So many mother _uckers

In my work as a name developer I’ve yet to encounter a client who’s amused by riffs on swear words. But not all companies are taboo-averse, as I learned when I began looking into the uses of motherfucker in brand names.

OK, not literal motherfucker. (Not yet, anyway.) But close soundalikes? All over the motherfucking place. It turns out that a bunch of people in charge of brand naming have independently concluded that rhyming bowdlerizations of the mother of all taboo words are novel and distinctive and high-fucking-larious. Sometimes they’re right.

Let’s start with an old (indeed, obsolete) example: Mother Tucker’s Food Experience, a Canadian restaurant chain founded in the 1970s. (The trademark was originally registered in 1975.) The company may, as an old newspaper ad avers, have been named for a real mother, surname Tucker, who lived and cooked on an “early homestead located in the eastern part of the province [Ontario].” Regardless, I have it on good authority* that several generations of customers gleefully contorted the name into “Mother Fucker’s Rude Experience.” Around 2001 the company threw Mother from the train and changed its name to Tucker’s Marketplace.

But Mother Tucker lives on in other corners of the branding universe. There’s a Mother Tucker’s eatery and sports bar in Greensboro, North Carolina; Mother Tucker’s toffee (named for the founder’s great-grandmother, but still); and–my favorite–Mother Tucker “compression garments.”

mothertucker

“Don’t nip it or suck it, simply Mother Tuck-It.”

“Mother Tucker” has also been the name of two network sitcom episodes. One aired during Season 2 of “Modern Family” (it featured Barb Tucker, mother of Cameron); the other aired during Season 5 of “Family Guy” (Peter’s mother gets a divorce and dates Tom Tucker).**

F and are similar in appearance and are, phonetically, a minimal pair (close enough in sound to be confused by some people). Thus, inevitably, we have Sexy Mother Pucker lip plumper (“a fun, fresh, fearless, fantastic British beauty brand”); Mother Pucker ale (Keegan Ales, Kingston, New York); another Mother-Pucker ale (Twin Peaks, Port Angeles, Washington); Aspen Mother Puckers, a girls’ and women’s hockey league in Aspen, Colorado, that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary; and “Crazy” Mother Pucker’s Hot Sauce (manufactured by Fudpucker Trading Company).

crazy mother pucker

Crazy Mother Pucker’s Liquid Lava: “It’ll Pucker Your Pecker!”

* James Harbeck, co-founder of Strong Language.

 ** The American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis gave his 2011 play the title The Motherfucker With the Hat. In promotions and reviews it was censored as The Mother… With the Hat or The Motherf**ker With the Hat, or even, in the Wall Street JournalThe Motherf**cker With the Hat, which translates, I guess, to “motherfuccker.” The Audible recording of the play uses a visual icon to blot out the and the c in motherfucker.

23 thoughts on “So many mother _uckers

  1. yprior1 January 6, 2015 / 3:17 am

    so that is where mo of came from….and thanks for that song, never heard it – pretty funny…

    Like

  2. rpressergmail January 6, 2015 / 3:53 pm

    There is a hamburger chain called “Fuddrucker’s”. Inside there is a baked goods counter known as “Mother Fuddrucker’s Goodies.” Or at least there used to be.

    Like

  3. Nancy Friedman January 6, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    rpressergmail: I originally had a whole paragraph on Fuddruckers (no apostrophe) that I decided to cut. The chain was founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979, as Freddie Fuddruckers; in 2010 it instituted a no-weapons policy. (In the U.S., and especially Texas, this qualifies as highly controversial.) There’s no official story about the Fuddruckers name, but Barry Popik, who writes the authoritative Big Apple blog, notes that it may have been influenced by a 1970s Texas cocktail, “Freddie Fudpucker.” http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/worlds_greatest_hamburgers_fuddruckers_slogan

    There’s an attempt at etymology on the Fun Trivia site (it begins “Not sure if this is accurate, but…”):

    >>A “Rudd” is a type of fish and a “*ucker” is one who performs sexual acts on an object. Just speculation, but I assume he may have taken the first letter of each of the first two syllables and reversed them. This would make the name mean that he was referring to sexual intercourse with a fish. Some vagina has been inappropriately labeled as having an odor similar to that of a fish-like-smell, and going further with this very outlandish theory…maybe he was making an attempt at a play-on-words referencing sexual acts with vagina.<<

    http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question48326.html

    Confirmed: a "rudd" is indeed a type of fish.

    Like

  4. Russell January 6, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    I’ll add The MotherFolkers, featuring folk musicians who also happen to be moms. Slogan: “We are The Mother Folkers and folk is what we do. If you listen to our music you will get folked too.”
    Their facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/themotherfolkers

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy Friedman January 6, 2015 / 8:01 pm

    Russell: Oooh, good one!

    Like

  6. Alina Cincan January 6, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    This is absolutely awesome. All of these names are creative. I had no idea there were so many companies to play with this. The only one I was familiar with was Soap and Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker lip plumper (never used it, but I am a fan of the brand in general).

    Like

  7. Russell January 7, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Not exactly on-topic, but today’s XKCD has a clever “motherfucker” reference:
    http://xkcd.com/1470/

    Like

  8. Petecout January 7, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    I was at a cafe in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and saw this on the menu:

    Like

  9. djbcjk January 10, 2015 / 12:10 am

    We Australians lived through Kevin Rudd’s prime ministry without realising that a rudd was a kind of fish. Imagine what we could have done with ‘Fuddruckers’.

    Like

  10. Nancy Friedman January 10, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    Bruce: I regret the motherfucking error.

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  11. Willa January 11, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    My college had an intramural hockey league called Mother Puckers, so it’s not just the ladies in Aspen, though perhaps they had it first, I’m not sure.

    With regard to the “Crazy Mother Pucker’s Liquid Lava: ‘It’ll Pucker Your Pecker!’ “…do you think that’s an oblique “come at me bro” to sriracha? Pecker…cock…cock sauce? Hmm.

    Like

  12. Y January 12, 2015 / 3:58 am

    Add: Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, in Portland.

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    • Nancy Friedman January 12, 2015 / 6:02 pm

      Y: C’est magni-fuquing-fique!

      Like

  13. bkd69 January 14, 2015 / 6:47 am

    Radio station wfmu.org has a transmitter in Mount Hope which used to have the call letters WXHD. They were able to get WMFU (which are allegedly the call letters that get most confused for the main call letters, WFMU) assigned to their transmitter. Not strictly a name, but the initialism is on point.

    Like

  14. Nancy Friedman January 14, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    Thanks, BKD69! I admit I’d never heard of WMFU/WFMU, so I looked it up. I found a 2009 blog post that explains the original WFMU (FM = FM radio; U = “our former Viking overlords, Upsala College”). The station invited readers to suggest a four-word phrase that WMFU might stand for. (“And yes, Polly Pottymouth and Dickie Dirtymind, we know what “MFU” conjures thoughts of — and we have a special gift for you.”) One of the suggestions was, of course, “W Mother F’n U,” but I think I prefer “We Must Forget Upsala.”

    Like

  15. neminem February 14, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Um… I don’t think mofo knows what a motherclucking ip address is… (I think they mean their url. Their ip address is 167.68.12.5.) >.>

    Like

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