Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Sep 25 14:48:59 UTC 2007

My "fuck over" story is from Fayetteville, NC in June 1984. Three of us,
ROTC cadets at Fort Bragg for the summer, were eating in a pizza parlor and
chatting up the waitress, who had just enlisted in the Army and was
interested in finding out about what she should expect. One of us, Jack, a
very good-looking guy had this exchange with her:

Jack: "I was going to go to airborne school but the colonel fucked me over."
Waitress: "He did what?!"
Jack: "He wouldn't let me go. He doesn't like me."
Waitress: "Oh. I never heard that expression before."
[some time passes]
Waitress: "Jack, if we meet later on at Ft. Sam Houston and you're an
officer and I'm enlisted, would you fuck me over?
Jack: "No. I'd never do that."
Waitress: "Please?"

Needless to say, Jack got her phone number while Sean and I stared, mouths

All of us were white. The three of us cadets were in college in eastern
Pennsylvania and I think all natives of New Jersey. The waitress was a
Fayetteville native (as far as I know).

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Dennis Preston
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:10 AM
Subject: Re: Finally!

I am a 'fuck over' speaker since the mid to late 1940's (which does
not at all challenge its perhaps earlier greater frequency in the
AfrAmer community). But if I had been in Wlson's barracks, I would
not have freaked.

I do not accept "fuck over him" any more than I would accept "looked
over him" (for eyeball, investigate, assess). "Fuck over N" or "fuck
N over" are both OK by me; It's the pronoun that fucks up it.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject:      Re: Finally!
>What Jon said.
>As for my claim that there's a relationship to race, "fuck over" has
>been a BE street (and, in some households, a home) colloquialism that
>I've been familiar with since the beginning of time. But this, in my
>experience, is not the case among white speakers. As an example the
>racial bit, in 1960, I once used the term in the barracks at the Army
>Language School. I asked, "Have you guys heard about the way that the
>First shirt fucked over Lupow?" And my barracks-mates, all of whom
>were white (during the time that I was at the Language School, among
>approximately 400 students in the Russian Division, there were only
>two black GI"s: your humble correspondent and a WAC with a big butt),
>freaked. Not a single one had ever heard the phrase, "fuck over,"
>before. I was stunned, since I know it like I know my own name.
>Naturally, they thought that it was really cool and wanted to learn
>it. (I had to teach some people that you say "FUCK over" and not "fuck
>OVER"). I first heard the expression, "fuck someone over" ca.1970 and,
>from that time to the present, I've never heard it used by blacks
>under any circumstances, despite any literary evidence to the
>contrary, possibly because I've never been a fan of Louis Armstrong,
>etc., not to mention that no such record would ever have been played
>on the radio and it's doubtful that it would have been sold in any
>black record shop, back in the day, any more than a black store or
>shop would have sold pornography. Till at least the 'Seventies, the
>most erotic material freely available in black-operated stores was
>Playboy, Jet magazine, and the Jet girlie calendar. I went to grade
>school with Lamont McLemore, Jet's longtime girlie photographer -
>since ca.1950 - and also a member of the Fifth Dimension, the formerly
>well-known Saint Louis singing group. He was a Renaissance man, I
>reckon. It must have been a hard life, since Lamont, though he was
>younger than I am, died several years ago.
>As for the syntax, saying "He fucked over me," etc., sounds completely
>natural to me. OTOH, "He fucked me over"
>On 9/24/07, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: Finally!
>>  Though skin pigmentation is irrelevant per se, HDAS suggests (and
>>I believe) that "to fuck over X"
>>    a. was indeed the original form in the sense in question,
>>    b. has been vastly more prevalent among speakers of AAVE - so
>>much so as to sugget the idiom's origin there,
>>    c. was not much used in white speech before the mid '70s,
>>    d. still sounds rhythmically or positionally "wrong" to me as a
>>speaker of WAVE.
>>    Earliest HDAS ex. is from 1961, but the context suggests it was
>>around for a while.
>>    The form "fuck X over" undoubtedly owes something to "work X
>>over."  I believe this is becoming the general form.
>>    JL
>>    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>    ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>  > Sender: American Dialect Society
>>  Poster: Wilson Gray
>>  Subject: Finally!
>>  The correct usage has appeared in print! From Slashdot:
>>  "... [G]ranting corporations the right to _fuck over_ other
>>  corporations who come up with rather ordinary improvements ..."
>>  Lest the point be missed, for those of us old enough (and/or black
>>  "... [G]ranting corporations the right to _fuck_ other corporations
>>  _over_ who come up with rather ordinary improvements ..." is
>>  ungrammatical.
>>  That is, [fuck NP over] is absolutely *not* a viable or a grammatical
>>  alternative to [fuck over NP]. Unless, of course, you speak a
>>  different dialect.
>>  There are 215,000 raw Google hits that include uses such as "get the
>>  fuck over it." So, sorting out the various usages would take ten men
>>  and a boy. But the Urban Dictionary, at least, has it right. Well,
>>  sort of. The second definition defines _fuck over_ as a Briticism
>>  meaning "fuck over," with examples ambiguous as to dialect. And either
>>  UD doesn't have "fuck NP over" (unlikely?) or I don't know how to find
>>  it (likely?).
>>  -Wilson
>>  -Wilson
>>  --
>>  All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>>  come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>  -----
>>  -Sam'l Clemens
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>>  The American Dialect Society -
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>                                               -Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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