"MOTHER F*CKER" transparent? [was: Percentage point--missed word in dictionaries]

Jordan Rich funkmasterj at MAILANDNEWS.COM
Fri Dec 28 03:25:25 UTC 2001

At 03:59 PM 12/27/01 -0500, Thomas Paikeday wrote:
>Victoria Neufeldt wrote:
>When the phrase is applied to one's mother, I suppose the
>uncollocational semi-transparent idiomatic term "mother fucker" comes to
>mind. But it could be argued (English word composition being what it is)
>that the phrase doesn't make it transparent whether "mother" is the
>fucker or the fuckee. I suppose "m.f." is entered in most dictionaries
>of slang because of this nontransparency.

I don't know that the term M.F. is transparent.  Different definitions for
the term are: Roger Abrahams in Deep Down in the Jungle (Aldine de Gruyer:
Hawthorne, NY 1970: page 32) described it as anti-female term.  However,
Geneva Smitherman in Talkin And Testifyin (Wayne State University Press:
Detroit, MI: 1977: pages 60-62), while ascribing both positive and negative
definitions to the term, disagrees with the more literal meaning.  Cecil
Brown, in his Doctoral Dissertation: Stagolee From Shack Bully to Culture
Hero (University of California, Berkeley, 1993, pages: 82-83) disagrees
with Abrahams' definition of the term.  Also, it is a term to describe
Miles Davis fans.  I am sure there other such discussions, but these are
the ones that I recall.

Jordan Rich
Independent Scholar

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