Friday, April 6, 2012

F - The 'F' Word

Admit it. When you woke up today and thought to yourself  ‘hmn, ‘F’!’ The first word that came to your mind was the ‘F’ word.

And then, of course, you thought ‘oh no. I can’t write about that.’ At least, that’s what I thought this morning. But then I got to contemplating the ‘F’ word and its overwhelming magical powers.

The ‘F’ word can turn any normal angry exchange into a full-blown fight to the death.
It can demean any particular act.  Like swimming. - Sounds innocent enough, right?  But if you say ‘I’m going f*ing swimming.’ – suddenly swimming sounds like some badass activity, even if it’s in a kiddie pool.

It can change perception.

It can end relationships.

It can make you laugh.

It can make you cry.


And while contemplating all of this- I wondered, who the hell came up with this word? It feels like it must go back to the dawn of man.  It does kind of sound like a cave man having a hair ball, when you think about it. Yet those few consonants and syllables put together wield as much power as a whole page full of words and sentences.  And as someone who marvels at the power of words, I must admit the ‘F’ word has its place in our history, culture, and language.

When you think about it, words themselves aren’t good or bad-  like metal, wood, water, or any other brute material.

It’s how you use them that makes the difference.

How do you use the ‘F’ word?  Never or at whim?  Only for rare special occasions?  On purpose or by accident? 

43 comments:

Grover said...

I hardly ever use the 'F' word, probably because I never really heard it from friends or family while growing up.

'Bloody', on the other hand, gets used all the time in my house, probably because it's not as big and scary as the 'F' word.

Cristina said...

OMG I'm so lame, I so didn't even think of the F-word for today... humph! LOL

I don't use it often (anymore,) with two kids I try really hard to watch what I say.

Em-Musing said...

I use the 'F' word only when it flies out of my mouth on its own, because that's the ONly word that can describe what's just happened.

Mama J said...

I think the f word has its place.

At school during English classes, we were allowed to use the f word in writing and drama as long as it had a purpose and wasn't just used for the sake of swearing.

Leigh Ann said...

I mostly use it in emails with my CPs. :D

(Translation: where I feel most comfortable and worry least that people are going to think I'm a deplorable human being.)

It's funny - there was some swearing in my last MS - the "sh-" word and the "h-e-double-hockey sticks" words and the "D--n" word. There was one point, right at the end, when one character REALLY WANTED to call someone a "motherf---er" - and I just couldn't put it in there. It felt like it would take the book to a whole different swearing level or something.

Old Kitty said...

I think it's a great word for me to expel when I'm very stressed! LOL!! And I hold my hands up and admit to using it verbally almost all the time but seriously only when angered to beyond description! *Hides head in shame!!*.

I try not to use it in my writing though - only cos I believe it loses its impact if I use sprinkle it about liberally!

Take care
x

Anna Smith said...

I was just thinking the other day, who was it that decided this, and many others, are bad words! Great post :)

Universal Gibberish

Matthew MacNish said...

I always thought it came from "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge," but apparently that's myth.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true. I wonder how it got such a bad connotation.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

That scene from A Christmas Story is CLASSIC. Best use ever of the F word!

Anne Gallagher said...

My brother told me a long time ago it came from Fornication Under the Court of the King. Which with Matthew there is some truth to the myth. I'm not sure which King (of England) but it had to do with courtesans and their protection.

And I use it all the time. It's a great word and can be used in all kinds of ways.

Alicia C. said...

So true! I Almost wrote my post about this today! :) And I am horrible about using this, and other words...having worked in professional kitchens Foul Language (the Almost title of my post!) is a part of my vernacular.

Saffron Wine

jaybird said...

It was my co-workers adjective of choice, for years. It was used with such frequency and ferocity, it stopped being offensive after a while. Unfortunately, it's left me with a propensity to cuss like a sailor and not even realize I'm doing it. :(

Horst Peters said...

The "f" word doesn't get used very much by me anymore, but sometimes it's the only word that fully expresses my thoughts and feelings.

Have you ever listened to George Carlin's "F***" rant? It may even be on Youtube, but I don't know for sure

Elise VanCise said...

Great post :) The F-bomb is a powerful creature lol. I don't drop it often but when I do it's not frivolous. I think a lot of movies and books have used it so much a lot of the shock factor has worn off. Gratuitous F-words can be a real turn off for me. A well placed one is great has power to it but every other word is just crude.

For A to Z stop by Gladiator's Pen
http://gladiatorspen.blogspot.com :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I have to admit to swearing almost all the time. Not at work - if I swear at work people always comment they'd never have expected it from me.

It can be funny too - the opening of Four Weddings and a Funeral?

Theresa Milstein said...

Speaking of the "F" word, a student got in trouble for writing it in class yesterday. They were a day early for the challenge.

DL Hammons said...

I only bring the F word out for special occasions...and NEVER IN HATE! I just chuckle at those people who seem to use it in every sentence because it makes them look so desperate! :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I thought the same thing as Matt: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Makes sense, though.

I forget the novel, but the f-word was widely used in WWII, and since his was a WWII novel, he used the word fluently.

