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Why Is Fuck Such a Bad Word?

September 24, 2016
If you’re easily offended, I apologize for what you are about to read. (image via wikimedia)

If you’re easily offended, I apologize for what you are about to read. (image via wikimedia)

It should be obvious why fuck is a bad word.  In fact, fuck is such a bad word that I don’t want to write about it.  I feel a bit uncomfortable writing about fuck because I usually try to keep profanity off my blog.  Every once in a while, though, I write about mature topics, and fuck is about as mature as it gets.  Besides, I’m writing about fuck from the perspective of etymology, so that makes it okay.

First of all, fuck is a one-syllable word that refers to a sensitive subject matter.  Most one syllable words that refer to sensitive topics or body functions are considered bad words.  It’s not polite to talk about sexual acts, so when doing so, you must use delicate language, like carnal relations, adult situation, romantic interlude, fornication, mating, or couplingFuck, at the very least, is blunt and impolite.

Plus, fuck ends with –uck.  Every one-syllable word that ends with -uck should be profane (even if it isn’t).  Muck, suck, cuck, Huck, Chuck all should be put on the banned words list just because of their sounds.  Anything that ends with –uck just sounds wrong.  Add f- to the mix, and you have the perfect bad word.

The word fuck goes back a long time.  That makes sense because the action goes back a long time too.  According to the dictionary, the Dutch in the 1500s had the word fokken which meant “to breed cattle.”

Example- “The cattle are fokken in the fields again.”

The Swedes at that time also had a word fokka, which meant “to copulate.”  Even though “to copulate” makes fokka verb, it sounds like a noun to me.

Example- “Quit looking at me funny, you fokka.”

Somewhere along the way, the fokkens and the fokkas became fuck.

The word fuck is flexible and can be used as several parts of speech.  Fuck is technically meant to be a verb (Fuck you!), but it can be used a noun (You fucker), an adjective (That’s fucked up), an adverb (That’s fucking awesome!), or merely as an exclamation (Fuck!).

Adding the word mother to fucker can also make the word even more insulting.  Adding the word mother makes any insult more effective because it’s impolite to ever mention another person’s mother.

Fuck is considered to be the worst of the bad words, with maybe a couple exceptions.  Fuck is worse than shit because shit is just poop and everybody poops so it’s not a big deal.  Damn isn’t so bad (unless you put God in front of it) because, depending on what religion you belong to, you’re either damned or you’re not.  Bitch isn’t so bad because it just means “female dog,” and everybody loves dogs so being called a bitch might be sexist but otherwise it’s not so bad.

Cunt is a close call because it refers to a female body part, so that makes it sexist and it ends with –unt which is almost as bad as –uck.  Even though dick is also a body part, it’s a male body part, and a lot of women think you can’t be sexist against men because men have been the power holders in the patriarchy for so long and Dick is a guy’s name, so dick is funny while cunt is sexist and vulgar.

If anybody wrote a sequel to Moby Dick called Moby Cunt, it would probably get banned.  Moby Fuck could be the third book in the Moby Trilogy, but it might get banned too.

Some people claim that words are just words and that no words should be considered bad.  I understand that, but if words didn’t have meaning, then words would have no point.  I don’t want to live in a world where words have no meaning.  Therefore, there has to be a word which is the most profane, and the worst word might just might be fuck.

From → Etymology

  1. Moby Cunt…I love it

  2. I think that ‘fuck’ is a horrible word. Although I used to use it profusely when I was seventeen (you generally mimic those you mix with), I wince now if somebody says it in my house. I hate it with a passion. It just sounds so vulgar, and I usually associate it with ignorance because if you were educated you would be able to use your vocabulary creatively but I know different people see it different ways. This was a marvellously interesting post because I have always wondered where that word came from! The Swedes and the Dutch, who would have thought!

  3. What a fucking great post!!

  4. The Moby Trilogy! LOL!

  5. If you think that every word ending in “uck” should be considered a bad word, what about “luck”?

  6. Absolutely wonderful post!

  7. Haha this is so funny, interesting and educational. Learnt something new on a Sunday 😛

  8. amusingword permalink

    Fuck is supposed be a negative word that emits negative energy.

  9. I quite enjoyed reading this post about a word I absolutely abhor.

  10. H.A. Lynn permalink

    LOL. I love this post so much.

  11. I have NO idea. I think it’s bizarre how worked up people get about swearing, actually, considering we humans made up all the words.

    It’s funny that we have vulgar and acceptable terms for the very same concepts, yet a naughty word will get a knee-jerk reaction out of some people quicker than abusive ideas or tragic events. I’m convinced class insecurity is behind this.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Yes, all words were devised by men and men have always been involved in their evolution, all words including the swear words, because humanity has always possessed that ugly side and how could it not seep into our language, which is our primary means of exchanging our thoughts and ideas? Every human capacity can be put to a bad use rather than a good one – isn’t that one of the perks of being human, constantly facing this choice? You can choose to use your physical strength to punch someone in the face or to help someone carry a heavy load; the same goes for language: you can choose to use that capacity to say nice things or just convey your meaning honestly in a polite way, or to curse someone. Even when you are not using the swear words to curse someone but only to emphasise your meaning, why not refrain from it simply out of respect for a person who may be in your earshot and may find it offensive? If you believed that language was all made up by men, I think that should rather function as the indicator that there’d inevitably be corruptions and ugly, hurting elements man-made things have.

