Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Aug 30 02:27:46 UTC 2000

> ...
>         Have any of the lexicographers among us anything in their files to
> indicate when "foutre" or its derivitives, like "foutu" or "Je m'en
> foutisme" first found their way into respectable English language
> publications?  I notice that the OED has "Je m'en fous" from an
> Arnold Bennett novel of 1928.
The OED quotes Shakespeare, "Henry IV", 1597: "A foutre for the world
...". There is an earlier citation, but it seems to be in French.

[I note that there is a piece in the 'classical' piano repertoire -- by
Rossini? -- in which the score calls for the pianist to say "foutre" a
few times. I don't know just how offensive this would have been, there
and then.]

Question: What is the real origin of 'hoot' in the expression "I don't
give a hoot"?  (^_^)

-- Doug Wilson
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