hoot(er) (was: foutre)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 30 04:11:04 UTC 2000

At 11:37 AM -0400 8/30/00, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>Then is there any reason to doubt that 'hoot[er]' is an alteration
>of 'foutre'?
>Cf. "I don't give a f*ck.", "I don't know f*ck all about it.", etc.
>But is this speculative connection presented in the conventional
>references? I haven't seen it myself AFAIK.
No reason to doubt it, and no particular reason to believe it,
without further evidence.  As I mentioned in my last note, there are
hundreds of nouns that occur or have occurred in the frame
"X doesn't care/give a ___"
and their semantic and phonological range is impressively wide.
"Fout(re)" isn't particularly closer phonologically to "hoot" than,
say, "jot" is, and obscenities like 'fuck', 'shit', and 'damn'
constitute just one of many sources of such minima.  I'm not saying
your derivation is impossible, I'm just saying that there are
alternate explanations and, as far as I know, no particular evidence
for yours.  (Incidentally, the "fuck all" construction you cite isn't
relevant, unless you can find "I don't know {hoot(er) all/   foutre
all} about it" as well.)


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