"flying fuck"--something of negligible value

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Apr 18 23:41:25 UTC 2008

At 4/18/2008 07:31 PM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>I was assuming that the original was the full phrase FF at a (Galloping
>Turkey, Rolling Doughnut,   or some such), from which the phrase FF
>was clipped.
>Alliteration certainly seems like it was a factor, but the
>alternatives that I
>can think of do not seem as semantically apt, either (leaping? bounding?

It is suggestive that these early examples involve a target moving
quickly through space -- OED flying ppl.a. sense 4.a.  Is "flying"
transferred from the object of the F to the action?  (Given these
early citations, my hypothesis of "flying" as meaning "momentary" --
fast in time -- now seems less probable to me.)


>In a message dated 4/18/08 7:00:08 PM, Berson at ATT.NET writes:
> > At 4/18/2008 03:33 PM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
> > >I think we have now, right, Larry? "Take a flying fuck at a running
> > rooster"
> > >= "Go do something totally stupid"; "not worth a flying fuck" =
> "not worth
> > as
> > >much as a totally pointless and fruitless enterprise"
> >
> > While this hypothesis has probability for me, it still does not I
> > think educate us on why "flying".   The alliteration may be why it
> > caught on and persisted, but what did the "flying" mean to the
> > originators and early hearers?
> >
> > Joel
> >
>Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. used car
>listings at AOL Autos.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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