Help Revise “The F-Word”!

I am delighted to be able to announce that I have been working on a new, fourth edition of my book The F-Word.

The F-Word is a historical dictionary devoted to the word fuck, illustrating in detail every significant usage of the word: parts of speech, senses, derived forms, abbreviations, expressions, proverbs. As a historical dictionary, it, like the Oxford English Dictionary, includes quotations showing exactly how the word has been used throughout history, drawn from a wide range of sources, including famous writers, Victorian pornography, Urban Dictionary, TV shows, military diaries, Twitter and Reddit, rap lyrics, and even this blog.

The first edition came out in 1995, and was based on the Historical Dictionary of American Slang (the fuck-containing volume of which had been published in 1994). This edition largely ignored non-American uses of the word, and its treatment of entries beyond the letter F was spotty. The second edition of 1999 remedied these and other problems. The third edition, published in 2009, was a massive update; by that point I had become an editor at the OED, and was able to use its resources, as well as the greatly increased availability of online sources, to significantly expand the book. The fourth edition will benefit from the further expansion of online databases, as well as increased interest (both popular and academic) in both the use and the study of offensive language.

I’d been doing haphazard work on the fourth edition since the third edition went to press, but in the last year, I’ve been working in earnest. There are over 1,500 new quotations; over 100 antedatings (earlier evidence for existing senses, forcing us to rethink what we thought we knew about a word’s history); and over 80 new senses. Some examples of the new drafts, with the earliest example I’ve been able to find so far:

  • General expressions:
    • Assfuck (in mock place-names) ‘a very remote place; Bumfuck; Bumblefuck’ (2011)
    • thank fuck ‘thank God’ (1970)
    • fuck n. ‘a (single) instance of caring’, esp. in phrases like to give no fucks or zero fucks given (1945)
    • fuckboy ‘a contemptible man, esp. a promiscuous man who disrespects women’ (1996)
    • fuckton ‘a large number or amount’ (1995)
    • fuckwittery ‘stupidity’ (1995)
    • unfuckwithable ‘impervious to criticism or opposition’ (1998 1995)
  • Initialisms chiefly associated with electronic communication:
    • AF ‘as fuck’ (2009)
    • FFS ‘for fuck’s sake’ (1991)
    • FML ‘fuck my life’ (2005)
    • LMFAO ‘laughing my fucking ass off’ (1993)
    • STFU ‘shut the fuck up’ (1991)
    • WTAF ‘what the actual/absolute fuck’ (2004)
  • Uses associated with regions other than the US or England:
    • boot-fuck (Canadian) ‘to violently kick (a person)’ (1992)
    • get tae fuck! (Scottish) ‘”fuck off!”; “go to hell!”‘ (1977)
    • to fuck spiders (Australian) ‘to fool around; waste time’ (usually in the expression not here to fuck spiders) (1995)
  • Sexual terms:
    • fuck doll ‘a life-size doll used for sexual purposes’ (1973) and ‘a woman regarded as a sex object’ (1989 1975)
    • fuck eyes ‘sexually flirtatious glances’ (1981)
    • fuck rod ‘the penis’ (1985 1969)
    • fuck toy ‘a sex toy, as a dildo or vibrator’ (1991 1979)

I will also be revising the Introduction, incorporating new discoveries about the earliest known examples of fuck, and discussing the constantly shifting acceptability of offensive terms in current usage, where mainstream American newspapers have begun printing the word openly (often spurred by the frequent use of such language by prominent political figures).

“How Can I Help?”, You Ask

Thank you for asking! There are many ways. You can suggest items that should be in, preferably with good examples of usage. If you have antedatings of any of the new examples listed above, I’d love to get those. If there are particular quotations, anecdotes, or the like that you think deserve to go in, please suggest them! In all cases, please contact me by email at (Though if you’d like to engage in more general discussion, please use the comment section of this post.)

Finally, I do have a list of items I’m actively looking for. For these specific items, I already have an entry; I am looking for actual quotations. The general idea is to find “good” examples (except for antedatings, which can be anything): nothing from glossaries, nothing referring to the word as a word, nothing from “the Internet” at random. Printed examples from published texts are preferred, but anything traceable, or from sources that are well-known or reliable, is fine. Indeed, my coverage of online sources could be improved, so I would welcome evidence from major websites, prominent social media accounts, and so forth. Least preferable are totally random examples such as “I’m familiar with this,” or ones found by Googling, searching Twitter, or the like.

Please ask me if there’s any question about what I’m looking for; I can clarify the actual definitions, or the full context of existing quotations.

Thank you for your interest in the project!

