A Short History of the Word 'Fuck'
Fuck. It’s the nation’s favourite swear word, our go-to sentence filler, and a word that really does have a thousand different meanings, but how the fuck did ‘fuck’ get such a bad rap? I mean, you wouldn’t be sending your gran one of the “Man The Fuck Up #Getwellsoon” rude get well soon cards, or one of the “You’re the Fucking Best” rude thank you cards available on our cardshit.com website now would you? But why the fuck not?
One of the most used swear words online, the word ‘fuck’ was rarely seen in print for centuries and is more often than not signified by being spelt out in code, using the term ‘the f-word’ or even being described as ‘the f-bomb’, but why is this word so taboo?
You may have heard that the word ‘fuck’ was once an acronym for ‘Fornication Under the Command of the King’, but if you believe that then you’re a fucking idiot. The story goes that in the olden days there was so much disease and sickness that couples had to get royal consent before they were allowed to breed, but there’s no proof for this. By the looks of things, we should maybe bring that law back and put Jeremy Kyle out of a job.
Once a simple word of Germanic origin, the word ‘fuck’ actually originally came from the word fikken meaning ‘to strike’, but it has also been linked to the Dutch fokken which means ‘to breed’, the Norwegian fukka which means ‘to copulate’ and the Swedish focka which also means ‘to strike’, or fock which means ‘penis’. So, you can see why the humble ‘fuck’ has so many meanings today now can’t you?
While early instances of the word ‘fuck’ mostly just meant ‘to hit’ or ‘to strike’, the most common Middle English word for ‘getting it on with’ was actually ‘swive’ which we have altered into the modern-day word ‘swivel’, as in ‘go swivel on it’. Knowing this makes the fact that the word ‘fuck’ was quite commonly used in surnames in the past a little less interesting, but it’s still fun to think that you would be addressing your get well cards and thank you cards to the likes of “Mr Wyndfuck”, “Mr Le Fucker” or “Mr Fuckbegger”. No matter what the meaning, how un-fucking-lucky do you have to be to be born with a name like that?
Not just a surname, the word ‘fuck’ was once part of the name for a kestrel or kestrel type bird, so (unbelievably) you could often see a ‘Windfucker’ flying overhead. This all makes our rude get well cards seem a little tame now, right?
The beauty of the word ‘fuck’ is that it can be used as either a verb or noun, as a joyous exclamation or a cry of pain, as a sign of anger or just as a filler for when you can’t remember the real word. You could literally say the sentence, “What the fuck are you fucking doing, you fucking fuck” and everyone would understand exactly what you’re saying. That’s why we fucking love it so fucking much.