A clusterfuck of fuckery

I wrote a book about words for bullshit this year, but I missed some words. I think my most egregious omission was fuckery. That’s a damn popular word for unadulterated bullshit.

Fuckery has been around for over 100 years, and Jesse Sheidlower’s The F-Word records several meanings. The first two are pretty literal—a fuckery has been a brothel since at least 1901, and the act of making sweet whoopee since at least 1961. But the third meaning is the one that’s in the realm of bullshit: “despicable behavior; (also) treachery.” The first known use, from Stephen King’s 1978 novel The Stand, has more than a whiff of BS: “That was an act of pure human fuckery.” A 1998 use in Colin Channer’s book Waiting in Vain is even closer to malarkey and hooey: “He’d even asked her to marry him…and she’d said no. Said some fuckery like, Only if we’re allowed to see other people.”

A major spreader of the word seems to be Amy Winehouse’s 2006 song “Me & Mr. Jones,” which included the word in lines such as “What kind of fuckery is this?” and “What kind of fuckery are we?” Green’s Dictionary of slang lists fuckery as meaning nonsense since at least the late 1990s, sometimes in plural form as fuckeries. He also records examples of it as an adjective: “some fuckery social study” and “all that fuckery stereotyping and media shit.”

While fuckery as BS seems to have evolved from the treacherous sense of the word, I wonder if it was influenced by a variation of mindfuck: namely, mindfuckery. Mindfuckery sure sounds like come kind of Jedi malarkey trick.

Here are some recent examples of fuckery in use, showing the range of this useful word. As you’ll see, fuckery can describe professional wresting shenanigans, ghastly hair choices like the man-bun, holiday horseshit, and online dating. Everything is fuckery to someone.

“John’s mother says, ‘It’s a funny story born of tragedy,’ and filmmakers Bryan Carberry and J. Clay Tweel nimbly tell this tale of what one interviewee calls, ‘fuckery and shenanigans.’”

Dec. 11, Salon

“There’s also this intense responsibility I feel to make sure the other person has a good time when I ask them to do something. Otherwise, I’m like, we could’ve stayed in the house. And I feel guilty for subjecting them to fuckery.”

Dec. 9, Madame Noire

“Wear the perfume, because it’s fun, and it washes off easy, unlike that ill-advised tattoo or the shock of blue you put in your hair after a crying jag but before you go to bed. Wear it as a safeguard against fuckery, as an olfactory shield against the horror of the world.”

Dec. 9, The Frisky

“This is starting to get really dangerous and not the least bit funny. Kids are now starting to attack schoolmates for their religious affiliation because of this poor excuse for a man. The fuckery needs to stop NOW.”

Dec. 8, The Daily Banter

“I get what they did there, they want it to look like Reigns can win heading into the PPV and further prove that Sheamus won only because of fuckery.”

Dec. 7, 411mania

“We’d touch on celebrity deaths and the tragedy of them – we’d talk Robin Williams – Whitney Houston –  James Gandolfini – and Casey Kasem – you bet we’d talk about the clusterfuck of fuckery that surrounded that poor sap’s end.”

Dec. 4, Chicago Now

“’Love For Breakfast’ is kind of a shout out to the new dismal dating environment brought on by dating apps. So much fuckery—just tell me you love me, right?”

Dec. 3, Thump

“Because it’s the damn holidays and in a world filled with infinite, everlasting fuckery, I’m lucky enough to write about records for a living.”

Nov. 25, Nashville Scene

“At one point Rae chides how Fif’s ‘haircut game is fucked up’; this was a time long before the widespread fuckery of the man-bun.”

Nov. 23, The Concourse

Shameless plug alert: If you’re looking for more words for “infinite everlasting fuckery,” check out Bullshit: A Lexicon. 100% hooey and poppycock, guaranteed!



18 thoughts on “A clusterfuck of fuckery

  1. Pairs Well With... December 15, 2015 / 12:23 am

    My oh my! You may just be my new favorite blog on the block. You hit home when you classified man buns and online dating as “fuckery.” More so, you speak the truth and do with many laughable cited sources. I look forward to more Strong Language!


  2. singlemumandotherstuff December 15, 2015 / 12:38 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your fuckery post, I’m excited to read more of your eloquence, I bloody love a good fuck in a sentence, and when it comes in a clusterfuck of swears it’s a pure delight! Thank you! And go fuck yourself! (That should be taken in a kind of ‘do something nice for yourself way)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tmsqtrading December 15, 2015 / 5:25 am

    what a very entertaining and informative post!


