Fuck is an English word that, as a verb, literally means "to have sexual intercourse with," and figuratively means "to take unfair advantage of." It was at one time the most vulgar word in the English language, and its use would be considered déclassé in polite social circles. But the word has permeated the vocabulary of many social groups (such as lawyers, entertainers, and politicans) who would once have shunned it. Now it is often used simply to provide emphasis, as "very" or "really."
It is unclear whether the word has always been considered vulgar, and if not, when it first came to be used to describe (often in an extremely angry, hostile or belligerent manner) negative or unpleasant circumstances or people in an intentionally offensive way, such as in the term "motherfucker", one of its more common usages in North America.
Fuck is used not only as a verb (transitive and intransitive), but also as a noun, interjection, and, occasionally, as an expletive infix. The etymology of the word is uncertain (see below). Where the speaker feels that extreme emphasis is needed, it may be used several times in a sentence, e.g. "Fuck the fucking fuckers".
There are several urban-legend false etymologies postulating an acronymic origin for the word. None of these acronyms was ever heard before the 1960s, according to the authoritative lexicographical work, The F-Word, and thus are backronym. In any event, the word fuck has been in use far too long for some of these supposed origins to be possible. Some of these urban legends are:
* That the word fuck came from Irish law. If a couple were caught committing adultery, they would be punished "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge In the Nude", with "FUCKIN" written on the stocks above them to denote the crime.
* That it came from any of:
o "Fornication Under Carnal/Cardinal Knowledge"
o "Fornication Under the Control/Consent/Command of the King"
o "Fornication Under the Christian King"
o "False Use of Carnal Knowledge"
o "Felonious Use of Carnal Knowledge"
o "Felonious Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"
o "Full-On Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"
o "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"
o "Found Under Carnal Knowledge"
o "Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", referring to the crime of rape.
"Yit be his feiris he wald haue fukkit: / Ye brek my hairt, my bony ane" (ll. 13–14).
"Fuck, fucking fuckers fucked!"
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