@mail.com> wrote in message
> "F Cameron Sipston" <sipston_...
@my-deja.com> wrote in message
> > Hi there,
> > I was always under the impression the word fuck is of Anglo-Saxon
> > origin and, as such, predates any legal system, certainly any
> > documented one.
> According to dictionary.com, it has a Latin root and is used in a poem
written prior to 1500.
According to m-w.com:
Etymology: akin to Dutch fokken to breed (cattle), Swedish dialect fokka to
Yet, according to dictionary.com (citing AH4):
[Middle English, attested in pseudo-Latin fuccant, (they) fuck, deciphered
Word History: The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered
shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than
in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its
unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English
sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of
Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys," from the first words of
its opening line, "Flen, flyys, and freris," that is, "fleas, flies, and
friars." The line that contains fuck reads "Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov
xxkxzt pg ifmk." The Latin words "Non sunt in coeli, quia," mean "they [the
friars] are not in heaven, since." The code "gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk" is
easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet,
keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and
now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv
was used for w. This yields "fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli."
The whole thus reads in translation: "They are not in heaven because they
fuck wives of Ely [a town near Cambridge]."
Like the original poster, I always thought f..k had a Germanic root due to
similarity of the English f..k with its counterparts in modern Germanic
languages. However, in modern romance languiages, the f-word also starts
with the letter 'f'. Very interesting indeed ...
I don't know why there is a difference in etymologies cited in these two
dictionaries. Perhaps someone more etymologically inclined could inform us
on the vaaries of the science of etymology?.
Btw, for those with OED, what does that veritable tomb have to say on the
etymology of f..k?
> > Which petty moralist, then, re-acrimonised it as "Full Unlawful Carnal
> > Knowledge"? and when, and how widespread is the misconception that
> > this word, literally, refers to anything but good clean fun?
This is what I would (normally) refer to as a "folk-etymology" -- akin to an
old-wives' tale. BTW I had always known it as 'FELONIOUS unlawful carnal
knowledge'.This so-called etymology is not accord with the 'real'
etymologies listed in the dictionaries, but (at first blush) I would have
thought it someone's attempt at being humorous. With a good dictionary
(perhaps OED -- which I don't have) it would be useful to find the first
occurrence of the phrase "carnal knowledge" and the word "felonious" and see
if either post-dates the first occurrence of f..k.
In Google, I found the following link on the 'Felonious U.C.K.' etymology.
Unfortunately the link was dead when I tried it, but you (or someone else in
aue) might have more luck with it than I.
The brief description in google mentions: "English bobbies would abbreviate
on their reports: fuck for felonious unlawful carnal knowledge".
If this is true, then it need not be an old-wives' tale at all. If what I
read is true, then it would seem we are dealing with two different
phenomena. The first is the origin of the word f..k (around 1500 -- whether
it be Latinate or Germanic). The second is some considerable time later.
English Bobbies (and remember the Metropolitan Police Force wasn't founded
until 1829) -- who would have been well aware of the meaning of f..k -- used
the letters as an abbreviation (albeit humorous) for the criminal offence
(or what the bobbies might have humorously called a similar offence) of
'Felonious Unlawful Carnal Knowledge' when writing in their notebooks etc.
This is a plausible explanation ... but unfortunately I cannot tell you if
it's true or not. I will defer at this point to all the learned members of
for those interested in sending me something other than spiced ham, my real
address is dtomkinsATpncDOTcomDOTau