  4. mliae December 15, 2015 / 10:02 am

    Love it! 😀 Def needed some fakery insight to start the day 😉


  5. c.l.skellern December 15, 2015 / 11:29 am

    Fantastic blog. I must admit to being a fairly ‘sweary’ person, and its an area of language that isn’t often appreciated for some reason! Fucking good post.


  6. medicatedlady December 15, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    I think of “fuckery” as the filler for the blank space that often follows “OTHER” on multiple choice questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hotmessmemoir December 16, 2015 / 4:31 am

    You know who recently used the word fuckery in their novels? E.L. James of 50 Shades of Grey. Is Fuckery the new black?


  8. boringbug December 16, 2015 / 10:28 am

    Humor in disguise!* What Fuckery is it? 😛

    Amazing post and a nice read.



  9. MindPlayingTricksOnMe December 16, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    I saw this post and immediately recalled some lyrics from “Good Girl Gone Bad” by Scarface (of Geto Boys)

    “I knew it was fuckery, wanted to see the money
    Said he never trusted me but I can understand that
    I got the money right here, now where’s the fucking dope at”


  10. regurgitateddreams December 31, 2015 / 1:16 am

    I love this!! It’s probably my favorite blog. Fuckery is one of my favorite words,lol.


  11. wordforeplaylover July 18, 2017 / 9:49 am

    I absolutely love the word fuckery, to fuck with, to fuck a lot, anyway you think of it someone is getting some fuckery, some bullshit, in just about every aspect of the free enterprise, and lets not forget those prosecutors who are overzealous and have a hard on for many….Now that’s some straight up fuckery, at least in Polk County Iowa.


  12. White Ram October 20, 2018 / 1:56 am

    Dear Mark:

    I think you’ll be intrigued to hear another angle on the word “fuckery”. I first encountered the term when I spent a couple of years in Jamaica, West Indies in the mid 70s. The word was very much a part of Jamaican-English dialect and is still firmly in play there.

    My impression was that this was an old word and not recently-minted ephemeral Jamaican street slang. The use of the word “bullshit” in Jamaica is a relatively recent import from American slang. When I used the word “bullshit” back in 1970s Jamaica, people hadn’t heard of it but they were amused by its novelty and it equivalence to “fuckery”. Indeed, there are scant few other words in their dialect that denote “bullshit”, except for the main one,”fuckery”.

    Though I’ve been fully fluent for over 40 years in Jamaican dialect (now commonly referred to as “patwa” [from the French “patois”] , I am forever a perpetual student of it. When I returned to the U.S. in 1976, I was surprised to find out that a lot of words I had thought were uniquely Jamaican/Caribbean, were in fact very old (even archaic) British English, and I discover more and more examples all the time as the years pass.

    You mentioned the word’s origin as meaning “brothel” from around the turn of last century. But because of the close ties between antique British English and Jamaican dialect, I have suspected that “fuckery” has old UK roots! Lo and behold I recently found this:


    Nowadays in the U.S., the use of “fuckery” is fast becoming ubiquitous and part of the mainstream; I’ve no doubt that before long the word will become a candidate for inclusion in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

    But why has it taken off? The answer lies in the Jamaica-to-North America connection. Since the 1960s, Jamaicans have immigrated in increasing numbers to North America, at first to New York City, Boston and Toronto. London, England was another mecca for Jamaican immigrants. Nowadays, Jamaican communities exist in most major American cities and in the most unlikely European locations, as well. The powerful influence of “things Jamaican” on the rest of the globe cannot be underestimated, the best example of which is reggae music. Thus, the Amy Winehouse connection is no accident: as a Londoner and a musician, exposure to Jamaican language was unavoidable reality; in fact, she loved traveling to Jamaica and often recorded there.

    In America & Canada, white youth (and many other ethnic groups) have been increasingly exposed to Jamaican speech at the street level and in the media for years now, and so we have a growing phenomenon of Jamaican loan words like “rudeboy”, “shotta”, “dub” and of course “fuckery”!


  13. White Ram October 20, 2018 / 2:07 am

    Oh, and did I mention “dreadlocks”?


  14. Kimberly A Lacey June 8, 2020 / 9:49 am

    Oh my gosh. I Love the word fuckery. I first heard the word in 2018 in Minnesota. I am from Texas. This word makes me laugh. A girl 20 had told me that she invented the word. I was spreading it to everyone I knew. I later did some research on the word fuckery and discovered it’s been around since 1901..Thats alright Raven, I heard it from you and I still laugh every time I say it. Was happy to rread about here too. Also, cluster fuck.. Thank you.


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