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WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

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October is Crime Prevention Month, says the National Crime Prevention Council, and would the nonprofit that brought you McGruff the Crime Dog lie to you about crime prevention? In honor of the occasion, we've decided to shine the hard light of truth on the underbelly of the criminal underworld. As a Jeopardy! superhero, Ken Jennings doesn't fight crime—just misinformation about crime. He'll be here all month debunking felonious falsehoods and misdemeanor myths.

The Debunker: Is the "F Word" an Acronym for "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"?

Because its history often went unwritten for reasons of propriety, the notorious "f-word" has left itself open to all kinds of crazy folk etymologies. In two common versions, the word is actually an acronym. Sometimes the word is said to come from a sign advertising that a newlywed couple's marriage in olden times had been approved by the crown: "Fornication Under Consent of the King." (Presumably when a woman sat on the throne, the word was spelled "fucq.") In another version, prisoners locked in the stocks for sexual shenanigans were placed under a sign that read "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge." Van Halen was so charmed by the transgressive power of this last acronym that they named a 1991 album and tour after it. Those naughty boys!

The Debunker

There are multiple problems with those explanations, chief among them the fact that forming words from acronyms wasn't really a thing before World War II—the word "acronym" was only coined in 1943, to refer to the new vogue for phonetically pronouncing abbreviations like snafu, radar, and WAC. There's also the fact that "fornication" doesn't really make sense in this context (married couples, by definition, cannot fornicate) and prisoners serving crimes were never places under signs with the word "for." The sign in such a case, if any, would have said something like "Adultery."

The f-word is first attested in written English in 1310, when court records mention an arrest warrant for a certain "Roger Fuckebythenavele." (If you think that was not an insult and Roger merely had a very unfortunate family name, then the real first usage is in a late 15th-century poem. In either case, that's centuries before acronyms caught on in English.) Our English word has cognates in German ("ficken," to copulate) and Dutch ("fokken," to breed) as well as Scandinavian dialects, and may even derive from Latin verbs that pre-date its Germanic usage. It's old af, y'all.

Quick Quiz: What 1960s folk-rocker made his movie debut in the Mike Nichols movies Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

therealjrn


quality posts: 84 Private Messages therealjrn

DAYUM KEN! You bandy that word about more than Madonna in a black p*ssy hat!

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

Art Garfunkel

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

flunk - just thought I'd check the filters

CatCK


quality posts: 88 Private Messages CatCK
moles1138 wrote:Art Garfunkel



Paul Simon wrote the song "Only Living Boy in New York" as a result of being without Art while he was filming Catch 22.

minic00


quality posts: 0 Private Messages minic00

Art Garfunkel

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 100 Private Messages daveinwarshington

... and the horse you rode in on...

jroth007


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jroth007

Art Garfunkel?

hot72chev


quality posts: 28 Private Messages hot72chev

Cluck it!

x12
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

WoosterRooster


quality posts: 2 Private Messages WoosterRooster
hot72chev wrote:Cluck it!

Cluck Cluck!
Cluck it all!

I'm Wooster, the Woot Rooster

Calgaltoal


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Calgaltoal
WoosterRooster wrote:Cluck Cluck!
Cluck it all!



What a cluster cluck!

Fifty years ago this might of been a big clucking deal, cluck it!

LarryLars


quality posts: 68 Private Messages LarryLars
Calgaltoal wrote:What a cluster cluck!

Fifty years ago this might of been a big clucking deal, cluck it!



This only proves that the BIRD IS THE WORD!




So flip the bird!



!
Have you checked your Private Messages lately?
 

pooflady


quality posts: 30 Private Messages pooflady

Embarrassed to admit it but I've always liked "The Bird is the Word." I always turn up the radio for that one. Don't believe I've ever seen the video, that's even more embarrassing.



I think my guardian angel drinks.

Calgaltoal


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Calgaltoal

cklun


quality posts: 43 Private Messages cklun

Volunteer Moderator

pooflady wrote:Embarrassed to admit it but I've always liked "The Bird is the Word." I always turn up the radio for that one. Don't believe I've ever seen the video, that's even more embarrassing.



great song!



"I NEVER EVER share garlic balls!"]

cklun


quality posts: 43 Private Messages cklun

Volunteer Moderator

cklun wrote:great song!



from youtube

"A tribute to the fantastic GHOULARDI! Turn blue! Stay sick! Tar Knif!
Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow"...a remembrance of the great Ernie Anderson...aka Cleveland's own GHOULARDI!



"I NEVER EVER share garlic balls!"]

fadecomic


quality posts: 0 Private Messages fadecomic

That's an awful lot of "nevers".