  • cuntfuck, n. British use as a term of abuse: antedating 2002
  • DILF: antedating 2001
  • eye-fuck n. ‘a hostile glare’: antedating 1991
  • fist-fucking n. ‘male masturbation’: anything other than My Secret Life, Farmer & Henley, and Cary’s Slang of Venery
  • F.O. ‘fuck off’ (as noun or verb, in any sense): postdating 1988 (this is hard to search) (I do have later examples of Foxtrot Oscar in this sense)
  • FTL ‘fuck the law’: antedating 1992
  • fuck (as mass noun, in the sense ‘copulation’): anything recent
  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain: antedating 1997 (N.B. I do have “King Shit of Turd Mountain” from 1980)
  • fuck v. ‘to cease or abandon; ditch; etc.’: anything later than 1985 in uses that are not “fuck it” or “fuck this shit”
  • fuck v. ‘to trifle or interfere with; fool; lie to’, any evidence (1989 and 1995 only)
  • fuck v. ‘to be wonderful; to rock’, e.g. that song fucks: any non-Twitter evidence; anything antedating 2013
  • fuck v. in the phrase this/that guy fucks: any non-Twitter evidence (that does not explicitly refer to the Silicon Valley episode featuring this)
  • fuck n. used equivalently to “the fuck” in questions, e.g. “Fuck you know about it?” or “Fuck you talking to him for?” or the like: antedating 1983
  • fuck bar: a bar where one can engage in intercourse, esp. a gay bar having a room for this purpose: postdating 2001 (not in historical use)
  • fuck button ‘the clitoris’: any evidence
  • fucked over adj. ‘drunk’: any recent evidence
  • fucked up adj. ‘exhausted’: any evidence
  • fuck eyes ‘(in direct address) disliked person’: postdating 2000
  • Fuckeye: ‘a student at, or fan of, Ohio State’: any evidence that is not in the catchphrase “Buck the Fuckeyes”
  • fucking n. ‘a defeat; an instance of exploitation or victimization’: postdating 1997; also, any examples not in the phrase a royal fucking
  • fucking-A: after some reorganization, I can now use any evidence for any clear uses as a noun (e.g. “They don’t know fucking-A about it”) or an adjective not in “You’re fucking-A!” (e.g. “This is fucking-A”). (I’m not looking for interjectional or adverbial uses.)
  • fuckist ‘person who copulates’: postdating 1974 (not in reference to Philip Roth or Larry McMurtry)
  • fuck(k)nob ‘a despicable person’: any evidence (1995, 1998, 2022 Reddit only)
  • fuck off v. ‘to idle away; to waste (time)’: any post-2000 evidence in transitive use (e.g. “he fucked off all that talent” or “to fuck off three weeks”)
  • fuck off v. ‘to be sexually unfaithful’: any evidence (three 2016 examples in African-American usage)
  • fuck out v. ‘to fail; (also) to renege’, any post-2000 evidence
  • fuck up v. ‘to make intoxicated’: any evidence (1971, 1980, 2001 only)
  • GFO ‘general fuck-off’: any evidence (1948, 1957 only)
  • headfucker ‘a powerful drug; a strong alcoholic drink’: any recent evidence
  • IDGAF antedating 1998 1997 1993
  • mother adj./adv. ‘motherfucking’: postdating 1988
  • SNEFU ‘situation normal, everything fucked up’: any evidence not from glossaries (have cites from 1941, 1942, 1943 only)

27 thoughts on “Help Revise “The F-Word”!

  1. Cameron Mount March 22, 2023 / 3:11 pm

    DILIGAF – Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck – related to IDGAF but seems to be popular in meme usage (particularly as TikToks or Instagram Reels) as its own formulation


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 22, 2023 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks—This was already in the last edition, with a first quotation from 1973. I’ve since found a 1970 example.


      • Cameron Mount March 22, 2023 / 4:36 pm

        Oh, excellent. I think I only have the first edition of the book at home.


  2. Nancy Friedman March 22, 2023 / 4:22 pm

    I’ve also seen WTAF in which A = actual. Sorry, no cites, but I note that there’s a What the Actual Fork podcast.

    Then there’s the “Behold the field in which I grow my fucks” variation on “give no fucks.” The earliest mention I’ve found is in a 2015 WordPress blog, but it wasn’t original to the author.

    And also:

    Congratulations and good luck!


  3. Katie March 22, 2023 / 7:35 pm

    Fucksticks! Something my sister and I say when we’ve fucked something up, or something has otherwise gone wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katie March 22, 2023 / 7:36 pm

    Fuckadile – a word I used as a child because I couldn’t say ‘crocodile’ apparently.


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 23, 2023 / 2:10 am

      Thank you! I should have mentioned that there’s an ambiguous example from 1993, but this is helpful.


