origin of curse words

mjd   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 06:25 GMT
Does anyone know the origins of words like "fuck" and "shit" etc? What are their roots and when did they take on vulgar connotations?
mjd   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 06:28 GMT
This is a legitimate question, although perhaps I should have been wiser given the maturity level of some of the people here.
cmhiv   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 06:46 GMT
Well, my educated guess would be:

SHIT- originated in Northern Germany, and then was brought over by the Angles, Saxons, etc. in the 5th-7th centuries AD. A common trend among Low German words from their High German-speaking neighbours is that the Low German words tend to end in a "t" whereas the High German words end in an "s." For example:

English = Low German/Dutch = High German
what = wat = was
that = dat = das
shit = -?- = scheisse

FUCK-a bit of a mystery as this word "popped" out of no where in the 15th century I think. There was an Old Frisian word (a lot of the Germanic languages for that matter) "fucken," but I am not sure on its exact meaning--it was not pleasant mind you.

Well, that is my go at it.
USA   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 08:18 GMT
FUCK

acronym for Fornication Under Consent of King

This acronym was placed on placards to be posted on doors of couples who had permission from the King to have sex.

Can't say if this is true but it is what I have heard.
USA   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 08:21 GMT
The word "crap" comes from the last name of the person who invented the toilet, Thomas Crapper. He was a Brit.
cmhiv   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 08:34 GMT
I have heard the same thing, but there are words in Old English and Dutch that would be great candidates for the origin of "fuck."
Clark   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 15:16 GMT
I have read that there was an Afrikan tribal leader named Mutafuk many centuries ago. He demanded that all of his subjects speak his name on several occasions throughout the day.

This repitition is carried on today with tens of millions of niggers grafting "mutherfuck" and it's derivatives into much of their everyday language.

Perhaps this is only a myth though.
hp20   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 15:25 GMT
i heard "fuck" was started by the puritans who would place it around the necks of those found have extra- or pre-marital sex:

"found using carnal knowledge"
calipso   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 16:12 GMT
Our modern "fuck" is akin to Dutch fokken to breed (cattle), Swedish dialect fokka to copulate (according to dictionaries).

There are many interesting tales of how "fuck" and "the middle finger" have came into use. It is my contention that the word "fuck" is the most versatile word in the English language. For example, how many usages can we find for the following simple sentence, slightly modified, to include the word fuck? :

Most people think that the French are cowards.
Most fucking people think that French are cowards.
Most people think that the French are fucking cowards.
Most people think that the fucking French are cowards.
Most people fucking think that the French are cowards.
FUCK - Most people think that the French are cowards.
Most people think that fucking the French are cowards.
Most people think that the French are cowardly fucks.
Most people think that the French are cowardly fuckers.
Most people think that the French fucks are cowards.
Most people think that the French are cowards.
Clark   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Besides its sexual connotation, this incredible word can be used to describe many situations:

Greetings: "How the fuck are you?"

Fraud: "I got fucked by the car dealer."

Dismay: "Oh, fuck it!"

Trouble: "Well, I guess I'm fucked now."

Aggression: "Fuck you!"

Disgust: "Fuck me."

Confusion: "What the fuck...?"

Difficulty: "I don't understand this fucking business."

Despair: "Fucked again."

Incompetence: "He fucks up everything."

Displeasure: "What the fuck is going on here?"

Lost: "Where the fuck are we?"

Disbelief: "Unfuckingbelievable!"

Retaliation: "Up your fucking ass!"

Confused Aggression: "How the fuck should I know?"

It can be used in an anatomical description - "He's a fucking asshole."

It can be used to tell time - "It's five fucking thirty."

It can be used in business - "How did I wind up with this fucking job?"

It can be used to command silence - "Shut the fuck up!"

It can be maternal - "You Motherfucker."

It can be political - "Fuck Bill Clinton"

And never forget General Custer's last words: "Where did all them fucking Indians come from?" Also, the famous last words of the Mayor of Hiroshima: "What the fuck was that?" And, last but not least, the immortal words of the Captain of the Titanic who said: "Where is all this fucking water coming from?" The mind fairly boggles at the many creative uses of the word! How can anyone be offended when you say "Fuck"? Use it frequently in your daily speech; it will add to you prestige.

Today....say to someone:

"Fuck you"
calipso   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 16:14 GMT
Originaly started in medival times in war(s) between English and French knights. The French knights suffered great losses in battle from English longbowmen who used 6' longbows made from 'yew' trees who launched 3' arrows with heavy tips that could pierce the French knight armor. The French king after suffering these losses threatened the cut off the middle fingers of all captured bowmen..evidently these bows were so hard to pull that the middle finger was essential.. after future battles the English bowmen would extend this finger in defiance and could be heard to yell "pluck yew"
I only heard this (as told) but was interested in hearing from this forums many intelligent contributors and possibly learning more of the details if true..dates,places of the war(battles).. but maybe I was wrong to come here for that..
Middle Finger   Sunday, April 06, 2003, 16:21 GMT
The "one-finger salute," or at any rate sexual gestures involving the middle finger, are thousands of years old. In Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution, Desmond Morris and colleagues note that the digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (infamous or indecent finger) is mentioned several times in the literature of ancient Rome. Turning to our vast classical library, we quickly turn up three references. Two are from the epigrammatist Martial: "Laugh loudly, Sextillus, when someone calls you a queen and put your middle finger out."

(The verse continues: "But you are no sodomite nor fornicator either, Sextillus, nor is Vetustina's hot mouth your fancy." Martial, and Roman poets in general, could be pretty out there, subject-matter-wise. Another verse begins: "You love to be sodomized, Papylus . . .")

In the other reference Martial writes that a certain party "points a finger, an indecent one, at" some other people. The historian Suetonius, writing about Augustus Caesar, says the emperor "expelled [the entertainer] Pylades . . . because when a spectator started to hiss, he called the attention of the whole audience to him with an obscene movement of his middle finger." Morris also claims that the mad emperor Caligula, as an insult, would extend his middle finger for supplicants to kiss.

It's not known whether one displayed the digitus infamis in the same manner that we (well, you) flip the bird today. In another of his books Morris describes a variety of sexual insults involving the middle finger, such as the "middle-finger down prod," the "middle-finger erect," etc., all of which are different from the classic middle-finger jerk. But let's not quibble. The point is, the middle-finger/phallus equation goes back way before the Titanic, the Battle of Agincourt, or probably even that time Sextillus cut off Pylades with his chariot. And I ain't kidding yew.