Tag Archives: words

First recorded uses of the F word in English


“O D fuckin abbot.”

Why is it not surprising that this anonymous monk was describing his boss? Abbot John Burton had clearly gotten on on the man’s last nerve back in 1528. The adjective had to be floating around for him to think of using it as a note in the margin.

And in another sign of the times, the D was probably intended to be “damned.” What the stronger word was in the 16th century is not at all the same now.

The word as a verb goes back a while longer, with the first extant use in a poem dating to around 1475: Flen Flyys, which might be some heavy going in the original.

Even more delightfully, someone did a scholarly work on the subject. Melissa Mohr gives us Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearingfor a thorough discussion of this and other pungent terms.

I feel somewhat better for the number of times “fuck” or forms of it got into the WIP.  Especially since the fucking thing seems to be title-fluid. At least ONE word in the piece shows some stability.


Six Word Stories

Ernest Hemingway, that master of the deceptively simple, was challenged by his friends to produce an entire story in six words. My source does not record how long it took him to produce the right six words, but the effect stays with the reader a long, long time.

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

At this website, you can read offering from other writers and even submit an entry or two. Some are almost in the league of the master, and for some reason, “chilling” is a tone that comes up a lot. I’m off to pick the right six words.