The f-word

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Jun 4 01:25:50 UTC 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Jesse Sheidlower
> Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 11:38 AM
> Subject: Re: The f-word
> On Thu, Jun 03, 2004 at 02:33:26PM -0400, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > FWIW, I quote from Buck's "Selected Indo-European Synonyms":
> >
> > NE fuck ... quotable in print from the early 16th cent. ...  a much
> > earlier date is evidenced by the name John le Fucker quoted from 1278
> > A.D.
> This name has been exhaustively argued over--I could supply the
> references if they weren't buried away somewhere--but the bottom
> line is that it does not represent the same word as ModE _fuck_.

The "John le Fucker" reference first appears in Carl Buck's 1949
Indo-European dictionary. Buck does not supply a citation as to where he
found the name. No one has subsequently found the manuscript in which it is
alleged to have appeared.

If the citation is genuine and not an error, it is most likely a spelling
variant of "fulcher," meaning soldier.

A detailed discussion can be found in A.W. Read's "Milestones in The History
of English," PADS 86.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

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