[Ads-l] to fuck

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 11 20:47:39 EST 2021


> On Jan 11, 2021, at 8:32 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> My reaction was the same as Jesse's.
> 
> It seemed pretty clear to me and my high-school associates in the mid-'60s
> that "suck" came from "So-and-so sucks!" i.e., performs homosexual
> fellatio. It was a familiar school lavatory scrawl.
> 
> 
> JL

Well, so we all inferred, but Ron Butters has argued extensively against that etymology in this space.

> 
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 5:35 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Here's one data point that might support the perspective of Jesse's young
>> informant. Intransitive "fuck" showed up on HBO's "Silicon Valley" about
>> five years ago -- the Russ Hanneman character liked to say, "This guy
>> fucks!"
>> 
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uMEE7eaaUA
>> 
>> It's easy to see how the sexual sense could give way to the general
>> approbative sense.
>> 
>> --Ben
>> 
>> On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 5:26 PM Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> 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
>> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list