[Ads-l] to fuck

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Jan 11 17:26:07 EST 2021


A 21-year-old informant told me unhesitatingly that this derives from expressions like _he fucks_ 'he has frequent sexual intercourse', used in an approving way, i.e. 'he is cool, he is knowledgeable or experienced'. This informant said further, and unprompted, that this is also used identically of women, i.e. _she fucks_, also used positively, with no suggestion of disapproval for a woman's sexual behavior.

When I first heard the positive _fuck_ we're discussing, I assumed it was of a family with words like _rock_ and _bang_, as Ben said, and I'm not claiming that my informant is correct about its semantic development; I'm just relating what a user of this form thinks.

Separately, I'd mention the use of positive _fuck with_ 'to associate with; (hence) to like, to appreciate'. In a previous (offlist) discussion with Ben Zimmer he pointed me to the Wiktionary page, which has evidence for this from 2005 onwards:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fuck_with

Jesse Sheidlower

On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 04:59:30PM -0500, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> It should be noted that "fuck" is following a pattern of intransitive verbs
> evidently modeled on "rock" -- see OED3 sense 10b for "rock, v.1" ("Of
> popular music: to possess a fast, vigorous rhythm with a strong beat; to
> exhibit the energy and drive characteristic of such music") and 10d ("To be
> full of energy, life, and excitement; to be excellent"). Other forceful
> verbs that fit the pattern these days are "bang," "slap," "whip," and
> "kick" -- you can find many examples of the form "This/that song slaps."
> ("Whip/kick" could be thought of as short for "whip/kick ass.")
> 
> Searching on Twitter readily uncovers many creative variations on the
> theme, e.g. this tweet from today:
> 
> https://twitter.com/jeanlucpeakhard/status/1348748442865074181
> i got no real opinion on lana del rey cause, i mean i'm not a gay guy, but
> "video games" fucks. that song GETS laid. that's all i got.
> 
> --bgz
> 
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 12:10 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
> > Just remember it took only 1,500 years for English to get this far!
> >
> > Think of the next 1,500!
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 11:48 AM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > So we have the antonymy between intransitive “fuck” and intransitive
> > > “suck” (on the relevant figurative senses) and the antilogy/enantionymy
> > of
> > > “fuck” itself, between the pejorative transitive imperative (“Fuck that
> > > song!”) and the ameliorative intransitive (“That song fucks!”).  Is this
> > a
> > > great language or what.
> > >
> > > LH
> > >
> > > > On Jan 11, 2021, at 3:33 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > A quick Twitter search reveals countless examples of "this/that song
> > > fucks
> > > > (so hard)." Earliest I see is from 2013:
> > > >
> > > > https://twitter.com/_TheLeader/status/366810062347452416
> > > > @LadyGaga that song is so fucking awesome, pounding beats, this song
> > > fucks
> > > > so hard!
> > > > 2:35 AM · Aug 12, 2013
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 2:44 AM Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> How reliable is a sole example from a humorous program?
> > > >>
> > > >> MAM
> > > >>
> > > >> On Sun, Jan 10, 2021, 7:50 AM Jonathan Lighter <
> > wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> > > >> wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >>> 'To be very pleasing.'  Ant.: suck.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> 2020 _Last Week Tonight_ (HBO TV) (March 1): That song fucks! That
> > song
> > > >>> fucks so hard!
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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