Then his publisher balked, and he had to substitute the word "fug" for everything.

- Eric

Cheyanne said...

This is a perfect blog post, as the F-word is one of my favorite words of all time. <3

I use it for everything. I agree, it's not the word itself, it's how it's used.

Tonja said...

Funny post. Love the picture.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A caveman hacking up a furball - interesting visual! If I use the word, it's an angry accident.

SA Larsenッ said...

It's usually muffled in my head. I think I stutter it. lol

cherie said...

I was wondering the same thing: Who came up with it anyway???

It's true though that a word only becomes bad when people make it so.

Love the Ralphie pic, btw. :)

JEM said...

Oh I love the F bomb. I'm getting to an age where no one I know says it anymore, but I stay strong (outside of work and family functions, of course). Also "suddenly swimming sounds like some badass activity" - SO TRUE! And hilarious.

M.J. Fifield said...

Oh, I use the F word all the time. And I do mean all the time. Except for when I'm at work. Then I switch to "frak." But I can't really help it. My father's a sailor. It's genetic.

Jack said...

I don't use the F word, but I know of people who do. Sometimes, depending on who's using it, it's funny (like George Carlin), but sometimes (like some of the mechanics I frequented in my younger days) it's a complete turn-off.

I'm finding nowadays Comedies are built around the word, but unlike Carlin, who spoke truth, the Comedies aren't that funny.

Great post! :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I think the word originally meant to plow a field, which makes sense with it's *real* definition. It's pretty rare that I use this word but I find I'm really annoyed with how much it is in movies because someone couldn't take a little more time being creative to think of other ways for the meaning to be conveyed.

Tracy Makara said...

I can remember being a teen. Back then, the F word was probably my favorite word because I loved the shock factor of it. Oh yes, I still use it to this day...just not as much as I did back then when it almost served as punctuation.

Angela Cothran said...

I really hate it. I hate that here in America people use it like a noun, verb, adverb, adjective...anything they want. It really grates on my nerves.

Stephsco said...

My husband's second highest goal (besides generally making sure I'm happy - aww, sweet) is to get me to say the F word. I just don't say it, hardly ever. He wants me to soooo badly. He mostly uses the F bomb in creative ways to express things for humorous reasons. And I always laugh. But I guess I'm a prude because I don't use it in my regular vocabularly.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

i used to never swear... but i've come more to the hermione feeling about words. fear of a word only increases fear of the thing itself. and what is scary about f***? (is it offensive to you?) nothing really. it's actually really fun to say. go ahead!

Claire Hennessy said...

I have to admit to having an inherrent 'potty mouth' as they say out here in PC land. I love this word but am trying really really hard not to say it anymore! I was just inappropriate and pissed people off LOL

Christine Rains said...

I rarely use it with a toddler in the house. I don't use it often in writing, either, even though I write for adults. It has its place, but there are so many other potent words out there too.

Donna Shields said...

When I'm mad. I've been trying so hard to watch it these days as I have my grandbaby living with me.

farawayeyes said...

The Queen Mother of all Swear Words. I think I've seen 'A Christmas Story' a few too many times.

Nancy Thompson said...

Well, I do sometimes have a potty mouth so I do use it. That started when I was in college. I use it when I'm pissed or shocked. I also use it in my writing, but only if it's appropriate for the character. I'm reading a book right now that's a love story of sorts and the author uses it all over the place. Kind of strange in that genre. But it is the way people speak these days. So why not?!

Carrie-Anne said...

I've never spoken it out loud (at least not in English), and have never written it out longhand either. I used to use four certain symbols in a row to denote the f word when I was writing, and had another chain of symbols for the s word. I had to ease into typing it gradually in 1999, and once I'd finally gotten over my fear of typing it out and seeing it written, I felt so powerful. Perhaps I went a bit overboard in the new few years in having my Atlantic City characters say it (and other expletives), but that's just the way those particular characters talk at that age, and those books are meant as a spoof and satire of modern-day preteens and teens who think they're so bad-ass and all grownup already.

One of the expletives my Russian characters use is a variation of the f word, but it sounds and looks so much fun in Russian that it's one of the words and phrases I've kept untranslated. One of the child characters even picks this certain word up from her mother, who finds it funny but later has a talk with her about how certain words aren't to be used around certain people or outside of certain contexts, particularly if you're not an adult.

Along These Lines ..... said...

Nope. When I woke up this morning, the word on my mind was F....ood.

Sarah Pearson said...

I don't use it on my blog, and only occasionally in my writing but I swear more often than I used to. Mainly because my beloved is an Essex boy and for him, it's part of normal vocabulary. It's kind of rubbed off on me a bit.

Mina Lobo said...

Lord, when *don't* I use it? Uh, well, at church I don't use it, but apart from that...And I seem to have infected nearly all of my co-workers, for which I do feel a bit of shame. But not very much, really. ;-)

Some Dark Romantic

ben268 said...

So true, such a versatile and useful word :D.

Jason Z. Christie said...

I actually took it out of my YA novel in an attempt to make it more "Wal-Mart Friendly". That's what I consider YA in the industry.

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