John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

WTF

Jesse Sheidlower, the formidable lexicographer and Editor at Large of the Oxford English Dictionary, is bringing out a new edition, the third (!), of The F Word, a revised and expanded treatment of one of English’s most popular words.

For an amuse-bouche, he is offering an F Word of the Day. Here is today’s.

If your scholarship in bad words has not been updated since Ashley Montagu’s The Anatomy of Swearing (1967), here is your chance to expand your learning.





7 comments:

  1. Interesting and I love the F-Word of the Day!

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  3. Interesting that Sheidlower doesn't cover the military argot for clusterf--k in his etymology of the term. At least in the US Armed Forces, there is actually a sort of decorum in the use of the code terms "Charlie Foxtrot" to replace the naughty word in formal communications between officers and their superiors or between peer officers. Some say it even shows up in Pentagon briefings and, no doubt, makes its way up the chain of command to NSC memos. The uninitiated, hearing or seeing this designation, would have no clue as to the speaker/writer's wink at the vulgar term.

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  4. Those who are interested in the syntax of various forms of the f-word should have a look at the discussion under way at Language Log:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1608

    And this immortal contribution to English syntax was distributed in a college course I took in 1967 or 1968 on what was then called "transformational grammar":

    http://douglemoine.com/english-sentences-without-overt-grammatical-subjects/

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  5. Fornication Under Consensus of the King?

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  6. Oops nevermind, just read the FAQ - lovely website.

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  7. I bekieve in humankind. The good, the bad and the wtf.

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