A bit of word history

A few weeks ago the So Long As It’s Words blog published an informative and amusing post on the origin of the F-word in English. It’s more interesting than one might have thought.

The thing I found most interesting, however, is that at least in the 13th century there used to be a place near Nottingham called Ric Wyndfuck de Wodehous. I’m sure P.G. Wodehouse would have admired that name.

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A bit of word history — 2 Comments

  1. Without looking it up, I recall the word is related to the middle German “ficken” to strike or -ahem- poke. Fickin’ is thus another possible substitute such as farging or frackin’, or friggin. Or not, as my memory ain’t what it once was.

  2. The same point is made in one of the comments on the original post on the So Long As It’s Words blog, prompting this response from Kate (the author of said original post): “The modern German ‘ficken’ is possibly related to the various other Germanic words meaning ‘to strike’ which I mentioned in the post, although the OED is hesitant to concretely link them. It’s possible that all these words stem from the same Indo-European word and the meanings diverged.”

    “Farging,” I believe, originated with the rather odd 1984 gangster comedy Johnny Dangerously (Michael Keaton, Marilu Henner, Danny De Vito, et al), in which a character named Roman Maronie (Richard Dimitri) speaks with a particularly ludicrous accent. At one memorable point he addresses an anti-crime committee with the words, “I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes… like yourselves.” He later founded the Tea Party.

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