The F Word

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 27 12:34:49 UTC 2001

On Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Baker, John wrote:

>         The same earthy court gives us an antedating of mother-fucking,
> which The F Word takes back only to 1933.  This is from the case of Sunday
> v. State, 77 Tex. Crim. 26, 177 S.W. 97 (May 26, 1915), in an opinion by
> Judge Harper:

This is a truly notable antedating, and (together with the 1846
"fuck") constitutes perhaps the best linguistic result
obtained from the legal databases other than the 1793 usage of
"politically correct."  But there are even earlier uses of
"mother-fucking" in Westlaw and Lexis.  The earliest on Lexis is the
following 1897 occurrence:

The deceased called the defendant a mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch just
preceeding the fatal shot.
        Fitzpatrick v. State, 37 Tex. Crim. 20, 38 S.W. 806 (1897)

The page numbers above are those of the beginning of the case.  The page
numbers of the "mother-fucking" citation are not clear from Lexis; I will
check these later today in the books and post further details.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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