  12. elana ivankova permalink

    Fine i get all that. But fucking is such a wonderful action, how can it be a bad word? English is not my native language, and i had a hard time Learning it. How is. That sentence less vulgar than : the fucking english language? I just dont get whats vulgar, whats bad. Rape us a bad word, that i understand. But why is fucking do bad, even worse than raping?

    • Anonymous permalink

      Huh? Rape is not a bad word; the action it designates is, indeed, horrendous, but the word’s sole function is to give a name to such action; we would still need it in order to fight for rape victims or to educate people on the horrors of such an act; in this sense, the word itself stays neutral: the offensive nature of the word will depend on the context you use it in.
      But there are certain words that have come to carry offensive, hurtful connotations; perhaps the better term to use for these words would be curse words and not swear words… English is not my native tongue either, but surely you can think of words that are too ugly to use in your native language?

  13. Daizy permalink

    Sexism is that bad and extremely bad its a form of oppression so describing it lightly cause you are not the female sex is mostly diverted to is insensitive.

  14. Daizy permalink

    Sexism is that bad and extremely bad its a form of oppression so describing it lightly cause you are not the female sex is mostly diverted to is insensitive.The word bitch is a bad word..I don’t use it cause its really bad not slightly. No one is dog..cause its mostly used negatively for female folks ..even if positively no one is a dog either.
    Its a degrading word not endearing word

  15. bkaj1988 permalink

    Fuck yeah

  16. bkaj1988 permalink

    I don’t think Fuck is a very bad word anymore. I mean you hear it all the time everywhere you go, when you walk the streets and you hear people saying “Fuckin” or “Fucked up” or “Fuck that” “Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck…” but there are worst word out there that I can think of such as Cunt, Niggger, Twat, Motherfucker, Faggot and Cocksucker. But Fuck is not as bad anymore.

  17. Fuck it all.

  18. Brett permalink

    You’ve failed to answer the simple question of WHY fuck is a bad word. All you said is that it should be obvious. But it is not. There is no reason why fuck should be shunned. “Mating” and “sex” are not shunned, so why should fuck be? Fuck is just another word. “Fuck you” is the same as “Darn you”, they both show anger or discontent with another person.

    • I specifically explained why fuck is considered so bad in the second paragraph and gave examples.

      I explained why fuck is considered worse than damn (or darn you) in the eleventh paragraph.

      You might disagree with the logic, but at least I explained the logic.

      • Anonymous permalink

        The only reason you gave for “fuck” being worse than “sex” is because “fuck” is blunt and impolite. However, that’s only your opinion. The only reason you gave for “damn” being worse than “fuck” is because you’re either damned or you’re not. That is literally not a reason at all, and you failed to say anything about why “fuck” is worse. “Fuck” has to do with sex, and “damn” has to do with religion/being damned. There is no logical reason why is it worse.

  19. Anonymous permalink

    Absolutely hilarious article.

  20. Anonymous permalink

    This whole article screams pretension, and towards the end, sexism. Saying how it’s impolite to talk about sex unless it’s addressed in an indirect, delicate manner, and talking about damn being bad because it has to do with religion, etc. In a formal setting with people you don’t know, talking about sex is strange. But in a casual conversation with friends, why hide behind a pretentious mask of delicacy and subtlety over something most of everybody does? And saying that, “Bitch isn’t so bad because it just means ‘female dog,’ and everybody loves dogs so being called a bitch might be sexist but otherwise it’s not so bad.'” Is such an amazing example of chosen ignorance and poorly masked sexism. Bitch is a word that has two meanings- one of which refers to a female dog, one of which is a curse word. And then you downplay the sexist aspect of the word, which in of itself is unbelievably ignorant and sexist.
    And then you go on to say, “…a lot of women think you can’t be sexist against men because men have been the power holders in the patriarchy…” Jesus Christ, how ignorant can you get? You’re stereotyping and generalizing and assuming and just being flat-out wrong. Some women may have that belief (which I will say is a bullshit belief because you most certainly can be sexist to men) but certainly not the majority of them.
    So, knowing full well your dislike for the word, I’ll end my comment with this;
    “Fuck this article.”

  21. Anonymous permalink

    This is bullshit, F.U.C.K. is simply , F.ornication U.nder C.onsent of the

  22. I really hate it when people say that Fuck is the worst word. It is not! IMHO there are worst words than Fuck itself, like the Cunt and the racial slur that starts with an N. You hear people curse like that all the fucking time! Which I don’t have a problem with but due to the fact some people say it is the worst word of all, then they have their heads up their asses.

  23. Anonymous permalink

    I think , you have been living under a rock , and or sheltered .
    Cause if I say well fuck me . How does that offend you ,… how can that be bad ,
    Or mother fucker , how is that bad .
    You might have heard me say it bud how how did it it affect you ,…

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