Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Return of the WOLF & Dissecting the Eff Word

Those of you who have been following me for awhile may remember the Wednesday WOLF (Word Origins from Left Field). I'm ushering it back in... with a bang.

I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF (oh, how clever is she? She made an acronym out of her agency's name!) Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.

Most of us say it every now and then. I know I did when I stepped on a rake and hit myself in the face (yes, really). The "F word" is a very satisfying way to get all that crap out of your head and into the atmosphere. There are two common misconceptions about the origin of that particular four-letter word, as luck would have it for the WOLF, they both involve acronyms.

Fornication                                                              For
Under                                    OR                             Unlawful
Consent of the                                                         Carnal
King                                                                        Knowledge

The 1st incorrect acronym has been tied to a variety of different logic-based arguments, from the concept that invading soldiers needed "permission" to rape women (because it was considered sex out of wedlock, not because, you know, it's rape) and the king could grant them this. Whether or not it was called a Writ of F#$& is unclear. Another take on this is that wedded couples had to have the permission of the king to have a baby, and so would apply for permission to f@#$. Because kings took the time to do that kind of thing, you know.

The 2nd incorrect acronym is usually referred to as a means of judicial punishment for adulterers and rapists (yes, in this version rape is actually a bad thing). It has also been said that soldiers were accused of the crime of f%#ing when they were caught with each other.

And while all this carries just enough glimmer of truth to be generally accepted as true, it simply isn't.

But that doesn't mean there weren't people tossing out the F bomb back in the middle ages. They were. And they used it the same way we do. The eff word is actually a very old word, so when you think you're being all cutting edge and pushing the envelope when you use it, really you're just rehashing something one of your 15th century ancestors might have said.

Apparently it does the trick pretty well because we've been using it since then.

The Random House Dictionary of Historical Slang cites Middle Dutch fokken = "to thrust; copulate with" (say it with a Dutch accent and you'll see), Norwegian dialect fukka = "to copulate with," Swedish dialect focka = "to strike, push; copulate with."

So amaze your friends at your next party by whipping out the Random House Dictionary of Historical Slang. I know that's how I roll.

Are there any words or phrases you want to know the origin of? Ask me! If I don't know, I'll find out. 

5 comments:

prerna pickett said...

that's actually really fascinating. I've always wanted to know where the eff word came from. Thanks for explaining it!

Darke Conteur said...

I always thought it was the second one. Oh, and I'm told fukka in Portuguese means knife.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Prema - thanks for stopping in, glad you liked it.

Darke - Maybe it amounts to the same thing?

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Great post. I always believed the first one. Now I need to go buy that dictionary...cause that is how I roll too!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Elizabeth - We should party :)