sources and flying fuck

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 18 19:30:32 UTC 2008

It is worth reemphasizing that the OED *is* online, though if one does not 
have an institutional affiliation, it is very expensive. And of 
course--unfortunately--RDAS is not online (nor complete). A "newbie" cannot be expected to 
necessarily have home access to either of these fine tools. (I own what volumes 
of RDAS have been published, but they don't travel very well, and I move around 
a lot).

A look at Google Books gives some useful information, though none as good as 
the OED's. The best is probably Wentworth and Flexner, which shows the 1940s 
as the earliest use (not too far off from the OED's 1938). Casell's recent 
Dictionary of Slang has 1950s. An interesting note is found in a recent book 
called A Lover's Tongue: A Merry Romp Through Love and Sex, which finds "flying 
fuck" in an 18th century poem; that use, though, is is not in the modern sense of 
"ridiculously impossible undertaking--hence something worthless," but more in 
the sense of The Mile High Club (but, it being the 18th century, the 
copulators were apparently on horseback), which the authors mistakenly take to be the 
20th century meaning.

In a message dated 4/18/08 12:47:11 PM, wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM writes:

> But Jesse's larger point is important, esp. for whippersnapper newbies who 
> may be dazzled, in some cases, by time-saving  high tech.  Online resources 
> are not yet a substitute for looking things up in print. This is especially 
> true for books and magazines written after the current magic cutoff date for 
> copyright of 1923.
>   JL

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