Earliest Version of "Motherf*cker / Motherf*cking"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 23 14:31:42 UTC 2013

Despite Thomas Lowry's later scholarly misdeed, I see no serious reason to
discount the "1865-66" ex. of "motherf*cking" that I posted on Dec. 3,


On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Earliest Version of "Motherf*cker / Motherf*cking"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> (I use * in this message to try to avoid its being blocked by people's
> e-ma=
> il systems.)
> The earliest version of "motherf*cker" or "motherf*cking" in OED is from
> an=
>  1889 Texas judicial opinion, contributed by me (if you look at my
> Wikipedi=
> a biography, you would think this kind of thing is the main focus of my
> res=
> earches).  I have now found an earlier citation, again from those colorful
> =
> late-19th-century Texas courts:
> 1888 _Texas Court of Appeals Reports_ 25: 426 ff. (Lexis)  J. H. Battle
> tes=
> tified, for the State, that a very short while before the killing of
> Crisma=
> n, Herbert Matthewson opened a conversation with Crisman about the shot
> tha=
> t was understood to have been fired at Crisman a few nights before.
> Matthew=
> son soon left, and witness took a seat on the bench at the edge of the
> side=
> walk in front of Crisman's store. Crisman stepped to the edge of the
> sidewa=
> lk and placed his foot on the bench and entered into a conversation with
> wi=
> tness. Within a few minutes Taylor Ridge came along and asked Crisman to
> sh=
> ow him how near the would be assassin of a few nights before came to
> "getti=
> ng his meat." Crisman replied that he did not then have on the coat
> through=
>  which the bullet passed. Crisman then remarked that the man who fired
> that=
>  shot at him was a cowardly son of a bitch and would not dare to face him.
> =
> Ridge passed on up the street, and Crisman again remarked that whoever
> fire=
> d that shot at him was a "mammy f -- g son of a bitch."
> I will look the case up in the printed book and post a more precise
> citatio=
> n.
> Fred Shapiro
> Editor
> YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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