More F Words

Baker, John JBaker at STRADLEY.COM
Tue Mar 27 22:53:14 UTC 2001

        It's odd to see the evident disparities between the printed books
and the online Westlaw versions of these older cases.  The language Fred
quotes below isn't in the Westlaw version of this case at all.  I guess it
shows that online services may be useful search tools, but you ultimately
have to go back to the original text.

        Here are some additional passages that I thought were interesting.
First, another case from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals:  Knight v.
State, 49 S.W. 383 (1899).  The sentiment is similar to the 1846 Missouri

        >>The allegation in the information is that appellant said "that he
fucked said Annie Gilbert near her house, between the house and the lot."
It is objected to this that the term used is not a word to be found in our
dictionaries, and, without an innuendo to give point to its meaning, is not
per se slanderous.  While it is true the word is not to be found in
Webster's or the Century Dictionary, yet it is a word in common use, and has
a well-understood meaning, implying the act of copulation between the sexes.
We do not think it required an explanatory or innuendo averment to make its
meaning clear.<<

        An earlier Texas case, from the Texas Court of Appeals, uses the
phrase "negro f--k--ng."  I don't have The F Word in front of me and don't
know if it's an antedating.  In this case, the court held that there indeed
were insulting words used toward female relatives.  The cite is Orman v.
State, 22 Tex. App. 604, 614, 3 S.W. 468, 470 (1886):

        >>[T]hat appellant's mother and sister were negro f--k--ng bitches,
and that they had in this way accumulated and made all the property that
appellant had.<<

        Unrelated to these, but possibly of interest in its own right, is
the term "goose-horn," or bawdy house.  It is referred to in in Missouri
case, Dyer v. Morris, 4 Mo. 214 (Aug. Term 1835), where the term seemed to
be unfamiliar to the court:

        >>"Rebecca Dyer's daughter has gone down the river with two whores;
Mrs. Dyer says she is gone to see her uncle--but it is generally believed by
those persons who are acquainted with the family, that she is gone with the
two women (the two whores aforesaid, meaning to the "goose-horn"--a bawdy
house, or house of ill-fame (meaning) at St. Louis." . . .

        [W]ho can understand that the pleader when he states that the
defendant charged that the plaintiff went with two whores to the
"goose-horn" at St. Louis, means also to inform us that a "goose-horn" is a
bawdy-house, or house of ill-fame; for it is certain that those two words
"goose-horn," do not of themselves import as much . . . .<<

John Baker

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fred Shapiro [SMTP:fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 2:18 PM
> Subject:      Mother F---ing in 1889
> Here is a still earlier citation, again verified from the book:
> 1889 _Texas Court of Appeals Reports_ (1890) 28: 206  According to Sumner,
> he spoke of defendant as "that God damned lying, thieving son-of-a-bitch;"
> accroding to Bates,a s "that God damned lying, cow-thieving
> son-of-a-bitch, Marshall Levy," and according to McKinney, as "that God
> damned mother-f---king, bastardly son-of-a-bitch!"
> 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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