied, “Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room.”
- In April 2007, New Zealand Education Minister Steve Maharey said “fuck you” to a fellow MP during parliamentary question time. He apologized shortly afterwards.
- In December 2008, recorded telephone conversations revealed Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich trying to “sell” an appointment to the Senate seat that Barack Obama resigned after being elected President. In the phone conversation, Blagojevich said in reference to his power to appoint a new senator, “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden and I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing.” In the recorded conversations, Blagojevich also referred to Obama as a “motherfucker” and repeatedly said “fuck him.” When speaking of the Obama administration’s request that Valerie Jarrett be appointed as Obama’s replacement, Blagojevich complained, “They’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.” Blagojevich also said Tribune Company ownership should be told to “fire those fuckers” in reference to Chicago Tribune editors critical of him.
- In December 2009 in Dáil Éireann, Paul Gogarty responded to heckles from Emmet Stagg with the outburst, “With all due respect, in the most unparliamentary language, fuck you, Deputy Stagg. Fuck you.” Gogarty immediately withdrew the remarks and later made a personal statement of apology. Reportage of the outburst quickly spread by media and the Internet. A subcommittee of the Dáil’s standing committee on procedure and privilege produced a 28-page report on the incident.
- On March 23, 2010, U.S. vice president Joe Biden whispered into President Barack Obama‘s ear, “This is a big fucking deal” when referring to the U.S. health care reform bill. His words were picked up by microphones and video.
- On May 3, 2010, Canadian senator Nancy Ruth advised representatives of women’s groups to “shut the fuck up on” access to abortion, in the run-up to the 36th G8 summit.
Use in marketing
In April 1997, clothing retailer French Connection began branding their clothes “fcuk” (usually written in lowercase). Though they insisted it was an acronym for French Connection United Kingdom, its similarity to the word “fuck” caused controversy. French Connection fully exploited this and produced an extremely popular range of t-shirts with messages such as “fcuk this”, “hot as fcuk”, “mile high fcuk”, “fcuk me”, “fcuk her”, “too busy to fcuk”, “fcuk football”, “fcuk fashion”, “fcuk fear”, “fcuk on the beach”, “the joy of fcuk”, etc.
In 2009, the European Union’s OHIM trade marks agency disallowed a German brewery to market a beer called “Fucking Hell”. They sued, and on 26 March 2010 got permission to market the beer. They claim that it is actually named after the Austrian village Fucking and the German term for light beer, hell.
The word “fuck” has been used in a number of band names, generally based on common compounds. Although most of these bands are in the aggressive, non-mainstream genres of punk and metal, others fall into the categories of more accessible forms of electronic rock and pop.[where?]
“Holy fuck” is a widely used example of ‘liturgical profanity’ used interjectionally to express anger, contempt, disgust, or amazement. Usually vulgar. Noted by academicsand used in literature, deriving its power from a combination of the sacred, holy, and the profane, fuck. An exclamation, similar to “holy shit!”, but more offensive, also used informally for sex within a religious context.[dubious – discuss]
The word fuck occurs sometimes in Chinese/English bilingual public notices in China as a machine translation of the Simplified Chinese character 干 (干) or Traditional Chinesecharacter 幹 (幹) which can also mean “dry” and “do,” e.g., “spread to fuck the fruit” for “loose dried fruit,” “fuck to adjust the area” for “dry seasonings section,” and “fuck the certain price of goods” for “dry foods price counter” The fault occurred in some versions of commonly-used Chinese to English machine translators, for example Jinshan (金山 = “Gold Mountain”) by Kingsoft.
The films Ulysses and I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (both 1967) are contenders for being the first film to use the word ‘fuck,’ although the word ‘fucking’ is clearly mouthed silently in the film Sink the Bismarck! (1960), and the title character says it in the cartoon Bosko’s Picture Show (1933). Since the U.S. adoption of the MPAA film rating system, use of the word has been accepted in R-rated movies, and under the older rules, use of the word in a sexual way would automatically cause the film to be given an R rating. Later changes could allow for a maximum of three non-sexual and strictly exclamatory uses of the word in PG-13 movies.
On August 19, 1969 the acid rock band Jefferson Airplane played their song We Can Be Together uncensored on The Dick Cavett Show, including the 60’s countercultural slogan “Up against the wall, motherfucker!” (which was also the name of an anarchist group at that time). This was the first appearance of the word on U.S. television.
In 1970, John Lennon successfully got the word past the censors on his song “Working Class Hero” with the lines “They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool, till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules” and “You think you’re so clever and classless and free, but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”
Since the 1970s, the use of the word “fuck” in R-rated movies has become so commonplace in mainstream American movies that it is rarely noticed by most audiences. Nonetheless, a few movies have made exceptional use of the word, to the point where such films as Fuck, Good Will Hunting, Casino, The Last Detail, Menace II Society, The Big Lebowski, The Departed, Scarface (1983), Pulp Fiction, Blue Velvet, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and Goodfellas as well as the HBO TV series The Sopranos are known for its extensive use. In the movie Meet the Parents, and its sequels Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers, the main character’s last name of “Focker” is a running joke. In the popular comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, it is the chief word, repeatedly uttered, during the opening five minutes. In HBO’s TV series The Wire, Season 1, Episode 4, entitled “Old Cases,” there is a long segment in which two homicide detectives, visiting a crime scene, communicate using only variations of the word “fuck”. To many, one of the most humorous tirades demonstrating various usages of the word appears in the comedy, Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), where Steve Martin expresses his dissatisfaction in his treatment by a rental car agency. The movie Student Bodies inserted a scene in the middle of the film to explain to audiences that movies with an R rating are more popular than those carrying a PG rating, which the movie could easily have had. He ends his address with, ” … the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say ‘Fuck you'”, at which time the MPAA R-rating banner appeared.