  5. Tom Kenny March 24, 2023 / 1:04 am

    Jesse, I love this stuff! Will be following, and looking forward to your next edition.
    I’m sure you have something on WGAF
    In 1978, classmates (including me) at my Catholic high school wrote WGAF in black magic marker on the covers of our religion textbook.


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 24, 2023 / 1:37 am


      I’ve encountered WGAF before, but it seems very rare, and I haven’t bothered to draft an entry for it.


  6. Casey Jackson March 24, 2023 / 2:51 pm

    (n.) an archaic name for the kestrel


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 24, 2023 / 3:01 pm

      Already in, along with _fuckwind_.


  7. John Cowan March 24, 2023 / 8:57 pm

    Green’s is still growing, so you should recheck it if you haven’t done so lately.


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 24, 2023 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks. Since I actually run GDoS (on the tech side), I usually have a pretty good idea when new things are added 😉


  8. malicea4thought March 24, 2023 / 9:07 pm

    I have not yet acquired a copy of this absolutely necessary tome, sadly. So I have to ask instead of looking – have you included “shitfuckery”? The Juice Media makes excellent use of it and it’s become my favourite way to describe almost anything politics-related recently. For some reason. 🙄
    Thanks for the good work you do!


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 24, 2023 / 9:14 pm

      Huh. I have four entries for _shitfuck_ itself (noun, adjective, interjection, and verb), but I don’t have a draft for _shitfuckery_. I’m not seeing very many examples out there, but I’ll put it on the list….

      (I did expand the existing _fuckery_ entry, adding a new sense, and the (esp. West Indian) _fuckry_.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Stan Carey March 25, 2023 / 11:07 am

    The F-Word is such a fun and unique reference book. I’m delighted to know it’s being revised and expanded, Jesse. I’ve kept a record of notable swear uses and mentions I’ve come across in books, etc., more or less since this blog began, so I’ll email you with some fucks that may be of interest.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Stan Carey March 29, 2023 / 7:30 am

        I don’t, oddly. It’s years since I even heard it. But a quick look on Google Books shows several uses (and mentions), if Jesse wants to consider it. I do have a few Irish gems, such as the delightful hapax fuckereeens in a poem by Elaine Feeney.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mollymooly March 29, 2023 / 9:03 pm

        “Biffo2 would hardly have risen above the level of the joke hapaxcronym if Brian Cowen had not become Taoiseach


  10. Patrick Collins March 28, 2023 / 11:43 pm

    If you are going to discuss the puritan US newspapers, you might want to include a little information about the UK newspapers. One of the more respectable papers, The Guardian decided to use English as she is spoke in 1969 and has not gone back on that since. They were cautious at first but The Guardian used “fuck” in 14 articles in 1975 including news articles, think pieces and reviews. All the other words get their frequent use as well.

    The earliest use I could find was a book review:
    “Winged Cupid painted blind” by Norbert Lynton The Guardian page 9, 5/6/1969
    Reviewing “The Moment of Cubism and other essays” by John Berger (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 36 shillings), the reviewer quoted from the book:
    “If you could fuck works of art as well as buy them, they [the art dealers] would be pimps.”

    One I bumped into that might be of interest as it is about another history of swearing :
    “The compleat expletive” by Suzanne Lowry (a review of Bozzimacoo by Mary Marshall) Page 11, 16/7/1975
    “How deflating to be informed in full flow that fuck is “an ancient crudity with its roots in Latin and Celtic … One of the earliest instances may be a thirteenth-century reference to John Le Fucker” Mary Marshall leaves the reader to guess what he was famous for.”


  11. David L March 29, 2023 / 12:44 am

    I have a Massachusetts friend who has used “East Bumfuck” to refer to any run-down, back-of-beyond town for the 20 years I have known her, but I can’t find much in the way of dated, written evidence.

    West Bumfuck is, of course, an altogether more salubrious location.


    • Jesse Sheidlower March 29, 2023 / 12:55 am

      Thanks very much. “Bumfuck” is in fact the earliest of the mock place-names in -fuck; the earliest I’d had in the third edition was 1972, but I’ve since found a 1970 example. That’s for “Bumfuck, Egypt”; the earliest I have for “East/West Bumfuck” is 1984.


  12. Patrick Collins March 29, 2023 / 11:12 am

    Not as early as 1978 but The Guardian also had an early “as fuck”.

    The Guardian Page 3, 12 February 1983.

    “Sacked striker’s political mania ended in murder” by Malcolm Wright.
    Eddie Horner, wannabe socialist revolutionary from County Durham, murdered Detective Constable Jim Porter in a bungled payroll robbery of the factory that had dismissed him and 42 others.
    “Charged with murder, he shouted in court. “Guilty as fuck — and proud of it.” “


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