In several PG-rated movies, however, the word is used, mainly because at the time there was no PG-13 rating and the MPAA did not want to give the films R ratings; for instance,All the President’s Men (1976), where it is used seven times; The Kids Are Alright (1979), where it is used twice; and The Right Stuff (1983), where it is used five times. Spaceballs(1987) is one of at least four anomalies in that it was rated PG after the 1984 introduction of the PG-13 rating, yet it includes Dark Helmet‘s line, “‘Out of order’?! Fuck! Even in the future nothing works!” The second is Big (1988) which has the character of Billy asking Tom Hanks’ character, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” The third is Beetlejuice (1988) which has the character Betelgeuse kick over a fake tree and scream, “nice fucking model!” The fourth is 1988’s Caddyshack II where Randy Quaid‘s character shouts out he is going to break down a door with a “fucking baseball bat.”
In the 1999 film “Galaxy Quest,” Sigourney Weaver‘s character Gwen DeMarco is edited from the line “Well, fuck that!” to “Well, screw that!” The change was made to avoid a PG-13 rating, and the original line is obvious when reading her lips.
Films edited for broadcast use matching euphemisms so that lip synching will not be thrown off. One televised version of Quentin Tarantino‘s Jackie Brown, for instance, had the actors dub in the words frick, Nubian, and melon farmer for fuck, nigger, and motherfucker, respectively. In similarly dubbed versions of Die Hard and Die Hard 2, Bruce Willis‘ catchphrase “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” is replaced by “Yippee-ki-yay, Mister Falcon” or “Yippee-ki-yay, Kemo Sabe.” Similarly, the TV broadcast edit of Snakes on a Planehas Samuel L. Jackson saying “I have had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane,” emending two occurrences of motherfucking. In the film The Big Lebowski, John Goodman‘s character repeatedly yells, “This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass” while trashing a car. It was infamously censored on television as “This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps.” His character also repeatedly says to Steve Buscemi‘s character, “Shut the fuck up, Donny,” or “Donny, shut the fuck up.” In the television version, fuck is censored with hell.
Many stand-up comedians who perform for adult audiences make liberal use of the word fuck. While George Carlin‘s use of the word was an important part of his stage persona, other comedians (such as Andrew Dice Clay) have been accused of substituting vulgarity and offensiveness for genuine creativity through overuse of the word. Billy Connolly andLenny Bruce were pioneers of the use of the word in their shows for general audiences.
Recently, the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas‘ hit song “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” was only played on many radio stations in an edited version, “Don’t Mess With My Heart.”James Blunt‘s first major song, You’re Beautiful, featured the line “she could see from my face that I was fucking high” – this was censored to “flying high” for broadcasting purposes.
Freedom of expression
In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the mere public display of fuck is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and cannot be made a criminal offense. In 1968, Paul Robert Cohen had been convicted of “disturbing the peace” for wearing a jacket with “FUCK THE DRAFT” on it (in reference to conscription in the Vietnam War). The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals and overturned by the Supreme Court. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
In 1983, pornographer Larry Flynt, representing himself before the U.S. Supreme Court in a libel case, shouted, “Fuck this court!” during the proceedings, and then called the justices “nothing but eight assholes (referring to Justices Warren E. Burger, William J. Brennan, Jr., Byron White, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William Rehnquist, and John Paul Stevens) and a token cunt” (referring to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor). Chief Justice Warren E. Burger had him arrested for contempt of court, but the charge was later dismissed on a technicality.
In conversation or writing, reference to or use of the word fuck may be replaced by any of many alternative words or phrases, including “the F-word” or “the F-bomb” (a play on “A-bomb” and “H-bomb“), or simply, eff (as in “What the eff!” or “You effing fool!”). Also, there are many commonly used substitutes, such as flipping, frigging, fricking, freaking, feck,fudge or any of a number of similar sounding nonsense words. In print, there are alternatives such as, “F***”, “F––k”, etc.; or a string of non-alphanumeric characters, for example, “@$#*%!” and similar (especially favored in comic books).
A common replacement word used mainly on the Internet is “fsck“, derived from the name of the Unix file system checking utility. In Battlestar Galactica the bowdlerized form ‘Frack‘ (spelt ‘Frak‘ in the reimagined 2003 version) was used as a substitute for fuck. The word is sometimes jokingly used as a curse by fans, but its use in unrelated media is growing. Similarly, the word “frell” is used as a substitute on the TV show Farscape, and Dr. Elliot Reid (played by Sarah Chalke) has frequently used the substitute “frick” on the TV show Scrubs.
The phrase feck is a common substitute for fuck in Ireland, where it is considered to be less rude, though still not acceptable in many contexts. It has come into occasional use across the UK in the last 15 years as a result of its frequent use in the Father Ted comedy series. Although the word is considered to be equally as rude as fuck, its appearance inFather Ted and in a Magner’s Cider advert suggest the opposite.
The word firetruck is also used as an alternative, starting with “f” and ending with “-uck”.